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Master of Science in Architecture

The Master of Science in Architecture (MS in Arch.) degree is most appropriate for students who have already completed a B. Arch. or M. Arch. professional degree, or related design degree, and wish to pursue a defined research agenda. The MS program is focused on research and is sometimes preparation for doctoral studies. Unlike the M. Arch., it is not a professionally-oriented or professionally-accredited degree. The MS in Architecture is an intense, research-oriented course of study that requires significant student motivation and self-direction, research, and writing ability. 

Research Areas 

As compared to the highly structured M. Arch. curriculum, the MS curriculum is flexible and individually tailored to the student's and faculty advisor's research agendas and specializations. An individual plan of study may be crafted in collaboration with an appropriate and available advisor. However, the MS program currently has four areas of specialization:

Architecture + Health
Contact Dina Battisto (dbattis@clemson.edu) or David Allison (adavid@clemson.edu)

Community Research + Design Center (CRDC) and  Design + CommunityBUILD certificate program (A+CB)
Contact Dan Harding (hardin4@clemson.edu)

Architectural and Urban History, Theory, and Criticism

Digital Ecologies certificate program
Contact Michael Carlos Kliess (crbh@clemson.edu) or Vincent Blouin (vblouin@clemson.edu)

The MS in Architecture is excellent preparation for the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Planning, Design, and the Built Environment (PDBE), and may be well suited to US and international students seeking a research qualification to initiate an academic career, as well as others interested in pursuing a focused and individually determined plan of study and research.

Degree Structure and Requirements 

Requirements for the MS degree consist of a minimum of 30 credit hours: 24 credit hours of coursework and directed studies, and 6 credit hours of thesis work. The maximum enrollment per semester is 15 credit hours. Therefore, although it is technically possible to complete degree requirements in two semesters, in most cases it will take the M.S. student three semesters. M.S. in Arch. students should therefore plan for: two semesters of coursework, a summer of further research and writing, and a third semester focused on thesis writing.  

Students work closely with a Major Advisor and an Advisory Committee, with whom they determine an individual Plan of Study. The advisors periodically review the student's work and evaluate thesis research and writing. Successful and timely completion ultimately depends on the student's initiative and diligence. 

Application Requirements 

Since MS students work closely with a major advisor, the applicant must identify a potential advisor and discuss a research focus and possible plan of study with a faculty member in advance of their application.

Faculty members are limited in the number of MS students whom they can advise, so admission is limited and competitive. Apart from determining a major advisor for their research, admission is based on an applicant's previous academic credentials, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (for international students), a design portfolio, and a clear and concise research agenda describing the applicant's purpose and intent. 

After discussing a possible plan of study with a prospective advisor, apply to graduate studies at Clemson University through the application portal found on Clemson's Graduate School's Prospective Students webpage and click Apply Now

International students must have a high level of ability in understanding, communicating, and writing in English to succeed in the program. In preparation for writing research papers and a thesis in English, international applicants must demonstrate the ability to do so in TOEFL scores and/or other documentation. 

For more information about graduate studies at Clemson University, visit the Graduate School’s Admissions, Academic, and Financial policies

M. Arch - MS in Arch. Dual Degree 

The M. Arch.-M.S. in Arch. dual degree offers the student an opportunity to focus on, or continue, a research agenda of personal interest and to earn a second Master's degree in less time than pursuing the degrees independently. Applicants must apply to both programs simultaneously, or no later than one semester into the M. Arch. program.  

Clemson University Graduate School policy permits the pursuit of dual degrees, which allow a limited number of credit hours to be applied to both degrees. For the M.Arch-M.S. in Arch. dual degree, this is capped at 9 credit hours. Since most ARCH courses are three credit hours, this generally means that three M. Arch. courses can be applied to the M.S. degree. Since the M.S. in Arch. is a research-focused degree, the courses applied will often be elective courses that advance the student's research interests. Following completion of M. Arch. requirements, the student will complete a minimum of 21 credit hours (30 minus 9 credit hours) including thesis work. 

To pursue a M. Arch. + M.S. in Arch. dual degree, the student must: (1) Apply to both degree tracks simultaneously, or within one semester, and be admitted to both, (2) have an appropriate research interest, (3) find a faculty member willing to serve as a primary advisor, and (4) secure the necessary approvals. 

With the combined credit, the M.S. in Arch. component can be earned in two semesters, instead of the typical three semesters, with successful completion of remaining coursework, research, and thesis.