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Architectural Degree


Approximately 225 students register in the department each year, about 175 of them at the graduate level. The department offers over 120 courses annually (graduate and undergraduate) taught by a faculty of 55. The Department of Architecture offers degrees at the Masters level and a doctorate degree (PhD in Architecture) in multiple areas of concentration.

In addition, students have the opportunity of studying in two degree programs simultaneously, plus a joint program with the Department of Urban Planning by awarding two degrees or a Certificate in Urban Design.

The following is an overview of the four masters degree programs inside the Department. Each degree is described in further detail under the corresponding discipline section:

The Department of Architecture offers the Master of Architecture (MArch) degree, which is a professional degree program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) that prepares students for professional registration as architects in the United States.

The Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) degree is meant both for students who already have a professional degree in architecture and those interested in advanced non-professional graduate study. About 60 percent of the students in the SMArchS program come from outside the US, which encourages the exchange of ideas across cultures. The degree may be pursued in one of six areas:

The Master of Science in Building Technology (SMBT) provides a focus for graduate students interested in the development and application of advanced technology for buildings. The program is run jointly by the Departments of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

The Master of Science in Art Culture and Technology degree program focuses on the development of critical and visionary positions of artistic practice in the context of an advanced technological and scientific community.

The Department of Architecture offers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture (PhD), which may be pursued in any of three disciplines:

Degree requirements vary. The minimum residence required by the Institute for the doctorate is two full academic years. Completion of all of the requirements for the doctorate—including the dissertation—is usually accomplished in five years.

Each student admitted into the doctoral program will work closely with one faculty advisor in his or her area to develop a plan of study. Progress toward the PhD follows required coursework, minor and major declaration, qualifying paper, general examination, and dissertation research, writing, and defense. Students are encouraged to take relevant courses in other departments at MIT and at Harvard University.

Students interested in the dual degree program should apply to the department most fitting their qualifications, and once admitted and enrolled, apply to the other program as a dual degree student. Students already registered in Architecture may participate in a dual degree program if they meet admissions criteria in the second department. At least two regular terms prior to completion of the Architecture degree program, the student must submit to both departments a statement of educational objectives and a detailed program plan, including a description of a thesis topic.

The total program must meet with the approval of both departments and a petition describing the program must be signed by appropriate officers in both departments, approved by the Dean for Graduate Education, and filed with the Registrar. The petition must be submitted immediately upon acceptance to the second degree program.

Some period of residence (registration) is required by both degree-granting departments. Students should attend carefully to this requirement and see that they are registered appropriately. Students expecting to receive two advanced degrees must submit all thesis materials to the department in which they register during their final semester at MIT and are bound by the thesis specifications and deadlines of that department.

Students admitted to the Department of Architecture can propose a program of joint work in Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning that will lead to the simultaneous awarding of two degrees. Degree combinations may be MArch/MCP or SMArchS/MCP. All candidates for simultaneous degrees must meet the requirements of both degrees, but may submit a joint thesis.

A student must apply by January 3 before the beginning of the last full year of graduate study in Architecture. Applications, submitted to Sandra Elliot in Room 10-485, should include a detailed schedule of course work for both degrees.

Upon approval for the dual degree, approved copies of the petition, with the required programs, are submitted to both department degree administrators: Cynthia Stewart in Architecture and Sandra Wellford in DUSP.