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Compare online master’s in architecture programs

Plan, design, and oversee the construction of buildings.

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Prepare to pursue a license in architecture

Develop expert understanding of the planning, design, and construction of buildings, prepare to pursue your license after further study and meeting additional requirements, and begin your professional architectural practice.

Learn to solve problems in the built environment

Advance your architectural knowledge by studying in a flexible format that features live online classes, asynchronous coursework, and practical training.

Be at the forefront of architecture

Find a university that aligns with your skills, goals, and values, and build the network you need to advance your creative vision and career in architecture.

Browse online master’s in architecture programs

What is an online master’s in architecture degree?

An online master’s in architecture is a graduate-level degree that can help prepare you to pursue your license so you may begin work as a licensed architect. There are a number of different areas of specialization you can choose from, such as general architecture, interior architecture, design studies, and landscape architecture. Some master’s programs may offer an Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL), which streamlines the licensure process by enabling students to complete their academics and complete the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) simultaneously. Many universities offer National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)-accredited graduate degrees, which is required in many jurisdictions. Most programs take three years to complete, but can vary depending on the program; successful graduates may also qualify to sit for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) immediately upon completion.

Two online master’s in architecture tracks 

Students may have to complete prerequisites prior to enrolling in a master's program. However, there may be multiple tracks available to them with different sets of requirements. Set by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), this depends on the type of master's program an institution is offering:

Pre-professional-plus: Students must hold a pre-professional degree in architecture or related field before admission to the graduate program. As a result, students will have to take less credits compared to a student taking a non-pre professional degree.

Non-pre professional degree-plus: Students must hold an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution before admission to the graduate degree program. They will be required to complete additional credits in comparison to students who hold a pre-professional degree in architecture or related field.

Admission requirements for an online master’s degree in architecture

Admission requirements for an online master’s in architecture will vary between schools. More competitive programs may require that applicants have completed a number of foundational courses. You should expect to be asked to provide the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree in architecture of design from an accredited institution

  • Prerequisite coursework

  • Official undergraduate transcripts

  • Essay

  • Portfolio

  • Letter of recommendation

  • Current résumé or CV

Ensure that the résumé or CV you’re including in your application is strong. Here are some tips on how to write a CV. If you’d rather look at adjacent fields, you can gain expertise and accelerate your career by pursuing any of these online master’s programs at top universities. Or, if you’re not yet academically ready to pursue a master’s degree, dive into our online bachelor’s degrees.

How to Apply

Before you apply for an online master’s degree in architecture at the schools of your choice, research their various application deadlines, admission requirements and prerequisites, tuition, and scholarship opportunities.

Master of architecture online curriculum

Online master’s in architecture programs are as rigorous as their on-site counterparts, but they also offer a flexibility that on-campus programs don’t: students can access all their resources remotely, and study from wherever they are. Curricula will vary between institutions and will depend on your choice of specialization, such as urban design, interior architecture and design, sustainable design, historic preservation, and infrastructure design. Programs typically follow a structure that combines design, theory, and technical aspects. Required credit hours may vary depending on the program.

According to the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), you can expect your degree to cover the following subjects:

  • Career paths

  • Design

  • Ecological knowledge and responsibility

  • History and theory

  • Research and innovation

  • Leadership and collaboration

  • Learning and teaching culture

  • Social equity and inclusion

You can learn architecture at the graduate level, but you can also specialize and learn vernacular architecture, focusing on structures that reflect the environmental, cultural and historical context of their surroundings. You can also learn architecture history and explore what the designs of different structures say about their societies and cultures. Curious about how to make online learning just as efficient as in-person? Explore these tips for successful online learning.

Master’s of architecture careers

Employment opportunities for those who graduate with master’s degrees in architecture are as diverse as the study of architecture itself, with employment of architects projected to grow 5 percent from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.Footnote 1 Jobs in environmental sustainability, commercial infrastructure, and recreational facilities as well as restoration, urban planning, and furniture or textile design represent and accommodate the diverse interests and qualifications of architecture graduates.

Here are just some of the careers learners can pursue after graduation. Please note, a license may be required in these fields

  • Architect: Plans, designs, and oversees the construction of buildings and structures, combining creativity, technical expertise, and knowledge of safety to create functional and aesthetic spaces. 

  • Architectural manager: Oversees and coordinates architectural projects, managing design teams, budgets, schedules, and ensuring the successful execution of construction and design projects.

  • Building information manager (BIM) manager: Responsible for implementing and managing BIM technology and processes in construction and design projects, ensuring effective collaboration and data integration among project stakeholders. 

  • Construction manager: Responsible for planning, coordinating, and supervising all aspects of a construction project, including budget, schedule, quality, and on-site activities to ensure successful project completion.

  • Developer: Identifies, acquires, and manages real estate properties, overseeing their development or redevelopment, often with the goal of creating profitable assets, such as residential or commercial buildings.

  • Energy modeler: Uses specialized software and data to analyze and predict the energy performance of buildings, helping design teams optimize energy efficiency and sustainability in architectural projects.

  • Regional planner: Assesses and develops strategies to shape the land use, transportation, and infrastructure of a specific geographic area, aiming to create sustainable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing communities.

  • Urban planner: Collaborates with communities and stakeholders to create sustainable, organized, and aesthetically pleasing urban environments by designing land use plans, zoning regulations, and infrastructure projects

Frequently asked questions

The duration of a master's in architecture degree can vary depending on the program. Some universities offer accelerated or extended programs that may shorten or extend the standard durations. Additionally, part-time or online programs often have flexible timelines to accommodate working professionals, making the duration of the degree dependent on the program's structure, the student's background, and the mode of study.

A master's in architecture is versatile, enabling graduates to contribute to the built environment in multifaceted ways. Some graduates go on to gain further experience through the AXP and become licensed architects who design sustainable residential and commercial buildings. Others become architectural historians and focus on preserving cultural heritage through research and education. You may also be interested in other design-related careers, such as interior design, set design for film or theater, and exhibit design for museums. Those inclined toward technology may delve into architectural visualization and 3D modeling. Furthermore, some architects pivot into project management or construction management roles.

How difficult a master’s in architecture is can depend on the institution, the length of study, the weekly time commitment, and the rigor of the curriculum. Master’s in architecture programs may require a bachelor’s degree in architecture of design from an accredited institution and may also require that applicants complete a number of foundational courses.

Pursuing a master’s in architecture, and an eventual license in architecture, can open numerous opportunities and various career paths for learners across industries, but this requires serious investments of time, effort, and finances. Some master’s in architecture programs will require prerequisites such as requiring applicants to first have finished an undergraduate degree in architecture or design and be able to showcase a design portfolio. Other programs, however, may offer a track for learners who do not have a bachelor’s in architecture. Be sure to explore the specifics of the program you are interested in.

Before applying to a master’s in architecture program and school, consider any prerequisites the program may have, the school’s accreditation, and available specializations. Prepare applications, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and personal statements and look into the available financial aid options, like scholarships. Once admitted, you’ll engage in rigorous coursework, design studios, and potentially a design thesis or practicums. Typically, to become a licensed architect, you will need to hold a professional degree in architecture, preferably from a NAAB accredited program, establish a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) record and complete the AXP, and pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), along with any other examinations required by your jurisdiction. Individual state requirements will vary and are subject to change, including licensure standards, exam eligibility, and appropriate pathways, and may differ based on individual student backgrounds. Students should do their own due diligence and determine the appropriate pathway and license type for themselves.

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