Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
First Professional Degree in Architecture
Program Duration: 3 years
Accredited by NAAB
Degree Conferred: Master of Architecture
CIP Degree Code: Eligible for the STEM OPT Extension for F-1 visa holders
Learn more about our program by viewing last year's Online Information Session with Professor Neil Denari here.
The Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), is a three-year professional program that provides a comprehensive education in architecture. The M.Arch. program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). M.Arch. students may also complete a concurrent degree in Urban Planning.
The three-year professional degree curriculum prepares students for the practice of architecture by providing a focused framing of today's cultural, ecological, political and technological questions with a view to what architects may bring to bear on such complex issues. At each stage of the curriculum, UCLA AUD graduates become equipped to not only lead the professional field but also to construct new opportunities for it by positioning their design skills within a rapidly changing world.
The three-year sequence is divided into two periods of study.
i) The first of these periods is a two-year foundation, known as "Core," in which students complete six design studios of increasing scale and complexity. They simultaneously take courses in the History and Theory of Architecture; Architectural Programming; Computation; Environmental Design; Representation and Visualization; Structures; as well as a range of complementary cultural and technical elective courses. This "Core" period provides students with the foundation and knowledge necessary to clearly articulate strong architectural concepts; and formal and organizational principles in terms of culturally informed approaches to such factors as context, materials and building systems.
ii) The second period of study is the culminating third year, in which students choose from an array of one-year long thematically focused Research Studios; as well as two Advanced Topics Studios (to be completed in the first two quarters) and a number of elective courses. Research Studios are led by senior design faculty and are structured around specific concerns. The three-quarter Research Studio comprises a first quarter of research; a second quarter of hypothesis definition and development; and a final quarter of design resolution. This structure provides students with opportunities to develop and expand particular positions in architecture by rethinking existing problems, establishing new directions, and making well-informed and progressive conjectures with which to shape the built environment.
A collaborative spirit pervades the three-year UCLA AUD curriculum fostering an environment in which students and faculty develop a collective intelligence composed of multiple, yet focused, points of view. Through this shared set of interests, students develop methods and techniques for producing new architectural intelligence, plausible speculation and the capacity to invigorate the field and attract to it new audiences.
As a graduate program in a top tier research university, the M.Arch. builds on the broad knowledge base of the entering student body and integrates these diverse worldviews into a practice oriented pedagogy that is both open to broad cultural questions and a pragmatic view of architecture today. Core studios encourage those with previous architectural training to question assumptions formed prior to their arrival. At the same time, knowledge of other disciplines, brought by those new to architecture, is reframed such that it plays an important role throughout the program. This admixture of student backgrounds has proven fruitful over the 50 year history of training architects at UCLA and has produced young architects who are aware of the influence that other fields of knowledge have on architectural thought and production. UCLA AUD’s longstanding dedication to communicating clear and articulate architectural ideas fosters critical thinkers who become leaders in practice, academe, and on the global stage.
 The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture. For more information about the Accredited Degree see the "Admissions Requirements" tab.
 Academic backgrounds include A.B., B.A., B.S. (including four-year B.A. or B.S. in Architecture), non-architecture undergraduate degree or four-year nonprofessional degree in Architecture.
Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) Admissions Requirements
The M.Arch. program welcomes and accepts applications from students with a diverse range of backgrounds. Although no formal training in architecture is required, first-year courses assume some familiarity with the history and culture of architecture, basic graphic skills, and the understanding of fundamental concepts of mathematics and physics. We strongly encourage that you become familiar with fundamental, celebrated works in the history and theory of architecture before entering the program.
Applicants to the M.Arch. program must hold a Bachelor’s degree, or the foreign equivalent. All new students must enter in the fall quarter. The program is full-time and does not accept part-time students.
The following college-level courses are required as prerequisites, and must be completed before entry into the M.Arch. program:
- Newtonian Physics (minimum grade of “C”) — One basic college-level physics course covering light, heat, and sound. It is not necessary to take a calculus-based physics course.
- Mathematics (minimum grade of “C”) — One college-level course covering algebra plus geometry or trigonometry, or one coIIege-Ievel course in precalculus or calculus.
- A Survey of the History of Architecture (minimum 1 semester or 2 quarters, minimum grade of “B”) — A college-level course covering Antiquity to the present.
- Drawing or Basic Design (minimum grade of “B”)
If you have not completed these prerequisites at the time you apply, we will still consider your application. However, you must specify your plan to complete them before entry into the program.
Some applicants may be required to take a summer studio course at UCLA AUD as a condition of admission. For more information on admissions requirements please review the Graduate Admissions page. International students should carefully review the English language proficiency requirements before applying.
In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture, offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. UCLA has been granted an eight-year term of accreditation based on the NAAB visit in 2016.
Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a preprofessional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Architecture and Urban Design offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs: M.Arch. (non-architecture undergraduate degree or, four-year nonprofessional degree in architecture + 126 graduate credits).
Next accreditation visit for the accredited program: 2024.
To read more about the NAAB Conditions of Accreditation, please visit:
Current and previous NAAB Conditions and Procedures (2009 and 2014):
- NAAB 2014 Conditions for Accreditation
- NAAB 2015 Procedures for Accreditation
- NAAB 2011 Procedures for Accreditation
- NAAB 2009 Conditions for Accreditation
Current and previous UCLA Program Reports (2010 and 2015):
- NAAB UCLA 2015 Architecture Program Report
- NAAB UCLA 2010 Architecture Program Report
- NAAB 2010 Visiting Team Report
- NAAB 2010 Decision Letter
Master of Architecture (M. Arch.) Typical Study Program
|411||Introductory Design Studio||6 units|
|220||Introduction to Computing||2 units|
|M201||Theories of Architecture||4 units|
|431||Structures I||4 units|
|412||Building Design Studio||6 units|
|432||Structures II||4 units|
|436||Introduction to Building Construction||4 units|
|401||Tech Core||6 units|
|433||Structures III||4 units|
|442||Building Climatology||4 units|
|413||Building Design with Landscape Studio||6 units|
|461||Professional Practice||4 units|
|415||Comprehensive Design Studio||6 units|
|291||Theory of Architecture Programming||4 units|
|441||Environmental Control Systems||4 units|
|414||Major Building Design Studio||6 units|
|437||Building Construction||4 units|
|401||Advanced Topics Studio||6 units|
|403A||Research Studio||2 units|
|401||Advanced Topics Studio||6 units|
|403B||Research Studio||2 units|
|403C||Research Studio||6 units|
Courses and schedule are subject to change.