Stay ahead of the curve with these future-focused Master’s in architecture degrees
Source: Thomas Jefferson University

Nothing is constant except change, and the architecture realm is no different. Technological advancements have resulted in tectonic shifts in how we live and work, which means prized skills today may be replaced by others not currently on our radar.

Both graduates and professionals alike must continue to keep abreast of the current ongoings in the world as well as in the industry in preparation for these challenges. This makes it an opportune time to enhance one’s knowledge and skillset to ensure they remain competitive in the global job market.

Gerard Reinmuth, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney, said factors such as the economy, finance as well as the managerial approach to city making has drastically altered the context for architects.

“Smaller boutique practices are being eaten away by larger conglomerates from one direction, and nimble single-skill consultancies on the other,” he said. “In the making of cities the architect has gradually been replaced by the strategic designer, the management consultant and the futurologist. But it’s time for architects to stop acting like victims. The profession must change.”

Today’s architects must design buildings that meet modern demands, including those that solve challenges facing the world, such as issues related to sustainability. A Master’s in architecture can also help individuals take on a wider range of projects or develop a specialisation to deal with specific challenges or issues related to the field.

The US is home to several schools that are trailblazers in this field. Here are four universities offering future-focused Master’s in architecture degrees:


Nestled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, halfway between New York City and Washington, D.C.,  Jefferson graduates are poised to take on 21st century challenges with its boundary-breaking collaboration, research and experiential learning. Jefferson’s emphasis on design excellence, social equity and sustainability equip graduates with a competitive edge, poised to become innovative leaders in sustainable practice.

Jefferson offers numerous graduate programmes. For instance, the Master of Architecture is a STEM-designated programme designed to prepare students for the new challenges of architectural practice. Through the development of technology and design skills, knowledge of project management and collaborative experiences, students are prepared to be leading practitioners in this complex world. Its convenient location in Philadelphia also provides opportunities for experiences with industry partners.

Meanwhile, the MS in Architecture is a research-based degree allowing students the opportunity to develop their own research plan, taking advantage of a wide range of concentrations. It prepares students for positions in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. The STEM-designated MS provides its graduates with an additional credential that enables them to pursue research and entrepreneurial practices or careers in academia.

With sustainability as the defining issue of our time, the STEM-designated MS in Sustainable Design program builds problem-solving skills to develop market-driven solutions to become leaders in sustainable design to better serve society. Classes are offered on campus, online or a hybrid of both.

Other graduate programmes at the College include the MS in Construction Management, MS in Interior Architecture, and more. Jefferson also offers award-winning undergraduate programs in Architecture, Architectural Studies, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Construction Management.


USC’s graduate school programmes by its School of Architecture offer opportunities for students to explore architecture’s connections to other disciplines – including cultural heritage, new technology and urbanism.

Their Master of Architecture programme brings together renowned, progressive academic faculty and award-winning practitioners to set new international standards for postgraduate education. It is built on three levels, with the first dedicated to introducing essential disciplinary knowledge and the basic skills required for the NAAB-accredited degree.

The second level builds on this foundation with increasingly refined vocational knowledge and advanced professional capability while the third level culminates with a year of individually directed work, with master classes and a directed design research project focused on the student’s emergent architectural interests.

USC also offers the Master of Advanced Architectural Studies, a one-year, post-professional degree that works across disciplines and at multiple scales. The program has a dual emphasis, integrating architecture and urban theory with cutting-edge design research and collaborative experimentation on issues of housing and urbanism, domestic life and technological adaptability.

Some of their other courses include the Master of Building Science, Master of Heritage Conservation and Master of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism.


Fancy pursuing your postgraduates architecture studies in the Big Apple?

Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture educates future leaders in design, planning and management disciplines with their degrees in the professional fields of architecture, urban design, city and regional planning, construction and facilities management, environmental management, urban placemaking, historic preservation and real estate.

Their curricula focus on the relationship between intellectual development and creative activity, in addition to offering students a broad cultural and analytical base in the liberal arts and sciences, while providing the specialised knowledge unique to individual disciplines.

There are four Master programmes under Pratt’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment (GCPE), including City and Regional Planning, Historic Preservation, Sustainable Environmental Systems and Urban Placemaking and Management. All GCPE programmes focus on applied research.

Meanwhile, programmes with Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD) engage in live cultural debates and speculation via integrative architectural production and Directed Research (DR). DR characterises the latent overtones of the work Pratt is doing with students as well as to focus and direct their future efforts toward enhancing discourse, knowledge exchange, and a deep understanding of how architects and design can impact our profession and discipline.

The courses at Pratt Institute’s GAUD generally examine the impact of how we understand architectural context and architectural mediums. Both areas of focus are seen as key issues integral to the development of cities and buildings within the geopolitical and environmental frameworks emerging in the 21st century.


The Gerald D Hines College of Architecture and Design is located in Houston and offers students a platform of integrated disciplines – Architecture, Interior Architecture and Industrial Design.

At this College, students can negotiate the complexities of contemporary practice in a world that is grappling with diminishing economic and natural resources, the realities of post-disaster reconstruction, and continued rapid urbanisation.

Students can be assured of its quality as it is a member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

Their Master of Architecture (MARCH +3) programme is a three year professional degree focused on architectural design and practice. It is dedicated to critical inquiry and the professional discipline of architecture.

Students who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or Environmental Design might want to enrol in USC’s Master of Architecture (MARCH +2) programme, a two year STEM-designated professional degree focused on architectural design and practice.

Other postgraduate programmes include the Master of Arts in Architectural Studies (MAAS), Master of Science in Architecture and Master of Science in Industrial Design.

International applicants should take note of their portfolio requirements as evidence of creative work is not limited to architecture, interior architecture or industrial design work. Examples of creative work can also include designs, drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, writing or other creative pursuits.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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