TJU: Master’s degrees for a sustainable future in architecture & the built environment 
Promoted by Thomas Jefferson University

TJU: Master’s degrees for a sustainable future in architecture & the built environment 

Choosing a university for postgraduate education is no easy feat. It’s even more selective when it’s in a niche field like architecture, sustainable design, construction management or interior architecture.

But this decision is made easier when you choose Thomas Jefferson University, which offers graduate education in the field that is innovative, specialised and interdisciplinary under its College of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Their postgraduate programmes include the NAAB accredited Master of Architecture (MArch), which focuses on the development of design excellence, sustainable design and technology skills, knowledge of project management, and collaborative experiences in an interdisciplinary environment.

The programme offers multiple starting tracks – which will be individually decided based on students’ level of preparedness by a selection committee. In addition to accepting students with any undergraduate degree, the program offers advanced standing for those already in the field who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree. This professional programme prepares students to meet the challenging demands of the architecture and built environment industries in the 21st century.

Source: Thomas Jefferson University

But there’s so much more to getting a project complete than being able to design buildings, as discovered by international student Vaishnavi Farkase from India. There is a need to be present during the construction phase, as the architect realised, to ensure that her design is followed to the letter, deal with unexpected delays and manage contractors and workers too.

Her search for the ideal graduate school ended when she found Jefferson, which had an excellent reputation and the MS in Construction Management programme focused on a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach with an unparalleled focus on sustainability.

The course provides students with the knowledge and skills to plan and manage each phase of the construction process as applied to complex commercial, infrastructure and residential building projects.

The subjects it offers, like Construction Law, Construction Estimating and Scheduling, Sustainable Design Methodologies and Project Finance all fit into her area of interest.

Nowadays, time passes by really quick for the 25-year-old’s Master’s student at Jefferson, thanks to engaging classes like her first scheduling class where she was taught how to use Microsoft Project.

“As I like scheduling and management, that class was a great learning exposure for me,” she said.

Dr Kimberlee Zamora, who teaches the course, made the difficult subject easier. Whereas programme director Dr. Ozcan-Deniz, who teaches Construction Information Modelling (BIM), guided her step-by-step, starting from the basics of Revit to the final project.

“Faculty members are very supportive in all aspects and prospects on the course,” Vaishnavi said.

Tomorrow’s sustainable design professionals

With climate change threatening our planet, the future of architecture is in green buildings and Jefferson’s award-winning MS in Sustainable Design is the ideal Master’s programme to prepare for this.

As Iraqi student Husham Al-Naeri said: “This programme adopts and promotes radical mindset shifting towards what architecture should be in the future.”

Husham described the programme as “holistic,” adding that it covers multiple perspectives at different scales to the benefit of students.

Professors would bring speakers on the front line of sustainability to facilitate students’ learning, in addition to helping them become better architects, engineers, designers and future leaders.

Husham spoke highly of his professors whom he said helped build his confidence, and contribute to his personal and academic growth.

“I remember when programme director Rob Fleming would sit with us and teach us how to communicate, how to approach companies, ask us about our future goals and give us tailored advice in addition to using his connections to help us achieve our goals,” he said.

Thanks to Jefferson, Husham feels ready to “start a job in different fields from green materials to energy modelling of the building and systems design or may be sustainability consulting for many companies seeking these skills.”

Moulding a generation that addressed built environment challenges

Meanwhile, Jefferson’s award-winning MS in Interior Architecture programme is structured to meet the needs of students from non-design backgrounds. The programme also offers up to one year of advanced standing for those already in the field who are interested in refining their knowledge and skills at the graduate level.

Matthew Zepp. Source: Thomas Jefferson University

It integrates theory with the technical skills needed for practical application and immerses students in current technologies and sustainable practice as they work collaboratively and think critically to discover innovative solutions.

Programme graduate Khawlah Jahed Tarim from Saudi Arabia said the programme at Jefferson exposed her to different areas of study such as healthcare, sustainability and well-being.

This ensured that the 32-year-old graduated with wide-ranging knowledge and skills in the field. These greatly aid her in her current role as lecturer at the King Abdul Aziz University in her home country.

“A number of the areas that I studied at Jefferson are still new concepts in Saudi Arabia, so I feel proud to introduce this knowledge to students,” she said.

To view all of Jefferson’s undergraduate and graduate offerings within the College of Architecture and the Built Environment, visit

Follow Thomas Jefferson University on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

Liked this? Then you’ll love…

Making+Meaning: Spark creativity with a crash course in architecture and design

Stay ahead of the curve with these future-focused Master’s in architecture degrees