The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) offers a full Master of Architecture (MArch) degree including all foundational coursework, and an accelerated MArch, Option 2 degree for students who have already completed coursework that satisfies the foundational requirements.

Master of Architecture (3.5 years)

First Summer Intensive  6  
  • AIADO 5004 Grad Design Visualization Studio (3)
  • AIADO 5005 Design Materialization (3)
 
First Year Fall 15  
  • ARCH 5110 Architecture Studio 1 (4.5)
  • ARCH 5113 Construction Systems and Structures I (4.5)
  • ARTHI 5100 Issues in Architectural History: Chicago as Laboratory (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
First Year Spring 15  
  • ARCH 5120 Architecture Studio 2 (4.5)
  • ARCH 5123 Matter and Structures 2 (4.5)
  • ARTHI 5102 Spaces in Architectural History (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
Second Summer  6  
  • Off-Campus Study Trip (6)
 
Second Year Fall 15  
  • ARCH 6110 Architecture Studio 3 (4.5)
  • ARCH 6112 Nodes, Networks, and Interactivity in Practice (4.5)
  • ARTHI 5122 Critical Traditions in the History of Architecture and Design (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
Second Year Spring 15  
  • ARCH 6120 Architecture Studio 4 (4.5)
  • ARCH 6123 Codes, Specs, Joints, & Seams (4.5)
  • Art History Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
Third Year Fall 15  
  • ARCH 6210 Architecture Studio 5 (4.5)
  • ARCH 6212 Choreographed & Ambient Systems (4.5)
  • ARCH 6213 Thesis Strategies (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
Third Year Spring   15  
  • ARCH 6220 Architecture Studio 6: Thesis Studio (4.5)
    or
    ARCH 6219 Performative Components (4.5)
  • ARCH 6221 Structures 3 (1.5)
  • ARCH 6222 Sustaining Practice Economies (3)
  • Electives (6)
 
Participation in four Graduate Critiques—Participation in Critique Week is mandatory for the final four semesters of study at SAIC.  
Participation in AIADO Graduate Exhibition   
Total Credit Hours102

Program requirements and specifications

  1. Completion schedule: Students have a maximum of six years to complete the degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence.
  2. Transfer credit: Generally transfer credits are not accepted. All requests for transfer credits are reviewed individually by the director of the department at the time of admission and are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.
  3. Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 12 credit hours

For program details, visit the overview web page or the admissions requirements web page to learn how to apply. 

Master of Architecture, Option 2 (2 years)

First Year Fall 15  
  • ARCH 6110 Architecture Studio 3 (4.5)
  • ARCH 6112 Nodes, Networks, & Interactivity in Practice (4.5)
  • ARTHI 5122 Critical Traditions in the History of Architecture and Design (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
First Year Spring 15  
  • ARCH 6120 Architecture Studio 4 (4.5)
  • ARCH 6123 Codes, Specs, Joints, & Seams (4.5)
  • Art History (3)
  • Elective (3)
 
Second Year Fall 15  
  • ARCH 6213 Thesis Strategis (3)
  • ARCH 6210 Architecture Studio 5 (4.5)
  • ARCH 6212 Choreographed & Ambient Systems (4.5)  
  • Elective (3)
 
Second Year Spring 15  
  • ARCH 6220 Architecture Studio 6: Thesis Studio (4.5)
    or
    ARCH 6219 Performative Components (4.5)
  • ARCH 6221 Structures 3 (1.5)
  • ARCH 6222 Sustaining Practice Economies (3)
  • Electives (6)
 
Participation in four Graduate Critiques    
Participation in AIADO Graduate Exhibition    
Total Credit Hours60  

Program Requirements and Specifications

  1. Completion schedule: Students have a maximum of four years to complete the degree. This includes time off for leaves of absence.
  2. Transfer credits: Generally transfer credits are not accepted. All requests for transfer credits are reviewed individually by the director of the department at the time of admission and are subject to approval at that time. No transfer credit will be permitted after a student is admitted.
  3. Full-Time Status Minimum Requirement: 12 credit hours

Degree Program Details

Students in the accelerated program need to fulfill 45 credits of nonarchitectural, college-level coursework required for graduation from a NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture program.

Students may also be missing one or two specific topical architectural classes, and if so will be required to take those classes at SAIC. They may use their elective courses to fulfill this coursework before graduation.

Each semester includes a sequence of classes with a 4.5-credit design studio, a 4.5-credit technical support studio, 3-credit seminars, and occasional 1.5-credit labs.

Accreditation Information

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 U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 8-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a preprofessional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

In order to meet the education requirement set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, an applicant for an NCARB Certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB; the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation. However, meeting the education requirement for the NCARB Certificate may not be equivalent to meeting the education requirement for registration in a specific jurisdiction. Please contact NCARB for more information.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects was formally granted a three-year term of initial accreditation for the professional Master of Architecture program effective January 1, 2011. The Master of Architecture program's most recent accreditation visit occurred in 2014. The four distinct options of the accredited Master of Architecture program:

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Certificate

In order to meet the education requirement set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), an applicant for an NCARB Certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by NAAB, and the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation.

However, meeting the education requirement for the NCARB Certificate may not be equivalent to meeting the education requirement for registration in a specific jurisdiction. Please contact NCARB for more information.

Interested in learning more?

Click around the pages of this website for more information on admissions requirements, MArch faculty, students and alumni, and more.

Interested in learning more about how you can apply?

Visit the graduate admissions website or contact the graduate admissions office at 800.232.7242 or gradmiss@saic.edu.