Master of Architecture - Professional Degree

The Master of Architecture professional degree serves those students seeking a consummate professional education. The degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), and is a necessary component for licensure in the field.

The College of Architecture’s graduate professional Master of Architecture degree program emphasizes the integration of architectural design, theory, and technology. Through rigorous work and critical thought, the college promotes innovation and underscores refinement with the objective of developing outstanding proficiency in the practice of architecture.

The college draws strength from its legacy of Mies van der Rohe, as well as from its own contributions to modern theory and practice. Our argument is that the poetics of space are inseparable from the practical and significant understanding of materials and fabrication. The strength of the curriculum lies in rigorously unfolding the implications of this position.

Our location in Chicago is central to our understanding of architecture as an urban art, which is greatly enriched by the vibrant culture of our city and the influence of its progressive and global architectural practices.

Our mission is to teach design excellence and technical expertise, and to foster an understanding of the role of the architect in society as an ethical, insightful, and informed leader. We believe that society sustains and enriches itself through thoughtful planning and careful work, and we regard the architect as the central figure who is best able to synthesize the natural and man-made in the creation of a more humane built environment.

The curriculum addresses principles of design concepts, materials, construction, systems, planning, professional practice, history and visual judgment, which are fundamental for the development of the creative process. The curriculum is progressive with required core coursework offering foundation knowledge, skills and vocabulary, while upper-level study seeks a broader understanding of architecture by combining theoretical exploration with practical considerations.

Master of Architecture with Advanced Standing

Candidates who hold a B.A. or B.S. in Architecture (a pre-professional program from an NAAB-recognized school in the U.S.) or international students holding a professional degree from outside the U.S.; and who have completed the equivalent of the first year’s required courses, may qualify for up to one year of advanced standing in the professional degree program. Admission with advanced standing may allow the candidate to complete the Master of Architecture degree in as few as two years (four semesters), depending on prior preparation. Candidates may be asked to provide additional evidence on their previous coursework, including projects and course syllabi, to determine eligibility for advanced standing. Candidates will be notified upon admission as to their qualification for advanced standing. International students with a Bachelor of Architecture degree (or equivalent) who wish to pursue an NAAB-accredited program to be eligible for licensure in the United States should apply to the Master of Architecture with Advanced Standing.

Curriculum and Admission Requirements

The Master of Architecture professional degree program requires a bachelor’s degree in any discipline from an accredited university.

For holders of a bachelor’s degree outside of the field of architecture, who satisfy the prerequisites for admission, the course of study will be three years (six semesters) in length and 102 credit hours. For candidates who hold a B.A. or B.S. in Architecture (a pre-professional program from an NAAB-recognized school if from the U.S.) or international students with a Bachelor of Architecture degree (or equivalent), who satisfy the prerequisites for admission, the course of study may be reduced to a minimum of two years (four semesters) in length and 66 credit hours, as required of graduate students by the university, and based on the number of credits received for advanced standing. Candidates will be notified of their program requirements at the time of admission.

To be admitted without conditions to the professional degree program, an applicant is required to possess the following:

  1. An understanding of basic systems and analytical procedures, including mechanics, heat transfer, light and sound, as demonstrated through the successful completion of a college-level physics course equivalent to IIT’s PHYS 200;
  2. An understanding of basic mathematical principles and analytical procedures, including algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, as demonstrated through the successful completion of a college-level mathematics equivalent to IIT’s MATH 122;
  3. A basic ability to produce freehand drawings of architectural forms and spaces, as demonstrated by the successful completion of one college-level drawing course or by portfolio submissions;
  4. A basic understanding of design, as demonstrated by the successful completion of one college-level design course or by portfolio submissions;
  5. An equivalent of 20 credit hours of liberal arts and humanities.

Candidates admitted with deficiencies in any of these prerequisites must fulfill them before matriculation. These prerequisite courses do not apply to program credit hours. Applicants must have a college grade point average of 3.0/4.0.

Degree Requirements

As required by the university, graduate students must maintain a 3.0 or "B" grade point average in their program of study. The College of Architecture also requires this as part of the Master of Architecture degree requirements. Within the college, particular emphasis is placed on the studio as the forum where aspects of the curriculum are synthesized. Candidates must pass each studio course before continuing to the next studio in the sequence. Students may receive a single "C" in a studio, if maintaining the required "B" average. However, if a student receives a second "C" in studio coursework, they will be subject to dismissal from the program. Students may remediate this situation by repeating the coursework and achieving a higher letter grade, or enrolling in a remedial studio. The additional credits required for the additional studio cannot be counted toward their program of study.

In addition to the curricular requirements for the degree, there are several milestones that have been integrated throughout the coursework to ensure a student’s successful completion and comprehension of the concepts and material. Each student’s progress will be evaluated by an independent panel of faculty prior to their continuation, and eventual completion, of the program.

There are a wide variety of electives available not only in the College of Architecture, but also in the university’s Armour College of Engineering, Institute of Design, and Stuart School of Business. If the student has previously taken courses that duplicate curriculum requirements, appropriate electives may be substituted. English language courses required for international students do not apply to program credit hours. Master of Architecture students wishing to accomplish a master’s thesis as part of the post-professional Master of Science in Architecture program may petition for dual enrollment.

M.Arch. Curriculum

Year 1
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours
ARCH 4853ARCH 4863
ARCH 5003ARCH 5013
ARCH 5063ARCH 5073
ARCH 5416ARCH 5426
 Architecture Elective3
 15 18
Year 2
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours
ARCH 5053ARCH 502 or 5033
ARCH 5083ARCH 5143
ARCH 5133ARCH 5446
ARCH 5203ARCH 5683
ARCH 5436Materials Elective3
 18 18
Year 3
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours
ARCH 5456ARCH 5466
ARCH 560, 561, 562, 563, or 5653Architecture Elective3
ARCH 502 or 5033Architecture Elective3
Architecture Elective3Architecture Elective3
Architecture Elective3 
 18 15
Total Credit Hours: 102
 

M.Arch. with Advanced Standing Curriculum

Year 1
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours
ARCH 4853ARCH 4863
ARCH 5003ARCH 5013
ARCH 5083ARCH 5143
ARCH 5133ARCH 5446
ARCH 5436ARCH 5683
 18 18
Year 2
Semester 1Credit HoursSemester 2Credit Hours
ARCH 5203ARCH 502 or 5033
ARCH 5456ARCH 5466
ARCH 560, 561, 562, 563, or 5653Architecture Elective3
Architecture Elective3Architecture Elective3
 15 15
Total Credit Hours: 66