Apr 24, 2024  
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 
USC Catalogue 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOGUE]

Architecture (MArch)

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The USC School of Architecture offers two distinct master’s programs related to the study of architecture: the Master of Architecture professional degree (MArch) and the Master of Advanced Architectural Studies postprofessional degree (MAAS) for students who already hold a professional degree in architecture or its equivalent.

Master of Architecture (MArch), Professional Degree

The school’s Master of Architecture is a NAAB accredited professional degree program in the area of architectural design. It is intended for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree with a major other than one of the design professions, (typically requiring three years of residency); or, with advanced standing, for those individuals with a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architectural studies (typically requiring two years of residency).

This degree fully prepares graduates for the present and future professional activities in the ever-evolving field of architecture. As an accredited professional degree, it provides a solid intellectual base of knowledge in history, technology, professional practice and theory. Particular emphasis is put on each of the six-semester design studio sequences, where students learn to synthesize the social, environmental and tectonic thinking through informed design practice. The studios culminate in an option-based studio and directed design research sequence, pursuing exploration of advanced and emerging topics. Exploring the many elective opportunities within the school, students are encouraged to develop a tailored curriculum, and if possible, to complete one of the several graduate certificates offered by the school or within the university.

Degree Requirements

A minimum one-semester college-level course in physics or calculus is required.

In order for the MArch degree to be conferred, students must complete 102 credit units of both required professional and elective course work during three years of residency, or for students admitted with advanced standing, a minimum of 64 units of both required professional and elective course work during two years of residency. Students must also continually meet the established standards for graduate study at USC.

To meet NAAB accreditation requirements, all students must complete (before graduation) a combined total of 168 credit hours of study at the undergraduate and graduate level, of which at least 30 semester credit hours must be at the graduate level as well as a minimum of 45 units of non-architectural content.

Advanced Standing

Students seeking advanced standing must have a four-year architectural studies degree from: a U.S. school with an accredited professional architecture program; a U.S. school that is accredited by a regional accrediting body, without an accredited professional architecture program; or an international program that is deemed equivalent.

All students who meet the pre-professional undergraduate degree requirement and wish to be considered for advanced standing must undergo a course-by-course review. Students must provide significant evidence from the course work completed at the undergraduate level in order for waivers to be considered or granted for USC MArch required Basic Studies courses. This review is conducted after admission to the program, during the summer prior to starting course work.

Basic Studies courses include: ARCH 511L Building Systems: Materials and Construction , ARCH 514a Global History of Architecture , ARCH 514b Global History of Architecture ARCH 523aL Structural Design and Analysis , ARCH 523bL Structural Design and Analysis , ARCH 575a Systems , ARCH 575b Systems , ARCH 611 Advanced Building Systems Integration .

MArch students with advanced standing are required to complete a minimum two year residency, or 4 semester units of study at USC.

Summer Semester

A robust curriculum is available during the summer semester between the fourth and fifth semesters [of the full sequence; between the second and third of the advanced standing]. A combination of internationally based studios, field studies and the full first semester sequence of the MAAS is available to provide students diverse and advanced opportunities that can expand their degree offerings.

Admission with No Previous Professional Education (+3)

Students admitted with no previous professional education must complete 102 units, including 74 units of specified courses, 20 units of electives and 8 units of Directed Design Research or Thesis. Electives must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

102-unit Sample Curriculum – MArch Professional Degree

Total units: 17

Total units: 18

Total units: 17

Total units: 17

Total units: 17

Total units: 16


*ARCH 409  and ARCH 410  will be taken as a fall semester special session prior to the first day of classes.

Admission with Advanced Standing (+2)

Advanced standing students must complete 64 units, including 34 units of specified courses, 22 units of electives or basic studies requirements and 8 units of Directed Design Research or Thesis. Electives and basic studies courses must be part of a curricular plan approved by the program director.

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