Master of Science in Architecture

Degree Overview

The post-professional architecture master of science (MS) degree allows students to complete advanced research and design work that builds on an existing professional degree in architecture, architectural engineering, structural engineering, construction management, or a related field.

Eligible applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited four-year U.S. college or university OR hold an equivalent credential from a qualifying international institution. This degree does not provide a path to licensure.

The Master of Science in Architecture is a STEM-designated degree.

Learn more about what our faculty members are researching by reading their profiles.


Master of Science in Architecture

Degree Requirements (45 Minimum Credits)

Students have a wide range of courses and groups of courses to choose from in this degree program, which may be completed in one year or more.

  • Research Inquiry Coursework
  • Electives

The Master of Science in Architecture degree program provides an opportunity for advanced study and contribution to knowledge in the field through a thesis or terminal project. The post-professional Master of Science in Architecture (MS) degree allows students to complete advanced research and/or design inquiry that builds on an existing professional degree in architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, architectural engineering, structural engineering, construction management, or another related field.

Students enrolled in the Master of Science degree program must take a minimum of 45 graduate credits, of which 30 must be in architecture and 9 must be at the 600 level. Students complete a minimum of three terms in residence and are required to complete 9 credits in ARCH 503 Thesis or Terminal Project (ARCH 619). Students in this program are expected to develop an individual research topic leading to a thesis or terminal project in one or more of the following areas of faculty research and design excellence:

  • Architectural History and Theory: Preservation, Adaptive-reuse, Architectural Theory and Criticism
  • Design Computing: Modeling, Simulations, and Design Communication.
  • Design for Social Sustainability: Environment-Behavior Studies, Human-Context of Design, Spatial Justice, Accessibility and Universal Design, Cultural, Social and Economic Sustainability
  • Health and Indoor Environments: Indoor Environmental Quality, Human-Centric Design, Occupant Performance, and Health
  • Lighting Design: Daylighting, Electric Lighting, Luminaires and Photometrics, and Visual Comfort
  • Sustainable Buildings: Green Technologies, High-Performance Envelopes, Net-Zero Buildings, and Eco-Districts
  • Sustainable Construction: Mass Timber Design*, Green Building Materials, Fabrication, Construction Methods, and Life Cycle Analysis
  • Sustainable Urbanism and Housing: Urban Architecture and Urban Design, Housing Design, Community Design, Livable Communities, New Mobility, and Climate Action

*Information about Mass Timber Design is provided below.

Specializations and Graduate Certificates (optional)

Students may also choose to add one of the following optional specializations or graduate certificates to their degree:

Further details on completing these specializations and certificates are available with the departmental academic advisor.

Research Inquiry Coursework

Total Credits: 45 minimum

Research Inquiry: Thesis (Arch 503) or Terminal Project (Arch 619)

9–18 Credits

Area of research/design focus: Course Plan (approved by advisor)

27–36 Credits

MS students are strongly recommended to take both research methods courses:

ARCH 620 Research Methods in Sustainable Design

4 Credits

ARCH 633 History of Sustainable Design

4 Credits

View Course Descriptions

The post-professional MS curriculum focuses on individual research and/or design inquiry that draws from professional and general university courses and consultation with the student’s advisor and thesis or terminal project committee. For more information about the thesis, see the Graduate School section of this catalog.


Below is a list of advanced seminar courses that may assist students in their thesis. Graduates have additional readings, end-of-term paper requirements, comprehensive analysis, research presentations, and/or additional time with the instructor.

ARCH 510 Advanced Mass Timber Design
ARCH 510 Building Health
ARCH 510 High-Performance Buildings
ARCH 510 Passive House Design
ARCH 510 Visualization and Simulation
ARCH 510 Virtual Lighting
ARCH 510 Dynamic Facades
ARCH 535 Principles of Urban Design
ARCH 537 Theory of Urban Design II
IARCH 592 Electric Lighting
ARCH 595 Daylighting
ARCH 594 Passive Heating
ARCH 5XX Passive Cooling
ARCH 606 TallWood Design Institute Seminar
ARCH 606 Special Problems
ARCH 608 Colloquium
ARCH 633 History and Theory of Sustainable Design
ARCH 678 Advanced Research Methods in Sustainable Design

Technical Teaching Courses

ARCH 602 Supervised College Teaching
ARCH 661 Teaching Technical Subjects in Architecture
ARCH 690 Teaching Technology in Architectural Design

Mass Timber Design

Students choosing this area of focus for their studies will join an interdisciplinary group of researchers and faculty that engage in mass timber design research and practice. They will be able to take advantage of Oregon’s position as the epicenter of mass timber manufacture and application in the United States and the TallWood Design Institute, a partnership of the University of Oregon’s College of Design with Oregon State University’s Colleges of Forestry and Engineering.

Students may choose to enroll in a variety of courses at the at UO and OSU that address issues in mass timber, from forestry and wood science to structural and construction systems and digital design. Independent research projects will focus on special topics, working with faculty experts in those areas and opportunities will be provided for tours of mass timber buildings and manufacturing facilities in the US and abroad.

Focus Area Courses

OSU WSE 520 The Global Context of the Forest Sector

3 Credits

OSU WSE 506 Wood Science

1 Credit

UO ARCH 510 Advanced Mass Timber Design

4 Credits

UO ARCH 584 Timber Tectonics in the Digital Age          

6 Credits

UO ARCH 606 TallWood Design Institute Seminar (Special Topics)*

4 Credits

UO ARCH 619 Terminal Project: Integrated Timber Design Studio

8 Credits

*The following topics are examples of both seminar content and student directed research areas:

Composite Floor Systems
Proprietary Connections
Mass Timber Structural Lateral Systems
Structural Modeling with wood components and connections.
Manufacturing processes
Digital Fabrication – CNC
Fire Resistance
Life Cycle Analysis
Net-Zero Design/Carbon Negative Design
Constructability and Economics
Construction Methods/Design-Build
Modular and Off-Site Construction
Case Studies of Contemporary Mass Timber Buildings