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Master of Architecture

Architecture is a highly synthetic discipline that requires a complex mix of cultural awareness, technical expertise, and creative facility. This is architecture’s great draw, and its great challenge. How do we engage a world that is marked by diverse people, ever-changing digital technologies and dynamic ecologies?

The Master of Architecture program at the Knowlton School is dedicated to all aspects of this pursuit and is grounded in an understanding of architecture as a cultural enterprise. We are invested in the knowledge of architecture’s traditions through strengths in history and theory while we transform the discipline through technology and engagement with the world. Seminars in history and theory are supplemented by courses in systems, sustainability, structures and professional practice, reinforced by the school’s extensive fabrication and computing facilities. Most importantly, cultural breadth and technical depth are synthesized in the school’s intensive studio culture where students creatively engage real world issues. In addition, the program offers opportunities for internships and international travel and is able to provide more than half of our students with financial support.

The Master of Architecture degree at the Knowlton School has a single degree structure with a three-year sequence and two entry points. Students with non-architecture undergraduate degrees, and some continuing students, enter in the first year, which focuses on the development of the student’s critical, technical and aesthetic sensibility within the domain of architectural design. Students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree from an NAAB-accredited program may be granted advanced placement to enter the second year on the basis of academic performance and portfolio review. The students then advance to the third year that concentrates on developing disciplinary expertise through advanced research. Students are helped in this endeavor by the Herbert Baumer Distinguished Visiting Professorship that is awarded annually to a prominent practitioner in the field of architecture. During the course of that academic year, the practitioner leads a graduate design studio at the Knowlton School. The practitioner also leads a seminar in conjunction with a regular Knowlton School faculty member that reviews the practitioners career - including an in-depth exploration of one project. This seminar results in a volume of the school’s Source Books in Architecture series. The practicioner also participates in the school’s Lecture Series.

Finally, instead of a traditional thesis, the Knowlton School's MArch program culminates with the Exit Review program.  The Exit Reviews are a series of public presentations given by each graduating student during their last semester in the program. The process of the Exit Review, which constitutes a student’s Master Examination, diverges from the conventions of thesis in that each student is asked to pause from studio design production in order to both situate their work and more importantly their architectural ideas within the context of the larger flows of cultural history. They are asked to critically examine their own design agenda and to position it relative to larger disciplinary transformations occurring due to the evolving position of the Architect in society. The institutional goal is to have each student exit the program prepared to be an agent of change within the discipline. The School strongly believes that this process will prepare each student to be actively involved in what it means to be an Architect today.

To learn more about who we are and what we do, read the program viewbook.

Future students

To learn more about the Knowlton School, its award-winning facilities, faculty, financial aid and educational opportunities including travel, career services, and student organizations, please visit the future students section of the website.


Admission to any of our graduate programs requires an online application and supporting materials, which will allow our faculty to assess your potential for and your compatibility with our programs. Visit the graduate admissions page to learn more. Interested in a program, but not ready to apply? Complete an Inquiry Card to get more information.