The Master of Architecture I curriculum provides a disciplined approach to the fundamentals of architecture in a setting that ensures the flexibility and latitude necessary for students to develop their individual talents and skills.
The School believes that the educational experience of its program is enriched by students who have diverse educational backgrounds and, therefore, embraces students who in their undergraduate education have majored in a wide spectrum of disciplines, from architecture to any of the arts, sciences, or humanities. This program, leading to a degree of Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), is for students holding undergraduate liberal arts degrees, such as a B.A. or B.S., who seek their first professional architectural degree. It typically requires three years of full-time residency to complete the degree requirements.
Entering students, with a sound liberal arts background assumed, are required to follow a curriculum in which their creative powers are stimulated through a sequence of problem-solving exercises involving basic and architectural design, building technology, freehand and computer-assisted drawing, and an introduction to design methodologies, as well as courses in architectural theory and the planning, design, and development of the urban landscape. Architectural design problems in the first year start in the fall term at limited scale and by the spring term progress to an investigation of dwelling. During the spring term of first year and until mid-June, a community building project is undertaken, which provides an opportunity for the design of an affordable house as well as the experience of carrying the design through the building process when the class builds a final design. The fall term of second year undertakes the design of a public building, and the spring term of second year is devoted to urbanism. During the fall and spring terms of third year, students, through a lottery system, are at liberty to choose from a variety of advanced design studios, many of which are led by the profession’s leading practitioners and theoreticians. Students may, if they wish, continue their work for an additional term by taking an advanced studio and/or elective courses. A number of support courses are required during the three-year curriculum. Required courses in design and visualization, technology and practice, history and theory, urban studies, and visual studies support the studios.
Within the limits of certain required credit distributions, students are encouraged to explore elective course options. Courses—falling into the broad categories of design and visualization, technology and practice, history and theory, and urbanism and landscape—support and augment the pivotal studio offerings. Courses offered by other schools and departments within the University may be taken for credit. Emphasis throughout the program is on architectural design and decision-making.
Course of study
In course titles, a designates fall term, b designates spring term, and c designates summer. The School reserves the right to change the prescribed course of study as necessary.
M.Arch I total requirement: 114 credits
Pre-First Year (Mid-Summer)
|1000c, Architectural Foundations*||0|
First Year (Fall)
|1011a, Architectural Design||9|
|2011a, Structures I||3|
|3011a, Modern Architecture||3|
First Year (Spring)
|1012b, Architectural Design||9|
|2012b, Structures II||3|
|2016b, Building Project I||3|
|3012b, Architectural Theory||3|
First Year (Early Summer)
|2017c, Building Project II†||3|
|1019c, Visualization and Computation†||3|
Second Year (Fall)
|1021a, Architectural Design||9|
|2021a, Environmental Design||3|
|4011a, Intro. to Urban Design||3|
Second Year (Spring)
|1022b, Architectural Design||9|
|2022b, Systems Integration||3|
Third Year (Fall)
|Advanced Design Studio||9|
|2031a, Arch. Practice & Management||3|
Third Year (Spring)
|Advanced Design Studio||9|
If an entering student can demonstrate competence and passing grades, from an accredited school, in the material covered in any of the program’s required support courses (except for 2031a), that student may request a waiver of those courses. A waiver of any required course, however, does not reduce the number of course credits required to fulfill the program’s degree requirements. Support course waivers are granted by the Curriculum and Rules Committees based upon the recommendations of the course’s study area coordinators. Requests for a waiver must be submitted to one of the course’s study area coordinators within one week of the start of the first term of the student’s enrollment. A transcript, course syllabus, and a notebook or examples of work accomplished must be presented to the study area coordinators.
*This course is required for those students so designated by the Admissions Committee. Typically, this course will be required for students who do not have significant pre-architectural training. This five-week course begins mid-July and concludes mid-August.
†This course concludes in late June.
††Students are offered a selection of course options in the fall term of their first year that satisfy the first-term visualization requirement. Selection is made through a student-run lottery.
‡One elective must be a qualified Visualization elective (in addition to the required Visualization elective taken during the first year of study), two electives must be in History and Theory study area and must require at least a fifteen-page research paper, and one elective must be in Urbanism and Landscape study area. These required electives may be taken in any term(s). Courses taken outside of the School may fulfill these requirements provided they are listed in the appropriate study areas or they have been approved by the area coordinators. Students not on academic warning or probation may substitute independent elective course work. (See the School’s Academic Rules and Regulations for procedures and restrictions.)
In the six weeks before the beginning of the fall term, the School offers four summer preparation courses that are required for incoming M.Arch. I students. In fall 2020, these courses will be offered online and/or during the fall semester.
- Architectural Fundamentals (1000c). This five-week course is offered at no charge for those newly admitted students who do not have significant pre-architectural training. This course is required only for those students who have been informed in their acceptance letter that they must take this course. Students required to take the summer session must satisfactorily pass this course before being admitted to the School’s first-year M.Arch I program in the fall. Classes are held each day, Monday through Friday. The average day is broken into morning and afternoon sessions. Students are expected to complete assignments outside of class.
- Summer Shops Techniques Course. This one-week course introduces incoming students to the School’s fabrication equipment and shops. The course stresses good and safe shop techniques. Students are not allowed to use the School’s shops unless they have satisfactorily completed this course.
- Summer Digital Media Orientation Course. This two-part course, which occurs during the same week as the Summer Shops Techniques Course, covers accessing the School’s servers, the use of the School’s equipment, and the School’s digital media policies and procedures. This course is required only for those M.Arch. I students who did not take Architectural Fundamentals (1000c); see paragraph 1 above.
- Arts Library Research Methods Session. This ninety-minute session covers various strategies to answer research questions pertaining to course curricula and topics by using tools such as the Yale University online catalog, architecture databases, image resources, print resources, and archival resources.
In addition to the 114 satisfactorily completed course credits, a student must satisfactorily complete the portfolio requirement in order to receive an M.Arch. degree. The portfolio requirement is administered and periodically reviewed by the Design Committee.