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Obtaining an online Master's of Architecture degree can be a highly rewarding experience. Imagine passing by one of your works of art! Designing that high-rise hotel in the next town, the restaurant around the corner, or even your own home, a career in architecture can take you anywhere in the world!
One of the most ancient fields of study, the school of architecture is multi-faceted and as vital for today's world as it was for the ancient Egyptians. From planning and designing buildings, roads, and airports to channeling our water supply and wastewater, architects have left their mark on every area of our day-to-day existence.
Online master’s degree programs in the field of Architecture provide a plethora of career opportunities for those interested in design. This type of program focuses on the inception, building, and presentation of the construction of buildings, either residential or commercial properties. Architecture programs are ideal for those who are looking for a promising career choice that allows them to express their creativity.
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The Study of Architecture
The study of architecture combines natural beauty with conceptual analysis bringing mathematics and artistry together to create spaces for humans to thrive. For those students who are interested in beautiful aesthetics, conceptual plans, and mathematical calculations, the study of architecture is a perfect fit.
Employment opportunities for graduates with degrees in architecture are as diverse as the study of architecture. Jobs in environmental sustainability, commercial infrastructure, and recreational facilities as well as restoration, urban planning, furniture or textile design, or even political architecture are available to accommodate the diverse interests and qualifications of architecture graduates.
Online architecture degree programs are currently expanding in availability. Although not as commonly available online as many other disciplines, the schools below offer the flexibility and diversity for achieving an online Master's of Architecture Degree. Because of the hands-on nature of achieving a Master's of Architecture degree, many schools offer hybrid programs of study for architecture students.
An Online Master's of Architecture degree program can be expected to be exhaustive, but not all schools excel as much as the cream of the crop do! Our list of the online universities offering this program puts together the highly reputable academic institutions that produce the best professionals in the field fit for executive or management-level careers.
What factors make a top-rated Online Master of Architecture degree program and school? Our picks of the Best Online Master's of Architecture Graduate Schools all share these impressive features:
- Provides architecture programs with a fully online program or hybrid classes that enable students to fit their learning around their work or home life,
- Coursework that focuses on developing the student's skills that are required for career advancement and eligibility for high-level positions,
- Stellar reviews and consistent high rank in academic listings,
- Student support, online resources, and financial aid are available to qualified students,
- Notable student outcomes, as proven by graduates who successfully snag advanced-level careers in the field of Architecture,
- and, Online programs with full accreditation to demonstrate compliance with academic standards.
8 Best Online Master's of Architecture Graduate Schools
Boston Architectural College
: 320 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115
: 617 585 0100
Founded in 1889, the Boston Architectural College started as a professional club by established and young professional architects. The BAC became the 1st accredited architecture program with a professional network in the US. The school takes pride in its top-of-the-line theatres, schools, libraries, churches, and hospitals.
- Completing BAC's Online Master's of Architecture program requires 36 credit hours and 3,000 practice hours.
- Students will have the same rigorous program as their on-campus counterparts, with full access to online resources via BAC's Cloud Canopy.
- BAC allows students to accomplish their licensing examinations earlier by enrolling in NCARB's AXP or the Architectural Experience Program while participating in professional practice experiences in research, community projects, and design firms.
- For adult students, they can continue with their full-time profession to earn their practice hours while completing their M.Arch program.
- Students with more extensive academic experience or architectural work can become eligible to enroll in the 2-year Master of Architecture program.
Since Boston Architectural College is a member of IPAL or the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure program, students can shorten the process to their professional licensure by accomplishing their M.Arch studies and profession simultaneously.
In 2015, the school was one of the initially chosen groups of institutions accepted by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards into the IPAL program.
BAC's Online Master's of Architecture program is the first online architecture graduate program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
Of all IPAL programs around the US, a total of eight IPAL graduates have obtained their architecture licenses immediately after graduation. Today, Boston Architectural College is the only school in Massachusetts to have advocated for IPAL graduates to get licensure in architecture.
University of Missouri
: 230 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211
: 573 882 7786
The University of Missouri is the first public university located west of the Mississippi River. Mizzou is a flagship, land-grant institution that is home to the world's 1st journalism school. It is one out of 65 universities across Canada and the US to be part of American Universities.
- The Department of Architectural Studies at Mizzou features two graduate programs with corresponding areas of study.
- Graduate students can choose from either the Design with Digital Media or the Environment and Behavior Studies emphasis areas.
- Interested applicants must submit a statement of graduate goals and educational objectives, three letters of recommendation, and a resume/CV.
- The Design with Digital Media students must also submit their GRE scores, while those with a background in Design must showcase their portfolio.
- Some of the learning content integrated into the program are readings and research in environment and behavior, graduate seminars, research methods, and design theory.
Mizzou's Online Master of Arts/Master of Science in Architectural Studies is the only program of its kind in Missouri. That said, students interested in pursuing a fulfilling career in architecture can enroll in Missouri's sole graduate program in architecture.
With a diverse range of funding resources, students can easily apply for grants, federal student aid, fellowships, and assistantships.
48% of graduates at the University of Missouri completed their degrees with no debt. The university spent $168M on grants and scholarships for the academic year 2018 to 2019. In the same year, Mizzou also spent $58M on student employment.
Southern Illinois University
: 875 S. Normal Avenue, Carbondale IL 62901-4303
: 618 453 3734
Southern Illinois University was established in 1869 and began as Carbondale's second teachers' college. Today, SIU Carbondale is the flagship site of the Southern Illinois University System. It is a comprehensive, research-intensive, and student-centered university that received the 2015 community engagement status from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
- SIU's Online Master of Architecture features a cohort-based learning model structured for working professionals in the field of architecture.
- While combining advanced studies and professional credentials, students are encouraged to use synchronous online discussion threads, shared file exchanges, meeting platforms, and email.
- The online Master's of Architecture program accepts part-time enrollment.
- Forty-two credit hours are required for graduation.
- Each semester has a 6-hour studio course as well as six 3-credit hour seminars or lecture classes.
SIU's Online Master of Architecture program has received full accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board as a 1st professional degree in architecture.
The program meets the academic credentials to become a state-licensed and NCARB-certified architect in the provinces of Canada and the territories and states in the US.
Diversity has been a crucial part of SIU's legacy ever since its 1st inaugural class of 143 students which included African-American students. Now, minority students consist of 29% of SIU's total enrollment, and the university consistently ranks among the US’s top schools in the number of degrees granted to ethnic and racial minority students.
Lawrence Technological University
: 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075-1058
: 248 824 6731
Headquartered in Michigan, Lawrence Technological University was founded in 1932 and has established a reputation for excellence over the years by preparing graduates in their specific areas of study. LTU is a member of the North Central Association and has garnered accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
- LTU's Online Master of Architecture is a synchronous program focused on community and connectedness.
- The Master of Architecture is offered in two ways: the Master of Architecture 36 (M.Arch Track II) and the Master of Architecture 3+ (M.Arch Track III) programs.
- Students with a bachelor's degree in architecture should pursue the M.Arch Track II, while non-architecture bachelor's degree students have the option to enroll in LTU's M.Arch Track III.
- For the M.Arch Track II program, students must have 36 credit hours to complete their degree. On the contrary, M.Arch Track III students accomplish 90 credits or fewer to earn their M.Arch degree.
- Students pursuing the M.Arch Track II program participate in a 1-week Critical Practice Studio during the summer term at LTU's Southfield campus. It is a mandatory low-residency requirement offered by the College of Architecture and Design at LTU.
LTU's Online Master of Architecture program is one of the elite programs in the US since it is one out of only four NAAB-accredited online architecture programs. Aside from that, it's one of the cheapest NAAB-accredited architecture programs offered through online learning.
LTU's Master of Architecture program is suitable for both students with non-architecture or architecture-related bachelor's degrees.
The quality and reputation of degree programs have earned LTU several recognitions and awards, including a Top 30% ranking of schools nationwide by Bloomberg Businessweek, and Princeton Review's “Best in the Midwest." For over 20 years, the university has been recognized by the US News & World Report.
The university is also a consistent school in many prestigious listings, including Business Insider, Forbes, and PayScale, and is considered a military-friendly university by G.I. Jobs.
Academy of Art University
: 79 New Montgomery Street., San Francisco, CA 94105
One of the prestigious art and design schools in the country is the Academy of Art University. It is home to numerous designers and artists since its founding in 1929. The university is the 1st and foremost professional institution specializing in a practical, no-nonsense program taught by some of the industry's finest and most creative instructors.
- The Online Master's of Architecture program has two track options: the M.Arch Track I and M.Arch Track II programs.
- The track option will depend on the student's academic and professional credentials, based on the transcript evaluation and portfolio review.
- Academy of Art's NAAB-accredited M.Arch programs require 63 units for Track I and 87 units for the Track 2 option.
- As a culminating experience, graduate students must complete a Final Thesis Project for both track options.
- The NAAB-accredited programs are holistic professional programs that develop students' written and visual communication, presentation, and building methods, materials, and systems.
The National Architectural Accrediting Board accredits both Online Master of Architecture Track 1 and Track 2 programs. The curriculum will help develop each student's proficiencies through personal design vision, rigorous study, and critical thinking.
A Creative Director for Sunset Magazine and fine art painter, Richard S. Stephens founded the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. He was assisted by his spouse, Clara Stephens, to open the school in a rented loft located at 215 Kearny St. to educate students in advertising art. Now, the Academy of Art University is the biggest private institution of art and design in the US.
University of Florida
: Architecture Building, 1480 Inner Road, Gainesville, FL 32611
: 352 392 4836
The University of Florida offers 300+ undergraduate and graduate programs in arts, including agricultural and life sciences, dentistry, medicine, veterinary medicine, and design, construction & planning. The university has a 2,000-acre campus and 900+ buildings, including Florida's 1st Platinum-certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design building.
- UF's Online Master of Science in Architectural Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Design can be completed within three semesters.
- This program is open to students with a baccalaureate degree in any discipline.
- A minimum of 36 credits of coursework completion is needed for graduation.
- 8 out of 36 credits are credited toward a Master's Research Project or Thesis.
- Aside from the asynchronous content, students will have a limited face-to-face interaction program between faculty and students during the fall and summer semesters at the Gainesville campus.
UF's Online Master of Science in Architectural Studies offers a concentration in Sustainable Design considered one of its kind in Florida. The program offers students the interdisciplinary knowledge, confidence, and skills to be a frontrunner in the Sustainability Revolution.
It is taught by core faculty from the College's five major programs, namely urban & regional planning, landscape architecture, interior design, building construction, and architecture.
The University of Florida's College of Design, Construction, and Planning is the only college in the country that headquarters design, construction, and planning under one department. However, the College requires more support from its alumni community to compete with the country's top institutions in design and construction.
University of Washington
: 1851 NE Grant Ln, Seattle, WA 98195
: 206 897 4636
The University of Washington was built in 1861 and is one of the country's most prestigious institutions. Today, UW is home to over 60,000 students annually and continues to thrive as a center for innovative research in a diverse range of studies, including business, aeronautics, public affairs, education, and medicine.
- UW's MIPM program requires the completion of 15 courses, amounting to 45 credit hours for graduation.
- The program also features an optional Floodplain Management Course Series for distance learners interested in specializing in the field.
- To apply, students must include three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume/CV, unofficial transcripts, and a non-refundable application fee in their UW Graduate School online application.
- GRE scores aren't required for enrollment.
- The online MIPM program includes a two-quarter capstone project, letting graduates use their knowledge and skills to perform research and implement them to real-world infrastructure challenges.
The Online Master of Infrastructure Planning & Management program is offered through the Department of Urban Design & Planning, the school's leading planning program in the country and the top planning institution in the Pacific Northwest.
It is suitable for early and mid-career professionals pursuing advanced studies in infrastructure planning and management. Considered a popular degree among veterans, the MIPM is one of the top 10 UW graduate programs for student veterans.
UW is one of the best universities worldwide. It has several prestigious awards and recognitions, including a #8 spot in the global universities list and #2 among public universities in the country by the US News & World Report.
Besides that, UW is recognized as one of the most innovative public universities globally by Reuters. As a major research university, UW attracts more money from federal research grants than other public universities in the US.
: Woodland Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
: 412 503 7410
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Chatham University has been consistently recognized as one of the “Best Colleges” and College of Distinction by the US News & World Report. It has an enrollment of more than 2,200 students across 60+ undergraduate and graduate programs in different areas of excellence, including arts & sciences, business & communications, and sustainability and health.
- Chatham's Online Master of Science in Interior Architecture program emphasizes Design Theory, letting students explore design issues, user groups, and building types to create a specialization.
- A total of 30 credits are required to graduate from the MSIA program, comprising 12-credit hour foundation courses, 12-credit hour skills courses, and 6-credit hour electives.
- The program has a rolling admission policy in which applications will continue to be accepted and considered year-round.
- Students can either submit a written thesis with original research or a creative design project as a thesis-based program.
- To enroll, a portfolio is required for review. Students can either send them as a link or an email attachment.
The MSIA program at Chatham adheres to the standards and principles of Universal Design, a concept that features an environment's composition and design that is widely accessed, understood, and utilized to the greatest scope by all individuals.
Through the program, students have the opportunity to enjoy state-of-the-art LEED Silver facilities at Chatham Eastside.
Due to federal rules and law, all universities that have distance learning programs and practicum experiences in other states outside of the school's location must have authorization or become a SARA-approved facility. Chatham University has received approval from the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.
Career Outlook and Salary
If you're pursuing a profession in the field of architecture, it may be dependent upon the economy. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment job growth outlook for architects between 2022 to 2032 is 5%, which is faster than average, with the latest median salary of $82,840 per year. In 2022, the US had 123,700 jobs in the architecture field.
Depending on the company and location, architects can earn a lucrative income. The highest for this occupation is within the government sector with earnings of $136,400, followed by construction at $80,480, and architectural, engineering, and related services at $82,170 median annual wage. However, the highest 10% earned upwards of $157,000 annually with experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many schools in the US have already started offering an Online Master of Architecture program as part of their degree offerings. Besides that, some colleges and universities offer an online program in architecture with limited on-campus participation and short residencies that provide them with a practical learning experience.
Graduates wanting to pursue a Master's of Architecture degree while employed in a full-time career may find online programs advantageous. That said, an online graduate program in architecture provides students with the benefit of greater flexibility and time management compared to traditional on-campus programs.
Although most online graduate programs in this discipline often focus on architecture, some online schools include specialized concentrations, such as interior design, architecture management, and sustainability.
Like most online graduate programs, virtual discussions are essential components of an Online Master of Architecture program. In some programs, distance learners have 24/7 access to asynchronous learning resources, such as digital documents, slideshows, videos, books, and recorded discussions.
Once they have completed their assignments/projects, they upload their work to a central repository or a specific Learning Management System to share with their professors and colleagues.
When choosing an online Master of Architecture degree program, search for a college or university with accreditation from agencies authorized by the US Department of Education. Another crucial aspect is that the online Master of Architecture program is accredited by NAAB or the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
If the program is NAAB-accredited, students are guaranteed to have an online graduate program that meets high-quality standards in education.
Like medicine and law, architecture has state-level regulations. Completing a National Architectural Accrediting Board-accredited online Master of Architecture degree doesn't guarantee licensure. However, graduating from an NAAB-accredited program is one of the basic requirements for pursuing licensure and qualifying to take the Architect Registration Examination.
The majority of online programs in Master of Architecture accept students who already have a bachelor's degree in architecture or any related discipline. However, some schools provide non-architecture undergraduate students with the option to pursue a separate track to fulfill prerequisites before enrolling in the core architecture program.
Aside from undergraduate studies, students interested in enrolling in an online graduate architecture program often submit the following common requirements:
- Curriculum Vitae or Resume
- Letters of Recommendation
- Official College Transcripts
- Official GRE Scores
- Statement of Purpose/Essay
- English Proficiency Test (For International students only)
Like most online programs at the graduate level, the length of completion time will depend significantly upon students' academic and professional backgrounds. Besides that, completing the online program, whether on a part-time or a full-time basis, also affects completion time.
Non-architecture baccalaureate students often complete their Master of Architecture degree within three years. On the contrary, students with a professional architecture bachelor's degree can earn their graduate architecture degree in 24 months or less.
After graduating with a Master of Architecture program, most graduates pursue internships at an architecture or design firm if they haven't completed it yet. All states require a specific number of years of internship program under the supervision of an experienced architect before new graduates can sit for the Architecture Registration Exam.
After completing the internship hours and passing the ARE, architects can pursue entry-level positions in engineering, architecture, and other related industries.
- Through online Master’s degree programs, you can obtain your architecture degree; however, some on-campus attendance or an internship may be required.
- Distance education opportunities are wonderful for busy working professionals who need to continue employment while earning their degrees.
- Architecture students can look forward to a lucrative career and perhaps, opening their own professional practice.
- Because of the growing population of the world, a degree in architecture should provide job security as well as opportunities to create our country's future infrastructure.
- Check out our school selections for the best online Master’s of Architecture Graduate Schools today!
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