Focused on preparing forward-looking students, our curriculum highlights innovative practices, new techniques and technologies, and transdisciplinary approaches to architectural research, inquiry, and design.

Studios in design and media, lecture courses and seminars in theory and history, and courses in structures and technology during the first three semesters of the M.Arch curriculum constitute the “core” of the program.

The final four semesters, including a summer intensive term, each offer distinct experiences. In the fourth semester, all students have the option to select from a range of studios taught by distinguished visiting critics. In the summer of the second year, students may choose to study at a summer intensive program in New York City or in one of our “Three Cities” global study programs. Students also have the option of studying abroad at the university’s centers in Florence and London in the spring of their second or third years by extending their study into an additional fall term.

The design focus of the final year is structured around our Integrative Studio, designed to synthesize knowledge garnered across the curriculum in a highly detailed building design, and a faculty-directed research project defined and developed by the student in tandem with faculty advisors.

A rich array of professional and history electives allows students to study specific topics in seminars and lecture courses.

Curricular areas

Discursive Studio

All core design courses in the graduate program operate as what we call “discursive studios.” Each of the first four semesters of design is team-taught by two faculty members with complementary expertise and approaches, who conduct the studio as a site of debate, exchange, and possibility.

Architectural Research

A series of one-credit courses taken each semester during the academic year introduce students to a range of research methods essential for architectural professionals from various disciplinary, scholarly, and professional perspectives. Courses introduce both historically grounded and projective methods relevant to both the academic researcher and the licensed practitioner, and, depending on the needs and opportunities available for the course, may take on the form of workshops with visiting lecturers, field research, or collaboration on externally-funded research projects of our faculty.

History and Theory

Equal parts analysis, speculation, research, and critique, these seminars develop students’ intellectual knowledge and skills. Through discussion and presentation, students begin to engage the discourses — texts, buildings, projects, and media — that are fundamental to an understanding of architecture’s rich disciplinary traditions. As a counterpart to the ongoing discourse in the design studio, these seminars provide opportunities for xtended treatment of esoteric, timely, ethical, and traditional topics, with the aim to identify and initiate the preoccupations, debates, and research interests that students will continue to pursue throughout their studies.


This two-course sequence introduces architectural communication techniques through the lens of architectural media — both as forms of material, and as channels of communication. For the beginning design student, these courses introduce conventional and experimental techniques of communication that cross digital and analog processes, leading to an understanding of the use of these techniques as critical techniques for framing and constituting rchitecture itself. From these introductions, the courses move into advanced methods of design communication, including hybrid physical/digital modeling and responsive systems, animation, and augmented and virtual reality.

Building Technologies and Structures

Construction practices are constantly evolving, and new design techniques continue to evolve to keep pace. Through this sequence of courses, both required and elective, students are rigorously introduced to the fundamentals of building construction, codes, and maintenance. At the same time, students are exposed to new design tools and techniques that are becoming standard tools for practice: daylighting and energy analysis tools, methods and applications for optimizing complex structural designs, and other building information modeling simulation techniques.

Visiting Critic Studios

A hallmark of Syracuse Architecture’s professional curricula, these studios taught by distinguished visiting practitioners expose students to a wide variety of subjects and approaches that represent the vanguard of contemporary practice.

NYC Intensive / Global Study

In the second summer of the M.Arch degree, students can study at the school’s Fisher Center, in the heart of New York City, in an intensive program that focuses on architecture and the contemporary city. The program embraces a collaborative approach to architecture, real estate development, and urban design, and introduces students to the wide network of practices in the city across these areas. A field study course that uses the City as its classroom, and sponsored access to New York City libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions complements students’ experiential learning.

Directed Research

Students’ capstone experience in the M.Arch. degree embraces the complex multi-disciplinary nature of architectural projects in the 21st century by providing a framework for students to explore individual research + design interests around a series of topics supported by faculty expertise from across the university. Led by School of Architecture faculty, small groups of students working in these shared topic areas are given the opportunity to advance their work in the kinds of multi-disciplinary contexts and conversations that drive innovative practice today. Through the Directed Research experience, we prepare students to seek, initiate, and lead these conversations upon graduation.

Student Performance Criteria

Every accredited architecture degree program must demonstrate that each graduate possesses the knowledge and skills defined by the criteria established by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). These criteria help accredited degree programs prepare students for the profession while encouraging education practices suited to the individual degree program. Learn more about these criteria here.