The Master of Architecture curriculum is designed for students with baccalaureate degrees in any field to acquire a first professional degree, but also supports advanced standing for students with baccalaureate degrees in architecture and related fields.

Studios in design and media, lecture courses and seminars in research theory history, structures and technology constitute the “core” of the program. Students have an opportunity to participate in our lively Visiting Critic studios, taught by distinguished faculty from across the globe who are in residence for these special opportunities.

A central component of our core is an intensive off-campus summer experience in our New York City Fisher Center or in our Three Cities Asia program. Both are designed to provide students an experience designing in and for the 21st century city, and introduce students to innovative practices in their host cities. 

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 an individually developed directed research/thesis project giving students the opportunity to bring together their research and design experience into a concentrated effort that culminates their degree experience.

Finally, a rich array of professional, history, and technology electives allows students to study specific topics in seminars and lecture courses. For a current summary of our elective offerings, click here.

Our MArch is a STEM Designated Degree by the US Student and Exchange Visitor Program.

Curricular areas

Discursive Studio

All core design courses in the graduate program operate as what we call “discursive studios.” Each of these studios is team-taught by faculty members with complementary expertise and approaches who conduct the studio as a site of debate, exchange, and possibility. Students and faculty are not assigned individual sections, but operate across the entire studio through its duration.

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 the academic researcher and the licensed practitioner alike, highlighting the forms of integrated design and research that are leading the profession into the future.

History and Theory

Equal parts analysis, speculation, research, and critique, these lectures and 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 extended 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 architecture 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.

THESIS/Directed Research

Students’ capstone experience in the MArch 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.