Approximately 225 students register in the department each year, about 175 of them at the graduate level. The department offers over 120 courses annually (graduate and undergraduate) taught by a faculty of 55. The Department of Architecture offers degrees at the Master's level and a doctorate degree (PhD in Architecture) in multiple areas of concentration.
In addition, students have the opportunity of studying in two degree programs simultaneously, plus a joint program with the Department of Urban Planning by awarding two degrees or a Certificate in Urban Design.
Master's degree programs
The following is an overview of the four master's degree programs inside the Department. Each degree is described in further detail under the corresponding discipline section:
The Department of Architecture offers the Master of Architecture (MArch) degree, which is a professional degree program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) that prepares students for professional registration as architects in the United States.
The Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) degree is meant both for students who already have a professional degree in architecture and those interested in advanced non-professional graduate study. About 60 percent of the students in the SMArchS program come from outside the US, which encourages the exchange of ideas across cultures. The degree may be pursued in one of six areas:
- Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture
- Architecture and Urbanism
- Architectural Design
- Building Technology
- Design and Computation
- History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art
The Master of Science in Building Technology (SMBT) provides a focus for graduate students interested in the development and application of advanced technology for buildings. The program is run jointly by the Departments of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.
The Master of Science in Art Culture and Technology degree program focuses on the development of critical and visionary positions of artistic practice in the context of an advanced technological and scientific community.
Doctoral degree programs (PhD)
The Department of Architecture offers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture (PhD), which may be pursued in any of three disciplines:
Degree requirements vary. The minimum residence required by the Institute for the doctorate is two full academic years. Completion of all of the requirements for the doctorate—including the dissertation—is usually accomplished in five years.
Each student admitted into the doctoral program will work closely with one faculty advisor in his or her area to develop a plan of study. Progress toward the PhD follows required coursework, minor and major declaration, qualifying paper, general examination, and dissertation research, writing, and defense. Students are encouraged to take relevant courses in other departments at MIT and at Harvard University.
Dual and Simultaneous Degrees
Students interested in the dual degree program should apply to the department most fitting their qualifications, and once admitted and enrolled, apply to the other program as a dual degree student. Students already registered in Architecture may participate in a dual degree program if they meet admissions criteria in the second department. At least two regular terms prior to completion of the Architecture degree program, the student must submit to both departments a statement of educational objectives and a detailed program plan, including a description of a thesis topic.
The total program must meet with the approval of both departments and a petition describing the program must be signed by appropriate officers in both departments, approved by the Dean for Graduate Education, and filed with the Registrar. The petition must be submitted immediately upon acceptance to the second degree program.
Some period of residence (registration) is required by both degree-granting departments. Students should attend carefully to this requirement and see that they are registered appropriately. Students expecting to receive two advanced degrees must submit all thesis materials to the department in which they register during their final semester at MIT and are bound by the thesis specifications and deadlines of that department.
Simultaneous Degrees In Architecture And DUSP (Department of Urban Studies and Planning)
Students admitted to the Department of Architecture can propose a program of joint work in Architecture and Urban Studies and Planning that will lead to the simultaneous awarding of two degrees. Degree combinations may be MArch/MCP or SMArchS/MCP. All candidates for simultaneous degrees must meet the requirements of both degrees, but may submit a joint thesis.
A student must apply by January 3 before the beginning of the last full year of graduate study in Architecture. Applications, submitted to Sandra Elliot in Room 10-485, should include a detailed schedule of course work for both degrees.
Upon approval for the dual degree, approved copies of the petition, with the required programs, are submitted to both department degree administrators: Cynthia Stewart in Architecture and Sandra Wellford in DUSP.
Neither the Department of Architecture nor the Department of Urban Studies and Planning support petitions for the simultaneous award of two masters degrees with less than six regular semesters (fall and spring terms only) of residence and registration.
The Department of Architecture and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning offer a joint graduate program in urban design, and recognize the completion of this program by awarding a Certificate in Urban Design. The purpose of the urban design program is to provide the fundamental knowledge and special skills required to design urban and suburban environments. These abilities are rooted in architecture and planning. They combine this creativity and critical eye for quality of the environment usually associated with architecture, with the mastery of the process of decision-making among multiple clients that planners generally possess. Students who complete the program should have the skills to begin work as professionals in designing, regulating or managing the development of extensive environments.
Students in the Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS), Master in City Planning (MCP), or Master of Science in Urban Studies and Planning (MS) degree programs are eligible for a Certificate in Urban Design if they complete curriculum subjects drawn from the two departments. Students must, of course, complete the other requirements for their degrees, and may count subjects in the urban design curriculum toward the requirements for their degrees. For example, the Urban Design Studio may be counted toward the studio requirement for the MArch degree or towards the requirements for the MCP degree.
To earn the Certificate in Urban Design students must first be admitted and enrolled in the MArch, SMArchS, MCP, or MS degree programs and complete at least one subject in each of six curriculum areas. At least one subject must be at an advanced level. The Urban Design Seminar, covering key issues and trends in city design, is a required subject for all certificate students, providing a common experience and base of knowledge.
Students pursuing the Certificate in Urban Design will be expected to complete a thesis on a topic substantially related to urban design, and at least one member of their thesis committee must be a member of the City Design and Development faculty. Students’ theses proposals must also be approved by the Certificate committee.
Students wishing to pursue a Certificate in Urban Design need to declare this at least two semesters before graduation, and must complete a program statement that indicates which of the Certificate subjects they intend to take. They are assigned a faculty advisor in the area, and through discussions with the advisor, make subject choices, modifying the program as necessary in the course of studies.