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Master of Science in Architectural Studies

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Architectural Studies (MSAS) program is a post-professional graduate degree, designed for students seeking education in a specialty area of architectural research. The program can be completed by students in approximately two years of study and prepares students for research or professional practice in a specialty area of architecture. This degree is not accredited to gain licensure for practice as an architect. Any student wishing to enter the program must apply for acceptance in the fall semester prior to their first year of study.

 The process of conceiving, designing, constructing, and operating buildings is changing. Given our most pressing challenges facing the architectural industry, such as environmental, social and economic issues, success for architecture of the future will likely come from the students of today who:

  • Understand architectural research methods
  • Know how to apply research in the architectural profession
  • Understand innovation in the context of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry
  • Apply collaborative methods in their work.

The MSAS program is a 36-credit hour (3 to 4 semesters) program of study. The program is characterized by choice and flexibility. The student assembles a program tailored to their individual interests. The program includes an introductory seminar on research methods, electives, research project, which culminate in the final Master’s thesis.

At a minimum, it is expected that students will take at least three semesters to complete the coursework for this degree. The degree is expected to be completed in no more than five years after starting courses. Early coursework will attend to the students’ preparation to complete the work necessary for the thesis, which will conclude the study program.

It is also expected that the majority of the students’ coursework will be comprised of courses offered through the College of Architecture + Planning. Transfer credits from previously completed graduate degrees (such as an M.Arch) will not be accepted and it is expected that a minimum of 36 credit hours will be taken from the University of Utah. There is an option for the M.Arch + MSAS dual degree program, which affords sharing 12 credits of elective coursework.

Incoming students will consult with the Director of Graduate Studies. The thesis research work will comprise of an independent research project in which the student demonstrates proficiency in academic requirement areas. The student proceeds under the direction of a three-member faculty committee, consisting of a primary advisor, and at least two committee members. The committee chair must be a tenure-line or career-line faculty member of College of Architecture + Planning. The committee can also include an industry advisor and one additional advisor from within the university. Students will work with their respective committees and act upon the committee’s commentary to revise the project scope and subsequently content through a series of reviews. The final project results will be defended before the committee and other interested faculty, students, invited practitioners and experts.