Berkeley’s overall excellence as a research institution is well known, and the Master of Architecture program contributes to this stellar international reputation. Current areas of focus include an emerging position in the application of digital-design media, ongoing studios and seminars that embrace an international perspective, and a continued commitment to our emphasis on design and ecology. These three frameworks, together with our tradition of outstanding scholarship in architectural history and theory, offer new directions for architectural education that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. Our faculty are leaders in the fields of design, theory, and building technologies, and are joined each year by endowed professors who teach design studios related to their professional interests.
The Master of Architecture program provides students seeking their first accredited professional degree with a comprehensive and challenging education leading to the practice of architecture. Graduate students have the flexibility to choose a variety of paths within a two-to-three-year rigorous program, depending upon previous education and experience. The department makes no restriction as to the field of undergraduate preparation. However, the length of the required residence period, the number of required semester course units, and the specific list of required courses may vary depending upon undergraduate major, professional and other work experience, and previous graduate study, if any.
Additional prerequisites for admission to the professional Master of Architecture program are college-level or equivalent mathematics through analytical geometry and beginning calculus and beginning physics through mechanics.
The basic course leading to the Master of Architecture degree takes three academic years and requires the completion of at least 72 units during that period of residence. Persons who hold a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree with a major in architecture may receive up to one year of advanced standing. The Master of Architecture Committee of the department will determine the specific amount of advanced standing individually for each student at the time she or he first registers for graduate study in the department. Special one-year Master of Architecture programs are available to persons holding the five-year, professional undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Architecture, from an accredited school, or comparable five-year degrees from foreign universities and technical institutes.
A design thesis culminates the program for all Master of Architecture students. With the approval of the chair of graduate advisers, a research thesis option is available.
In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.
Master’s degree programs may consist of a preprofessional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree. The Master of Architecture is the only accredited professional degree offered by UC Berkeley's Department of Architecture. At present, the degree is accepted for partial credit toward licensure by the California Architects Board.