Grad Schools

How One School Encourages Architectural Innovation

With the increasing focus on technology and innovation to help solve social and environmental problems, like climate change, overpopulation, and the often unaffordable housing market, graduate degrees in architecture offer students a comprehensive and collaborative curriculum designed to prepare them for the future. Obtaining a master’s degree in architecture will help you pursue a career as a licensed and professional architect, consultant, university professor, architectural research specialist, and other specialized practices in both the private and public sectors.

Because of the many different licensure requirements in each state and jurisdiction, it is important to choose a program that has proper accreditation in order to fulfill the educational standards of your local and national licensure boards. Typically, graduating from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) will satisfy the requirements needed for initial and subsequent licensure. However, be sure to check with the college’s program advisors to ensure you will be receiving an education that will lead you down your desired career path.

There are currently only 95 NAAB accredited professional architectural programs that offer a Master of Architecture, and only a few that offer a Doctor of Architecture Sciences. Located in Troy, New York, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is one of the few colleges where you can engage in one of the most intensive and rewarding Master and Doctor of Architecture Sciences programs (MS, MArch, PhD) with specialties such as Lighting, Architectural Acoustics, and Built Ecologies.

Students with academic backgrounds in a wide range of fields such as physics, biology, optics, engineering, music, art history, and mathematics, are pursuing research-based programs in cutting-edge areas in architectural science such as Built Ecologies, Lighting, and Architectural Acoustics. For example, students with previous study in biology are taking advantage of an academic-industry partnership between Rensselaer and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), a leading architecture firm based in New York City, to develop innovative buildings systems, structures, and ecologies informed by the behavior of natural systems and emerging technologies (Built Ecologies).

In addition to its research offerings, the Institute’s School of Architecture offers two professional degree programs. The MArch I degree allows students from any discipline to study and be licensed as professional architects (eg. humanities, social sciences, business, sciences, etc.), and the MArch II degree allows currently licensed architects the opportunity to focus on critical awareness and technological proficiency in the context of design experimentation. Each program offers an array of different opportunities to further your career, allowing you to engage in interdisciplinary study in science, engineering, fabrication and materials, digital design, and critical theory. The goal of each program is to give students the conceptual and practical knowledge necessary for success in the architectural field.

As the number of research and employment opportunities grow, companies will continue to seek out students that have graduated from highly regarded and top-tier programs. Students who are willing to step out of their comfort zones and have an impact on the architectural ecology of their local and global communities will be among those in high demand.

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