School of Architecture Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

School of Architecture Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY
student ratio
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
January 1
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
4 Departments and Programs
departments and programs


Programs of Study

The School of Architecture at Rensselaer offers exceptional professional, post-professional, and research degrees at an advanced level. These include:

- Master of Architecture I

- Master of Architecture II

- Master of Science and PhD in Architectural Sciences, with research concentrations in Architectural Acoustics, Built Ecologies, or Lighting

The 3 1/2-year Master of Architecture degree is a design-oriented course of study leading students to licensure as professional architects. Accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the MArch professional program is open to qualified applicants from all backgrounds and disciplines. Recent classes have included students with bachelor's degrees in mathematics, art history, English, engineering, architecture, and philosophy. Students with previous architecture study may be considered for advanced standing. Professional program students participate in a semester-long program at the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE) in New York City. Classes begin in May with a 12-week studio sequence. Competitive merit-based scholarships are available to qualified applicants.

Rensselaer offers 2 one-year Master of Architecture II post-professional programs. The MArch II degree offered at Rensselaer's Troy campus engages both the concepts and practice of emergent design. The objective of the curriculum is to provide outstanding young professionals who hold Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture degrees the opportunity to enter into an intensive, postgraduate course of study that encourages both critical awareness and technological proficiency in the context of design experimentation.

A second MArch II program, taught at CASE in New York City, offers a course of study in Performance Design that is designed to enhance the skills, knowledge, and abilities of high performing professional practitioners. The program will develop knowledge and expertise in the performance design process including state of the art and next generation buildings systems, structures, and environments. The aim is to provide a foundation in the physics of buildings, performance analysis and evaluation, and to develop strategies that will influence the way the performance building design process is conceived and executed, thus having an immediate impact on the professional and the larger built ecology.

Competitive, merit-based scholarships are available to qualified MArch II applicants.

The Master's and Doctoral degree programs in Architectural Sciences are research-oriented programs with concentrations in Architectural Acoustics, Built Ecologies, and Lighting. These advanced programs in architecture are founded on the understanding that the increasing demands for effective building performance, both perceptually and technically, can best be addressed through research.

The Master of Science in Architectural Sciences programs offer non-terminal research degrees culminating in theses or final projects. The one-year Master of Science in Architectural Sciences 30 credit-hour programs are tailored for students who are interested in pursuing PhD degrees but who have not yet acquired the skills or knowledge to move directly into the program. They also serve those who are looking for qualifications in architectural research, university teaching, or specialized practices.

The School of Architecture offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Architectural Sciences to candidates who are prepared to undertake innovative and substantive research that adds to the body of knowledge drawn on by the design disciplines. The "sciences" in this context refer to those disciplines that support and shape mankind's understanding and production of the built environment, including its physical, biological, social, cognitive, and cultural contexts.

The PhD is an inherently interdisciplinary degree in which concentrations can be elected in Architectural Acoustics, Built Ecologies, and Lighting. A distinguished faculty within the school and across the institute provides support for research projects that are informed by both disciplinary depth and transdisciplinary integration. The degree is intended for those who desire careers in teaching, research, specialized professional practices, or consulting. The program is intended to build knowledge, skills, insight, and experiences that will enable these individuals to make original and lasting contributions to their chosen fields, beginning with their dissertations and continuing into their professional lives. The degree is structured to foster a community of students and scholars, a collaborative environment in which lateral flows of ideas and influences enrich the research agenda of each member of the community.

Research Facilities

Research is supported by state-of-the-art facilities, including the Rensselaer Libraries, whose electronic information system provides access to collections, databases, and the Internet from campus and remote terminals; the Rensselaer Computing System, which permeates the campus; one of the country's largest, academically based, class 100 clean room facilities; high-performance campus-wide computing facilities that allow for serial or parallel computation; and 5 core laboratories for molecular biology, proteomics, bioimaging, and tissue engineering.

Rensselaer's research facilities include the Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations, one of the world's most powerful university-based supercomputing centers; the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies; the George M. Low Center for Industrial Innovation; research centers for integrated electronics, terahertz science, nanotechnology, fuel-cell and hydrogen research, science and technology policy, and infrastructure and transportation studies; the Geotechnical Centrifuge Research Center; the Darrin Fresh Water Institute; the Scientific Computation Research Center; and the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center dedicated to research and performance at the interface of the arts, sciences, engineering, and technology.

In addition, academic departments and faculty laboratories have extensive discipline-specific research capabilities and equipment.

The Lighting Research Center contains 14,000 square feet of laboratory space for photometry, image processing, energy-efficiency measurement, and human factors research. It is the premier university-based research center for lighting and lighting technology in the United States.

The Jaffe Acoustics Laboratory contains a hemi-anechoic chamber and a large range of testing and recording equipment that is appropriate to both field and laboratory work in architectural acoustics.

The NYSTAR Virtual Classroom laboratory consists of 2 linked multimedia-equipped, high-quality variable acoustics spaces; a real-time multichannel auralization system; and large-format video projection. The facility is appropriate to research in psychoacoustics and multimedia tele-collaboration.

The Center for Architecture, Science, and Ecology, co-located with Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill in New York City, initiates design-lead research into advanced next-generation building systems that push the boundaries of environmental performance in urban building systems.

The Architecture Library supplements the school's instructional and research activities. It houses materials related to the discipline of architecture, including art and architecture electronic databases such as the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, ARTbibliographies Modern, Bibliography of the History of Art, and the DAAI:Design and Applied Arts Index, among others.

The fabrication facilities within the School of Architecture provide for a full range of material experimentation, from materials testing to the development of prototypes, models, mock-ups, and full-scale assemblies. Techniques, from traditional joinery, bending, and laminating to computer-controlled laser cutting, large-format three-axis milling, and rapid-prototyping are available. Additional machining and fabrication facilities can be found on the campus.

The Digital Futures Lab affords the school a powerful computational resource dedicated to extending the capacity of students, designers, and researchers in their pursuit of next-generation integrated design techniques and solutions at and between the urban, landscape, architectural, and product scales. High-end, networked hardware delivers the power to drive complex heavy multi-dimensional modeling with quick refresh rates (approaching real-time feedback) and to associate those models and designs with performance based analysis and simulation applications.

Location & Contact

School of Architecture

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

110 8th Street
Troy, NY 12180-3590
United States

Mr. Chris Perry

Graduate Program Director

Phone: 518-276-4785

Office of Graduate Admissions

Phone: 518-276-2716

Request More Info

Departments & Programs

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Architecture I (M Arch I)
      Master of Architecture II (M Arch II)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees 45
    • Doctoral Degrees 4
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


47% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 139
    • Accepted 66
    • Acceptance Rate 47
    • Enrolled 27
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $75
    • Application Fee - International $75
    • Electronic applications accepted? Yes
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 1st January 1st Yes
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline August 15th August 15th Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesNot Reported
    • Doctoral's DegreesNot Reported
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesNot Reported

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsJanuary 1
    • Types of financial support availableScholarship and/or loans

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students64
    • Female Percentage36%
    • Male Percentage64%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students64
    • Part-time Percentage16%
    • Full-time Percentage84%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino4%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian74%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian10%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races6%
    • Unknown6%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty57
    • Full-time Percentage89%
    • Part-time Percentage11%
    • Female Percentage25%
    • Male Percentage75%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchArchitectural acoustics, built ecologies, lighting
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last year$1,033,679