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Southern California Institute of Architecture

Los Angeles, CA


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Master of Architecture Programs at Southern California Institute of Architecture

The Master of Architecture (MArch) programs at Southern California Institute of Architecture "advance the next generation of the architectural discipline." They emphasize formal exploration, innovation in architectural practice, contemporary experimentation, speculation, and creative freedom. They also give students the opportunity to work closely with expert faculty mentors and top consultants in the field.

Southern California Institute of Architecture receives national recognition for excellence in architectural education. The MArch programs have accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Furthermore, DesignIntelligence ranked the institute in more categories on its list of America's Top Architectural Schools 2017 than any other school in the nation. Its rankings are listed below.

  • No. 3 for Computer Applications
    - No. 3 for Top Regional Graduate Program in the West
    - No. 4 for Design Skills
    - No. 4 for Graduate Programs Most Admired by Deans and Chairs

MArch 1 program

The MArch 1 program includes three years (seven terms) of rigorous coursework designed for individuals with bachelor's degrees in any field. Its curriculum consists of a core sequence, advanced studios, seminars, and a thesis.

The four semesters of core courses provide a framework for the field as well as a strong foundation for experimentation and critical inquiry. Each semester includes a design studio that links with courses in applied, cultural, and visual studies. This provides students with an in-depth understanding of the relationship between architecture, representation, social change, and technology. With each semester, students strengthen their ability to address multifaceted architectural issues while testing their design and intellectual principles.

After completing the core sequence, students choose from an assortment of advanced studios and seminars. They explore the latest technological innovations, develop new approaches to design analysis, and use applied research to create new ideas and methods. Their studies culminate with an extensively researched architectural thesis that's presented at a public exhibition.

MArch 2 program

The two-year, five-term MArch 2 program was created for individuals with four-year degrees in architecture (or the equivalent). It enables students to review and build upon knowledge acquired during their undergraduate studies. It introduces them to advanced critical viewpoints about contemporary architectural issues. It also allows them to examine the complex and changing relationships between architecture and cultural, economic, political, and social change.

The program consists of a three-term core sequence, vertical studios, elective seminars, and a thesis. It provides extensive knowledge of design methodologies and their contemporary and historical contexts. It also emphasizes the most current developments in design fabrication. It concludes with a thoroughly researched thesis that's presented at a public exhibition.

Guest lecturers and speakers

Southern California Institute of Architecture provides lectures and symposia that enhance classroom and hands-on learning. Guest lecturers include prominent architects, artists, curators, historians, professors, writers, and other experts. Recent and upcoming symposia include "Drawing Conclusions Symposium," "Architecture in the Age of Digital Media," and "SCI-Arc Tokyo Symposium."

Acclaimed faculty

MArch faculty members, like Maxi Spina and David Ross, are scholars and practitioners from around the world. They're actively involved with modern architectural production and discourse.

Argentine-born Architect Maxi Spina is the principal of the international design firm, Maxi Spina Architecture, which is based in Los Angeles. His firm's work has been extensively exhibited and published. Furthermore, it has received honors from "Architect Magazine," the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), Chicago Athenaeum, and the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-LA).

Architect David Ross is the principal of DRA, a Los Angeles-based architecture studio. For the past 15 years, he has worked with several top architects like Diller + Scofidio and Steven Holl Architects.

Employment opportunities

MArch students graduate prepared to create structures and spaces that improve quality of life and change how humans interact with one other and their environments. Upon graduation, they enter a promising job market. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of architects is expected to grow 7% from 2014 to 2024. This is as fast as the average for all occupations.

Alumni achievements

Many of the institute's alumni have built successful careers and received awards for their work. The accomplishments of four alumni are listed below.

- Viola Ago (MArch '13) received the 2016-17 Muschenheim Fellow at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

- Maya Alam (MArch '12) was the first recipient of the Syracuse School of Architecture's Boghosian Fellowship. She has been an assistant professor at the school since 2014.

- Brendan MacFarlane (BArch '84) is the co-founder of Jakob + MacFarlane. The firm is widely-recognized for creating exceptional designs.

- Jennifer Siegal (MArch '94) won arcVision's 4th annual prize, Women and Architecture. Italcementi organized this international honor for women in architecture.

Southern California Institute of Architecture

Founded in 1972, Southern California Institute of Architecture is one the few independent architecture schools in the nation. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate programs in architecture, architectural technologies, fiction and entertainment, and urban design.

The institute is located in the historic Santa Fe Freight Depot in the Arts District of Los Angeles (LA), California in the western region of the United States. Its vibrant campus includes design studios and galleries as well as a fabrication lab, fabrication shop, store, library, and printer center.

Located in downtown LA, the Arts District offers a variety of galleries, shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife venues. Attractions include A+D Museum, Alchemy Works, Blacktop Coffee, Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, and Hennessey + Ingalls.

Departments & Programs

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Male (61%)
Female (38%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 20
Part-time - 16
Male (25)
Female (11)

Location & Contact

Address 960 East Third Street
Los Angeles, CA  90013
United States
Contact Angel Montes
Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Phone: 213-356-5320
Fax: 213-613-2260

Update my info
Your submission to Southern California Institute of Architecture has been sent.
Update my info
Your submission to Southern California Institute of Architecture has been sent.
Southern California Institute of Architecture
Update my info
Your submission to Southern California Institute of Architecture has been sent.