Master of Architecture

The Master of Architecture is an accredited professional degree program that educates students already grounded in the liberal arts to become registered, licensed architects who assume responsible and imaginative roles in society. At the University of Washington, the 3+ and 2+year Master of Architecture (M Arch) degree is the only degree accredited by the The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). 

The M Arch in High Performance (1 year Post Professional) is a non-accredited advanced degree for students already holding an NAAB accredited 5 year degree. Candidates seeking to pursue careers in the professional practice of architecture who do not already hold a professionally accredited degree in architecture should apply to the 2+ or 3+ Year Master of Architecture Program.

Design studio projects in the M Arch program are often set within urban areas or natural settings in the Puget Sound region and aim to foster and respond to its distinctive sense of place. In addition, many studios focus on issues surrounding the making of architecture—tectonics, design/build, wood and metal craft—this reflects a strong craft heritage in the region. Studios also frequently include a significant community service component, reflecting the Department's commitment to the people of the city and the region.

The requirements of the Master of Architecture program—in terms of length of residency, number of credits, and specific courses —vary depending upon the candidate's undergraduate major, academic and professional background.

M Arch 3+Year Program

Candidates holding a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than architecture pursue a 3+year M Arch. This program includes three years of instruction plus thesis. The first, preparatory year stresses the fundamentals of design, architectural graphics, architectural history, construction, structures and environmental control systems. 3+year students join the 2+year program for their second and third years and thesis.

M Arch 2+Year Program

Candidates with a pre-professional B.S. or B.A. in architecture or environmental design pursue a 2+year M Arch. This program includes two years of instruction plus thesis. The curriculum emphasizes integrated architectural design and its relationship to urban issues and tectonics, as well as the technical knowledge necessary for the professional practice of architecture. Courses in architectural history and theory, building science, graphics, materials and assemblies, design/build, and international studies provide further professional training and opportunities to develop areas of specialization.

M Arch - MLA Dual Degree

 The concurrent M Arch - MLA Dual Degree program builds on the other concurrent degree programs in the college, emphasizing the significant role interdisciplinary education and practice plays in the mission and vision of the College of Built Environments.This degree program is to provide a formal mechanism that allows incoming students as well as current students in the Master of Architecture (M Arch) and Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) programs to study both disciplines in a rigorous, efficient and structured manner. 


Candidates holding an accredited 5-year B. Arch. or accredited M. Arch. pursue the M Arch in High Performance Building a 1 year post-professional M. Arch. This program offers the opportunity to pursue a concentrated course of study in high-performance building design at the University of Washington Department of Architecture. The program is structured around a self-directed research project and a blend of electives and required courses that draw primarily from offerings in building science and design computing.

This program is not accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB). Candidates holding a four-year architectural degree (particularly those awarded outside the U.S.) who intend to seek a license to practice architecture in the U.S., should apply for the 2+year M.Arch. degree. Candidates holding an accredited architectural degree, or a degree in an allied design discipline, who wish to pursue advanced study in design computing (both research and applications) or the history and theory of architecture, should apply to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Architecture degree program, not the 1+year post-professional M.Arch.



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 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. 

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre- professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree. 

The University of Washington offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
2+year Master of Architecture (pre-professional degree + 91 credits)
3+year Master of Architecture (non pre-professional degree + 145 credits)

Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2014

For more information on accreditation of architecture programs in the United States, download a copy of the NAAB Conditions for Accreditation (2009 edition) or go to the NAAB website.