Master of Architecture

Apply design to the world's greatest challenges

students and faculty participate in final reviews of a material culture graduate studio in Parker Hall.

Material culture research studio, final review, Parker Hall. Photo by Alexander J. Becker

Are you motivated to apply design to the climate crisis, global health inequities, or inadequate housing? Are you eager to turn your ideas into material forms that support just, resilient, and enriching environments for all? Perhaps most importantly, do you want to imagine - and build - a better world? Our challenges are great now, and your expertise as next-generation world-makers is being called upon. 

At UB we prepare future architects who are nimble collaborators, skilled makers and enterprising problem solvers. We mobilize design solutions hand in hand with the communities we serve – realizing our ideas full scale in the cities and regions around us. Top-ranked in its research, UB’s architecture program is noted worldwide for its research in inclusive design, ecological practices such as climate resilient design, and sustainable housing solutions.

Mobilizing our disciplines on the current moment

As we grapple with an historic pandemic and embrace the Black Lives Matter movement, we acknowledge the relationship of place to public health and racial justice. The current moment is an opening for historic change and new possibilities for architects to shape a better world for all. See how our faculty and students are leading the global conversation and situating design toward a more healthy and just future. 

Choose your path

With three different tracks, UB's nationally accredited Master of Architecture offers a path into the profession for students from any academic background. 

2-yr MArch Research Studio Track

The second part of our 4+2 track, this degree path is intended for students who have completed their undergraduate studies in architecture.

2-yr MArch Synthesis and Integrated Studio Track

This course of study ensures students from international baccalaureate programs in architecture will meet NAAB standards for an accredited professional degree.

3.5-yr Program

A passion for design is the only pre-req for UB's extended MArch track. Students from any undergraduate background are welcome to apply.

Join a tradition of experimentation and activism in architecture at UB, and transform the world around you through design.

- Korydon Smith, professor and chair, architecture

UB offers the only Master of Architecture in the State University of New York. Our NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture was recently re-accredited for the longest award possible, with distinction in research and comprehensive studio. 

NAAB logo.

Design for and with our communities

Designing a more inclusive coffee value chain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. © School of Architecture and Planning 2019, Photo by Korydon Smith.

Designing a more inclusive coffee value chain in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. © School of Architecture and Planning 2019, Photo by Korydon Smith

As a community-minded, socially-conscious community of architects and designers, we ground our work in the communities we serve, here and around the world. Such a place-based approach to teaching and research generates spaces and places that reflect the values and aspirations of a community and responds to the context of a site, culturally, historically, ecologically. Our commitment to creating just and inclusive spaces for all shapes the projects and inquires we pursue, the stakeholders we engage, the spatial interventions we propose, and the methods we employ.   

Our community engagements run wide and deep, stretching across decades and around the world, from Buffalo, to Toronto, to Uganda, Costa Rica, and Seoul, and cities across the U.S. From housing for refugees on Buffalo's East Side to workforce training in the construction-related arts, to spatial analyses of agriculture in the Global South, we seek to understand, celebrate and reimagine place through innovative, community-informed design.

The center of our community-based approach is Buffalo, a resurgent post-industrial city that has situated and inspired our work for more than 50 years. Its dynamic urban landscapes are characterized by a dualism of prosperity and inequity - world-class architecture, vibrant neighborhoods, and stark pockets of poverty and underdevelopment. Meanwhile, our expanding spheres of influence and impact have taken us to new locales around the world to complex inequities in health, development, climate justice and food access. The Black Lives Matter movement has also brought new visibility and urgency to our work in some of Buffalo's most distressed neighborhoods and to paradigm-shifting critiques of architecture and its relationship to systemic racism. 

Community projects in action

Incubate your ideas in a nationally ranked hub for research

students teaching students .

Students work with leading practitioners and industry leaders on terra cotta facade development. Photo by Charles Wingfelder

Drawing upon the School's founding as a center for experimental research and socially-conscious design, we approach architecture as a force of innovation and action upon the world's greatest challenges. This combination of speculative design inquiry rooted in communities and practice setting generates work that is both relevant and boundary-pushing.

The Department of Architecture ranks #1 in research dollars awarded to faculty among our peers in the Association of American Universities, a group that includes Cornell University, Harvard GSD, and the University of Michigan. UB's architecture program also ranks #6 for book publications per faculty member, and #7 for % of faculty with an award.**

The MArch program at UB is distinguished by its intensive focus on research linked to complex global problems. Students in our program have the option to focus their study through five curricular research groups that pool faculty expertise and host issue-driven studios. Our faculty are highly collaborative thinkers and practitioners with diverse connections to industy, community and eight transdisciplinary centers that tap the disciplinary depth of UB, the most comprehensive public research university in the Northeast. Through studios and independent research students engage directly with ongoing research in terra cotta facade development, fabrication with thin-guage metal, climate resilient design for Great Lakes cities, and design for health equity in the Global South.

Featured research

Turn inquiry into action, hands on and full scale

Fabrication Workshop.

The Fabrication Workshop supports inquiries in making for curricular and research projects. 

The study of architecture at UB is distinctly hands on and on-the-ground. An enterprising community of makers and doers, our faculty and students bring a spirit of activism to work that directly engages the physical, social and natural world around us. Design-builds and in-the-field research are common endeavors in the Department of Architecture, from landscape installations among the grain silos of Buffalo, to exploring vernacular architectural solutions in a rural Indian village, to working directly with architectural manufactuers on the factory floor.

Terra cotta elements in the foreground as students and industry partners work in the background, in the SMART Fabrication Factory.

Research under way in our SMART Fabrication Factory in Parker Hall.

Students can push their design research into models, prototypes and full-scale builds in the Fabrication Workshop, the hub our our thinking-through-making curriculum. A fully equipped high bay space, our shop is among the largest of any architectural school in the U.S. Equipped for fabrication of all types, the shop serves both as a space to execute coursework and a think-tank and makerspace for research on materials and fabrication. Also in Parker Hall, the SMART Fabrication Factory is a state-of-the-art collaborative research space for industry-engaged inquiries in digital craft and the heart of UB's resarch on Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies. Industry partners have included Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Rigidized Metals, CEMEX, SOM, CannonDesign and  and have generated internationally award-winning research on facade systems and fabrication methods.

Full-scale Projects in action

From the studio: gallery of student work
  • 7/18/17
    The slab (a beam stretched thin) is perhaps the most ubiquitous and yet under-appreciated of all structural elements. They are present in virtually all of our buildings as they form the floors upon which we walk and the ceilings and roofs just above our heads.
  • 6/1/18
    The research conducted in Logging investigates latent material possibilities within the medium of wood, by investigating material origins and the ethics of material consumption – two societal conditions that humans have increasingly become disconnected from.
  • 5/1/20
    Willow Way aims to create a space for observing time and growth of both the site and structure by using architecture as the infrastructure for habitat and landscape.
  • 12/1/18
    The North Tonawanda Botanical Gardens is an 11-acre site located on 1825 Sweeney Street in North Tonawanda, NY, bordering the Niagara River. The site is overseen by the North Tonawanda Botanical Gardens Organization (NTBGO), a nonprofit working towards restoring the garden to a scenic destination for community education and activity. Three members of the NTBGO, David Conti, Robbyn Drake and Laura Pecoraro, gave students the opportunity to design a proposal for the renovation and re-imagination of the North Tonawanda Botanical Gardens.
The life of our school is spirited, vibrant and diverse

Meet our students: award-winning, community-minded

Student leadership organizations

Creating space for debate

Our annual public lecture series characterizes the inquisitve, inclusive culture at the School of Architecture and Planning. The 2020-21 lecture series is dedicated to the theme of racial justice. 

Bell tower.

We accept and review applications year round. We're ready to answer your questions and eager to help you explore your interest in real estate development.

Get an education with an outstanding ROI

With a total cost of study (in-state tuition and fees) of approximately $25,000, UB offers an unmatched, affordable graduate education with an outstanding ROI. Make a smart investment in your future – pursue an MArch at UB. 

Men walk near the Richardson-Olmstead Complex, a historic site that was once an insane asylum and is being converted to hotel and convention space, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y. New York state's upstate-downstate divide is alive and well, as Tuesday's election results showed. Cuomo has tried to appeal to upstate with talk of yogurt plants, tourism and economic development initiatives in Buffalo, but the numbers show there's still significant differences when it comes to how the two areas view state government. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez).

Prepare for the future of practice

Students work on an ecological practices installation at Silo City.

A UB education prepares you in the fundamentals while cultivating experimental design sensibilities and critical problem-solving skills to redefine the future of our disciplines. Our graduates carry the qualities of next-generation leaders: grit, courage, enterprise, and collaboration. Adept problem-solvers who work nimbly across disciplines to tackle complex challenges, UB architecture graduates are leading some of the most emergent fields of practice in our profession.

The MArch program's in situ studios and applied research opportunities provide real-world experiences that built client relationships and see projects evolve from concept to construction. Many of our graduates have experience working in practice-based settings, from architecture firms to manufacturers to community organizations, through studio projects, thesis research, and internships. Students have taken their research in fields ranging from inclusive design to digital fabrication directly into practice for further industry development.     

Our network of Master of Architecture grads are leading innovative areas of practice as sole practitioners and leaders at global firms, fabrication engineers in manufacturing, founders of design think tanks, professors and scholars, artists, real estate developers, and advocates for refugee health and housing. Employers of our graduates include: CannonDesign, Gensler, SOM, Kohn Pederson Fox, SHoP Architects, Ralph Applebaum Architects, Boston Valley Terra Cotta and CEMEX.

Career resources at your fingertips

Our career development team is here to support you from portfolio development and internship searches to taking your first step into the profession. Meet with firms and employers, trek to New York City for an annual career road trip, or pair up with one of our alumni mentors. Explore Career Resources

Meet our alumni

Enterprising ‘makers’ and accustomed innovators, our graduates enter today’s research-driven profession ready to lead. Graduates of our program find diverse job opportunities in large architecture and planning firms, nonprofits and NGOs, manufacturing enterprises, design research agencies, government and nonprofit organizations.

Let us know how we can help

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**Ranking is based on 2018-19 annual research expenditures by all public schools of architecture and planning within the American Association of Universities. Among the 65 universities within the AAU, there are 34 public universities, 18 of which house accredited architecture and planning programs within one school. Among this peer set are the Harvard GSD, Columbia University, Cornell University, The Ohio State University, and University of Michigan.