MArch: 3-Yr. Track Curriculum

Today's grand global challenges make clear how the design of place and space effects the health of our society - from the way we interact and connect, to human impact on the environment, to our physical and emotional well-being, to the cultivation of economic, cultural and social opportunties for all. 

Architecture is a comprehensive and highly interdisciplinary profession equipped to tackle large-scale challenges as diverse as climate change, an historic pandemic, and new waves of migration around the world. Indeed, our professions are being called upon to design the solutions - with new partners, new ideas, and new approaches. Together we can create places that enrich, sustain and connect people and communities. 

Diverse paths converge here

The only prerequisite for an MArch at UB is a passion for design and an ambition to build a better world. Students from any undergraduate background are welcome to apply to the 3.5-year MArch track.   

UB's 3.5-year MArch program is designed as a path of entry into the architecture profession for students without a qualifying undergraduate background in the field. A bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited four-year US college or university, or an equivalent credential from a qualifying international institution with, is all that is required. There are no architectural or studio coursework prerequisites. Students enter our program with degrees in the liberal arts, natural sciences, arts, urban planning and the social sciences. Others are early professionals seeking a career change. The 3.5 Master of Architecture program is NAAB-accredited and provides you with a professional degree.

The camaraderie and sense of community among our 3.5-year students supports a collaborative and highly interactive studio culture. All students begin the 3.5-year MArch in the fall semester to support this defining culture of our program.

Meet our students

The program: from design fundamentals to focused research

The program builds your foundation in the fundamentals of design and "thinking through making" while offering paths for focused research in the final two years of the program. Courses in architectural media, drawing and an introductory design studio round out the first year. Students may opt to explore our graduate research groups which foster curricular and scholarly inquiry into fields including inclusive design, ecological practices, material culture, situated technologies and urban design.

Featured work from the 3-year program

  • Fabrica13
    Throughout the studio, Michael Hoover drew inspiration from Ricardo Bofill and his design techniques. The art of collaging seemed to best represent how he created spaces by chance and unconscious thinking. Through adaptive re-use, Bofill was able to re-imagine as- ound spaces. In this way, form and function were disassociated.
  • Poetry Square
    Leticia Avila developed Poetry Square as a theoretical addition to the University at Buffalo’s library system on the South Campus. By both positioning it in front Abbott Hall and elevating the main floor, the project preserves the integrity of the campus’ main axis. The building would house a special poetry collection and act as a nest, shelter, library, and museum.
  • Good Neighbors Studio
    The fifth edition of the studio will emphasize critical thinking on basic architectural issues through the design proposal of a group of three houses for three very different families that will be sharing a single undivided lot in the east side of the city of Buffalo, New York – the City of Good Neighbors.
  • Good Neighbors
    The fifth edition of this studio, the introductory studio experience to the 3.-5-year Master of Architecture program, emphasizes critical thinking on basic architectural issues through design proposals for a group of three houses for three different families sharing a single undivided lot.
  • Adaptive Architecture Study
    This study is inspired by Lina Bo Bardi’s adaptive reuse project, SESC Pompeia Factory. The main factory building is comprised of a large open space ruled only by a rectilinear grid of columns. 

3 Year Master of Architecture (MArch) Curriculum- FALL 2024

Curriculum Effective Fall 2024

Semester 1: Fall     
ARC 501  Design Studio 1  6
ARC 511  Architectural Media 1  3
ARC 531 Architectural History 1  4
ARC 541 Environmental Systems 1 3
Total Semester Credits    16
Semester 2: Spring     
ARC 502 Design Studio 2  6
ARC 512  Architectural Media 2  3
ARC 534  Architectural History 2  4
ARC 552  Structures 1  3
Total Semester Credits    16
Semester 3: Fall     
ARC 503  Design Studio 3  6
ARC 553 Structures 2 3
ARC 611 Architectural Media 3  3
ARC 573  Environmental Systems 2 3
Total Semester Credits    15
Semester 4: Spring     
ARC 504  Design Studio 4  6
ARC 542  Construction Technology  4
ARC 575  Environmental Systems 3 3
ARC 582  Professional Practice  3
Total Semester Credits    16
Semester 5: Fall     
ARC 605/7  or ARC 567+ARC 616 Research Studio Or Directed Research + Research Methods  6
ARC 555  Structures 3  3
ARC 562 Architectural Theory 3
ARC 697 Portfolio  3
Total Semester Credits    15
Semester 6: Spring     
ARC 606/8 or ARC 699 Research Studio  6
ARC xxx  Elective 3
ARC xxx  Elective 3
Total Semester Credits    12
Total Required Credits    90

Students are allowed to take a maximum of two independent study courses (6 credits) for elective credit in the program. 

Directed Research must be taken the semester before Thesis. Students must have a mininum GPA of 3.5 or higher to register for Directored Research and Thesis. 

Students must complete a Thesis or Portfolio as their culminating experience for graduation. 

Advanced Standing:
Students in this program may be eligible to receive advanced standing based on prior work. Receiving advanced standing decreases the total number of credits required in the program and may let you move on to the next course in sequence. If you believe your academic background in architecture may allow for advanced standing, please follow the instructions here. You will need to complete an electronic advanced standing form for each specific course, confirm through your transcript that you have received a grade of B or higher in the equivalent course(s) taken during your undergraduate studies and upload the undergraduate course syllabi for each course. Any course request will be reviewed by the Associate Chair and faculty and students will be notified of the decision before the fall semester begins.


Explore our Graduate Research Groups

  • Ecological Practices
    The built and natural environment are a complex web of interconnected parts, constantly exchanging energy and resources. This group critically engages environmental systems and examine the role that architecture and urbanism play in harnessing and stewarding them.
  • Inclusive Design
    Develop environments, products and systems for a wider range of people, especially those in underserved populations. One of the most important design movements of our era, inclusive design is based on the values of non-discrimination, social justice, equal opportunity, and personal empowerment.
  • Material Culture
    Projecting forward from Buffalo’s legacy in material innovation, this group explores constructive sensibilities and investigate how our culture is deeply embedded in material artifacts. Pursue design, production, and potential materials through full-scale fabrication, assembly, and installation.
  • Situated Technologies
    There is no digital architecture anymore—just architecture. Consider architecture in the expanded field of technologies and mediated environments. Complex assemblages of code, people, space, material, infrastructure, practices, and processes—each are technologies unto themselves as is their gathering in architecture.
  • Urban Design
    Urban design works at the confluence of the scale of buildings and the scale of cities. Straddle the fields of architecture and planning to critically examine parameters of contemporary urban form, including political, economic, environmental, social, and cultural forces.


Develop versatile skills with our courses: focused, practical, and relevant

A student and on site construction manager talk together during an on site visit.

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