Jun 23, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2018-2019 
Graduate Catalog | 2018-2019 Previous Edition

Architecture, M.Arch.

The professional Master of Architecture degree (M.Arch.) is comprised of M.Arch. I and M.Arch. II tracks listed below.  Students who complete professional track of the four-year Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree program (including 4th year studios) at UNC Charlotte may be considered for Advanced Standing in the M.Arch. program.  Full-time academic status is expected in all programs.

M.Arch. I

The three-year-plus M.Arch. I curriculum, which begins with one summer session, accommodates students whose previous degree is outside the field of architecture.

The M.Arch. I Curriculum involves three primary components: 1) the first year (including the summer session prior to the first fall of enrollment) focuses on establishing a strong foundation in fundamental design skills, architectural history and theory, building-to-site relationships, and introductory building technologies; 2) the second year focuses on comprehensive architectural design and its relationship to building systems as well as advanced studies in history, theory, and building technology; and 3) the third year is focused on specialization through electives and topical studios, as well as on the student’s individual final project/research thesis.

M.Arch. II

The two-year M.Arch. II curriculum serves students who have already completed a four-year degree program in architecture at a National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accredited institution. The courses and options within M.Arch. I and M.Arch. II are similar, but the advanced standing of M.Arch. II students allows them to complete the degree requirements in two years. 

The M.Arch. II curriculum is tailored through the advising process to the previous educational background of the students and to their individual professional and research goals.  The program involves two primary components: 1) the first year focuses on advanced building design and topical design studios, as well as advanced studies in history, theory, computaton, and building technology; and 2) the second year focuses on building design integration, specialization through electives, and a capstone final diploma project.

M.Arch. II students may wish to combine their professional architecture studies with graduate work in Urban Design for a M.Arch./M.U.D Dual Degree  completed in three calendar years, including one summer involving a required study abroad experience.  The M.U.D program is housed off-campus in the University’s Center City Building.  Most of the urban coursework is taught in this Uptown location, utilizing the City of Charlotte itself as a laboratory for urban design exploration and research.

Admission Requirements

The following requirements are expected of applicants to the M.Arch. I and M.Arch. II curricula:

  • A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0.  
  • GRE is optional, except in cases where a candidate’s undergraduate GPA is below a 3.25.
  • All UNC Charlotte Graduate School application requirements, including a statement of purpose, a current curriculum vitae (CV), transcripts from all other colleges and universities attended, GRE scores (where applicable), and three letters of recommendation.
  • A digital portfolio of creative work. Applicants to the M.Arch. I curriculum should submit examples of work that offer evidence of creativity, self-motivation, analysis, and critical thinking.  Such examples are not expected to be architectural in nature.  Visual work such as painting, sculpture, furniture making, photography, etc., are acceptable, as are fiction writing, poetry, and any other reasonable evidence of sustained creative endeavor.  Applicants to the M.Arch. II curriculum should offer significant evidence of a mastery of architectural skill and knowledge as well as other creative work.  Applicants for the dual M.Arch./M.U.D degree must meet the requirement for M.Arch. II curriculum plus clear evidence of an interest in urban studies.
  • Applicants to the M.Arch. I curriculum are expected to complete introductory, college-level physics and pre-calculus courses. 
  • Applicants to the M.Arch. II curriculum are expected to have a minimum of: six architectural design studios (equivalent to six semesters), one year of architectural history/theory, and two years of architectural technology.

Early Entry Program

Exceptional undergraduate students at UNC Charlotte may apply for the Early Entry Program and begin work toward the graduate degree before completion of the baccalaureate degree.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Early Entry Programs.

Accelerated Master’s Program

Academically talented high school seniors and UNC Charlotte undergraduate freshmen are encouraged to apply for the Accelerated Master’s Program to begin work toward both undergraduate and graduate degrees in their Freshman year.  See the Undergraduate Catalog for details and requirements.  Also see the Degree Requirements and Academic Policies  section of the Graduate Catalog for more information about Accelerated Master’s Programs.

Master of Architecture I Curriculum

The MArch I curriculum requires a minimum of 96 hours to be completed during three academic years and one summer session.

Year One

Year Two

Year Three

Degree Total = 96 Credit Hours

Master of Architecture II Curriculum

The MArch II curriculum requires a minimum of 60 credit hours to be completed during two academic years.  If applicants accepted to the MArch II curriculum are evaluated and found deficient in entry-level competencies, curriculum substitutions and/or additional courses will be required.  Below is a list of expected entry-level competencies for MArch II Candidates:

  1. A minimum of six semesters of architectural design studios;
  2. A minimum of three semesters of architectural history and/or theory courses;
  3. A minimum of four semesters of building technology courses equivalent to the following UNC Charlotte’s School of Architecture courses:

To ensure that incoming students are evaluated appropriately, the School of Architecture may require candidates for the MArch II curriculum to furnish the Architecture Graduate Admissions Committee and Graduate Program Coordinator relevant course descriptions and syllabi of all architecture courses passed and completed which may satisfy entry-level competencies. The following curriculum is modeled for students accepted to the program who have satisfied all entry-level competencies.

Year One


* UNC Charlotte undergraduates who have previously taken ARCH 4203 should substitute ARCH 4205 for ARCH 5203 .

** UNC Charlotte undergraduates who have previously taken ARCH 4604 should substitute ARCH 6050  for ARCH 5604 .

Year Two


The combined dual degree of Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design (MArch/M.U.D) requires a minimum of 74 credit hours to be completed in three calendar years of full-time study, including a summer studio in a foreign country.  Details of this dual degree are listed under the dual Master of Architecture and Master of Urban Design section .  This three-year dual degree is only available to students in the Master of Architecture II curriculum.  Applicants for this dual degree must meet all the admission requirements and entry-level competencies for the MArch II curriculum.

Degree Total = 60 Credit Hours

Master of Architecture - Advanced Standing Curriculum

Highly qualified applicants from UNC Charlotte’s Bachelor of Arts in Architecture program may be considered for Advanced Standing in the Master of Architecture program. The M.Arch. - Advanced Standing is a 40 credit hour graduate degree path leading to the accredited professional degree in Architecture. The program builds upon a set of intensive summer experiences that bridge the undergraduate and graduate programs at UNC Charlotte.

Degree Total = 40 Credit Hours

Architectural Elective Courses

Architectural Elective Courses are available in a wide variety of topical subjects, and are listed under the general course number ARCH 6050 .  These courses complement the core courses and studios and allow students to pursue their specific interests.  Some subjects include: Computation, Theory, Representation, Making, Urbanism, and Technology.  Current elective offerings can be viewed in Banner Self Service or the School of Architecture website.  Recent offerings have included:

Computation and Theory

  • Building Information Modeling
  • Digital Fabrication I & II
  • Digital Methods I & II
  • Digital Theory


  • Introduction to Urban Design
  • Community Planning Workshop
  • Dilemmas of Modern City Planning
  • Planning, Law, and Urban Design
  • Post-CIAM Discourse on Urbanism
  • Public Space in Cities
  • Real Estate Development Students: Introduction to Real Estate Development
  • Shaping the American City
  • Strategies for the Public Realm
  • The Changing Urban Landscape: The Development of Uptown Charlotte, 1875-Present
  • Urban Form, Context and Economics

Architectural Technology

  • Architectural Luminous Environment
  • Bio-Climatology and Cross Cultural Assessments of Traditional Built Form
  • Building Shapes and Skins for Daylighting
  • Parametric Methods: Notes on Sustainable Design Decision Making
  • Site Sustainability and Planning
  • Sustainability and Climate Responsive Architecture
  • Sustainable Design: Ecology, Technology, and Building
  • Trend or Truth: Sustainability in Architecture

General Architecture Electives

  • Architecture/Culture/Discourse
  • Furniture Making
  • Methods and Meaning
  • Objects and Analysis
  • Watercolor and Representation

Architectural History Topics Courses

Architectural History Topics Courses offer a focused study of issues in specific areas of history.  These courses complement the architectural history survey courses (ARCH 5201 , ARCH 5202 , ARCH 5203 ), and serve to inform and develop in-depth research, writing, and presentation skills.  Entering MArch II students who have previously satisfied ARCH 5203  will be required to take an Architectural History Topic to satisfy their degree requirement.  Recent offerings have included:

  • An Architecture of Questionable Effects
  • Architecture and National Identity
  • From Auschwitz to Zapruder: Mapping the Mid-Century
  • Histories of Latin American Architecture
  • History of the 19th and 20th Century City
  • Layered Berlin
  • Modern Perception: Linear Perspective and Motional Pictures
  • Offices in the Sky: The History of the Skyscraper from 1870 to the Present
  • Popular Modernism: Charlotte Architecture in the ‘50s and ‘60s
  • Post-CIAM Discourse on Urbanism
  • Renewing the Modernist Debate: The Theory and Works of Adolf Loos
  • Representation: Exploits of the Architectural Image
  • The Changing Urban Landscape: The Development of Uptown Charlotte, 1875-Present
  • The Public Space of Cinema: Transformation of the City 1850-1940
  • Urban Design in Global Perspective
  • Urban Design of Capital Cities

Requisite and Capstone Experiences

Integrated Design Project

The Design Studio: Integrated Project Design (ARCH 7102 ) serves as the requisite studio experience that bridges between foundational studios and advanced studios for all MArch students.  Taken in the fifth semester of enrollment for MArch I students and in the second semester of enrollment for MArch II students, the Design Studio: Integrated Project Design is defined as an architectural building design project that comprehensively demonstrates the student’s ability to conceptualize, prepare, organize, and design a building having a specific programmatic type.  All students must demonstrate competency before they engage in the final year of study. 


The capstone for both MArch I and MArch II students occurs in their final year in ARCH 7104  and ARCH 7202 .  This is typically defined as an architectural design thesis that demonstrates the students’ ability to independently identify and engage a specific set of issues, a building type, and a site.

A research thesis is defined as an architectural research project that engages and explicates primary source material leading to project work possessing an original argument.  A research thesis may include design-related materials as part of the final submission.  Primary source material from data and information gathered from original texts and documents, interviews, raw data resulting from experiments, demographic data, etc. shall be a part of the project.  Research thesis students must identify the issue(s) to be engaged and the research and/or design methods through which this engagement will take place. 

For students in the MArch/M.U.D dual degree program , the thesis and preceding Thesis Document course (ARCH 7202 ) must have a clear focus on the integration of architectural and urban design issues.

Students declare whether they intend to pursue a Final Project or a Research Thesis at the beginning of a student’s final year in the Thesis Document course (ARCH 7202 ).

Graduate Advising

A critical component of any successful graduate program is academic advising and guidance during the course of a student’s program of study. The primary advisor for all graduate students in the School of Architecture will be the Associate Director, in consultation with the appropriate Graduate Coordinator/Director. Students entering their final year will be asked to complete a Plan of Study and identify committee members from the faculty to serve as advisors for their thesis.

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit is normally limited to a maximum of six (6) hours of graduate credit. Under special circumstances, a greater number of hours may be transferred if a student can demonstrate that the courses to be transferred meet or exceed the content and rigor of graduate curricula offered by the School of Architecture.

Waiver Credit

Waiver credit may be allowed if a student can demonstrate that a course or courses taken at the post-undergraduate level that equals or exceeds in both content and rigor of a course or courses required in the graduate curriculum. Grades received for such courses must be B or above. In such cases, credit will be permitted by examination. If a required course in the curriculum is waived, the student will be allowed to fill those credit hours with another course as advised by the Associate Director, in consultation with the Graduate Coordinator/Director.

Application for Degree

In order to meet UNC Charlotte’s Graduate School requirements for degree candidacy, all graduate students must receive a written certification from their department confirming successful project completion. This report requires approvals from members of each student’s committee as well as an endorsement from the Chair of Instruction. The completion of this report results in the granting of the degree. In addition, each student should make application for his/her degree by completing the online Application for Degree through Banner Self Service no later than the filing date specified in the University Academic Calendar .

Assistantships, Tuition Differentials, and Scholarships

A number of teaching and research assistantships, scholarships, in-state and non-resident new master’s student tuition awards, and graduate tuition assistantship program support (GASP), are available to both high performing MArch I and MArch II candidates.  No separate assistantship application is required; awards are based on application materials to the program, and award decisions are made based on the applicant’s academic merit or promise of academic merit, and/or on demonstration of need.  Tuition awards are typically paired with teaching and/or research assistantship stipends.  School of Architecture scholarships are also awarded pending a review of student applications to various private endowments.  In addition, other awards are available under independent faculty or research center grants.