6: Graduate School of Architecture

General Information | Programs and Degrees Offered | Course Descriptions | Faculty

Ownership of Student Works | Applications | Master of Architecture
Master of Landscape Architecture | Special Programs | Master of Planning | Master of Architectural History
Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Architecture | Interdisciplinary Programs | Programs Abroad

Master of Architectural History

Admission   Applicants must hold an approved baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Admission to graduate study will normally require an average of B or better and a command of at least one foreign language. Candidates admitted to the program must, before beginning their work for the degree, have taken the equivalent of AR H 101-102 (Survey of Western Architecture) and two semesters of architectural design studio (ARCH 201-202). These prerequisites may be satisfied by taking AR H 111-112 and ARCH 203-204 during the School's summer session or the equivalent. (Students do not normally enter the program in the spring semester, although this is permitted in special circumstances following the approval of the chair.)

Curriculum   The program's purpose is to equip the student with a sound background in architectural history including its principles and interpretation. The degree requires a minimum of 36 credit hours at the graduate level.

The degree requirements may be considered as a minimum core program. Architectural History is the primary vehicle for students who wish to obtain the Certificate in Preservation. Others may wish to explore interests in fields related to the history of architecture. Thus, the student should expect to take more than the required minimum of courses during the normal four semesters of residency. Qualified students interested in Preservation can complete the requirements for the Certificate in Preservation and the Master of Architectural History within a two-year period.

Placement Examination   Many students from different disciplines apply for the program. For those students who lack adequate undergraduate preparation in the field, the curriculum has been structured to allow deficiencies to be remedied.

Upon entry into the program, candidates will take a placement examination composed of three parts, one in Ancient and Medieval Architecture, one in Renaissance and Baroque Architecture, and one in Architecture since 1700 including American. Students who fail in one or more of these fields will be required during the first year to take the appropriate course or courses ( AR H 501, 502, and 503). Only one such course may be used to satisfy the degree requirements; it would take the place of the free elective.

Language Qualification   Candidates are required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one foreign language, preferably French, Italian, or German. This requirement may be satisfied by earning the grade of B or better in an intermediate level university course in the language within two years of admission, or by a score of at least 550 on an ETS Graduate School Foreign Language Test, or by a departmental reading test.

Course Distribution   Three credits must be in AR H 700 (Methods in Architectural History) and three hours in thesis credit. In addition, each student must have at least nine hours at the 700 level or above, and at least one course from each of the following distribution areas: Ancient and Medieval Architecture; non-Western Architecture; Renaissance and Baroque Architecture; European Architecture since 1700; and American Architecture.

Major and Minor Areas   Each Student must complete a major of nine credits and a minor of six credits selected from among the distribution areas listed above. Students enrolled in the historic preservation certificate may select historic preservation as their six-credit minor.

Of the 36 credit hours required for the degree, 33 must be in AR H courses, although in extraordinary circumstances and by prior approval of the department chair, the student may substitute other courses, e.g., in art or history.

Comprehensive Examination   The examination is given during the spring semester, and requires mastery of the discipline of architectural history including its less familiar aspects. The preparation required for this examination should be kept in mind when selecting courses, conducting student-run seminars, pursuing outside reading, and attending additional courses informally.

Thesis   The thesis is a major piece of independent work undertaken under the supervision of an advisor from the department. It represents three credit hours which will normally be taken during the student's fourth semester. It is possible to explore the thesis topic more broadly by enrolling for an independent research course in conjunction with the thesis course.

Typical Program of Study
First Year
First Semester
AR H 700 Methods in Arch History 3
AR H Major Area 3
AR H Other Distribution Areas 3
Elective[1]   3
Total 12
Second Semester
AR H Elective 3
Other Distribution Areas 3
Elective[1] 3
Elective (AR H 50-if required) 3
Total 12
Second Year
First Semester
AR H Major Area 3
AR H Minor Area 3
AR H Minor Area 3
Elective[1] 3
Total 12
Second Semester
AR H Major Area 3
AR H Thesis 3
AR H Elective 3
Elective[1] 3
Total 12
Total Credits48

[1]Indicates a course beyond those required to satisfy the minimum requirements for the degree. These elective courses can be used to explore interests in related fields or, if necessary, to satisfy the requirement of a second or third preparatory course from among AR H 501, 502, or 503.

The Preservation Program requirements for students in the Department of Architectural History are given in the description of the Historic Preservation Program.

Architectural History students may, with approval, spend the spring semester of their first year in Venice or attend the summer program in Vicenza.


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