Architecture (M.Arch)

The Master of Architecture degree is awarded for completion of 106 credits or the equivalent as designated by the program. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner. The program could be completed in 2–3 years, depending on an evaluation of the student's educational background. The standard course of study is three years. Students must have earned a four-year undergraduate bachelor's degree to enter this program.

First Year / Fall

PGAR 5001 Design Studio 1 6
PGAR 5013 Representation and Spatial Reasoning 1 4
PGAR 5113/5115 Issues and Practices of Modern Architecture 1: Lecture and Recitation or
PGAR 5040/5041 Modern and Postmodern Architecture: Lecture and Recitation
PSCE 5300 Environmental Technology 1: Lecture 3
PSCE 5301 Environmental Technology 1: Recitation 0

First Year / Spring

PGAR 5002 Design Studio 2 (Housing) 9
PGAR 5015 Representation and Spatial Reasoning 2: Lecture 3
PGAR 5116 Representation and Spatial Reasoning 2: Recitation 0
PGAR 5023 Construction Technology 1: Lecture 3
PGAR 5024 Construction Technology 1: Recitation 0
PGAR 5123 Theory of Architectural Form 3

Second Year / Fall

PGAR 5201 Design Studio 3 (Natural Systems) 9
PGAR 5213 Structural Technology 1: Lecture 3
PGAR 5215 Structural Technology 1: Recitation 0
PSCE 5310 Environmental Technology 2: Lecture 3
PSCE 5311 Environmental Technology 2: Recitation 0
Design Workshop Seminar or Elective

Second Year / Spring

PGAR 5202 Design Studio 4 (Design Workshop or Comprehensive) 9
PGAR 5214 Structural Technology 2: Lecture 3
PGAR 5216 Structural Technology 2: Recitation 0
PGAR 5224 Construction Technology 2 3

Third Year / Fall

PGAR 5401 Design Studio 5 (Urban Architecture) 9
PGAR 5403 Thesis Preparation Seminar 0
PGAR 5513 Theory of Urban Form 3

Third Year / Spring

PGAR 5402 Design Studio 6 (Thesis Studio) 9
PGAR 5523 Professional Practice: Lecture 3
PGAR 5524 Professional Practice: Recitation 0
Total Credits 106

curriculum description

Parsons offers a professional degree in architecture accredited by the New York State Board of Regents and the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

The Master of Architecture curriculum integrates design, theory, technology, and practice. The Design Studio, the core of the curriculum, uses New York City and its environs as a context for exploring the natural and social ecologies that make up the contemporary city. The studio sequence challenges students to respond to the formal and cultural demands imposed by uses, site, context, structure, construction, and program. Interdisciplinary electives in history, theory, and technology highlight architecture's pivotal role in shaping culture.

First Year

Design Studio I introduces fundamental architectural issues—form, program, site, materials, and structure—through projects that emphasize the inventive and conceptual dimensions of architectural design and research.

Design Studio II addresses the role of architecture in constructing social relations by asking students to reconsider domestic space. In Representation and Spatial Reasoning, students explore techniques of architectural representation and develop the ability to think, draw, and analyze architecture critically, using both analog and digital technologies.

Students complement their studio work with Issues and Practices of Architecture, Modern and Postmodern Architecture, or Imagining New York. These and other elective courses are cross-listed with the MFA in Lighting Design, facilitating exchange between disciplines. Students take Construction Technology I in the fall and the environmental theory course Nature in Environment in the spring.

Second Year

In Design Studio III, students execute designs for buildings in relation to their physical settings. Calling into question the traditional opposition between nature and culture, this studio invites students to explore the complex relationship between design, technology, and sustainability. In the second year, students also take a yearlong course on structural statics, materials, and detailing.

In the fall of second year, students take Theory of Architectural Form, which introduces contemporary theories of architecture with emphasis on post-1968 developments in architectural thought and criticism.

Students have two options for Design Studio IV, which they take in the spring: they can take the Comprehensive Studio, co-taught by an architect and a series of consultants; or the Design Workshop, which offers a rare opportunity to collaborate on a real project from schematic design through construction. Taken in conjunction with Construction Technology II, the Design Workshop focuses on how materials and construction shape our cultural and tactile understanding of space.

Third Year

Prominent practicing architects lead Design Studio V, a thematic urban and architectural design studio related to his or her professional interests. Students also participate in a thesis preparation seminar called Theory of Urban Form, which focuses on contemporary and historical urban design and shares topics with the Thesis Prep seminar.

In Design Studio VI, taken in the final semester, students execute an independent thesis in a supervised studio devoted to investigating a specific program and a New York City site. Each student designs a complex multifunctional urban building and a comprehensive site plan. Students also take Professional Practice, which prepares them for entry into the professional world.


Architecture students take a total of five electives from the Architecture, Interior Design, and Lighting Design curriculum to enrich their field of study. They may choose to take electives with the School of Constructed Environments or from other Parsons or university graduate curricula.


In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The NAAB, the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes two types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture and the Master of Architecture. A program may be granted a five-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation. Master's degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree, which, when earned sequentially, make up an accredited professional education. The pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

Connect with the New School