Jul 23, 2024  
2016-2017 University Catalog 
2016-2017 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Architecture, M.Arch.

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Offered by: College of Environmental Design, Architecture Department


The Department of Architecture offers programs of study that leads to the degree, Master of Architecture.

The Master of Architecture as a first professional degree (M. Arch) is accredited by the National Architecture Accrediting Board. In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, College of Environmental Design, Department of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

  • B. Arch (225 undergraduate quarter credits)
  • M. Arch (non-pre-professional degree +152 quarter units)

All undergraduate and graduate students entering the College of Environmental Design programs are required to purchase a computer that meets departmental specifications. All applicants are invited to check with their department office or go to the department’s website to obtain these specifications. Financial aid assistance for this computer purchase is available to students qualifying for Federal Student Aid (requested via the FAFSA application). Please contact the University’s Office of Financial Aid (909-869-3700) for additional information.

The M. Arch program accepts students from varied academic backgrounds, including non-design disciplines. Applicants are admitted conditionally, subject to completion of up to 100 prerequisite units, before beginning the final 52 units of the program.  For students with no previous study in architecture, two years of intensive prerequisite course work precedes the final three quarters of the Master of Architecture program. Students must complete courses in college algebra, trigonometry, and physics prior to beginning this program since these courses are prerequisites to the study of design studios, structures and environmental controls. Failure to take these courses in advance may lengthen the program by as much as three quarters.

Students holding a non-professional bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree, with a major in architecture, may be able to complete the required prerequisite coursework in one year, before beginning the 52 units, of the Master’s program.

Students in the M. Arch program may follow the standard curriculum that includes 16 upper-division electives or select one of two emphases: Historic Preservation or Sustainability. In addition to offering specialized courses, faculty members conduct research in which graduate students may participate. The programs are enhanced by university-owned facilities including the Neutra VDL Research House, the Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies, the ENV Archives-Special Collections, and the Visual Resources Library.

Prior to graduation, all students are required to register for NCARB IDP and fulfill 500 hours of internship through NCARB. For more information, please see the department website. 


Sarah Lorenzen, Chair
Kip Dickson, Graduate Coordinator

Admission to the Program

For admission to the Master of Architecture program, an applicant must have received a baccalaureate degree and have attained an overall undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0. An applicant who does not meet these criteria may be admitted on a conditional basis if evidence of compensating qualifications can be furnished. Students may enter the Master of Architecture program in the fall quarter only.

In addition to the standard university application forms and official transcripts sent directly from your undergraduate institutions of all college work which must be submitted to the university Admissions Office, the Department of Architecture requires the following:

  1. Portfolio (BOUND 8 1/2” X 11”) illustrating creative ability in graphic form;
  2. Statement of purpose or intentions in applying to the program; and
  3. Three standard letters of recommendation mailed directly from those in a position to assess the applicant’s potential for either the profession of architecture or a master’s level academic program.  (The recommendation should be written in letter format on letterhead, there is no form to complete.)

Personal interviews are not part of the process. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is recommended but is not required. Additional materials, beyond those required, may be submitted.

Applicants should contact the Department of Architecture for the critical dates in the admission process. January 15 is the usual deadline for online application materials and all supporting documents are due January 30 each year. Applicants will be notified of the decision of the departmental admissions committee by April 15 or as soon thereafter as possible.

Upon admission to the Department of Architecture, the student will meet with the coordinator of the graduate program to prepare a reasonable sequence of course work. The curriculum thus specified may be altered only by written request submitted in accordance with university regulations.

Requirements and Conditions

  1. In the Master of Architecture, First Professional Degree program (M. Arch), as many as 152 quarter units may be required.
  2. All course work must be completed in residency, unless consent is granted by the Graduate Studies Committee for each off-campus course. Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations requires a minimum of 32 units of coursework in residence.
  3. No more than 13 units of acceptable graduate credit may be transferred from another graduate institution. No more than 13 units taken through Extended University may be used on a master’s contract. No more than 13 units of acceptable undergraduate credit may be petitioned by a graduate student. A total limit of 13 transfer, or Extended University, or units petitioned for graduate credit may be included on a master’s contract. The stipulated time limit of 7 years applies to all of the above.
  4. An overall average of “B” (3.0) or better must be maintained in order to receive a graduate degree. The minimum grade in architecture courses which will be accepted for credit toward the degree is “C.” Any course in which a lower grade is received must be retaken, but the initial grade will not be removed from the student’s record nor from the calculations for the grade point average.
  5. A student must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 18 quarter units of work per quarter. In order to take more than 18 units per quarter, the student must obtain prior approval of the Graduate Coordinator and file a petition in the Records Office.
  6. Advancement to Candidacy must be achieved. The Graduation Writing Test (GWT) must be passed prior to advancement.
  7. A final project/thesis is required of candidates in the (M. Arch) professional degree program.
  8. Credit will not be awarded for the same course in both the baccalaureate and master’s programs in architecture.
  9. All class work becomes the property of the department.
  10. The candidate must be enrolled in the university during the quarter of graduation.

Program for the Master of Architecture: 152 units

First Professional Degree

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