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Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
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M.S. in Architecture (+Dual M.S. +IUG)

Advanced research into architectural topics. Build concentrated knowledge through rigorous inquiry.

The two-year M.S. in Architecture program is research-based, supporting a number of areas of research inquiry specially designed for students interested in strengthening the intellectual underpinnings of their work through intensive studio investigations, design applications, and rigorous theoretical inquiry.

Program Application Deadline
The deadline for applications for AY 2024–25 is Jan. 15, 2024.

You can find more information about application requirements here.

To be assured full consideration, please apply by this deadline. Review individual program descriptions for details on program and admission requirements.

Earn a Master of Science in Architecture at Penn State

Penn State’s post-professional Master of Science in Architecture is an academic degree intended for students with professional degrees in architecture, and in exceptional cases, for students with nonprofessional architecture degrees who seek to develop a better understanding of architecture. It is expected that such students will have previously studied the technical and professional aspects of architectural practice.

M.S. in Architecture degree applicants should hold a five-year professional degree in architecture. Any exceptions must have the approval of the department head. International applicants with a five-year degree in architecture are considered equivalent to a graduate from a five-year NAAB-accredited program for admission purposes. In exceptional cases, the M.S. in Architecture program may serve students with a four-year architecture degree or other degrees who seek to develop a better understanding of the principles and theory that underlie the profession of architecture. It is understood that such students are interested in the academic path and eventually intend to pursue the doctorate degree. These students would be required to take remedial undergraduate or graduate courses and may have to significantly extend the duration of their study.

All applicants must have received a baccalaureate degree with a minimum undergraduate grade-point average  (GPA) of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; a full description of the standards for baccalaureate degrees and the exceptions to the baccalaureate degree requirements for equivalent international degrees may be found at the Graduate School’s Academic Eligibility Requirements.

Admission Requirements

All applicants must hold either (1) a professionally accredited baccalaureate degree in architecture or related field from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a professionally accredited bachelor’s degree in architecture or related field from a regionally accredited U.S. institution; this degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates. Alternatively, the applicant can hold (3) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution plus a professionally accredited master’s degree in architecture or related field or (4) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution plus a professionally accredited master’s degree in architecture or related field. These degrees must be from officially recognized degree-granting institutions in the country in which they operate.

A minimum grade-point average [GPA] of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.

All applicants for admission to the M.S. in Architecture degree program must submit the following:

  • a completed Graduate School application, and payment of the non-refundable application fee
  • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • names of three faculty members or professionals acquainted with the applicant’s academic history who can be contacted and invited to provide reference letters
  • a statement of intent, which should be primarily a description of the applicant’s professional goals, subjects of study, and the area(s) of anticipated architectural inquiry
  • a portfolio of creative and design work executed at the undergraduate level, under professional guidance or independently, provided that such work can be evidenced as executed by the applicant, is an important part of the graduate application. A minimum portfolio representation of one project for each year of academic undergraduate study, or its equivalent, is required
  • other evidence of academic excellence, such as awards, design and scholarly achievements, and other recognitions that the applicant wishes to have considered by the admissions committee

Degree Requirements


Graduate courses carry numbers from 500 to 699 and 800 to 899. Advanced undergraduate courses numbered between 400 and 499 may be used to meet some graduate degree requirements when taken by graduate students. Courses below the 400 level may not. A graduate student may register for or audit these courses in order to make up deficiencies or to fill in gaps in previous education but not to meet requirements for an advanced degree.

Architecture (ARCH) Course List

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the Tuition & Funding section of The Graduate School’s website. Students on graduate assistantships must adhere to the course load limits set by The Graduate School.

All applicants who are accepted are considered for departmental financial aid.

Questions? Contact Program Administrator

Complex, shell-shaped black and white floorplan; Arch492 student design

Research Clusters

The M.S. program offers concentrated inquiry, research, study, and pedagogy in the following major areas of focus:

Culture, Society, Space

Technical line drawing of building, showing numerous internal architectural spaces.

The Culture, Society, Space (CSS) research cluster examines how built spaces – from the artifact to the urban – affect those who interact with them and, conversely, how cultural, societal and disciplinary values shape the spaces we create. Projects can address individual buildings, public spaces, communities, or cities, as well as typological, institutional and wider forms of inquiry. Research methods include formal, theoretical, historic/historiographical, sociological and systemic analyses. Studies may focus on spaces and ideas as forms of cultural expression, the people who produce and use them, and/or the ideological forces in which they operate, including all aspects of their sustainability.

Learn more about the faculty, students, and scholarship in the CSS cluster.

Design Computing

Close-up of geometric spherical shape fabricated from laser-cut fibreboard.

The Design Computing (DC) research cluster offers students critical knowledge and advanced skills in the use of digital technologies in architecture and related design fields, especially in the areas of visualization, generative systems, and fabrication. By critically examining contemporary discourse on digital media and architecture, this cluster examines the impact of emerging digital technologies on creative processes in shaping our built environment, and investigates how they can be productively utilized in sustainable design, interdisciplinary collaboration, and fabrication. The work of faculty and students in this group spans research on immersive environments, critical studies of design technologies, software development, shape grammars, parametric design, and innovative uses of numerically controlled devices.

Learn more about the faculty, students, and scholarship in the DC cluster.

Material Matters

Close-up of concrete arch positioned on its side, supported by a metal frame.

The Material Matters (MM) research cluster provides students with opportunities to delve into the interaction of materials and processes. With research ranging from material properties exploration to applied process-based design, this cluster encompasses a wide range of creative interests that find common ground in the power of material – the generator and substance of design.

Research in the MM cluster is supported by a collection of faculty members whose work focuses on craft traditions, industrial production, tooling and skills transmission, bricolage and the material imagination, material memory, design-build, and the reuse and restoration of buildings. Student and faculty engagement with Penn State’s considerable materials/making resources in Architecture, Fine Arts, and Engineering is a hallmark of this cluster. MM – as a community of scholars, architects, and designers who fabricate, build, un-build, and innovate – stimulates new knowledge through shared experience in an environment of creative innovation, hands-on exploration, and critical making.

Learn more about the faculty, students, and scholarship in the MM cluster.


Cropped view with an energy-efficient house and wild grasses in the foreground, with a group of students and the Washington Monument in the background.

The Sustainability (SUS) research cluster investigates architecture’s potential to improve the quality of life for current and future societies around the globe, addressing issues of natural resource consumption, pollution prevention, and organizational dependencies. Our faculty address aesthetic, technical, economic, and social issues in projects that cover multiple scales. From design processes, historical and theoretical aspects of sustainability, material reclamation and reuse, to identifying social structures preventing sustainable practice, this research cluster offers a comprehensive view of sustainability that promotes interdisciplinary integration. Faculty bring both practitioner and academic experience to their investigations, producing generalizable knowledge that can also be applied in the professional practice of architecture.

Learn more about the faculty, students, and scholarship in the SUS cluster.

Degree Options

The M.S. in Architecture degree can be layered into an Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate course of study, or as a dual-title M.S. in Architecture and Transdisciplinary Research on Environment and Society degree.

Integrated B.Arch + M.S.

The Department of Architecture offers a number of academically outstanding students enrolled in the fourth year of the Bachelor of Architecture degree program the opportunity to enroll in an integrated B.Arch.-M.S. in Architecture program. The program permits the student to integrate the fifth year of study for the professional B.Arch. degree with the program of study for the M.S. in Architecture degree into a continuous program culminating in the award of both degrees. The ability to coordinate as well as concurrently pursue the two degrees enables the student to achieve greater depth and comprehensiveness than if the degrees are pursued sequentially, and to earn the two degrees in a shorter period of time.


Applicants to the integrated program must be enrolled in the fourth year of the B.Arch. program at Penn State. Admission is competitive, and applicants must meet the requirements as outlined in the Graduate Degree Bulletin. However, please note that GRE scores are not required from existing Penn State students.

The best-qualified students will be accepted up to the number of spaces available for new students. Acceptance to the program prior to the completion of all required course work is provisional, contingent upon meeting the above requirements.

Dual-Title M.S. + TREES

The Department of Architecture and the College of Health and Human Development offer a dual-title graduate degree program in Architecture and Transdisciplinary Research on Environment and Society (TREES), both at the M.S. and Ph.D. levels. The TREES program is a transdisciplinary, intercollege program at the intersection of natural resources and societal challenges, which exposes students to issues including, but not limited to global climate change; sustainable energy, food, and fiber supplies; threats to biodiversity; water pollution and availability; genetic modification; and sustainable design.

The purpose of this dual-title degree is to provide architecture graduate students with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct architecture research in relationship to socio-environmental challenges that revolve around managing ecosystems and natural resources in ways that continue to promote human well-being.

Once admitted in the M.S. in Architecture degree program, a student can apply for admission to TREES. The TREES program administrators will then review applications and recommend students for admission to the dual-title degree program to The Graduate School. Admission requirements can be found here.

While there are no restrictions on when an M.S. student can be admitted to TREES, it will be necessary to pursue TREES coursework immediately to complete all degree requirements within a reasonable timeframe.

To complete the dual-title degree, students must satisfy the minimum requirements of the M.S. in Architecture degree program and, in addition, the minimum requirements of the dual-title intercollege degree program.

More information

M.S. Students

Students currently enrolled in the M.S. in Architecture program.

Current Cohort

Ali Baghi

Ali Baghi

Research Focus: Digital fabrication with concrete, concrete reinforcement techniques, adjustable molds
Research Cluster: Design Computing
Academic Advisers: Shadi Nazarian, Felecia Davis
LinkedIn Profile |

Chowdhury Imam

Chowdhury Imam

Research Focus: Generative design, spatial computing, additive manufacturing
Research Cluster: Design Computing
Academic Adviser: José Pinto Duarte, Heather Ligler

Ajun Kizhakkemarakkattil Janardhanan

Arjun Kizhakkemarakkattil Janardhanan

Research Focus: Energy efficiency, datafication, algorithmic governmentality, computation, social sustainability
Research Cluster: Sustainability
Academic Adviser: Lisa Domenica Iulo, Rahman Azari

Parinaz Mansouimajoumerd

Parinaz Mansourimajoumerd

Research Focus: Energy efficiency, embedded carbon, computational design, optimization, life cycle assessment, net-zero energy
Research Cluster: Sustainability
Academic Adviser: Rahman Azari

Sina Memarian

Sina Memarian

Research Focus: Energy efficiency in building, daylighting, green building, building simulation
Research Cluster: Sustainability
Academic Advisers: Lisa Domenica Iulo, Rahman Azari
ResearchGate | LinkedIn | Google Scholar |

Sam Moradzadeh

Sam Moradzadeh

Research Focus: Spatial computing, computational textiles, generative modeling, extended reality
Research Cluster: Design Computing
Academic Adviser: Felecia Davis
ResearchGate | LinkedIn |

Mahan Motalbi

Research Focus: Earth blocks, materials decay, obsolescence
Research Cluster: Material Matters
Research Adviser: Marcus Shaffer

Kiarat Vidal Rodriquez

Kiarat Vidal Rodriguez

Research Focus: Waste, preservation, damage, residue management, efficiency, exhaustion of resources, ruins
Research Cluster: Material Matters
Research Adviser: James Kalsbeek

Alireza Zamani Samani

Research Focus:
Research Cluster: Material Matters
Academic Adviser: DK Osseo-Asare

Holly Zimmerman

Research Focus:
Research Cluster: Sustainability
Academic Adviser: Lisa Iulo

Alumni Spotlight

My Penn State education has influenced my career by developing me into a global citizen, through exposure to different people, resources, industries, cultures, and places.
Penn State alumna and 2019 president of the New York chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, Samantha Josaphat.

Alumni Spotlight

Samantha Josaphat

B.Arch. in Architecture 2012

Samantha Josaphat is an architect and the founder of STUDIO 397 Architecture. Part of the mere 0.3 percent of black female architects registered in the United States, she is the 397th living black female architect to be licensed. Samantha entered the Penn State Architecture program in 2007, and by 2012, she had traveled to ten countries, become a member of the Arts and Architecture Student Council, and founded the Penn State student chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS). While at Penn State she built herself a valuable network of resources that continues to shape her path to success. Samantha is the 2019 president of the New York chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects. Learn more about how Samantha’s firm is impacting the narrative of black female architects in this video.

Modern, dark facade of high-end retail showroom for COS, in Toronto, Ontario. Architectural design by Samantha Josephat.
Pedestrians engaging with ‘The Ambiguous Heart,’ Samantha Josephat’s heart-shaped pavilion, featured in the 2019 Times Square Valentine heart design competition.
Corporate office interior design by Samantha Josephat.

News from A&A

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Dan Willis, interim department head and professor of architecture in the College of Arts and Architecture’s Stuckeman School, is retiring June 30 after 35 years at Penn State.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A strong drive to always learn more has been one of the defining elements of Dan Willis’ career at Penn State. Willis, interim department head and

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Architecture IUG student named undergraduate thesis award winner

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