The Master of Architecture, a professional degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) draws upon the tradition of inspired experimental architectural design in Los Angeles, typified by two of its most distinguished graduates, Pritzker Prize Laureates Frank Gehry, FAIA (B.Arch. 1954) and Thom Mayne, FAIA (B.Arch. 1968). The first section of the program is dedicated to a thorough introduction to the essential knowledge and skills as required by NAAB to obtain an accredited degree. The final section builds upon this background in a more experimental and explorative fashion, drawing on the resources and inspiration of Los Angeles itself while remaining firmly rooted in an investigative mode of critical professional practice.
64 units: +2 Track
Intended for individuals who have completed a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture, the four-semester program consists of three semesters of intensive core studios followed by a fourth semester of topical investigation. Studios are complemented by a carefully composed set of required courses. Our rigorous Basic Studies requirements [which may be completed in pre-professional degrees or later at USC, as necessary] ensure that graduates will excel in the topics essential to the profession today. Advanced Studies requirements develop the necessary skills and knowledge essential to become leaders in changing the profession.
The first semester design studio focuses on multiple communicative tools and advanced design skills that allow students to develop and document architectural concepts. Paramount in this semester is the focus on tectonic and construction systems with a particular emphasis on structural integration as a design instigator.
The second semester design studio similarly engages tectonics but with a more performative and sustainable systems based approach. Emphasizing technology and responsibility from a more performative and sustainable systems based approach, the comprehensive design project is undertaken to engage site, place, climate, energy and full systems as instigating factors. The urban context of Los Angeles is examined through student led programming of mixed use designs set in a supercharged context that engages the broader networks of information, transportation and social infrastructures.
The third semester design studio is a platform for research and design topics that expand contemporary discussions in architecture. Envisioned as a comprehensive studio but one focused on advanced systems, it engages computational modeling systems, environmental factors, energy, form, perception and material to produce an architectural agenda through performative feedback loops. Coupled with these information based models, CAD-CAM and rapid prototyping through three-dimensional physical prototyping and advanced representational techniques become focused methodologies in the design process.
The fourth and final semester of studio is a more topical, narrow and deeper engagement. A diverse selection of option studios are offered and shared with students in the Master of Advanced Architecture Program. Content is driven by opportunity, faculty interest and expertise, and varies widely, but clusters broadly under three distinct goals:  architectural urban studies using Los Angeles as a laboratory to engage global issues;  advanced computation/fabrication and digital technology; and  performative architecture with an emphasis on sustainable systems. These offerings represent specific design and research directions initiated by our faculty and fully supported by additional resources from the University of Southern California and the city of Los Angeles.
96 units: Full Track
Intended for individuals who have not completed a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture that will require a full-time* three-year curriculum for a first professional degree in architecture. This track (currently under University and School review scheduled for Spring 2014 approval) is designed as a six-semester program consisting of three semesters of basic studies and three semesters of advanced studies. M.Arch students in the 96-unit track will join our M.Arch +2 students in the track consisting of 64 units in the third semester, for the advanced studies sequence.
Applications for this track will be accepted in Fall 2013 for admission consideration for Fall 2014.
More details and curricular information will be available January 2014.
* Full-time studies in the Master of Architecture program may consist of 15 to 18 units per semester.
M.Arch Expansion Announcement
NAAB Catalog Statement
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.
The University of Southern California School of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
B. Arch (160 undergraduate credits)
Next Accreditation visit for B.Arch: 2014
M. Arch (minimum 168 credits combined from undergraduate and graduate units)
Next accreditation visit for M.Arch: 2014
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