Under the vision of Dean Milton S. F. Curry and the directorship of Alvin Huang, the Master of Advanced Architectural Studies (M.AAS) has been redesigned as one of the most innovative and experimental programs anywhere in the world. By bringing together several of the most renowned and progressive faculty, the program aims to set a new standard for postgraduate education internationally.

This one-year, three-semester post-professional degree is intended for individuals who have completed a professional degree in architecture (B.Arch/M.Arch). Working across disciplines and at multiple scales, the program moves between real-world issues and innovative architecture proposals. Pedagogically, the program has a dual emphasis, integrating architecture and urban theory with cutting-edge design research and collaborative experimentation on issues of housing and urbanism, domestic life and technological adaptability. 

Building upon the legacy of the Case Study House Program, the theme of dwelling and urbanism is a central focus. The degree program examines the 21st century city and the diverse social and cultural landscape of Los Angeles, looking beyond the single-family home to study topics of broader significance, such as homelessness, that Los Angeles and other major cities are experiencing. Conceived of as an urban laboratory that tackles the challenges of our time, the program teaches students to develop innovative solutions through critical and creative speculation and demonstrates that social issues and architectural excellence do not have to be mutually exclusive.

RELATED LINKS: Application Instructions & Requirements, Application Deadlines, Learning Objectives

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“At USC architecture, we push students to imagine alternatives for a better, more just built-environment by leveraging emerging design technologies, engaging with communities and social responsibility, and challenging the status quo through thought-provoking and progressive design research.”



Following is the program curriculum for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. For previous years, please consult the online USC Catalogue archive.

The USC Catalogue is the document of authority for all students. The program requirements listed in the USC Catalogue supersede any information which may be contained in any bulletin of any school or department. The university reserves the right to change its policies, rules, regulations, requirements for graduation, course offerings and any other contents of this catalogue at any time.


    Completion of the degree requires 48 units, including 29 units of required studio and seminar courses, [including 8 units Directed Design Research or Thesis], and 19 units of approved electives, over three semesters of residency.

    The required courses are ARCH 606 Advanced Architectural Theory; ARCH 607 Advanced Computation; ARCH 608 Urban Theory: Los Angeles Case Study; ARCH 609 Advanced Fabrication; ARCH 702L Graduate Architecture Design – Themes; ARCH 705L Graduate Architecture Design – Topics; ARCH 793abL Architecture Directed Design Research Option I or ARCH 795abL Architecture Thesis Option II.


    Candidates for admission must have a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree or its equivalent.


    In addition to the opportunity to initiate an independent thesis, students are provided the option to undertake independent directed design research [DDR].