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 school’s Master of Architecture is a NAAB accredited professional degree program in the area of architectural design. It is intended for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree with a major other than one of the design professions, (typically requiring three years of residency); or, with advanced standing, for those individuals with a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architectural studies (typically requiring two years of residency).
This degree fully prepares graduates for the present and future professional activities in the ever-evolving field of architecture. As an accredited professional degree, it provides a solid intellectual base of knowledge in history, technology, professional practice and theory. Particular emphasis is put on each of the six-semester design studio sequences, where students learn to synthesize the social, environmental and tectonic thinking through informed design practice. The studios culminate in an option-based studio and directed design research sequence, pursuing exploration of advanced and emerging topics. Exploring the many elective opportunities within the school, students are encouraged to develop a tailored curriculum, and if possible, to complete one of the several graduate certificates offered by the school or within the university.
NAAB Catalog Statement
In the United States, most 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 professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an 8-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 require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission . However, the preprofessional 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:
Bachelor of Architecture (160 undergraduate credits)
Master of Architecture (pre-professional degree + 64 graduate credits)
Master of Architecture (non pre-professional degree + 102 graduate credits)
Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2022
Download the reports: 2014 Visiting Report, 2014 NAAB APR, NAAB Annual Reports, NAAB Conditions for Accreditation 2014 & NAAB Procedures for Accreditation 2015.
STEM-Designated Degree Program
The Master of Architecture degree is a STEM program in Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology (CIP code 04.0902). International students who graduate from USC’s Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture degree may be eligible for a 24-month extension of post-completion OPT (for a total eligibility of up to 36 months). The 24-month STEM OPT extension is adjudicated (approved) by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure Initiative - (IPAL*)
The USC School of Architecture was selected as one of the initial 14 accredited architecture schools in the United States to participate in the NCARB Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure Initiative (IPAL). IPAL monitors and provides support for obtaining architectural registration in designated professionally accredited programs with an integrated approach to Architectural Experience Programs (formerly IDP) and Architectural Registration Exam requirements required for licensure**.
USC is one of three schools in California that has been accepted into IPAL and recognized by the California Architectural Board to allow students to take the Architectural Registration Exams while enrolled in school rather than having to wait until after graduation.
USC provides both support for the required Architectural Experience Program requirements through the USC Architectural Guild network of firms and the NotLy Architectural Registration Exam support program to help students prepare and successfully address the exam requirements for licensure.
USC’s selection and participation in the IPAL program does not change any of the requirements to our existing architectural degree programs. However, it will provide guidance and additional assistance to all architecture students in becoming eligible for licensure by encouraging them to take advantage of the increased access to the state and national licensure examinations concurrent with enrollment in our accredited professional degree programs. As well, it will provide support and encourage architectural experience in the professional community and provide the opportunity to significantly reduce the amount of time necessary to become a licensed architect while increasing the awareness and interaction between professional and academic experience.
* Visit NCARB for more information about the IPAL initative.