A Master of Architecture, or M. Arch, is a degree that is conferred onto a graduate student who has successfully completed all of the requirements that an accredited institution of higher learning requires of a students studying the field of architecture. In addition to attending lectures, students working toward this degree are usually required to complete projects independently and in teams. They may also be required to complete research projects. A Master of Architecture program may accept students who have studied architecture as undergraduates as well as students who completed their undergraduate work in other fields that may not be related to architecture. As such, students who completed undergraduate studies in engineering or design may apply for a Master of Architecture as well as students who completed undergraduate studies in English or history.
In most cases, a Master of Architecture program takes two or three years to complete. This is especially true of programs that stand alone, meaning that they are not connected to an undergraduate program. There are some undergraduate architecture programs that allow students to matriculate directly into a graduate program in architecture within the same academic institution the semester after the students successfully complete their undergraduate studies. Some of these programs only require an extra year of study for students to complete a Master of Architecture program. There are some condensed Master of Architecture programs that allow students to complete all of the required coursework in 12 months of intensive study.
Students working to complete a Master of Architecture will be required to study a number of topics related to architecture. They are likely to study examples of architecture that range from antiquity through to the modern period. They will likely also study buildings that are presently in the process of construction or have recently been completed, especially if these buildings represent the application of new architectural ideas, methods, design aesthetics, or technology.
There are many graduate degrees that require a course load that can be managed by people who are holding down part-time or even full-time jobs. In most cases, a Master of Architecture is not this way. Graduate students of architecture often spend long hours studying and working in studios to complete assignments and projects. Many students in these programs focus all of their efforts on their studies and do not maintain any kind of job during the semester.