Architecture, in raw form, is defined as a process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings or other structures. In the material form of buildings, architectural works are often perceived as cultural symbols and as works of art. Historical civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural achievements. The practice, which began in the prehistoric era, has been used as a way of expressing culture for civilizations, and keep up global traditions on all seven continents. For this reason, architecture is considered to be a form of art. In the modern era, Architects do more than just design buildings for mere structural health and to manage space. They also consider beauty, aesthetics, sustainability, ecology, environmental & health-based designs. Today’s Architecture degree programs are a great unification of many disciplines such as pure sciences vis-à-vis the environmental, ecological or energy sciences, engineering, anthropology, fine arts, construction science, material sciences, etc. Thus, a graduate degree in Architecture is open to students from many different backgrounds who believe they are extremely creative and have a passion to work in interdisciplinary environments.

Online Masters in Architecture

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Online Master of Architecture Programs

To qualify as a nationally renowned program, the program format needs to encourage student-centered learning. Best online programs in architectural studies can be rated based on several factors, such as the curriculum or content of the course, accreditation of the program or college, quality of teaching and experience of the faculty, practical exposure students gain, flexibility in distance education, and of course the cost of the program. Here are some of the best colleges that offer an online Master of Architecture:

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/online-masters-in-architecture/">Architecture</a>

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
#1
University of Florida, Gainesville
Tigert Hall, Gainesville, Florida 32611
$10,77088%
#2
University of Washington
1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98195
$16,27884%
#3
University of Missouri
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
$9,47871%
#4
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Office of Institutional Research, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
$18,30670%
#5
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
1400 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588
$6,13866%
#6
Lawrence Technological University
21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan 48075
$17,31860%
#7
Rochester Institute of Technology
1 Lomb Memorial Dr, Rochester, New York 14623
$50,13667%
#8
Southern Illinois University
Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, Illinois 62901
$11,26848%
#9
Academy of Art University
79 New Montgomery, San Francisco, California 94105
$27,28845%
#10
Boston Architectural College
320 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
$25,22013%

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Most Affordable Online Master of Architecture Programs

Any online master program can be termed as affordable based on many factors, such as the tuition costs, the employability rate and earn back time, and prospects. When studying architecture online, there should be a consensus between tuition, employability and the skills developed. The table below ranks affordable online master’s in architecture:

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/online-masters-in-architecture/">Architecture</a>

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
#1
University of Nebraska, Lincoln
1400 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588
$6,13866%
#2
Ball State University
2000 University Ave, Muncie, Indiana 47306
$9,32867%
#3
University of Missouri
105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, Missouri 65211
$9,47871%
#4
Southern Illinois University
Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, Illinois 62901
$11,26848%
#5
Brenau University
500 Washington Street SE, Gainesville, Georgia 30501
$13,35646%
#6
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003
$14,01482%
#7
University of Washington
1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, Washington 98195
$16,27884%
#8
Lawrence Technological University
21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan 48075
$17,31860%
#9
Chatham University
Woodland Road, Office of Institutional Research, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15232
$18,30670%
#10
Boston Architectural College
320 Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
$25,22013%

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding a Master of Architecture Program

An online Master’s in Architecture is all about educating students with design and technology as applied to the built environment.  The courses are open for students highly interested in designing and constructing beautiful spaces, aesthetic beauties, heritage corners, etc., and not mere buildings.  A professional degree in Architecture can prepare students to become innovators and leaders in the future of the building industry and beyond. Typically, architectural studies include a curriculum and educational context that teaches students how they can be responsive to human needs in creating the built environment. Students are encouraged to be perceptive, skilled, and inventive.

Like many distance education programs, an online Master of Architecture has limited campus based instruction, with most of the courses being taught almost entirely online. Programs are also typically offered to two types of students – one for those who already have a bachelor’s degree in Architecture, and the other for those from backgrounds unrelated to architecture. In both cases, students can choose from a variety of courses, such as design theory, research methods, sustainable design, contemporary architecture, and more.

Masters in Architecture Degree Types

An Architecture degree in the United States is called the Master of Architecture (M.Arch). Specializations and concentrations can be undertaken independently as Master of Science programs, or in tandem with the main online Master’s in Architecture.

Master of Architecture

M.Arch I – The Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program provides students with an education leading to the practice of architecture through designing, creating, and systematic training in architecture. This program integrates theory and practice to envisage a broad-based understanding of all aspects of architecture.

M.Arch II – The M.Arch II is similar to M.Arch I, except that it is open to students without any architectural background.

Master of Science (MS) in Architecture

Master of Science (MS) in Architecture is generally connected to various other disciplines such as design and art, and are concentrations within the larger subject of Architecture. Examples of MS programs include MS in Advanced Architectural Design, MS in Architecture and Urban Design, etc.

Specializations in a Master of Architecture Program

Specializations are a great way to focus on a key area of Architecture and develop specific skills in that area, to improve job prospects. An Architecture online master program consists of several sub-fields in which students can concentrate on, and specialize. Here are a few concentrations and specializations in the study of Architecture:

  • Historical Preservation of Heritage Architecture
  • Classical Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture (Exterior Design)
  • Regional Design and Planning
  • Urban Practice
  • Regional Planning
  • Interior Design
  • Interior Architecture
  • Technology & Media in Architecture
  • Digital Technologies & Visualization
  • Sustainable Architecture or Design
  • Environmental Design or Ecological Design
  • Architecture for Human Health
  • Zero Net Energy Designs or Energy Based Designs
  • Zero Waste Design
  • Real Estate
  • Construction Management
  • Industrial Design
  • Infrastructure Planning

Curriculum and Skills Gained in Online Master of Architecture Programs

A  Master of Architecture (M.Arch) online program consists of a curriculum that aids students to demonstrate extraordinary skills in conceptual design, model-making, drafting, computer-aided design, etc. Further, the program focuses on training in 2D and 3D computer modeling and rendering portfolio designs, besides drawing, sketching, and studio courses. Most colleges offer synchronous courses on a variety of topics for the student to choose from. Some examples include but are not limited to:

  • Studio Based Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • Environmental Controls
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Architectural History
  • 3D Computer Modeling and Rendering
  • Design Theory
  • Portfolio Design
  • Interiors & Furniture
  • History of Architecture
  • City  & Travel Lab
  • Digital Craft Lab
  • Urban Works Agency
  • Architectural Theory
  • Build Lab
  • Interior Design and Ceramics
  • Sustainable Designs
  • Contemporary Architecture
  • Model Making
  • Building Materials, Codes & Colors
  • Structures
  • Architectural Studios
  • Interior Architecture
  • Model Making & Thesis
  • Research Methods in Architecture
  • Professional Practice

Students graduate ready to acquire a professional license as an Architect or an Interior Designer or a Landscape Architect (depending on the specialization), who can plan or design interiors or exteriors. Graduates of an Architectural degree will also have the potential to even produce landmarks of historic importance. They will, through the process of critical thinking, have the ability to face various urban challenges, such as climate change, and growing urban populations.

Interdisciplinary Degrees in Masters in Architecture

The core curriculum of an Architecture degree derives its foundations from many interdisciplinary areas like art, material science, construction & design sciences, building materials, anthropology, environmental & energy sciences, ecology, computer & communication technologies,etc.

Many universities offer the choice of pursuing an interdisciplinary Masters in Architecture by choosing a concentration such as sustainability, zero net energy design, or construction. One can choose a minor or acquire a graduate certificate in areas such as interior design, landscape, real estate, urban planning, technology & media, visual communication, heritage conservation, building science, etc., or even acquire a joint degree such as Masters in Design or Fine Arts, or Zero Net Energy, or Sustainability. It is also not uncommon for students to couple their Masters in Architecture with a Business Management degree.

Accreditation for an Online Master of Architecture Program

For the professional practice of Architecture, students are required to have graduated from an accredited Architecture program. Accreditation is a seal of quality and standards met, that is important in the job market. In the United States, the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) (sometimes referred to as the National Architecture Accrediting Board) is the sole agency authorized to accredit a professional Architecture program. Alongside this accreditation, it is recommended for students to look for regionally accredited colleges. The Accreditation Guide better explains why accreditation is crucial for a master’s program.

Timeline for graduation from an Online Master of Architecture Program

Most Architecture masters can be obtained via two paths – one that requires a bachelor’s in architecture and can be finished in 2 to 2.5 years at most, and the other that is open for students with any undergraduate degree, that can be finished in 3 to 3.5 years. All things considered, the timeline for an online Master’s in Architecture largely depends on the program format, and on how limited campus based instruction is.

Online Master of Architecture Programs Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for an Architecture degree are largely similar to those of other online master’s degree programs. Below is a summary of basic requisites:

  • An Application with Application Fee
  • Official Academic Transcripts
  • Personal Statement or Statement of Purpose
  • A Curriculum Vitae (highlighting any pre professional degree, studio activities, etc.)
  • A Portfolio (preferred)
  • A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0
  • At least 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • An Undergraduate Degree (preferably in Architecture/Architecture-related field)
  • Proof for English Proficiency, if English is not a Native Language

While some colleges may also require students to submit a GRE score, this requirement has been waived for the year 2024-2025.

Online Master of Architecture No GRE/GMAT Programs

Most of the online degree programs in Architecture do not require a GRE or GMAT  score to be submitted at the time of admission. Those that do ask for one are known to have waived it for the year 2024-2025. It is worth noting, however, that submitting a GRE score can support a low GPA. Here are a few universities offering an online Master in Architecture that does not require a GRE or GMAT score:

Fast Track Architecture Programs

Typically, online students of an Architecture degree will require at least 2 to 3 years to graduate. While there are no programs that allow students to finish in 1 year, Graduate Certificate Courses are a good choice for those who want to study Architecture but do not necessarily require a graduate degree. Another option students have is to sign up for an accelerated degree program that combines a 4-year bachelor’s program with a 1-year master’s program.

Online Masters in Architecture – Free

Some schools, such as Duke UniversityMIT, IE University offer architecture courses free of charge. Although these online courses do not lead to any professional degree, they can improve knowledge and fulfill personal learning needs.  Other universities, such as the Yale University, offer some online program sessions for free. These not-for-credit courses also do not lead to any degree, but they do teach introductory skills and provide prospective students with an idea of what an architecture course might look like.  Other websites which host free architecture course content from famous universities in the USA are:

  1. Classcentral
  2. Coursera
  3. Arch20

How to Pay for an Online Master of Architecture Program

The first and foremost consideration for choosing a master’s degree is the affordability of tuition costs. Although on the surface it appears as though the tuition costs are slightly cheaper for online students because it is free from living expenses, a completely online program can also come at a substantial cost. The need for a fast broadband connection and digital equipment such as ultramodern laptops, headphones, storage requirements, etc., add to indirect costs. With these and the ever-rising cost of a Master’s program, it becomes essential that students explore all possible ways of seeking financial aid. Here are a few funding mechanisms for a master’s in Architecture:

Scholarships

Scholarships are often given out by private entities based on academic performance, community service, cultural heritage, religious affiliation, and other factors. (Note: Beware of Scholarship Scams.)

Grants

Grants are often need-based and cover tuition costs and/or other student and education-related expenditures such as books, research materials, travel, student housing, and so on.

Student Loans

Federal loans, bank loans, and private loans can be relatively simple ways to raise funds. However, students should note that loans accrue interest, and late payments will result in higher education costs and student debt.

FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a form used to assess a student’s eligibility for financial aid. More information on FAFSA can be found here.

The best Financial Guide provides more information on all funding options.

FAQs about a Master of Architecture Online Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an online Master in Architecture different from an in-person?

No, an online professional degree in architecture is essentially the same as an in-person program. They offer similar coursework that is often taught by the same faculty of both online and traditional formats.

Who can study Architecture?

 Do I need a GRE or GMAT for an online Master in Architecture?

What degree do I need to be an Architect?

Where can I enroll in an Architecture program?

Careers and Salary Outlook for Masters in Architecture Graduates

Architecture is a long celebrated profession with a broad range of careers open for qualified and licensed Architects. Starting from a simple Architect in the private, public, corporate sectors to even a self-owned company, a range of careers are open to those licensed in the field of architecture, interior design, landscaping, industrial design, and more. A few common careers that students go on to pursue after a degree in Architecture are:

  • Architect
  • Architectural Journalism
  • Studio Expert
  • Landscape Architect
  • City Planner
  • Ecological Designer Urban Planner or Designer
  • Natural Resource Conservator
  • Historic Preservation/Heritage Conservator
  • Interior Designer
  • Material Expert
  • Sustainability or Ecological Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Construction/Real Estate Manager
  • Teacher of Architecture

In general, Architecture jobs are strongly tied to the rise and fall of the construction business and real estate. Even so, the rising population in cities, coupled with a demand for well-designed homes and the need to modernize and preserve existing landscapes in pressing urban spaces, creates enough and more work for Architects. As far as salaries are concerned, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that an Architectural Manager earns a median annual salary of $152,350, while Architects earn a median annual salary of $80,180.

Certifications and Licensing for Architecture Graduates

Before starting a career in Architecture, students are generally expected to participate in an architectural internship through the Architectural Experience Program (AXP), and eventually, qualify for licensing exams such as the (ARE- Architectural Registration Exam), conducted by the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB). Graduates should note that Architectural licensure (and preferably along with a certification) from Architectural Registration Boards, the National Council, or the National Architectural Accrediting Board, is a basic requirement for practicing Architecture in the US.

Additional Resources for Architecture Professionals

Be it students of an Architecture degree program, or students of a pre professional degree, or busy Architects, it is always important for both students and professionals to network and explore the world of Architecture, that goes beyond books. A Degree program coupled with tapping into a wealth of resources, and sharing ideas with fellow students and colleagues, will go a long way in landing jobs, getting higher salaries, and advancing careers.  Here are a few such resources to get started:

  1. American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)
    AIAS hosts firm and building tours, as well as portfolio charrettes with professionals.
  2. Puente
    Puente is a Hispanic architecture student club, with regular service projects in the community.
  3. U.S. Green Building Council Student Chapter (USGBC)
    USGBC tours construction sites and completed buildings, so students see and learn advanced sustainable strategies in person.
  4. Women in Architecture Society (WIAS)
    WIAS is committed to advancing the voice and opportunities of women in practice, hosts exhibits, and holds seminars with leading women practitioners.
  5. National Architectural Accrediting Board
    The only accrediting agency for programs in Architecture, the National Architectural Accrediting Board offers the latest information in Architecture and offers some free courses as well.
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