Do You Need A Master’s Degree For Architecture

Background Information

A degree in architecture is a great way to prepare for a successful career in the field. An architecture degree typically covers topics such as architectural history and design, drafting, design theory, and building sciences, as well as business skills. Depending on the program, students may choose from different concentrations, such as urban design, sustainable design, and computer-aided design. Many architecture programs also include an internship to gain hands-on experience. With this background, many professions throughout the built environment are open to graduates with an architecture degree.

Master’s Degrees in Architecture

In order to become a practicing architect in the United States, individuals must earn a professional degree in architecture that has been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). As of 2021, professional architectural degrees can include a Master of Architecture, a Bachelor of Architecture, or a five-year Bachelor/Master of Architecture.
In some cases, those with a degree in a non-architectural field may be considered for removal from the NAAB accredited program. In these cases, students may be able to earn a Master in Architecture or another professional degree in the field. It’s important to note that the NAAB does not recognize non-NAAB accredited degrees as professional degrees in architecture.

Do You Need a Master’s Degree?

In order to become a practicing architect, individuals must earn a professional degree which has been accredited by the NAAB. While a Master’s degree is the most common route, a Bachelor of Architecture or a five-year Bachelor/Master of Architecture may also meet the NAAB’s criteria.
Individuals with a degree in a non-architectural field may be eligible to receive a Master in Architecture or another professional degree. It’s important to note, however, that non-NAAB accredited degrees are not considered professional degrees and are therefore not acceptable for individuals looking to become a practicing architect.

Advantages Of A Master’s Degree

Earning a Master’s degree in Architecture offers several advantages. It’s a great way to develop a deep understanding of the built environment, strengthen your knowledge in the field, and gain access to advanced topics. It’s also an opportunity to develop a professional network of industry contacts and stay up-to-date on innovative design solutions.
Earning a Master’s degree can be especially beneficial for individuals looking to move up in their career. Many employers prefer candidates with advanced degrees, and some positions may even require one. Plus, having a Master’s degree can open up more job opportunities and provide a valuable edge in the application process.

Expert Insights and Analysis

Experts in the field of architecture have discussed the importance of having a professional degree. According to architect Kenneth Jordan, having a professional degree in architecture “sets you up to have a greater understanding of the profession, and allows you to take on more challenging and rewarding projects.” While having a degree in architecture is not required for every type of job in the built environment, it’s certainly beneficial for those looking for professional opportunities.
Architecture professor Laura Quartieri takes a slightly different approach. She believes that a Master’s degree can “expand the scope of projects undertaken” by graduates. “The introduction of new construction materials and technologies along with a deeper understanding of building processes can open up a greater range of opportunities,” she adds.

Employment Outlook

A degree in architecture can open the door to numerous opportunities in the built environment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, architects have an expected job growth rate of 4% through 2029. This is slightly slower than the 5% job growth rate for all occupations. Job opportunities will vary by location and economic conditions, but architects have a steady outlook.


With a degree in architecture, individuals can open the door to several career opportunities. While it’s not required to become a practicing architect in the United States, a professional degree accredited by the NAAB can provide a valuable edge over other applicants. With a Master’s degree, individuals can build a deeper understanding of the field, expand the scope of their projects, and develop a better understanding of building processes. Additionally, a Master’s degree can offer many career growth opportunities and increased job security.

The Cost of a Master’s Degree

The cost of earning a Master’s degree in Architecture can vary greatly depending on the program and university. Generally, students can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 for the degree. Factors such as tuition, academic fees, room and board, and other costs should be taken into consideration when considering the cost of a Master’s degree.
In some cases, students may be able to receive financial aid to help defray the cost of their education. It’s important to research and understand the cost of the program before applying, as this can help determine if earning a Master’s degree is worth the investment.

Admission Requirements

In order to be accepted into a Master’s degree program in Architecture, students must meet certain admission requirements. Generally, applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture or a related field, as well as strong academic performance. In some cases, students must have taken the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and achieved a certain score.
In addition, many programs require applicants to submit a portfolio of their work, as well as a personal statement. Other requirements may include letters of recommendation and/or a personal interview. It’s important to research the specific requirements of each program before applying.

Scholarships and Awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available for those pursuing a Master’s degree in Architecture. These can help offset the cost of tuition and other associated fees, and can make earning a degree much more achievable. Most scholarships and awards require applicants to demonstrate certain qualifications and achievements, such as high academic performance, involvement in the community, and/or innovative work in the field. It’s important to research and understand the specifics of each award or scholarship before applying.

Opportunities After Graduation

Earning a Master’s degree in Architecture can open the door to many opportunities. With this background, graduates have a solid foundation to move up the ranks in their career, or even start their own practice. Many graduates may find themselves working in diverse fields, including urban planning, conservation, building design, and research.
Additionally, many Master’s degree holders in the field may choose to pursue a career in academia. Faculty positions as an instructor or professor can allow individuals to stay involved and connected to the field, while also sharing their knowledge and experience. It’s important to research and understand the various career and educational opportunities after graduation.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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