The University of Maryland’s graduate programs in architecture are recognized nationally for excellence in sustainable building craft and urbanism. The Integrated Design Studio/Advanced Technology Seminar, the first of its kind in the nation, is a model for the integration of design studio pedagogy and technical knowledge. All students in the Master of Architecture Program (independent of their specific track) participate in this award-winning educational experience.
Building upon our location in the metropolitan Baltimore-Washington region, our Urban Design Studio advances the conviction that responsible patterns of settlement when combined with green building practices lead to a more sustainable world. The Urban Design Studio has won numerous awards and citations including honors in the Edmund Bacon Competition, the ULI Hines Competition, and the Congress of the New Urbanism.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When I was in college I never studied architecture, but I have always had a strong interest in the profession. To this day, I fashion myself as a would-be architect. I am now working as an assistant to the traveling secretary for a major league franchise. Is there any hope for me becoming an architect?
A: Wait a minute! You are either George Costanza,* or you are living a parallel existence. But wait, there is indeed hope for you! We offer a seven-semester program for individuals who hold a baccalaureate in a field other than architecture. We’ve had lawyers, accountants, even marine biologists and NASA scientists change careers and join us to study architecture.
Q: What do I put in my portfolio? Do I need to take college level drawing, painting, or digital media courses to be considered for admission?
A: Your portfolio represents your personal creative potential and ability to represent ideas graphically. College level drawing courses are not required, but if you haven’t picked up a pencil, charcoal, or a brush for some time now it might be a good idea to enrolled in a structured drawing course. If you never studied architecture at the undergraduate level, you do not need to demonstrate work in digital media. Once admitted, we will provide you with instruction that improves your manual drawing and digital media skills. For more information see the portfolio requirements in the Admission section.
Q: What’s an accredited degree and why is it important?
A: 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 eight-year, three-year, or two-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 pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
Q: Why don’t you offer a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of Maryland?
A: The University of Maryland did offer a Bachelor of Architecture degree until the mid-1980’s when it transitioned to the Bachelor of Science in Architecture (4-year degree) plus the Master of Architecture (2-year degree). The most prestigious schools nationally have structured their curricula paralleling that of the law and medical professions such that students are afforded a pre-professional experience at the undergraduate level and an intensive professional degree-track at the graduate level. Our program, which is commonly referred to as a 4+2 program (referring to the typical number of years studying at the undergraduate and graduate levels respectively), was developed in response to the nation-wide trend to associate graduate study and professional education. The Bachelor of Architecture degree was developed in the 19th Century as an attempt to integrate the vocational training of architects within the structure of American universities. In the late-1960s the so-called “Princeton Report” and other factors in higher education suggested that the future of professional education in architecture did not reside in the nearly 100-year old Bachelor of Architecture model and was better served by a combination of undergraduate pre-professional and graduate professional education. Other benefits of the 4+2 model are:
- Students in our pre-professional baccalaureate programs can make adjustments or changes to their undergraduate major more readily than they might in a Bachelor of Architecture program.
- Students benefit from more coursework and electives outside of architecture that better prepares them to be leaders of a complex and dynamic design profession.
- Students can take time off between their undergraduate coursework and graduate coursework in order to gain practical experience in an office setting as an intern.
- Students in a pre-professional education are generally more integrated into collegiate life than their counterparts who receive professional degrees at the undergraduate level.
- Undergraduates may elect to pursue graduate education at an institution other than Maryland.
- The Architecture Program controls significant resources to financially support graduate education through scholarships and assistantships.
Q: Is a professional degree from a NAAB-accredited program required to satisfy a state board of architects' education requirement?
A: The answer is complicated. Most jurisdictions in the United States require an accredited professional degree as a precondition for professional registration. Several jurisdictions do not have this requirement and will permit individuals who have worked for a predetermined number of years to become a registered architect after completing the Architect Registration Examination and other board requirements. The problem is, your state registration in this case may not be transportable. That is, if you are registered in Jurisdiction A, which does not have a professional degree requirement, and you want to seek reciprocity in near by Jurisdiction B, which does have a professional degree requirement, you may not be able to practice in Jurisdiction B because you do not have a professional degree. This may hamper your path toward leadership in your firm and it may also limit your ability to compete for work out of state. For more information explore (www.ncarb.org).
* George Costanza (played by Jason Alexander) was a character in the long-running sit com Seinfeld. In several episodes Costanza either fancied himself as an architect or tried to pass himself off as one. By the way, it is illegal in many jurisdictions to call yourself “architect” if you are not licensed.
Visiting the School
The best way to get to know us is to visit us in person.
We have scheduled a series of informative open house events to show you the Architecture Program in action.
The best time to visit the School is on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday when you will see studio courses in action. Please make an online appointment for a School tour.