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Department of Architecture


The Department of Architecture supports the education of future professionals in the practice of architecture and allied professions within an academic university. The graduate programs of the Department of Architecture are directed to a terminal degree for qualification for professional licensure and architectural study for post-professionals and allied professionals. For its graduate programs, the Department and College of Architecture, Construction and Planning take advantage of their unique location within downtown San Antonio, as well as South Texas and the borderlands of the western United States and Mexico. The city of San Antonio, composed of several historical layers from the 17th century to the present, is a laboratory for the exploration of architecture, urbanism, and community planning and design.

Master of Architecture Degree – The Professional Program

The College of Architecture, Construction and Planning offers the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) as a first professional degree (terminal degree) for those intending to enter the professional practice of architecture. The M.Arch. is accredited by NAAB, the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture. According to the NAAB 2009 Conditions for Accreditation:

In the United States, most state 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 U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-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 consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The University of Texas at San Antonio, College of Architecture, Construction and Planning offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

M.Arch. 2 (preprofessional degree + 52 graduate credits)
M.Arch. 3 (non-preprofessional degree + 91 graduate credits)

Next accreditation visit for all programs: 2016

Building on a solid base of undergraduate studies in architecture, the degree program provides a challenging professional curriculum. The two-year program is seen as a capstone of professional studies.

The M.Arch. 2 Program

The M.Arch. 2 program is designed for students who have earned architectural degrees (such as B.A., B.S., and B.E.D.) and consists of studies focused on developing the next generation of critical practitioners. This studio-based professional program is normally two years (52 semester credit hours) in length and is completed via an independently-derived, research-informed design project.

M.Arch. 2 Program Admission Requirements. In addition to University-wide admission requirements, applicants must have completed a preprofessional bachelor’s degree in architecture with a minimum grade point average of no less than 3.0 in the applicant’s last 60 hours of coursework (including all graduate and postgraduate coursework taken).

A complete application package consists of the following:

  • Completed Application form
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Letter of Intent, that clearly and succinctly outlines the applicant’s goals for graduate study, including anticipated focus of study and impact on subsequent professional practice
  • Portfolio, documenting proficiency in design, graphic communications, and other creative work
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for international applicants whose first language is not English.

An application fee and all application materials must be sent directly to the UTSA Graduate School at One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249. Please consult the , Construction and Planning’s Web site (http://utsa.edu/architecture/) for dates when the review of applications will begin and for more information.

M.Arch. 2 Degree Requirements. Degree candidates must complete 52 semester credit hours of courseworkexclusive of coursework or other study required to remove admission deficiencies. Credit toward the program is earned only for grades of “A,” “B,” and “C.” Students must also maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0, with a maximum of 6 semester credit hours with the grade of “C.”
Required coursework consists of:

  1. 37 semester credit hours of the following required courses:

    ARC   5133   Professional Architectural Practice and Ethics
    ARC   5513   Advanced Building Technology & Structures
    ARC   6126   Advanced Design Studio
    ARC   6136   Advanced Topics Studio
    ARC   6146   Advanced Technical Studio
    ARC   6931   Master’s Project Preparation
    ARC   6996   Master’s Project
    Theory/Criticism Elective*
    History Elective*

  2. 15 semester credit hours of electives selected from the list posted on the UTSA Department of Architecture Web site. No more than 6 semester credit hours of non-architecture (ARC) electives will apply toward the Master of Architecture degree and these electives should be selected in consultation with the Graduate Advisor of Record.

*Note: Courses which satisfy the required elective options (Theory/Criticism, History) will be posted on the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Web site and within the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning graduate handbook.

The M.Arch. 3 Program

The M.Arch. 3 program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in fields other than architecture. This professional program includes one year of preparatory studies (39 semester credit hours) in preparation for the following two years (52 semester credit hours) of the Master of Architecture (M.Arch. 2) program sequence. These preparatory studies are required to be completed in full, as a condition of admission. We encourage students from all disciplines to consider this program as a means for entering the profession of architecture.

M.Arch. 3 Program Admission Requirements. In addition to University-wide admission requirements, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of no less than 3.0 in the applicant’s last 60 hours of coursework (including all graduate and postgraduate coursework taken).

A complete application package consists of the following:

  • Completed Application form
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Letter of Intent, that clearly and succinctly outlines the applicant’s goals for graduate study, including anticipated focus of study and impact on subsequent professional practice
  • Portfolio of work indicative of the applicant’s preparedness for the study of architecture
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for international applicants whose first language is not English.

An application fee and all application materials must be sent directly to the UTSA Graduate School at One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249. Please consult the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Web site (http://utsa.edu/architecture/) for applicable dates when the review of applications will begin and for more information about the College and its programs.

M.Arch. 3 Degree Requirements. The M.Arch. 3 program requires up to 39 semester credit hours of preparatory studies and 52 semester credit hours of the M.Arch. 2 program sequence for this degree, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove admission deficiencies. Credit toward the program is earned only for grades of “A,” “B,” and “C.” Students must also maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0, with a maximum of 6 semester credit hours with the grade of “C.”

The M.Arch. 3 program in architecture consists of: a) preparatory studies; b) a performance evaluation; and c) the 52-semester-credit-hour M.Arch. 2 program sequence.

  1. Preparatory Studies. 39 semester credit hours consisting of the following:

    ARC  5156  Introductory Design: Studio I
    ARC  5166  Introductory Design Studio II
    ARC  5176  Introductory Design Studio III
    ARC  5183  Fundamentals of Architectural Design: Principles & Representation
    ARC  5623  Introduction to the History of Modern Architecture
    ARC  5913  Introduction to Construction Materials and Concepts
    ARC  5923  Introduction to Structures I
    ARC  5933  Introduction to Structures II
    ARC  5943  Introduction to Environmental Systems I
    ARC  5953  Introduction to Environmental Systems II

  2. Performance Evaluation. Upon completion of preparatory studies, each student is subject to a performance evaluation intended to determine readiness to enter the M.Arch. 2 program sequence. The performance evaluation format is determined by the Department Chair and carried out by the faculty. Normally, failure to pass the performance evaluation should be followed by additional coursework or other work to remedy deficiencies or areas of weakness before the evaluation is conducted again. Failure to successfully pass the performance evaluation may result in the postponement of entering the M.Arch. 2 program sequence.

  3. M.Arch. 2 Program Sequence. Degree candidates must complete 52 semester credit hours consisting of the following two areas of coursework: required courses and electives:
    1. 37 semester credit hours of required courses (see M.Arch. 2 description above)
    2. 15 semester credit hours of electives (see M.Arch. 2 description above)

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Master of Science in Architecture Degree – The Research Program

The Master of Science in Architecture (M.S. Arch.) program is a nonstudio research program that prepares students for careers in research, teaching, consulting, and further graduate study. The focus of the program is research in architecture. Focus areas in the program include Architectural History and Theory, Building Science, Historic Preservation, Sustainability, and Urban Studies.

M.S. Arch. Admission Requirements. In addition to University-wide admission requirements, applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of no less than 3.0 in the applicant’s last 60 semester credit hours of undergraduate studies.

A complete application package consists of the following:

  • Completed Application form
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  • Letter of Intent that clearly and succinctly outlines the applicant’s goals for graduate study
  • Samples of expository writing
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for international applicants whose first language is not English.

An application fee and all application materials must be submitted directly to the UTSA Graduate School at One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249. Please consult the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Web site (http://utsa.edu/architecture/) for applicable dates when the review of applications will begin and for more information about the College and its programs.

M.S. Arch. Degree Requirements. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for the Master of Science degree in Architecture, exclusive of coursework or other study required to remove admission deficiencies, is 33. Credit toward the program is earned only for grades of “A,” “B,” and “C.” Students must also maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 with a maximum of 6 semester credit hours with the grade of “C.” Students admitted to the program should consult the Graduate Advisor of Record (GAR) and a faculty advisor in their chosen field of study for specific program requirements for their individual study plans.

Degree candidates must complete 33 credit hours of coursework consisting of the following:

  1. 12 semester credit hours of the following required courses:

    COA   5173   Architectural Theory and Criticism
    COA   6433   Research Methods
    COA   6983   Master’s Thesis (repeated for a total of 6 credit hours)

  2. 21 semester credit hours of electives to be selected in consultation with committee chair

  3. Comprehensive Examination. A candidate for the Master of Science in Architecture must, in addition to other requirements, pass a written comprehensive examination. Students must be registered for COA 6961 Comprehensive Examination during the semester in which they intend to take the examination.

    Comprehensive examinations are given only to students who:

    • have satisfied all admission conditions
    • are in good academic standing
    • have an approved degree plan
    • have selected a supervising professor and thesis committee with an approved thesis topic
    • are enrolled in COA 6961 Comprehensive Examination.

    Note: Credit earned for COA 6961 will not count toward the 33 semester credit hours required for the degree.

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Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation

Historic Preservation is a process of design for continuity and the management of change within an existing historic context. The Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation offers specialized education in historic preservation design, technology, planning and management through graduate-level courses.

The Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation enables graduate students from multiple program areas to receive tangible confirmation of skills and comprehension in historic preservation. A Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation offers students from any discipline the opportunity to take historic preservation classes with rationale and purpose. Certificate holders can gain employment advantages in fields related to archaeology, architecture, business, engineering, geography, historic preservation, history, interior design, landscape architecture, law, museum studies, political science, public policy, social science and urban and regional planning. Many government jobs within federal, state, and local agencies specifically require or desire graduate-level training in historic preservation. All states, many counties, and most large cities have nonprofit organizations and societies devoted to historic preservation. Within the construction industry there is currently a huge trend upwards in adaptive use of existing buildings, especially within previously abandoned downtown areas. There is widespread demand for professionals with specialized training in historic preservation. Interested individuals should contact the Historic Preservation Certificate Program Coordinator within the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

Certificate in Historic Preservation Admission Requirements. New and existing graduate students in “good standing” shall declare the intent to seek the Certificate by requesting permission to enter and complete the program. Students not currently enrolled in a graduate program may apply according to UTSA admission requirements for certificate programs (see Chapter 3, Certificate Programs, in this catalog). The Certificate Program Coordinator may determine that a student requires prerequisite background courses to adequately prepare for the courses of the Graduate Certificate Program.

Certificate in Historic Preservation Requirements. The Certificate requires 15 semester credit hours of coursework and 10 weeks (or 350 hours) of practical experience, such as an internship or other type of employment related to historic preservation. Two courses are required and an additional three courses must be selected from the list of approved courses. All requirements must be completed within a six-year period. Courses taken for the Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation can be applied toward the Master of Architecture and the Master of Science in Architecture degrees. Students will be advised by the Historic Preservation Certificate Program Coordinator/Advisor.

  1. 6 semester credit hours of the following required courses:

    ARC  5203  History and Theory of Preservation
    ARC  6423  Architectural Conservation Theory

  2. Required Practical Experience, 10 weeks or equivalent (to be approved by the Certificate Program Coordinator)

  3. 9 semester credit hours of approved elective courses selected from the following list (or any additional elective not listed that is relevant to the study of historic preservation and is approved in consultation with the Certificate Program Coordinator):

    ARC  5233  Architectural Surveys and Measured Drawings
    ARC  5403  Historic Preservation Seminar
    ARC  5423  Legal and Economic Aspects of Preservation
    ARC  5613  American Architecture
    ARC  6003  Morphology of the Architecture and Landscape of South Texas and Borderlands
    ARC  6413  Preservation Technology
    COA  6433  Research Methods

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Graduate Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning

The purpose of the professional certificate in Urban and Regional Planning is to provide students with an introductory understanding of the historical, social, international, and physical context of comprehensive land use planning and sustainable urbanism.

The Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning is a 15-semester-credit-hour program. Degree-seeking, special graduate or non-degree-seeking students from any discipline at UTSA are allowed to complete the Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning (URP) program. Students will be advised by the URP Certificate Program Coordinator/Advisor. Interested individuals should contact the Urban and Regional Planning Certificate Program Coordinator within the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.

Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning Admission Requirements. New and existing graduate students in “good standing” shall declare the intent to seek the Certificate by requesting permission to enter and complete the program. Students not currently enrolled in a graduate program may apply according to UTSA admission requirements for certificate programs (see Chapter 3, Certificate Programs, in this catalog). The Certificate Program Coordinator may determine that a student requires prerequisite background courses to adequately prepare for the courses of the Graduate Certificate Program.

Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning Requirements. The Urban and Regional Planning Certificate curriculum consists of 9 semester credit hours of required planning courses and 6 elective hours. Courses taken for the Graduate Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning can be applied toward the Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning, Master of Architecture, and Master of Science in Architecture degrees. Students will be advised by the Urban and Regional Planning Certificate Program Coordinator/Advisor.

  1. 9 semester credit hours of the following required courses:

    URP  5323  Community Planning and Design
    URP  5333  Introduction to Urban and Regional Planning
    URP  5343  History and Theory of Urban and Regional Planning

  2. 6 semester credit hours of graduate elective courses approved by the Urban and Regional Planning Graduate Advisor.

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