Proposal to the senate committee on educational policy

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Revised Core Curriculum for the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree


Abbas Aminmansour, Chair, Architecture Council, School of Architecture (333-2834,


The Master of Architecture curriculum covers a number of areas of specialization including Design, Structures, Practice and Technology, History & Preservation as well as newly developing areas of research. This proposal will update the existing core curriculum in the M.Arch. degree program to include more core courses across all areas as follows.

All M.Arch. degree candidates must fulfill the eight requirements of the Graduate Core Curriculum as outlined below.

  1. Arch 501 – Architectural Practice

  2. Arch 502 – Structural Planning

  3. Arch 571 – Architectural Design Studio

  4. Arch 572 – Architectural Design Studio

  5. Arch 573 – Architectural Design Studio

  6. Arch 574 – Architectural Design Studio

Core Electives

  1. One course in Professional Issues from an approved list*

  2. One course in Architectural Thought from an approved list *

* The School’s Architecture Council will develop guidelines for the approval of courses that meet these requirements. A draft of such guidelines is provided in Appendix I.

Arch 573 and 574 are advanced architectural project-based courses in a specialized area of study based on the published option curricula or individually developed with the guidance of a faculty advisor.
The current Core Curriculum only includes items 1-4.


The proposed changes will enhance the rigor of the M.Arch. degree across all areas of study within the program. Further, it addresses an enhancement of the curriculum recommended by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) following the accreditation visit by the organization in spring 2003.


Requirements 1-4 have been offered for many years as required courses. In addition, different areas of specialization within the program have offered different versions of Arch 573 and 574 for many years and under different course numbers. Therefore, including these courses in the graduate Core Curriculum will not have budgetary implications but will offer clarity and consistency to our Core.

The School currently offers a number of courses that will meet the criteria for the Core Electives (items 7 and 8). It is understood that making those courses required will increase enrollment in them. However, considering the number of choices that will be available to students, the enrollment increase will not necessarily be significant. In developing the approved list of courses referenced above, the School’s Architecture Council will only list courses that can accommodate increased enrollments with the available resources or will do so after the necessary resources have been secured by the School for offering those courses to more students. No new demands on library or other resources are anticipated in order to implement this proposal.



Director, School of Architecture Date


Chair, FAA College Course and Curricula Committee Date


Dean, Graduate College Date


Office of the Provost Date


Senate Educational Policy Committee Date


Master of Architecture (Track 2)

The two-year professional degree program, intended for students entering with a four-year baccalaureate in architectural studies, emphasizes further study in architectural disciplines, study in depth in one optional area of specialization, and/or participation in research.

The two-year graduate program is comprised of advanced study in architectural disciplines, building upon the fundamentals established in a four-year undergraduate study program. All students in the M.Arch. program must complete the following core course requirements: one course in architectural practice, one course in structural planning, four studios including two semesters of comprehensive design, and one core elective each from a select list of courses in professional issues as well as in architectural thought.

Students may elect to concentrate in any one of the areas of specialization including Design, Structures, Practice and Technology, History & Preservation as well as newly developing areas of research by taking additional courses in those areas.

Candidates admitted with full or limited status to the two-year professional degree program must complete at least 62 hours of graduate work. Candidates must spend at least four semesters and earn at least half of the required graduate hours in residence. Candidates admitted with full status may complete the program in two years of full-time academic study.


It is desired to put in place the new core curriculum soon after the final approval of the proposal has been secured and the expiration of any necessary waiting periods.


Draft Guidelines for Required Elective Areas

for the M.Arch. Degree

School of Architecture

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The following guidelines shall be used by the Architecture Council to evaluate courses to be listed as meeting the Required Elective Areas.*

A. Professional Issues

Courses fulfilling the requirement in Professional Issues may: (a) explore a specific aspect of the current nature of the profession; (b) investigate a particular aspect of professional practice (preservation, office management, real estate) in depth; or (c) further understanding of architects’ leadership roles and the collaborative nature of contemporary practice.

B. Architectural Thought

Courses fulfilling the requirement in Architectural Thought may: (a) attend to questions of continuity and change in practices of human building and design and elucidate how architectural institutions and ideas have developed; (b) facilitate an understanding of current conditions by promoting a fuller cognizance of historical or foreign traditions; (c) foster a “sense of the past” that allows individuals to learn from the successes and failures of their predecessors; or (d) explore, in depth, a particular contemporary or historical movement, moment, or figure in architecture.

Approved courses must be equally available to all M.Arch. candidates and offered with sufficient enrollment and frequency to support the plan. Further, approved courses shall promote students’ ability to communicate effectively and professionally.

* See Appendix II for a tentative list of approved core electives. The list may change in the future by the Architecture Council.


List of Core Electives

for the M.Arch. Degree

School of Architecture

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The following courses have been tentatively approved by the Architecture Council Graduate Committee as accepted core electives in the two areas below.

A. Professional Issues

ARCH 480 Sustainable Design Principles

ARCH 534 Building Economics

ARCH 544 Building Systems & Design Integration

ARCH 545 Design & Constructability

ARCH 558 Structural Wood Design

ARCH 595IN Special Problems Structural Theory & Design (new course - - temporarily offered under this course number)

B. Architectural Thought

ARCH 423 Social Behavior Factors for Design

ARCH 424 Gender & Race in Contemporary Arch

ARCH 510 History of World Landscapes

ARCH 511 Seminar in Ancient & Medieval Architecture

ARCH 513 Seminar in Renaissance & Baroque Architecture

ARCH 515 Architecture History of American Communities

ARCH 517 Development of Contemporary Architecture Thought

ARCH 563 Soc/Beh Research Designed Env

ARCH 576 Architectural Design Seminar

ARCH 577 Theory of Architecture

ARCH 580 Advance Sustainability Principles

ARCH 588 Urban Design Seminar

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