The NAAB-accredited M.Arch program at RWU provides a rigorous professional training in design, history, planning, and technology while helping students develop critical strategic thinking and communication skills to tackle a range of issues from sustainability and urbanism to historic preservation. Students learn from Practicing Firms in Residence, earn valuable experience in guaranteed paid internships and assistantships, and even have the opportunity to study abroad.

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Master of Architecture Program

Program Brochure

RWU School of Architecture, Art, and Historic Preservation Overview Video

The Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) program prepares students to enter and advance both the discipline and the profession of architecture. Students achieve a depth of understanding of the components of architectural practice and of the diverse nature and variety of roles for architects in relation to other fields. The program encourages the mastery and skillful integration of environmental, social, historical, artistic, technical and philosophical concerns into carefully developed designs that enhance their context through the region, the site, spaces, and detail. Our students and faculty embrace the opportunity to express human values through the design of the built environment. 

Key Features

  • Career Investment Program - Available to all M.Arch students, the Career Investment Program provides a paid internship or assistantship each year you are in the program.
  • Teaching Firms in ResidenceGraduate architectural design studios are taught by a group of lead architects from a top firm each semester.
  • Study Abroad OpportunitiesTake advantage of an opportunity to study abroad in top destinations like Barcelona and Beijing as a graduate student all without losing time toward your degree.
  • Women's Leadership NetworkRWU is committed to furthering the work of women in the architecture field with this innovative network that provides mentoring, guest lectures, and more.
  • Samsung Design Studio and rCloud - Studio space with individual Samsung flat-panel monitors for all students and access to more than 100 software packages in a state-of-the-art virtual environment called rCloud complement a rich architecture curriculum at RWU.

Architecture Pathways

We offer three distinct pathways to the Master of Architecture program. Students in each path develop individualized degree plans to maximize their skills, interests and time to completion, including summer study options.

Path 1

Path One provides a continuous sequence from undergraduate to graduate study leading to the Master of Architecture professional degree, for students who have completed Roger Williams University's B.S. in Architecture program. Path One students normally complete this 181-credit sequence in 5-1/2 to 6 years from the beginning of their undergraduate studies.

Path 2

Path Two provides advanced entry to the Master of Architecture professional degree for students from other universities who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree in Architecture. Individualized placement occurs following an evaluation of the student's undergraduate transcript and portfolio for completion of NAAB Student Performance Criteria. Path Two students normally complete a 56-credit, full time sequence over four semesters of study. For degree requirements and elective offerings, refer to Path 3.

Path 3

Path Three provides entry to the Master of Architecture professional degree for students who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree in fields other than architecture. Students normally finish this 91-credit full-time program in three years and one summer. Some additional prerequisites in math, physics, and drawing may also be required.


The Master of Architecture program is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Read more about the accreditation.

In the News: September 14, 2018: RWU's Master of Architecture Program Reaccredited with Distinction 

Roger Williams University offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:
M. Arch. (pre-professional degree + 38 graduate credits)
Next accreditation visit: 2026

STEM Designation

The Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program at Roger Williams University is a STEM-designated program in Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology eligible under the CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) Code 04.0902. The STEM designation allows F-1 international students who graduate from the RWU M.Arch the ability to apply for a 24-month extension of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization in the United States, up to 36 months in total. Architecture was officially recognized as a STEM subject by the U.S. Congress as part of the 2018 reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006.


Degree Requirements


ARCH101Foundations of Architecture 
ARCH121History of Art and Architecture I 
ARCH122History of Art and Architecture II 
VARTS101Foundations of Drawing 

The design studio sequence consists of core studios, advanced undergraduate studios, comprehensive design studio, graduate studios, and a final graduate thesis design studio. The Core consists of five sequential semesters addressing fundamental architectural design issues, and graphic skills. This is followed by one semester of advanced architectural design studio and one advanced topical studio in urban issues. At the graduate level, students undertake comprehensive design studio, and two additional graduate topical studios, before exploring a thesis topic of their own choosing for the final semester of the professional degree program.

ARCH113Architectural Design Core Studio I 
ARCH114Architectural Design Core Studio II 
ARCH213Architectural Design Core Studio III 
ARCH214Architectural Design Core Studio IV 
ARCH313Architectural Design Core Studio V 
ARCH413Advanced Architectural Design Studio 
ARCH416Advanced Topical Design Studio: Urban 
ARCH513Comprehensive Project Design Studio 
ARCH515Graduate Architectural Design Studio (two studios) 
ARCH613Graduate Thesis Design Studio 

The History/Theory sequence is a three-part structure of required introductory and intermediate courses, and advanced elective options. Students complete a two-course introductory survey of Art and Architectural History, followed by a History of Modern Architecture and Theory of Architecture requirements, one intermediate course in the History of Architecture chosen from a broad menu of options, and one advanced elective option. 

AAH121-122History ofArt and Architecture I-II 
ARCH325History of Modern Architecture 
ARCH322Theory of Architecture 

and ONE Intermediate History/Theory Elective:



ARCH324Evolution of Urban Form 
ARCH327History of American Architecture 
ARCH328Renaissance Architecture in Perspective 
ARCH329History of Landscape Architecture 
AAH313Arts and Architecture of Africa 
AAH321Arts and Architecture in the Classical World 
AAH322Arts and Architecture in the Medieval World 
AAH323Arts and Architecture in the Islamic World 
AAH330Topics in Art and Architectural History 
HP341Pre-Industrial America 
HP342Industrial America 
HP351History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation 



and ONE Advanced History/Theory Elective:

ARCH478Dutch Architecture: The Enduring 20th Century Legacy 
ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture 
AAH530Special Topics (selected topics) 
AAH560The Newport Seminar 
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective 
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture and Urbanism 
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism 
ARCH577The American Skyscraper 
HP351History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation 
HP391Architecture and Historic Preservation Abroad 
HP530Special Topics in Historic Preservation 

Environment and Human Behavior
Environment and Human Behavior coursework develops student's skills and understanding relative to environment, social aspects and research methodology.

ARCH321Site and Environment 
ARCH522Environmental Design Research 

Technical Systems
The Technical Systems sequence gives students an essential understanding of the practical and theoretical interrelationship between the structural, environmental and enclosure systems of a building, and introduces them to various building materials, assemblies and services. Students complete seven required courses, including a three course structures sequence and two courses each in Construction Materials and Assemblies and in Environmental Systems.

ARCH335Structure, Form, and Order 
ARCH434Design of Structures I 
ARCH435Design of Structures II 
ARCH231-331Construction Materials and Assemblies I and II 
ARCH332Acoustics and Lighting 
ARCH333Building Systems: Electrical for Buildings 

Practice and Professional Development
Practice and Professional Development coursework develops students' communication skills and understanding of the role of architects within society and in relation to the various participants in the building process. This sequence culminates with the Graduate Thesis Seminar, where students are asked to formulate an independent architectural investigation that engages a set of issues that further their understanding of Architecture as a cultural medium and as a profession. 

VARTS101Foundations of Drawing 
ARCH101Foundations of Architecture 
ARCH287Computer Applications in Design 
ARCH488Computer Applications for Professional Practice 
ARCH542Professional Practice 
ARCH641Graduate Thesis Research Seminar 

Architecture Electives Requirement
In addition to the elective options outlined above in History/Theory, the completion of four Architecture Electives is required for graduation, with a minimum of three at the Graduate Level (500 level or above). 

Mathematics Requirement
Math 136 Precalculus or MATH 213 Calculus I and Lab are required for all Architecture majors, and are a prerequisite for required courses in the structures sequence. Successful completion of one of these courses also fulfills the University's Core requirement in mathematics. Students are encouraged to complete the highest level of mathematics that they place into, in recognition of the fact some Roger Williams University minors and graduate study options at other universities may require calculus. Students seeking to complete a Minor in Structural Engineering must complete MATH 213 Calculus I and Lab.

Science Requirement
Architecture majors are required to complete PHYS 109-Physics I-Algebra Based and Lab or PHYS 201-Physics I-Calculus Based and Lab or ENGR 210, and either CORE 101 Science or BIO 104-Biology II or NATSC 103-Earth Systems Science and Lab. Both BIO 104 and NATSC 103 count toward the Core Concentration and Minor in Sustainability Studies.

Degree Requirements


ARCH511Graduate Core Studio I - summer 
ARCH512Graduate Core Studio II 
ARCH413Advanced Architectural Design Studio 
ARCH515Graduate Architectural Design Studio I 
ARCH515Graduate Architectural Design Studio II 
ARCH513Comprehensive Project Design Studio 
ARCH613Graduate Thesis Design Studio 


ARCH501Elements and Principles of Architecture 
ARCH325History of Modern Architecture - summer 
ARCH322Theory of Architecture 
AAH300Intermediate Art & Architectural History Elective 
AAH400-500Advanced Art & Architectural History Elective 

Environment and Human Behavior

ARCH321Site and Environment 
ARCH522Environmental Design Research 

Technical Systems

ARCH231Construction Materials & Assemblies I 
ARCH331Construction Materials & Assemblies II 
ARCH335Structure, Form, and Order 
ARCH434Design of Structures I 
ARCH435Design of Structures II 
ARCH333Building Systems: Equipment for Buildings 
ARCH332Acoustics and Lighting 

Practice and Professional Development

ARCH287Introduction to Computer Applications 
ARCH488Computer Applications for Professional Practice 
ARCH542Professional Practice 
ARCH641Graduate Thesis Research Seminar 

Architecture Electives Requirement
In addition to the elective options outlined above in History/Theory, the completion of four Graduate Level (500 level or above) Architecture Electives is required for graduation.

BS in Architecture + Master of Architecture Program Estimate of Tuition, Fees, Specialized Materials

For 2021/22, Architecture students pursuing the BS in Architecture + Master of Architecture sequence can expect the following annual and total costs. 

Annual Costs

$43,872 per year Architecture tuition

$330 activity fee
$1000 per year estimate for books, supplies, specialized materials
$1399 (PC) -$2799 (Mac) Laptop--one time cost. All software is provided for free through the RWU rCloud.
$857 Architecture Toolkit --one time cost


$40,584 per year
$930 semester fees
$1000 per year estimated books/supplies

Total Costs (before scholarships or other aid)

$189,832 total estimate for four years of undergraduate study  
$85,028 total estimate for 2 years of graduate study
$274,860 total estimate for students pursuing the 4+2 BS in Architecture + Master of Architecture program sequence

Financial aid and scholarships are available for students pursuing the B.S. Architecture or Master of Architecture degrees.

Please consult the Office of the Bursar website for the most current and official tuition and fee information. 

Elective Offerings

History/Theory Advanced Level Course Options

ARCH475Frank Lloyd Wright: A Life's Work 
ARCH478Dutch Architecture: The Enduring 20th Century Legacy 
ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture 
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World: A Comparative Perspective 
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture and Urbanism 
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism 
ARCH577The American Skyscraper 
AAH430Special Topics in Art and Architectural History (selected topics) 
AAH530Special Topics in Art and Architectural History (selected topics) 
HP351History and Philosophy of Historic Preservation 
HP391Architecture and Historic Preservation Abroad 

Graduate Electives
Students are encouraged to look at these electives as a means to various concentrations within the M.S. in Architecture Program.

Sustainable Design

ARCH521Sustainable Design Seminar 
ARCH533Detailing the High-performance Envelope 
ARCH535Introduction to Proactive Simulation 
ARCH536Special Topics in Sustainable Design 
ARCH593Sustainable Paradigms 
ARCH594Urban Ecology 

Urban Design

ARCH524Evolution of Urban Form 
ARCH529History of Landscape Architecture 
ARCH537Special Topics in Urban Design 
ARCH561Landscape Architecture: Theory and Practice 
ARCH572Urban Design Theory 
HP682LPreservation Planning Workshop 

Digital Media

ARCH535Introduction to Proactive Simulation 
ARCH538Special Topics in Digital Media 
ARCH587Advanced Computer Applications in Design 
ARCH588Digital Manufacturing 
ARCH5894D (Four Dimensional) 

Historic Preservation

HP501Fundamentals of Historic Preservation 
HP525Preservation Economics 
HP526Preservation Law and Regulation 
HP582LArchitectural Conservation Lab 
HP681LHistoric Rehabilitation Workshop 
HP682LPreservation Planning Workshop 

Additional Architecture Electives

ARCH530Special Topics in Architecture 
ARCH573Modernism in the Non-Western World 
ARCH574Regionalism in Architecture 
ARCH575Contemporary Asian Architecture and Urbanism 
ARCH576Theoretical Origins of Modernism 
ARCH577The American Skyscraper 
ARCH606Field Research Seminar 
ARCH616Collaborative Workshop 
AAH560The Newport Seminar 

Open Houses

Join us to learn more about your program, the admission process, and financial aid at these informative events with faculty and Graduate Admission staff.

Saturday, January 8, 2022 | 11:00am - 1:30pm ET
Virtual Graduate Open House

Join us online to hear about admissions and financial aid, meet with faculty and students from the Architecture program, and more.

Register to Attend

Please visit for the most current information.

Virtual Information Sessions

Short on time or just want to learn more about us from the comfort of your home, school, or office? Join us for a Virtual Information Session.

Thursday, December 2, 2021 | 5:30 - 6:30pm ET
Virtual Information Session

Register to Attend

Please visit for the most current information on Open Houses and Virtual Sessions.

SAAHP Lecture Series

Each semester the school hosts lectures and exhibitions featuring notable people and their work from the region, country and world. Free and open to the public.

Check out upcoming lectures

Application Requirements

Applicants to the Master of Architecture program should submit the following items to the Office of Graduate Admission to be considered for admission. Materials do not have to be submitted together in one package. 

  1. Completed online application form accompanied by the $50 application fee
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework
  3. Letter of Intent (two double-spaced pages maximum) describing your interest in the Master of Architecture program, relevant past experiences and career goals
  4. Two letters of recommendation attesting to your potential to succeed in graduate school
  5. Portfolio containing examples of your work (submitted as hard copy, emailed to the Office of Graduate Admission, or submitted electronically through SlideRoom)
  6. Senior final semester schedule - non-RWU graduates only. To give you an accurate degree plan, you will need to submit a copy of your final semester schedule from your undergraduate studies if it is not represented on your transcript
  7. If your first language is not English, an official report of TOEFL or IELTS results.

The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is not required for admission. International applicants should also read additional requirements for non-U.S. residents.

Where appropriate, documents should be submitted online through the applicant portal or via email to Any official documents that must be mailed (i.e. transcripts) should be sent directly to:

Office of Graduate Admission
1 Old Ferry Rd.
Bristol, RI 02809

Have questions about the application process? Visit the How to Apply page from the Office of Graduate Admission.

Application Deadlines (Fall Admission)

Priority Deadline I - January 15th 

Priority Deadline II - March 1st

Final Deadline - May 1st 

Applications received for each of the priority deadlines will be guaranteed an admission decision within 30 days of that deadline and will receive priority consideration for financial aid. Students who miss the final deadline may contact the Office of Graduate Admission for consideration for admission on a space available basis. 

Scholarships and Institutional Aid

All accepted Master of Architecture students who completed their undergraduate degree with a 3.0 GPA will receive a $6,000 merit scholarship, renewable annually while maintaining a 3.0 GPA in graduate coursework. In addition, each full-time graduate student will be awarded a $3,000 assistantship through the Career Investment Program.

Master of Architecture students are also eligible for several endowed scholarships, including the Raj Saksena Memorial Scholarship, the Kaestle Boos Associates Scholarship, and several scholarships endowed through the American Institute of Architects Rhode Island.


Headshot of Brigida Capicotto

Design and Detail: A Career in Architecture

Brigida Capicotto, RWU Class of 2017, 2018M

Working as an Architectural Designer at KITE Architects, Capicotto makes her artistic visions come to life.

Read full story

Graduate Student Work

The work showcased are a representative sampling of the diverse projects and approaches our programs take. The work students produce is highly professional and encompasses the skills and knowledge base students need to succeed in the professional world. The student learning trajectory begins with introductory courses where students learn basic designs and concepts and progress in sophistication in later years:

an image in a Graduate Options Studios project by Alyssa HessGraduate Option Studios

Working closely with faculty members, including the Teaching Firms in Residence, students are asked to address current issues and themes.  Recent topics have included contemporary interventions in historic cities, innovation incubator facilities, speculative affordable housing, adaptive reuse, college campus design, tourism and habitat regeneration, ecological design, exploration of the legacies of slavery and the slave trade, and an interfaith community chapel. 


Integrated Design Studio

one of 20 images in an Integrated Design Studio project by Belgium Leuven

An opportunity for students to bring all the components of their education together. Students study a variety of sites and themes that vary from semester to semester, and, working in groups, will be asked to consider relevant precedents, analyze programmatic, structural and environmental systems, accessibility and life-safety issues, and consider building materials and assemblies selection with attention to sustainable design criteria. Each student prepares construction contract documentation, drawings and outline specifications for key components of the project. These are reviewed by a wide range of professionals from partner consultants and firms.



one of 15 images in a Thesis Design Studio project by Brigida CapicottoThesis Design Studio

The Graduate Thesis Design Studio offers students an opportunity to speculate propositions of their own interests about what architecture should be.  As the concluding studio in their formal education, students will demonstrate a competency at integrating building systems and materials, social, formal and urbanistic concerns into the design of a building.



Graduate Award & Scholarship Winners

The Graduate Design Studios are an opportunity for the student to choose among a wide range of topics, places, scales and work methodologies. The design process does not follow a linear path; the way in which site, context, program, tools are used and understood could take very different directions depending on the people leading the way.