No Master

A peer driven "Master's Degree" study program.

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    #1 No Master - "Master Degree" - No School

    Christine Pierron
    Mar 27, '13 12:15 PM EST


    No Master is a concept for a peer driven study program aiming to capture the benefits gained from an accredited master’s program without the accredited school program. Aimed at working architects (or given these economic times – not currently working) and design professionals who wish to develop their professional growth.


    Why “No Master?” A play on words and ideas:

    1.  the obvious, architects without a master’s degree.
    2. also fairly obvious, since there is no school or teachers but a peer review process, there are no masters, just students as equals.
    3. archi – tect, “master builder.” A stretch, but just go with it.
    4. Ronin – “master-less samurai” also used In Japan as a term for a secondary school graduate who has not yet been admitted to university also “socially adrift.” – etymology “wave man” That’s the cool one.

    The initial concept is to create the No Master program by doing. Hopefully a handful of qualified participants (at least) will be involved at a significant level at the outset to “take classes” together and use these experiences as the testing grounds for establishing the No Master process. 


    If you are asking -  “What’s the point of doing this if there is no accreditation?” then you have come to the wrong place. No Master is for those who want to expand their understanding and knowledge and are open to this pursuit without the badge of M.Arch. We all have our reasons for not going to an accredited masters program, mostly expense and/or work and family, but feel the need to continue our professional and personal growth and see the value in a group effort.

    What No Master might be: At the very least it can be a loose on-line study group for individuals taking one or more of the free open course classes available or creating our own projects. Providing the crucial interaction needed to make learning vibrant. Architecture is, after all, a social activity.


    But, hopefully, No Master can be much more than this, a formalized process of study and peer review with a curriculum and an end point that replicates the accomplishment of the M.Arch.

    The learning process is in flux with new opportunities such as MOOC’s,, Coursera, and others. No Master doesn’t have to be just an avenue for personal growth, but could quickly evolve into a new method for gaining an architectural “degree” without the brick and mortar school.

    This concept is blossoming with organizations like that creates an alternative method to describe a person’s abilities that includes all their educational experiences not just their accredited degrees.


    This Archinect Blog is the initial effort into making No Master happen. A Facebook page is also being put together with the expectation that this blog can morph over to it as the concept grows.

    Your thoughts and interest would be much appreciated. Even the anticipated negative ones will hopefully create a lively debate and hone the No Master concept.


    • mfrech

      i love this idea.  being an architect not in need of an M.Arch, this is just what i'm looking for. bring the rigor!

      Mar 29, 13 2:07 pm  · 

      Awesome sauce! I know we are out there. Hopefully a few more but I'm ready to get this thing started!

      Mar 29, 13 10:59 pm  · 

      I'm definitely geared towards this kind of idea. Question though, in a world that makes its coin based on acronyms, certificates, badges of whatever, does this become useful if you were looking to get a uni job?

      Mar 30, 13 8:55 am  · 

      Right now, no. But, done right No Master may end up with "value." I'm going to write about just this idea for the next blog posting early next week and would really appreciate your thoughts. This is only going to work if many of us get involved.

      Mar 30, 13 1:11 pm  · 

      Very interesting idea! As someone who is now in debt because of my Master's degree but also has valuable real professional work experience, I can say that I learned just as much from both. There's also something really attractive about the idea of discovering knowledge and scholarship for yourself and through peer review instead of just absorbing what a chorus  of academic elites want to feed you. There is such a thing as "group think" which can happen in the academic arena and whoever differs is an outsider. I hope this co-op of learners will welcome all design point of views because I think that, even if no one is converted to another's point of view, everyone learns more when they are exposed to more ideas rather than fewer.

      Apr 2, 13 5:51 pm  · 

      Btw excellent name! Words are so important these days.

      Apr 2, 13 5:52 pm  · 

      Thanks Stephanie for the good thoughts. I really agree. I'm putting together a new post with some ideas about how this all might work. I'm hoping to post for a couple weeks to give time for more people see it, and then, hopefully, there will be a handful of us to start a "test run" with a course. 

      For everyone who has shown interest - please be looking at the MIT for a course that you think might be a good start (or any other sources you are aware of). I'm thinking we start with something fairly easy so we can also focus on working out the No Master bugs.

      Thanks Oakhay! The name still makes me giggle a bit.

      Apr 2, 13 11:06 pm  · 

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About this Blog

No Master is a concept for a peer driven study program aiming to capture the benefits of an accredited master’s program without the school. Aimed at working architects and design professionals who wish to develop their professional growth. No Master - play on words: 1 Architects (master builders) without a master’s degree. 2 No school or teachers but but a peer review process, no masters just students 3 Ronin - masterless samurai, term for a secondary school graduate not admitted to university.

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