Graduate School Options with Unaccredited Architecture Degree


Hello everyone,

I'm a third year architecture student, and Graduate School is slowly creeping towards me. I've been doing a bit of research regarding potential graduate programs I would be interesting in applying to next year. The majority of the programs I am interested in offer two options for completing the Master of Architecture (MArch) professional degree - M.Arch I and M.Arch II. The first option - M.Arch I - is a three year degree, while the second option - M.Arch II - is a two year degree. Now, in order to be accepted into a M.Arch II, prospective students must hold a bachelors of science in architecture, and this is where my questions begin.

The M.Arch II requires a pre-professional bachelors of science in architecture degree, but many of the schools do not specify whether or not the degree has to be from an accredited architecture program. Being that my BS in Architecture is not from an accredited program, this is a big concern for me. I read that an undergraduate degree received at an institution that is not accredited will most likely not be accepted for admission by an accredited graduate school, or the graduate school will require the student to take the 3 year M.Arch I option. For example, according to Ball State University's website. "Option 1 - the two year degree- is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in architecture from universities offering an accredited architecture program or its equivalent. 


On the other hand, I know of past students from the University I attend being admitted into two year programs. Also, some representatives of Graduate Programs have stated that their school will admit students with an unaccredited BS of Architecture degree into the two-year option. But, other representatives have said it's a toss up between the two-year and three-year routes, and the students portfolio determines which option the student is placed in. All of conflicting information has left me a bit confused about the admission requirements for a two-year M.Arch II degree.

Being that I would like to take the two-year, M.Arch II route, does the fact that my Bachelor's of Science in Architecture will not be from an institution that is not accredited cripple my Graduate School options? Do Graduate Programs ONLY accept students with accredited Bachelors of Science degrees from accredited schools? Will I have to take the three-year M.Arch I route? Is it at the discretion of each program as to whether or not a student with a BS of Architecture from an unaccredited program is admitted into a two-year or three-year program? 


Nov 15, 12 3:30 am

Correction: I'm aware I made a mistake in my terminology. The M.Arch II is actually a post-professional degree. When referring to the "M.Arch II" in my post, I was referencing to the two-year M.Arch I option. 

Nov 15, 12 5:39 am

If you would like to eventually become a licensed architect, you need to look into getting whichever degree is NAAB-accredited, which I believe would be a M.Arch I.

Nov 15, 12 6:25 am

why waste time going for an unaccredited degree?  most of us would even skip an accredited program if it wasnt a requirement to become a licensed architect someday.

And most grad schools dont require you to have an architecture degree from an accredited program..  they dont even require you to have a degree in architecture... just have a kickass portfolio, test scores, recommendation letters etc

Nov 15, 12 10:17 am

I've always thought MArch II is for students with BArch degree, not BS in Arch degree. Kids with BS in Arch usually get some advance placement in MArch I program.  I've just checked out GSA and Yale websites, and that's what they are asking, but who knows? I've been out of school so long...

Nov 15, 12 12:28 pm

it's my understanding that there are 3 common paths, which are:

the 5 year accredited bachelor

4+2 (or 2+2+2) which is a non-accredited architecture degree (B. Science in Architecture or similar, last i was paying attention NAAB or NCARB didn't specify what to call the degree) and then a 2 year masters program.

4+3 which is an unrelated undergrad degree and 3 year masters program

some schools may be replacing the 5 year bach. degree with a 5 year masters degree because they think they're better than everyone else.

Nov 15, 12 1:06 pm

ha, I meant GSD, duh.

I think you're right, curtkram; I've been hearing that 5-year BArch is a dying breed... but then I wonder what will happen to MArch II programs, which usually require BArch degree.

Nov 15, 12 1:51 pm

curtkram got it just about right, other than some un accredited architectural schools are going to require you to follow the 4 + 3 path.  My degree was from an un accredited school, and I was offered several options from various schools for my MArch, ranging from a standard 2 year, to an abbreviated 3 + program.   If you have any questions about my path, let me know.

Nov 15, 12 4:20 pm
Dr. Architecture

As one who formerly worked at NAAB - National Architectural Accrediting Board, may I suggest that you pursue the NAAB accredited Master of Architecture with your undergraduate pre-professional degree in architecture.

Architecture programs have made the process much more challenging my offering the MArch I vs. the MArch II.  These usually differ in the academic background necessary for admission.

If all else fails, visit - or contact the institution to which you are interested.


Nov 20, 12 11:47 am

Sounds like you would have to go for the 3yr MArch II.  I followed a similar route. I received a BS in Architecture (4yr)  then MArch (3yr), but I worked with my advisor and I was able to be exempt from some classes (mostly building systems classes).  I provided class descriptions and transcripts to show that I had already taken (in undergrad) an almost identical class that they were requiring.  So I actually ending up finishing the MArch in 2.5yrs.

Nov 20, 12 1:17 pm

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