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  • Professional Practice of Architecture Graduate Certificate


It's not about doing the same thing better, it's about doing something new. Creative skills for managing people, projects and budgets can transform a talented individual into a leader in the profession. This nine-month, 15-credit online program will give you a foundation of solid business skills while you explore creative and visionary ways to think about the contemporary practice of architecture.

The program follows an academic year model. In fall, students enroll in the program's core course, Leading and Managing the Human and Financial Enterprise, followed in the spring by Leadership of Professional Practice and 'synthesis of Architectural Practice, which includes a capstone project that is presented on the MSU campus to professionals from the field. For the capstone, students engage in a problem-based scenario derived from their existing or anticipated architectural practice opportunities.

Throughout the program, students will work closely with MSU faculty to enhance their business management abilities; practice their leadership skills; discover non-traditional creative uses of the architect's skill set; and explore the leading edge of traditional practice.

All coursework and case studies are based on solving real-world issues and challenging professionals to explore new ways of thinking about business and professional practice.

After completing the transcripted graduate certificate, students may choose to continue on and apply their 15 credits toward the 30-credit Professional Master of Science and Engineering Management graduate degree.

Watch this webinar (recorded on August 1, 2013) to learn more.

Webinar questions and answers (August 1, 2013)


The 15-credit program consists of:

  • three online courses
  • a capstone project, which is presented at MSU to leaders in the field

The coursework supports career advancement and continuing education requirements.

Tuition and Fees

  • Tuition: $266.50 per credit
  • Program Fee: $258.50 per credit
  • Computer Fee: $3.65 per credit
  • Distributed Learning Fee: $45 per credit
  • Registration Fee: $30 per semester registered


  • Bachelor's degree in architecture or related field
  • Completion of MSU Graduate School criteria
  • Two or more years of full-time employment in architecture or related field



Ralph Johnson

Professor Ralph Johnson, AIA, APA

Professor Ralph Johnson, AIA, APA has been a practicing architect and planner since 1970. He brings not only his academic insights but a wealth of professional experience from creating, owning, and managing small to large professional service offices engaged in architecture, urban design, planning, design build, and real estate development to his teaching.

Michael Everts

Michael Everts, AIA

 Michael Everts, AIA has taught professional practice, design, and special topic courses at MSU since 2003. Previous to MSU, he practiced in Milwaukee, New York, and Chicago. He has been a licensed architect for 25 years. He advocates architecture as an instrument of positive change: socially and environmentally. Currently, he is working with colleagues and students on design/ build initiatives internationally and locally.



The program follows an academic-year model.

Term Course   Description
MSEM 501: Business Core Course
Leading and Managing the Human and Financial Enterprise*
(9 credits, 18 weeks)

August - December
This course will develop and enhance your business management skills as they relate to the technical, scientific, or professional enterprise. The course topics will be delivered in an integrated fashion using multiple instructors with expertise in several areas. The course will focus on the following three areas:
  1. Leading People
  2. Leading the Financial Enterprise
  3. Leading New Product Development
ARCH 510:
Leadership in Professional Practice**
(3 credits, 10 weeks)

January - March
This online course presents leadership strategies in the professional practice of architecture, how architecture fits among associated professionals and the opportunities for professional engagement relative to the encapsulated expertise of an architectural office. Key learning topics include the architect's skill set, non-traditional creative uses of the architect's skill set, the leading edge of traditional practice, virtual building technologies and their relationship to practice.
ARCH 519:
Synthesis of Architectural Practice**
(3 credits, 8 weeks)
Online with face-to-face presentation at conclusion

March - May
Students will engage in a problem-based scenario derived from existing or anticipated architectural practice opportunities. Participants will create actual deliverables, including business models, financial models, business rules and success factors. This course is based on solving real-world case studies involving complex challenges and introducing new business strategies. This course includes a research thesis capstone project that will be presented to a diverse audience of industry leaders.

*This course is affiliated with the Professional Master of Science and Engineering Management program and is taught by instructors from the MSU College of Business.

** This course is developed and taught by the MSU School of Architecture and is uniquely designed for this program.


Applicants for the certificate program are accepted Feb 15-Jun 15.

(The "Leadership in Professional Practice" course is offered with open enrollment. Applicants for this course only must register through Extended University before the course begins.)

To apply:

  1. Send:
    • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
    • a one-page narrative outlining areas of interest and how completing the Professional Practice of Architecture Graduate Certificate program will help you achieve your aspirations in professional practice
    • your resume showing 2 or more years of related professional work experience
    • Two (2) letters of recommendation in sealed and signed envelopes from professionals in your field and familiar with your work experience
    • TOEFL scores (required only for international students whose native language is not English) Minimum scores and more information


Lisa Brown
Program Manager
Extended University
Montana State University
Culbertson 200
P.O. Box 172200
Bozeman, MT 59717-2200

  1. Fill out an MSU graduate school application ($60)
    • If you choose to fill out the paper application, send it to Lisa Brown at Extended University. Address above.
    • On the online application, for the educational goal, please scroll down the dropbox to the very bottom Interdisciplinary Section. Select Professional Practice of Architecture Certificate.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

MSU's Gainful Employment Disclosure.

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