Montana State University

School of Architecture

School of Architecture

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173760
Bozeman, MT 59717-3760
Tel: (406) 994-4256


Steven P. Juroszek, Interim Director
John C. Brittingham, Interim Associate Director

Graduate Program Coordinator

John C. Brittingham


    • J. Brittingham; architectural design, theory.
    • R. Johnson; architectural design, history, theory.
    • S. Juroszek; design, graphics.
    • P.C. Kommers; architectural design, theory.
    • H.E. Sorenson, Jr.; delineation, architectural design.
    • T.R. Wood; architectural design, environmental technology.

Associate Professors

    • M.E. O'Neill; architectural design.

Assistant Professors

    • M. Everts; design, professional practice.
    • Z. Karczewska; design, graphics.
    • C. Livingston; design, building construction.
    • B. Wrightsman. Everts; design, structures.

Degree Offered

M. of Architecture

The School of Architecture professional curriculum leads to a Master of Architecture degree, a professional degree program in architecture fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The design studio forms the core of architectural education, and every student makes a significant design studio commitment each semester.

In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Master's degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.


Admission into the architecture graduate program is highly competitive. The school is able to admit approximately 70 graduate students per year, many of whom represent the best students from our own undergraduate B.A. in Environmental Design program. However, a limited number of spaces are available for highly qualified students with undergraduate degrees from other universities. Placement may vary depending upon the student's background; students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture will be considered, and must, if accepted, complete a full course of study in design studio.

Portfolio review is of primary importance to the School of Architecture's application review committee. All applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their best work that is reviewed by the school’s faculty. In addition, students accepted into the graduate architecture program must meet one of the following criteria, as established by the Division of Graduate Education :

A. 3.0 overall average GPA for full admission.

B. 2.75 - 2.999 overall average GPA. Applicants will be reviewed on an individual basis.

C. Those with professional experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Application Submittal Requirements

Prior to June 1, applicants for the fall semester must submit the following documents to the School of Architecture:

1. Portfolio of architectural work sufficient to demonstrate the student’s ability and achievement in architecture. Portfolio form and format are left to the discretion of the student, though the portfolio must be suitable for review by a committee. NOTE: For return of the portfolio, please submit a suitable mailing receptacle and sufficient postage. We cannot guarantee its return; portfolios have been lost in transit.

2. Written statement outlining the student’s background, professional goals, and specific interests in pursuing graduate education in architecture at Montana State.

3. Graduate Application for Admission form as required by the Division of Graduate Education. This is the "blue" form. NOTE: International students must submit the International Graduate Application for Admission form and follow the instructions therein. This is the "green" form.

4.Cumulative GPA calculation form required by the Division of Graduate Education .

5. Three letters of reference on the Personal Reference Form enclosed with the application materials.

6. Official results of the Graduate Record Examination.

7. $50.00 non-refundable application fee, payable to Montana State University.

Expected Placement for Students with an Undergraduate Degree in an Architecture Related Field, Environmental Design, or Architectural Studies

If you have an undergraduate 4-year degree in architectural studies or environmental design and are admitted to the Master of Architecture program, you will be placed at an appropriate point in the architecture curriculum and can expect to pursue a series of rigorous design studios, specialized courses in advanced architecture, a thesis research course and the architectural thesis, in order to be granted the Master of Architecture degree. Students entering with excellent portfolios can expect to complete the Master of Architecture degree in two to four semesters.

Expected Placement for Students with an Undergraduate Degree in Other Fields

If you have an undergraduate degree in another field and desire to study architecture at Montana State, you will be expected to complete the full ten semesters of design studio. Advanced placement can be made depending on the quality of your portfolio that may demonstrate equivalent achievement. You will be placed as a "Second-Degree Student" until the prerequisites for graduate study have been completed. Upon successful completion of the required prerequisites, you can be advanced to "graduate degree" status.

Dates to Remember

June 1 - Deadline for submittal to School of Architecture of portfolio, application forms, GRE scores for Fall admittance.
November 25 - Deadline for submittal to School of Architecture of portfolio, application forms, GRE scores for Spring admittance.
March 20 - Deadline for submittal to School of Architecture of portfolio, application forms, GRE scores for Summer admittance.

Submittal Address for all Application Materials and Portfolio Graduate Placement, School of Architecture, Montana State University, PO Box 173760, 160 Cheever Hall, Bozeman, Montana 59717-3760

For Further Information

Fill out the online form available at the MSU Division of Graduate Education website

Program Requirements

The Master of Architecture professional degree is offered under Plan A and Plan B. For students entering the graduate program in AY 2008-09, thirty (30) credits of coursework are required, including ten (10) credits of thesis and thesis presentation for Plan A. For students entering the graduate program in AY 2009-10, forty-two (42) credits of coursework are required including ten (10) credits of thesis and thesis presentation for Plan A.

Once accepted into the Master of Architecture program, students have two paths which they may follow—Plan A which includes a thesis and requires students to successfully complete ARCH 590 Master’s Thesis or Plan B which substitutes a graduate level design studio, Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio, for a Master’s Thesis.

The graduate thesis project (Plan A), with expectations of students to address contemporary theoretical issues in architecture and urban design, is a significant capstone experience for entering the profession. The topic for the architectural, urban design project or architectural research project, based on original thought and inquiry, is selected by the student and approved by the thesis committee.

The Plan A Program is a traditional thesis plan where 10 credits of thesis are required on the program of study. A 4 credit research semester and a 6 credit design semester comprise the 10 credit requirement. All thesis credits are taken pass/fail and a thesis defense is required.

The Plan B Program will require a 6 credit studio course instead of a thesis and the program of study will still include 30 credits minimum (42 credits starting AY 2009-2010). Students will enroll in the Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio with an instructor. Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio is best described as a programmatically complex problem with an underlying agenda or theoretical component. Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio is required for all graduate students opting for Plan B.

Plan A Students:

Plan A Thesis students will be required to be in the top 1/3 of their class unless a petition is granted.

Plan A thesis students would be required to write a substantive proposal and find two full-time faculty members who share expertise in the area of research outlined in the proposal. A third faculty member would be assigned to the committee by the Graduate Program Director. The proposal will also be reviewed by the Graduate School Admissions Committee.

Thesis proposals will be due on the first day of fall semester.

Reviews with Advisors will include three scheduled reviews with full committee. These three reviews will be scheduled and coordinated by the thesis student. All three reviews will occur prior to the Closed Door Thesis Defense.

Closed Door Thesis Defense would occur at least 14 days prior to end of semester.

Full committee of three will sit on Thesis Defense with the School Director and the Graduate Program Director acting as observers.

Thesis Defense will be graded Pass/Fail. A minimum of two votes will be required for a Pass with concurrence from either one or both of the observers.

Open Thesis Presentation will occur during final exam week. In addition to committee members, reviewers might include mentor advisory committee members, local practitioners, architecture faculty, etc. This review would be more celebratory in nature. At this time a student may receive a “Commend” with a majority concurrence of the final reviewers.

 A three year limitation will be placed on thesis as it allows for a student to take one year off for financial reason. Also, students need to make satisfactory progress (as deemed by Committee) with their project.

Plan B Students:

Plan B students will take the 6 credit ARCH 558 Advanced Building Studio in lieu of doing a Thesis.

Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio would be complex programmatically with some type of theoretical component or agenda.

Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio would be graded on 4 point scale.


1. All graduate students will be required to receive a minimum grade of “B” (3.0) in any Option Studio. Failure to receive a “B” will result in the student needing to take another Option Studio.

2. All Plan B students would be required to receive a minimum grade of 3.0 in the Advanced Building Studio. Failure to receive a 3.0 will result in the student needing to take another Advanced Building Studio. A student may only have two opportunities to pass the Arch 558 Advanced Building Studio similar to a thesis student having only two opportunities to pass the closed door defense and the comprehensive examination.

3. Neither Arch 450 Community Design Center nor Arch 414 Foreign Study Abroad are allowed to substitute for any graduate level studio.

4. Students who received credit for ARCH 458 Architectural Design VI as part of the Remote Studio option can not repeat the Remote Studio option to satisfy ARCH 551 Advanced Architectural Studio. However, students may repeat the Remote Studio option to receive graduate electives.

All students continue to meet with the Graduate Program Coordinator or Administrative Support staff throughout their fifth year to track their progress toward completion of the Master program. The program study will be developed with the advisor, approved by the committee and be submitted to the Division of Graduate Education by the add deadline of the first semester of attendance. Final approval of the program and committee rests with the Graduate Office. Students may change courses or committee members on the program by completing a Program Change or Change of Committee form. All College of Graduate Study transfer credit policies apply to M Arch students.

The student is expected to be familiar with both School of Architecture and Division of Graduate Education degree requirements. Refer to the For Master's Students section for additional information.

Required Courses*

Semester I

ARCH 557

Architectural Design V**

6 credits

Graduate Electives**

6 credits

Total Semester I** 12 credits

Semester II

ARCH 551

Advanced Architectural Studio

6 credits
ARCH 590 Master's Thesis 4 credits (Plan A Only)

Graduate Electives

9 credits

Total Semester II 15 credits

Semester III

ARCH 558

Advanced Building Studio

6 credits (Plan B Only)
ARCH 590 Master's Thesis 6 credits (Plan A Only)

Graduate Electives

9 credits

Total Semester III 15 credits

* Students must have completed 45 non-architecture credits to receive their Master of Architecture degree. These credits can occur at the undergraduate or graduate level.

** Beginning AY 2009-2010 the Master of Architecture degree program will require 42 graduate level credits. ARCH 557 Architectural Design V will be offered for the first time in AY 2009-2010. Students starting the Master of Architecture program prior to AY 2009-2010 and who have completed ARCH 457 Architectural Design V as part of their undergraduate program will be required to take only the 30 graduate level credits listed in Semester II and III above.

Financial Assistance

Students should contact the director of the school for information regarding the availability of assistantships. See the Graduate Assistantship section for detailed information on appointment criteria.

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