Carnegie Mellon’s new Master of Architecture (M.Arch) is a studio-based, first professional degree program to educate tomorrow's leaders in architecture-related careers. 

It combines CMU’s 100-year tradition of training architects in the broad core competencies needed to become practicing professionals, and the opportunity to engage with the SoA’s long-standing expertise in sustainable, computational, and public interest design. Students can take electives, do specialized research and speculation, or even obtain another degree in these areas. Our M.Arch program’s strategically small size allows students to shape their individual educational agendas and career paths as they interact directly with leading-edge research projects in the school and community, and around the world.

View the innovative M.Arch Curriculum.

What Distinguishes the M.Arch at CMU?

Pittsburgh: the City Everyone is Talking About
Where better to study architecture than in a venerable city with both an industrial heritage and a tech-driven future? The buzz you’ve heard is true: one of the USA’s most livable, affordable, green innovation hubs provides the perfect home and laboratory for research, design, working and living.

Small Program Size
Our small, focused program facilitates close interactions among faculty and students, easy access to our state-of-the-art research and fabrication facilities, and personalized learning and research. In our cohesive, immersive atelier-model studios and beyond, opportunities are enabled from the bottom up, rather than prescribed from the top down.

Integration of Arts and Tech
One of the world’s preeminent technical research universities, Carnegie Mellon has long offered students leading-edge learning experiences at the intersection of the arts and technology—allowing them to create successful futures in careers only they can envision. In SoA’s M.Arch program, technology is more than a technique or tool: we emphasize digital workflows and the seamless integration of computation, systems analysis, and data into our creative design processes.

SoA's Design Fabrication (dFAB) and Applied Architectural Robotics Laboratory

SoA's Design Fabrication (dFAB) and
Applied Architectural Robotics Laboratory

Integration of Design and Research
M.Arch students are immersed in Carnegie Mellon’s and SoA’s longstanding culture of research and design innovation. We relentlessly focus on excellent design and on scientific, research-based methods, forging transdisciplinary connections, speculations, and architectural solutions for the built environment. M.Arch students have access to a host of learning and research spaces, including the Intelligent Workplace, Computational Design (Code) Lab, Design Fabrication Lab, and the Urban Design Build Studio’s PROJECT RE_.

Advanced Standing
The M.Arch curriculum affords opportunities to pursue specialty coursework associated with other SoA master's programs in three areas of SoA expertise: computational design (MSCD), sustainable design (MSSD), and public interest design (MUD or MSAECM).  Students can take electives during the M.Arch to reduce the time and expense of obtaining another specialized master's degree in the SoA.


CMU's M.Arch program is open to all students with a baccalaureate degree in any field. Generous financial aid is available to the most qualified candidates. 

The program is offered in two tracks:

  • Track 1: 3 years / 6 semesters / full-time, for applicants without architecture experience; or
  • Track 2: advanced standing / 2 years / 4 semesters / full-time, for applicants with a rigorous 4-year pre-professional degree in architecture, or an equivalent in a closely related field, or professional experience. 

For enrollment in the 2017-18 academic year, admission will be limited to students who qualify for the advanced standing, 2-year track (Track 2 described above). 

We are looking for candidates from a variety of degree programs and experience levels, including non-traditional backgrounds, with a passion to study architecture. We encourage all applicants to pursue broad, interdisciplinary undergraduate studies before applying in order to develop critical thinking about architecture’s rich and complex connections to other fields. Although there are no specific course requirements needed to apply, we encourage students to pursue design-related experience of any kind; to engage with art, both studying and making it; to develop an interest in making things and a fascination with how things go together, especially the construction of buildings.

A rigorous, individualized evaluation of each incoming student, as well as a closely guided mentoring process throughout the curriculum, determines the minimum course requirements for each student needed to meet NAAB accreditation standards for a first professional degree. 

Complete applications will be evaluated as they are received. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit complete applications well in advance of the January 15 application deadline for evaluation by our graduate admission committee.


The National Architecture Accreditation Board (NAAB) grants candidacy status to new programs that have developed viable plans for achieving initial accreditation. Candidacy status indicates that a program should be accredited within 6 years of achieving candidacy, if its plan is properly implemented. Specifically, in May 2016, CMU submitted to the NAAB its “Plan for Achieving Initial Accreditation” for the M.Arch program. In July 2016, the NAAB determined that the M.Arch program was eligible for initial candidacy. The current anticipated time for NAAB Initial Accreditation for the M.Arch program is Feb. 2020.  Because NAAB “Initial Accreditation” is retroactive, subject to fulfillment of the “Plan for Achieving Initial Accreditation” for the M.Arch, CMU currently anticipates (but does not represent or guarantee) that the degrees awarded in May 2019 to the inaugural M.Arch class will be accredited.

Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts

Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts


For more information about CMU's M.Arch program and the generous financial support available to the most qualified candidates, please contact Prof. Kai Gutschow, M.Arch Track Chair.

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