Master of Science in Architecture
The Master of Science in Architecture (M.S.Arch.), formerly known as Master of Architecture II, is the School’s post-professional degree program. Launched in 2009, Cooper’s M.S.Arch. program extends the vision and intellectual rigor of the School’s undergraduate program and advances its preeminent role in the education of architects. The program is open to applicants with a professional degree in architecture (Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture I) from a program accredited by the NAAB or an equivalent accrediting agency abroad.
Applicants are required to complete a minimum of one year of work experience after obtaining their first professional degree before applying to the program. Design research forms the program’s core. Seminars address issues specific to the interdisciplinary environment of the graduate program, making use of The Cooper Union’s substantial resources.
While the M.S.Arch. program is studio based, concentrations in one or a combination of three areas are offered: theory, history, and criticism of architecture; urban studies; and technologies. The program offers opportunities for advanced research in an enlarged field of inquiry and allows students to craft their own agenda across diverse areas of study. Prospective students declare their area(s) of concentration during the application process.
In addition to two advanced design studios that culminate in a thesis project, graduate-level seminars and workshops offer an intensive one-year immersion in the criticism, history, and theory of architecture. Emphasis is placed on approaches to architectural analysis and history, the role and contemporary relevance of theory, and the relations between theory and design. Seminars help students prepare for careers in journalism, teaching, and eventual doctoral studies, by providing a broad understanding of the cultural conditions of architectural production and concentrating on excellence in writing. Analysis studios provide deep insight into the formal and programmatic diversity of historical and contemporary architecture, the process of design, and potential avenues for new approaches to theory and practice. A required emphasis on either urbanism or technologies of representation allows for deeper investigation into specific areas of historical or contemporary architectural theory.
Faculty directly engaged with the Master of Science in Architecture program in studios and seminars include Diana Agrest, Nora Akawi, Lydia Kallipoliti, Lauren Kogod, Anthony Vidler, Michael Young, and Guido Zuliani among others.
The Master of Science in Architecture program foregrounds supervised independent research in one of the following areas of study:
Theory, History, and Criticism of Architecture
Considers questions concerning the theory and criticism of modernism and contemporary architecture, the philosophy and aesthetics of architecture, the mediatization of architecture, and broader cultural and historical issues through the critical readings of texts, the development of critical projects, and a written thesis.
Addresses issues central to the design, planning, and development of cities and regions, including study of the morphological, social, and cultural effects of globalization; the survival of local urban cultures; redevelopment of central cities, suburbs, and exurbs; and issues specific to New York and comparative cities.
Focuses on technological issues of architectural design, representation, planning, and production, such as the impact of new information technologies, new materials, and manufacturing processes; hardware and software development; mapping and modeling techniques; and the technologies of fabrication as they influence new design strategies. This area also focuses on the economic, ethical, and technological dimensions and design potential of sustainability, and developments in new structural systems, materials, and building assemblies.
All applicants to the Master of Science in Architecture program must 1) hold a professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree, a professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch. I) degree, or an equivalent accredited professional degree in architecture from a foreign institution; and 2) have completed a minimum of one year of work experience after obtaining their first professional architectural degree. The program is structured to be completed during two full-time, consecutive semesters followed by a final thesis semester during the subsequent summer. The summer semester runs from June, after Memorial Day, through early September. Final thesis presentations and an exhibition of thesis work will take place during the second week of September at the end of the student’s year of study. Graduate students must complete thirty required credits for the Master of Science in Architecture degree during full-time, contiguous resident study at The Cooper Union.