Master of Architecture

Our STEM-designated graduate architecture program is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Our M.Arch program provides students with international perspectives and experiences giving them a competitive edge when they enter the profession. 

Program Information


We offer two tracks for completing your Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree based on your experience level. If you have an undergraduate degree that is not in architecture or a related design degree, you should plan on at least three years to earn your M.Arch degree. If you have a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture or a related design field, you may receive advanced standing credit for your previous coursework and can expect to complete your M.Arch degree in about two years. You can learn more about the curriculum for each track below. 

Our Master of Architecture is a STEM-designated program, officially approved by the Colorado Board of Higher Education (CIP code: 04.0902). The STEM designation allows our Masters of Architecture students to apply for the Department of Homeland Security’s optional practical training (OPT) extension program for F-1 students with STEM degrees. Upon completion of a STEM-designated degree, students may extend their stay in the United States for an additional 24 months.

Architecture Contacts


Marc Swackhamer headshot

Marc Swackhamer

Professor and Chair of the Architecture Department
Jo Vandenburg headshot

Jo VandenBurg

Instructor and Associate Chair of Architecture
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Jodi Stock

Admissions Coordinator

Program Highlights


Access to Technologies

You will have access to a fully-equipped design fabrication shop and a visual resource center to develop both digital and analog graphics skills. You will learn sketching and drawing as well as the latest parametric and digital fabrication design technologies. You will have opportunities to engage in LIDAR 3-D laser scanning technology to document structures through work in the CAP centers.

Sustainability Focus

You will have a broad range of courses in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) and the opportunity to apply your thinking about carbon-neutral new buildings and renovations to the 2030 Challenge.

Design-Build Certificate

This award-winning program takes you out of the classroom and immerses you in hands-on work for a diverse set of cultures and communities. Projects take place with regional Colorado nonprofits.

Leading Preservation

You will have opportunities to seek training in spatial, technical, and design aspects of the broader field of preservation and adaptive reuse encompassing architecture, cultural landscapes, planning, building technology, project management, documentation, interpretation, and representation.

Hands-on Training

The Aspen Summer Design Workshop puts you to work on weekly sketch problems with noted architects at their offices. You will also have exclusive tours of their built and under-construction projects.

Real-World Engagement

You can gain valuable experience as a paid intern with the college’s University Technical Assistance Program or as a paid research assistant.

International Exploration

We encourage you to think, collaborate, and network globally by offering foreign study courses in locations such as Rome, Finland, Turkey, and Amsterdam.

Recognition and Reward

Your work will be recognized. Build your resume and reputation with Studio Awards, Design Excellence Awards, and AIA Denver’s Young Architects Awards.

Classical Architecture Special Topic Area

Courses qualify students to apply for the Certificate in Classical Architecture from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art in New York.

Student Work Gallery


Castlewood Canyon State Park Ranger Station

Date: 1/16/2017
Student Researchers: Austin S. Gohl Faculty Advisor: Ken Renaud

The spatial manipulations in these three graphics are the primary architectural elements driving the design of the Castlewood Canyon State Park Ranger Station. The Division-Union Axis, which is the main corridor, separates while simultaneously linking the domestic space and the public functions. The secondary Cross Axis directs visitors from the primary corridor to the ranger’s desk, where they will encounter park information and public restrooms beyond. The tertiary Poché Axis, developed through a continuous poured-concrete retaining wall, visually links the two distinct zones of the design
Composite layout of sketches and study models
Program analysis drawings
Site plan drawing
Elevation drawing
Program analysis graphic

M. Arch Six Studio Track

This track is for students without a background in architecture.

Curriculum

105 CREDIT HOUR COURSE CURRICULUM

If you are a student without a pre-professional degree, this track enables you to pursue a professional Master of Architecture degree in a minimum of three years.

The Six Studio Track curriculum for the M.Arch program is divided into six major components totaling 105 semester hours in residence at University of Colorado Denver.

 

Course TypeSemester Hours Required
Design Studios and Seminar
39 semester hours
Representational Studies
6 semester hours
Historical/Cultural Studies
12 semester hours
Technological Studies
21 semester hours
Professional Studies

12 semester hours

Electives15 semester hours

 

A wide array of electives in these areas allows you to tailor your graduate studies to your interests. Of 15 general elective semester hours, nine must be fulfilled with courses taken in the Architecture Department. Students may choose to take elective courses in the summer session. It is highly suggested that students use the summers to study abroad or participate in a professional internship.

M. Arch Four Studio Track

This track is for students with a undergraduate degree in architecture.

Curriculum

60 CREDIT HOUR COURSE CURRICULUM

If you are a student with a pre-professional degree, this track enables you to pursue a professional Master of Architecture degree in a minimum of two years.

To qualify for the Four Studio Track M.Arch, you must hold a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Bachelor of Art in Architecture, or Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture.

Any degrees awarded by universities outside the United States will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The admissions committee will determine the appropriate track.

The Four Studio Track curriculum for the M.Arch program is divided into six major components totaling 60 semester hours in residence at University of Colorado Denver.

 

Course TypeSemester Hours Required
Design Studios and Seminar
27 semester hours
Representational Studies Required Elective
3 semester hours
Historical/Cultural Studies Required Elective
3 semester hours
Technological Studies Required Elective
3 semester hours
Professional Studies

9 semester hours

Open Electives15 semester hours

 

A wide array of electives in these areas allows you to tailor your graduate studies to your interests. Of 15 general elective semester hours, nine must be fulfilled with courses taken in the Architecture Department. Students may choose to take elective courses in the summer session. It is highly suggested that students use the summers to study abroad or participate in a professional internship.

In order for a student to complete the M.Arch course of study within the 60 semester hours (two years of study), a student must have already completed the following courses with a grade of B or better.

  • 4 design studios (five or six credits each)
  • 2-3 course sequence covering the history of architecture
  • 1 course introduction to the theory of architecture 
  • 2 course sequence on sustainable environmental control systems
  • 2 course sequence on structures addressing statics, material mechanics, structural analysis, and design of simple structural elements and systems
  • 2 course sequence on building materials and construction 
  • 1 course on architectural visualization and representation
  • 1 course on building information modeling

If any of the above courses have not been completed at the time the student enrolls in the program, the courses will be added onto the 60 semester hours and will need to be completed at the University of Colorado Denver prior to graduation. An official review of the student's previous course work will be conducted in the spring following admissions and will be sent to the student upon the receipt of the student's intent to attend.

Travel Study Opportunities


Tuition & Fees

The University of Colorado Denver has one of the most affordable tuition rates in Colorado.  Our tuition and fees are set by the Board of Regents, the governing body of the University of Colorado.  Tuition is based on student classification (undergraduate, graduate, academic program, resident or nonresident). You can find out what rates will apply to your situation at the link below. 
All CAP Graduate Programs have WICHE-WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program) status, which grants in-state resident tuition to students from 15 western states including California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona.

Living in Denver


CAP Concierge

Are you new to CAP? Download a copy of the CAP Concierge to get a quick guide to moving to Denver, finding housing, reviewing studio supplies, and learning about other CU Denver campus resources.

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