Master of Architecture

Program Information


Our graduate program provides the skills and knowledge specified for graduate study in architecture and is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Our program responds to and aligns with the evolving nature of professional practice. Collaborative work environments prize critical thinkers, problem-solving team players, builders and leaders with excellent communication skills. Recognizing that the practice of architecture is now global, we provide students with international perspectives and experiences giving them a competitive edge when they enter the profession. 

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 an additional 24 months.

Architecture Contacts


Marc Swackhamer headshot

Marc Swackhamer

Professor Chair of the Architecture Department
Jo Vandenburg headshot

Jo VandenBurg

Instructor & Associate Chair of Architecture
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Jodi Stock

Admissions and Recruitment Coordinator

Student Work Gallery


The Jewel

Date: 8/22/2016
Student Researchers: Aleksandra Sasha Pokrovskaya & Lyris Sanchez Faculty Advisor: Ranko Ruzic

The goal of the LoDo Historic District is to foster the arts community and revitalize the urban core of downtown Denver. We chose to honor history and context in our design by integrating our building into the surroundings; it became a hidden jewel which we called "The Jewel." 

Our aim is to provide a small performing arts space for aspiring actors in the Denver community. Denver is growing and expanding into a global, creative and diverse city. A black box theatre provides ultimate flexibility to support a variety of performances. The space can also be used for lectures and concerts. 
 
This design explores the relationship between light and dark within programmatic elements. This dynamic space can best be seen in the section drawings.The Black Box Theatre and Cinema are dark environments which allow a fantastical world to emerge. The Atrium provides daylight and a gathering space before the theater. The transcendent light also illuminates the cinema lobby found underground. 
 
Transit systems provide the opportunity to bring together the growing population in Denver. Downtown Denver has seen a revitalization only encouraged by the new light rail system. This type of growth is creating accessible routes for communities outside of the city. Following a careful analysis of the context, we recognized that this neighborhood was missing a small performing arts venue.

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 & Art in New York.

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 course of study within the 60 semester hours (two years of study) a student must have 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

Above courses not completed by the time the student enrolls in the program 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


Admissions


If you are interested in coming to CU as a new student or to continue your education, we are here for you. Please contact the CAP Admissions Coordinator, Jodi Stock with any questions you may have. ​

Spring 2022

Application will open July 23, 2021

Deadline to apply is October 15, 2021

Fall 2022

Application will open September 1, 2021

Priority Deadline to be considered for scholarships: January 1, 2022
*All applications materials must be submitted. 

Fall 2022

Late applications will be accepted until May 1, 2022 and will be reviewed on a space-available basis. Admissions decisions will be made by the end of May. Late applicants will not be eligible for scholarship consideration.

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) and you can find out what rates will apply to your situation here. 
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.

Required Application Materials

  • Online application
  • Please note that this program may not be able to offer the same classes in spring 2021 that are offered in the initial fall semester. Thus, due to course sequencing, completing the program may take longer.
  • Application fee ($50 for domestic applicants, $75 for international applicants)
  • Resume that documents your educational and professional background
  • Statement of purpose: The statement of purpose should be a 750-1000 word essay that describes your interest in architecture and CU Denver as well as your academic and professional goals. Avoid clichéd statements such as "I have always wanted to be an architect" or "ever since I was a child playing with legos".
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • One official copy of your transcript from each institution you have attended EXCEPT study abroad institutions. Official transcripts should be mailed to the College of Architecture and Planning at the address at the end of this page. International students must mail an official certified translated transcript. You do not need to have the transcript evaluated. Please feel free to mail transcripts early in the application process. You may upload a scan of your transcripts to the online application but we still require an official copy.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not required for the Master of Architecture program. They are strongly encouraged if your undergraduate GPA was below a 3.0 on a 4 point scale.
  • International applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency. You can view required scores on the Office of International Admissions website.
  • Portfolio of creative work: Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to pursue architecture study at a high level. Your portfolio should demonstrate high-quality design as well as a technical understanding of architecture. You should include your best studio work and you are welcome to include other creative pursuits. If you include professional or other group work, please clearly indicate your role on the project. Your portfolio should be carefully organized to showcase your best work. Take care with how you compose each page and your image sequencing. Chronological is often not the best organizing schema. Portfolios should be designed for on-screen viewing. Avoid double-page spread layouts.
  • If you are a resident of any of the 15 western states in the WICHE-WRGP region (except Colorado), please fill out the WICHE-WRGP section of the online application to be considered for WICHE-WRGP status.
  • Students admitted into this program must have completed a Bachelor’s degree before they will be able to begin this program. An official conferred degree transcript is required by the university. For additional information, please see Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
  • Please note that this program may not be able to offer the same classes in spring 2022 that are offered in the initial fall semester. Thus, due to course sequencing, completing the program may take longer.

​MAILING ADDRESS FOR TRANSCRIPTS

​University of Colorado Denver 
College of Architecture and Planning 
PO Box 173364 Campus Box 126 
Denver CO 80217-3364

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