Programs in Architecture & Urban Design

Two Degrees in Four Paths of Study

The Notre Dame School of Architecture’s graduate program promotes the study of classical and traditional architecture urbanism, both for their pedagogical value and with a view to their contemporary applications.  At the heart of the School’s mission is a commitment to the making of humane, beautiful, and sustainable neighborhoods and cities, and an appreciation of the critical interdependence of architectural language, building types, and urban placemaking.  According to this view, the traditional city comprises a range of public and private buildings that seek, both individually and in combination, to enhance the physical, intellectual, and spiritual well being of its citizens while fostering social interaction and beneficial governance.  Depending on their civic purpose, the edifices that comprise the traditional city receive varying degrees of articulation from simple but dignified expressions for buildings that occupy the lower end of the civic spectrum to sophisticated classical compositions for buildings with a more prominent public role where elevated formal discourse is appropriate—a poetics of form that is rooted in regional historical monumental traditions.  While reminding us of its origin in straight-forward construction, the classical formal repertoire represents an intellectual culture of design that has the capacity to adapt to a continually evolving social, economic, and technological context.

The School of Architecture’s vision is firmly grounded in the Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions.  It acknowledges that the core values that inform its understanding of what constitutes good architecture and urbanism are universal and have been adapted to a wide variety of cultures, material palettes, and climates across time.  The School’s graduate students and graduate program alumni represent a broad international and inter-faith community of individuals from diverse backgrounds.  A belief in something greater oneself, whether based in dedication to the environment, to the community, or to one’s faith, unifies this diverse group of students and alumni and provides a common foundation for both intellectual discussion and practical application.

The School of Architecture offers two graduate architecture degrees: 1) the post-professional Master of Architectural Design and Urbanism (M.ADU), and 2) the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)- certified professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch). These two graduate architecture degrees are offered in the following four paths of study:

Curriculum Outline

Graduate Curricula and Course Descriptions

Two-year Post-Professional Degree (Path A)

Students seeking a two-year Master of Architectural Design and Urbanism (M.ADU) post-professional degree must hold an accredited professional degree in architecture (B.Arch or M.Arch) or the international equivalent. This degree offers students with a professional degree an opportunity to further develop their design and critical thinking skills in the disciplines of classical and traditional architecture and urban design.


The studio course work consists of:

  • a foundational first semester
  • one on-campus upper level studio
  • one upper level studio in Rome
  • and a thesis studio project in the student's fourth semester.

A minimum of 39 credit hours are required for graduation while a typical maximum of 48 credit hours may be earned. 
Note:  International students who elect to join the post-professional M.ADU program are affirming that they have achieved their country's professional degree—sufficient to test for or to be granted a license there.  Those students wishing to become licensed in the United States should note that the M.ADU post-professional degree is not accredited and therefore not sufficient to qualify for testing in the U.S. based on the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) criteria.  These students may wish to either seek review of their educational and professional credentials by NCARB or to join one of the professional degree programs, again, dependent upon their educational background.

Curriculum Outline

Graduate Curricula and Course Descriptions

Two-year Professional Degree (Path B)

Students seeking a two-year Master of Architecture (M.Arch) professional degree must hold either a Bachelor of Art in Architecture or a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.  This degree program offers students with a four-year undergraduate degree in architecture an opportunity to complete the professional education necessary for licensure and to focus their study in classical and traditional architecture and urbanism. 


The studio coursework is identical to that of M.ADU (Path A), consisting of:

  • a foundational first semester
  • one on-campus upper level studio
  • one upper level studio in Rome
  • and a thesis studio project in the student's fourth semester.

A minimum of 57 credit hours are required for graduation while a typical maximum of 63 credit hours can be earned. Required studio and seminar courses are supplemented by other courses as needed to meet the National Architectural Accreditation Board's (NAAB) substantive curricular requirements for accredited professional architecture degree programs. These requirements will vary from student to student depending upon review of transcripts from their undergraduate architectural education.
 

Curriculum Outline

Graduate Curricula and Course Descriptions

Three-year Professional Degree (Path C)

The Path C is a three-year Master of Architecture (M. Arch) professional degree designed for students entering the School with a four-year accredited undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture--including allied disciplines such as architectural engineering, landscape architecture, and urban studies.—who wish to focus their graduate study in classical and traditional architecture and urbanism.


The studio course work consists of:

  • three foundational semesters (intensive terms which also include history, theory, structures and technology courses—a normal load of 18 credits per semester)
  • one on-campus upper level studio
  • one upper level studio in Rome
  • and a thesis studio project in the student's final semester.

A minimum of 90 credit hours are required for graduation while a typical maximum of 06 credit hours may be earned. 
Advanced standing may be given to students who have completed some portion of their non-studio course work prior to admission, but the six-semester studio sequence is required of all Path C candidates. 
 

Curriculum Outline

Graduate Curricula and Course Descriptions

Additional Scholarly Year (Path D)

This year, following the completion of a student’s regular program in architecture and urban design, is intended to offer an opportunity to focus on scholarly research through a personalized curriculum of courses, independent study, and publication and/or conference presentations.  This opportunity is intended particularly for those wishing to embark on an academic career or to include an academic component in their professional life.

Curriculum Outline

Students applying are required to submit a portfolio including samples of their work—completed and/or in progress—from their Notre Dame courses, an outline of their intended research, a statement of intent and may include one or more letters of recommendation if they so choose.  Students’ academic standing/progress will be considered as well.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis beginning in a student’s penultimate year in the professional or post-professional degree program in Architecture & Urban Design.  

Upon being accepted by the committee, students will be required to develop a planned curriculum with the guidance and oversight of a School of Architecture faculty advisor and the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies.  This curriculum will include a minimum of 24 credits and may include a semester of independent study in Rome, if the nature of the research warrants it.  Students will require present their work publicly to the School of Architecture (and others) at the end of the Scholarly Year.

Professional degree (M.Arch) students who successfully complete the Additional Scholarly Year (Path D) program will also receive the post-professional degree, Master of Architectural Design and Urbanism (MADU).  Post-professional degree (MADU) students who successfully complete the Additional Scholarly Year (Path D) program will receive a certificate in addition to their Master of Architectural Design and Urbanism degree.  

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