Program details

The Master of Architecture (MArch) is a three-year accredited professional degree that provides the knowledge, skills and experience to professionally practice architecture, alongside a critical awareness of the discipline’s wider social, political, economic, environmental and cultural implications.

This program is designed for students with undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than architecture, as well as for students who hold four-year, non-accredited professional degrees in architecture such as the Bachelor of Science in Architecture. Students previously admitted to the full three-year program have held undergraduate degrees in a broad range of fields, including art history, history, literature, interior design, economics, mathematics, computer science, anthropology, medicine and philosophy. This diversity of experience is brought to bear on the study of architecture, collectively enriching the range and depth of our program.


The curriculum commences with an intensive sequence of classes establishing the foundations for the study and practice of architecture. Equal emphasis is placed on each of the three study areas; studios in architectural design and media, laboratories and lectures on science and technology, and lectures and seminars on history and theory.

Building on these foundations, students are supported in developing their own specific interests and agendas as they progress through the subsequent two years of study. This specialization is facilitated through options in studying abroad, choosing from a wide range of electives, and through opportunities for independent study.

We are pleased to offer the unique opportunity for you to pursue a double degree between our MArch and programs within and outside the College of Design. Earn the MArch and a second degree simultaneously while maintaining the high standards of both programs. In many cases, the time to degree completion is lengthened only by one or two semesters.

While students with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines must complete the full three years of the curriculum, students with undergraduate degrees in architecture or other related design fields may, on consideration, be given advanced standing in the program. Advanced standing students may waive up to the whole first year.

This degree program has been officially designated as STEM degree program, which refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). STEM major designation is determined by the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and the Iowa Board of Regents.

With this designation, international students are eligible to extend their F-1 visas for up to three years after graduation to work in the United States.

Recent Student Work

Application requirements

Anyone applying for admission to the Master of Architecture program must complete the Iowa State University Graduate College online application. As part of the application, you will be asked to provide:

  • Official academic transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals from your educational or professional background who can most directly speak about your ability to complete graduate level course work and teaching duties
    • You will be asked within the application to provide the names and email addresses for your three references; when you submit the application, the three individuals will receive an email notification from ISU Admissions with a link to the recommendation form
  • A statement of academic and personal interest including your career goals and reasons for applying for the program (500 word maximum)
  • Digital portfolio (PDF or website), including five examples of your creative work
    • Upload to the application as a PDF, maximum size of 20MB
    • If your portfolio is web-based, upload a PDF document that indicates the website where your portfolio may be viewed
  • English Proficiency Exam (international applicants only)
  • Financial statement (international applicants only)

Consideration date

The priority application submission date is January 4, and applications received after the deadline will be reviewed only as program resources permit.

A child and adult explore wooden sculpture created by architecture student, located in the College of Design atrium.

An Architect in the Making

Find your place at Iowa State University’s College of Design, where we like to ask questions, poke and prod, create something new, and make a difference through design.