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Degree Highlight: Master's in Architecture

UL Grad School -- 10/12/2016

In our Master of Architecture program at UL Lafayette, you won’t spend your entire day at a desk. You’ll get involved with the community, design a range of buildings and structures, get your hands dirty (literally), and gain valuable experience while doing it.

Hands-on design & research

A cornerstone of our Master of Architecture program is including students in the architectural research initiatives in our Community Design Workshop, Building Institute, Coastal Community Resilience Studio, and Sustainable Development Lab.

We are not in an academic bubble, and we know that our students’ and faculty’s work can have a positive impact on our community and the country. By incorporating classroom work into ongoing research initiatives, our master’s in architecture students get to solve real-world problems while working with actual stakeholders and professionals in the community, proving that research is integrated into our curriculum.

The Community Design Workshop collaborates with municipalities and neighborhoods on urban design and planning projects and neighborhood redevelopment efforts through public workshops and charettes. Students work with the Community Design Workshop for course credit, and the CDW also employs Master of Architecture students during the summer for ongoing projects. Right now, the Community Design Workshop and its students are working with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development on the I-49 Lafayette Connector project.Master of Architecture at UL Lafayette

Through the Building Institute, our students get an immersive, hands-on experience designing, completing construction documents, and building structures. The Building Institute and its courses combine civic-minded design education with project-based real-life experiences, including the gridshell structure Lafayette Strong Pavilion, the sustainably designed and built COURhouse, Event House, and Next House, multiple Habitat for Humanity prototype homes, and our 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entry: the Beausoleil House.

Transdisciplinary research is the focus of the Coastal Community Resilience Studio, a program that has created a new framework to link disturbances, land-use transformations, and climate change to natural processes and human system adaptation. Collaboration—both on campus with a variety of schools and centers and off campus—has been central to the work of this program. Students earning their architecture master’s degree can work as graduate assistants with the Resilience Studio, while working with community groups to develop plans for the communities along the Chenier Plain and Atchafalaya Basin.

The Sustainable Development Lab focuses on market-based, design-driven economic development. The lab focuses on urban density, housing, building science, fabrication and culture through cross-disciplinary collaborations. The Sustainable Development Lab was instrumental in helping the Lafayette neighborhood of Freetown-Port Rico land a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Master’s in architecture students worked with the Sustainable Development Lab to document every structure in the neighborhood through a “field school” collaboration with the University’s anthropology program.

Master's & thesis projects

All students in the architecture master’s program are required to complete a master’s project, and there’s also the option of writing a thesis if you are interested in academia.

A master’s project is a chance for you to have freedom with your design to create something that reflects you and your passions. Two recent graduates completed design-build master’s projects: Cathryn Core designed and built an architectural installation at a public park designed to draw visitors for public performances, personal reflection, and everyday exploration. Nick Arcuri designed and built a temporary, reconfigurable dining room for a quarterly charity dinner in different places across the city.

Other recent master’s projects include concepts for:

  • A cultural center with programming that helps bridge the generational gap between older Vietnamese immigrants and their Vietnamese-American children and grandchildren;
  • A building designed for the blind, with an intense focus on sound, smell, and touch in its construction;
  • A reconfigurable multi-use building for developing cities that can house construction workers in one-room units, which will then be combined and adapted to become luxury lofts;
  • A program to use architecture as a therapeutic mechanism for autistic individuals.

Three ways to earn your Master of Architecture

At UL Lafayette, we have a path for any student to earn their master’s in architecture, regardless of whether you earned your undergraduate degree in architecture, anthropology, or anything in between.

If you’re new to the architecture field, we will work very closely with you to determine which prerequisite classes you’ll need to take alongside your graduate courses so you can get to graduation on time and with all the skills you need.

If you have a 4-year architectural studies degree or a 5-year NAAB-accredited architecture degree, you will need to pursue the Master of Architecture with a pre-professional degree track.

If you have an undergraduate degree in a field related to architecture, like interior design or construction management, you will have an advanced standing in the program and will pursue the Master of Architecture with a degree in a related field track.

If you have an undergraduate degree in any other discipline, you’ll need to pursue the Master of Architecture with a degree in another field track.

But whichever track you belong in, you’ll leave the Master of Architecture program with the skills you need to pursue a successful career in Architecture.

Learn more about our architecture master’s program >