Master of Science in Architectural Studies Curriculum
The curricula and identity of the School are based on the premise that architecture is an art form but an art form that is influenced by phenomena that are both qualitative and quantitative, pragmatic and poetic, technical and cultural. This contamination of architecture is based on complex intellectual underpinnings, discovered through research, that inform the development of architectural intents and concepts.
Since its inception, the tradition of the School has been to celebrate this approach to making architecture, i.e., to ground decisions made by rigorous investigation, as architectural coherence comes with an open mind and not preconceived results of the creative search. Intellectual diversity forms the School's core and has been nurtured to serve the School's mission, to attain the goals of the School, and to create the identity of the graduate programs.
This intellectual diversity is the foundation that supports and enables the graduate themes. The guiding themes that form the curriculum and that permeate all the graduate courses are inquiry, vision, and intervention. Inquiry means having an inquisitive mind, preparing for decisions with insightful questions and rigorous research, and being interested in identifying patterns and principles. Vision means sensing and articulating the meanings of information generated through inquiry and formulating possibilities and alternative futures that are sometimes only barely inferred by research. Vision involves imagination and creativity and the design of environments that establish direction, energize resources and people, that empower, enable, and inspire individuals and organizations. Intervention means understanding the effects and consequences of decisions, especially building design decisions that can affect and are affected by a wide range of contexts such as ecology, energy, human behavior, health and safety, productivity, culture, aesthetics, theory, economics, sociology, and politics.
In the curriculum, inquiry, vision and intervention as concepts become themselves the objects of inquiry through the exploration of their relationships with various philosophical and theoretical value positions.
Types of Theses: The core professional areas in the curriculum are design, theory, and practice. Beyond these core subjects, the intent of the graduate program is to accommodate the personal interests of the individual student and to promote specialization within the general framework of the faculty's expertise. The areas of emphasis are generally those within which students pursue their theses and supporting electives. The School's areas of emphasis are deliberately wide-ranging to promote broad faculty participation and student choice. The program is not for the passive student who simply wants to take a prescribed set of courses and be given a degree. Students are expected to be clear and motivated about the course of study they want to pursue and assertive and responsible in preparing a curriculum path with their advisor that will develop the needed areas of expertise and involve them in the appropriate inquiry.