Design a Career in Architecture

Earn an Accredited Master of Architecture Degree

Portland State University's School of Architecture offers an accredited professional education in architecture, with undergraduate and graduate degree programs open to students who are fascinated by the ways in which design and the built environment can shape our lives.

Our rich, materially based curriculum challenges students to address the poetics of material, urban issues and cultural meaning, community engagement and social needs through architecture and design. 

The application deadline for the Two-year Master of Architecture (starting Fall 2018) and the Three-year Master of Architecture (starting Summer 2018) is January 16, 2018. 

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We offer a two-year Master of Architecture with full accreditation from the National Architectural Accrediting Board, which is open to applicants who hold a four-year pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture.

A three-year Master of Architecture degree track is also offered for applicants who hold a four-year undergraduate degree in any discipline and wish to earn an accredited graduate-level degree in architecture.

In both programs, students find themselves immersed in the challenging and stimulating work of architecture and design, diving deep into architectural theory and history, poetics and meaning, drawing and making, tectonics and building systems, and using design to address societal issues. In their final year, Master of Architecture students create a thesis project, addressing an individual, critical question about our culture and the role of architecture through research and design propositions.

Our teaching and research are inspired by three priorities:

  • Exploring the poetics of material and the communication of cultural meaning
  • Speculating upon urban issues and the pleasures and dilemmas of city dwelling
  • Promoting community engagement and the application of creative and professional practices toward the common good.

Learn Architecture in the Ideal Design Laboratory: The City of Portland

Recognized internationally as a highly innovative center of creativity, and renowned nationally as a locus of sustainable practice, Portland is one of the most livable urban environments in North America. Portland's vibrant downtown, thriving visual and performing arts scene, proximity to mountain trails, rivers, and forests, local food and drink culture, and distinctive, friendly neighborhoods make it an inviting place to live, study, and design.

With a thriving architecture, construction, and engineering industry and the highest concentration of architecture firms in Oregon, Portland is an ideal setting for studying architecture. In fact, nearly all of our faculty members, from tenure-track professors to visiting and adjunct faculty, have their own professional architectural practices. Our faculty maintain strong connections with local and national architecture firms, inviting practicing architects to review students' work during critiques, deliver talks on current issues in the field, and attend lectures by world-renowned designers and theorists who visit the School. In short, our students receive many opportunities to connect with respected professionals in the field, obtain feedback on their work, and be among the first to hear about internship and job opportunities.

Make a Difference with Research and Fieldwork Opportunities

POD Initiative sleeping pods designed and built by PSU architecture students for Portland's houseless populationOur Center for Public Interest Design brings design expertise, and social and environmental sustainability, to disadvantaged communities worldwide. Research and design work by students in the School of Architecture, graduate and undergraduate alike, are an integral part of the Center for Public Interest Design's work in the studio and in the field. Students have traveled as far as Haiti and Ecuador and as near as the Gateway neighborhood of Portland to participate in design-build projects and community fieldwork through the Center for Public Interest Design and its Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design. A cross-disciplinary Graduate Certificate in Urban Design is also offered jointly by the School of Architecture and School of Urban Studies and Planning.

We foster cross-disciplinary research and contribute to the Green Building Research Lab, a PSU facility equipped to support a comprehensive range of testing and analysis of the environmental impact of architecture.

Our BUILT Lab, the result of a noteworthy grant, is a center for building science research and study by architecture students, expanding our innovative Research-based Design Initiative.

Travel is an integral part of our programs as well; recent travel experiences and design-build opportunities have taken students to Barcelona and Girona, Spain; Paris, France; Titanyen, Haiti; Lame Deer, Montana; Sacramento, California; and other locations. We award Undergraduate and Graduate Travel Fellowships to two students each year, enabling them to research a place of interest, examine and observe the use of public space and the built environment in that location, and return to PSU to report these findings to their fellow students.

Get Real-World Experience in Design-Build Projects

As a Master of Architecture student, you'll have myriad opportunities to participate in and lead design-build projects.

In projects such as the annual Pickathon Treeline Stage design-build (the 2018 creation is pictured at right), the 4th Avenue Parklet, the POD Initiative, and the recent Kenton Women's Village, our students are engaged in the process of designing and creating real-world structures. These endeavors often require site investigations and mapping, material selection and testing, full-scale mockups, permit applications, and hands-on construction.

Students and faculty alike find these projects to be highly valuable aspects of a well-rounded architectural education, in part because they prepare architecture scholars for the challenges of professional practice, and in part because they are simply fun and rewarding.


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Learn More

Visit us online at or choose from the following options:

Attend one of our Information Sessions. Learn about our graduate programs in architecture at our M.Arch information sessions. You'll meet our teaching faculty and director, talk with current students, learn about the curriculum and our teaching philosophy, discover leadership and design-build opportunities for students, tour our studios and lab facilities, and find out more about the application process for our programs. The session dates are as follows:

 Friday, October 13, 2017, 12 to 1pm
Friday, October 27, 2017, 12 to 1pm
Monday, November 13, 2017, 12 to 1pm
Friday, December 8, 2017, 12 to 1pm

RSVP for the date of your choice here. 

Request information. We're happy to send you more information about our programs. Please email us at to ask that a printed brochure be mailed to you, to ask questions about the admissions process, or to be added to our email list.

Meet with an adviser. We offer advising for prospective undergraduate and graduate students. Aspiring architects may schedule a 30-minute appointment with a School of Architecture faculty member or adviser Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., depending on faculty availability, by calling 503-725-8405.

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We invite you to apply to our Two-year or Three-year Master of Architecture degree. The application deadline for the 2018-2019 academic year for both degree options is January 16, 2018. For details and links to our online application form, please visit

Pictured (top to bottom): Image from "Vanport Necropolis," the Master of Architecture thesis of Nicolas Pectol '16; graduate students collaborate on the site model for the Pickathon 2015 Treeline Stage in the Shattuck Hall studios; a graduate-level Professional Practice class visits the architecture firm ZGF Architects in downtown Portland; sleeping pods as part of the POD Initiative; the Pickathon 2017 Treeline Stage, designed and built by PSU Architecture students (photo by Dylan VanWeelden).