National board accredits PSU’s Master of Architecture degree
Author: Karen O'Donnell Stein, School of Architecture
Posted: April 10, 2013

Portland State University’s new Master of Architecture degree has received initial accreditation, qualifying its graduates to pursue professional licenses in a strengthening job market.

The National Architecture Accrediting Board granted initial accreditation to the graduate program after five years of extensive evaluation. To become a licensed architect, students must earn a degree from an accredited professional program, complete internship hours and pass a licensing exam.

Employment prospects are improving for PSU’s architecture students as well, with 75 percent of the first graduating class in 2011 landing jobs.

“The professional degree accreditation has long been a focus for PSU and the architectural community,” said Barbara Sestak, AIA, dean of the College of the Arts. “We are absolutely delighted that it has come to fruition and that our partnerships have flourished and can continue to grow.”

The program’s accreditation coincides with a recent positive trend in the national architecture industry. Demand for design services is increasing, according to the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index

 “Over the last couple of months, we are beginning to see an upturn in hiring,” said Saundra Stevens, executive vice president of AIA Portland and AIA Oregon. “We expect growth to be slow for a while, but Portland firms tend to be very deliberate about their hiring practices. Generally, when they hire, they are hiring for the long term.” 

In view of its accreditation, the School of Architecture intends to expand admissions to the two-year Master of Architecture program for the fall of 2013. A second round of applications will be accepted through April 29. Details are at

This news follows another welcome development for the program: The former Department of Architecture was recently elevated to become the School of Architecture, under the newly named College of the Arts (formerly the School of Fine and Performing Arts).