Graduate Studies

One of the premier design research institutions in the world, the Texas A&M College of Architecture strives to remain at the forefront of research, teaching, professional education and outreach associated with built and virtual environments.

The College of Architecture's four departments offer advanced instruction through ten graduate degree programs providing students the knowledge and skills needed to flourish in careers in the built and virtual environment professions.

The college is distinctive in that it offers a truly interdisciplinary curriculum, recognizing that no single professional track or narrow specialization can adequately prepare tomorrow's building and planning professionals. Because the college houses all of the built environment disciplines, it is uniquely suited for interdisciplinary collaboration.

An organizing principle of the college is the influence of research on teaching. Its rich and diverse research portfolio includes projects conducted in and across its departments through its multiple research centers and in collaboration with other colleges and centers in the university.

Students pursing graduate studies at the Texas A&M College of Architecture benefit from the college's five formally organized research centers, which are dedicated to improving the knowledge base of the built and virtual environment professions while supporting six graduate certification programs - Sustainable Urbanism, Environmental Hazard Management, Facility Management, Health Systems and Design, Transportation Planning and Historic Preservation.

Graduate Program Overviews

Department of Architecture

Master of Architecture

Professional architects design the buildings that provide context for our lives. Those who earn a Master of Architecture degree from the Department of Architecture at Texas A&M University are committed to creating a world that is beautiful, productive and sustainable. As steward of a program with a 100-year history at Texas A&M, the Department of Architecture has long been at the forefront of innovation in design, practice and technology. The M-Arch degree is for those who wish to make a difference in design and creation of the built environment through practice as a professional architect.

Architecture has not only the ability to inspire and thrill, but also the power to intensify everyday experience, enriching and delighting us with space, form, texture, color and pattern. Graduates of the Master of Architecture program at Texas A&M University are equipped not only with technical knowledge and practical experience, but also with the vocabulary to use the medium of architecture expressively and imaginatively.

The design of public, commercial, institutional and large-scale buildings in the United States requires the authority of a licensed professional architect. The Master of Architecture degree is the accredited credential offered by Texas A&M University that qualifies an individual to pursue a career as a registered professional architect.

The M-Arch degree is open to three categories of applicants: individuals who have earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree at Texas A&M are encouraged to apply for two years of study in the M-Arch program; those who have obtained a comparable baccalaureate degree from another institution may also be eligible to enter the two-year M-Arch program; and a Career Change program is available to individuals who have the appropriate abilities and interests, but have earned a degree in a field that is not closely related to architecture. After successful completion of the Career Change program, a student may enter the M-Arch program.

The Master of Architecture program integrates studies in architecture history, theory, structures, environmental controls and design. Studies culminate with a final project that is a comprehensive and complete development of an architectural design.

The Texas A&M Department of Architecture offers several specializations that supplement the required course of study. These include healthcare facilities design, sustainable design, architectural computing, historic preservation and facility management.

Master of Science in Architecture

The Master of Science in Architecture is an advanced, multidisciplinary, 32-credit hour thesis degree program designed to provide highly qualified students with a traditional academic foundation in theoretical concepts and research methods in architecture. In this program, students develop support courses and a thesis topic in an emphasis area offered by the department or research centers associated with the college. Students normally outline a specific pattern of study with their graduate advisory committee.

The Master of Science in Architecture has been in existence since 1991, evolving from a post-professional degree offering. It is a non-professional degree at the master's level designed for those seeking advanced knowledge in preparation for careers in architectural research, university teaching, or specialized practice and consulting, The degree may also act as a milestone toward a doctorate in architecture.

The MS-Arch student can focus his or her studies within the emphasis areas and exploration topics formally identified by the Department of Architecture. Applicants are invited to inquire about topics outside of those areas, providing they can identify a core of available faculty and support resources, and submit a clearly defined plan of study.

Ph.D. in Architecture

The Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture is an advanced research degree that develops rigorous research methodologies frocusing on critical problems and opportunities facing the discipline of architecture and generates an original and lasting contribution along with a comprehensive understanding of the knowledge base of architecture.

The architecture doctorate is a research degree appropriate for those seeking careers in teaching and scholarship in architecture and its related areas, or in roles in government or professional consultation that require depth in knowledge, specialization and experience in research. In addition, it is intended that the Ph.D. in Architecture augment the profession of architecture in significant ways through enriched knowledge areas, practice fields and critical thinking. The degree is designed to make a significant contribution to the discipline of architecture at the highest levels of scholarly inquiry. It emphasizes the creation of new and appropriate knowledge through research and prepares student to share the results of this research.

Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning

Master of Landscape Architecture

People have always changed the landscape and adapted it to their purposes: damming streams for water supplies, clearing forests for towns or carving an amphitheater into a hillside. Design is a way of controlling the results of the desired change. When design is applied to changing the landscape, it ensures the creation of meaningful and compelling places as the setting for our lives.

Landscape architecture is the profession that provides landscape planning, design and management services to enhance and protect natural and built environments. Landscape architecture as a discipline is devoted to understanding and managing the human and environmental forces that change the landscape. Landscape architects plan and design places for the health, safety and welfare of citizens through systematic decision-making that integrates science, art and technology. This design process helps create, protect and improve landscapes thereby enhancing individual and community quality of life.

Master of Landscape Architecture graduates are in high demand at the state and national level. The increased interest in landscape architects is related to the increasing physical, economic and political conflicts presented by urban development. It has been discovered that conflicts can be resolved most appropriately by applying planning and design skills to the decision making process. Landscape architects are highly qualified to help make these decisions because of their skills and expertise acquired during their academic and professional training.

Private firms lead the way in hiring Texas A&M's MLA graduates. Governmental agencies at the federal, state and local levels have need of landscape architecture skills as well. Most recently, graduates have found employment in professional firms that promote the collaboration of landscape architecture, architecture, engineering and construction skills to resolve development problems. MLA graduate students are qualified to pursue post-graduate education at the Ph.D. level if immediate professional employment is not their primary goal.

Master of Land and Property Development

The Master of Land and Property Development (MLPD) is an entrepreneurship-oriented program of study combining MBA-type courses with physical planning, design and construction within an international context. It deals with development of physical form and financial venture in a manner that fits site ecology and market economy with entrepreneurial interests and regulatory guidelines. The MLPD program dissolves the boundaries between planning, construction and environmental issues, and between finance, accounting and market issues. It adds computer skills and a global perspective to give MLPD graduates a competitive edge in today's international market place.

One of only six master's of land and real estate development programs in the United States, and the only one in a top 20 public university, the program accepts students from all disciplines, and utilizes individually-tailored curricula to bridge the physical and financial dimensions in ecologically sensible, socially responsible and financially feasible land and real estate development ventures. The academic content is complemented by a program for leadership development that enhances communications and interpersonal skills through professional industry networks, structured through activities of the program's Real Estate Development Association (REDA) and through the MLPD's Industry Advisory Council (DIAC).

The program is uniquely focused on integrating both the physical and financial dimensions into sustainable development and a creative venture structure. Academic skills are advanced with rigorous courses taught by distinguished faculty and practitioners, while personal skills are advanced by student-initiated activities and by the proud "Aggie" traditions of Texas A&M University.

Master of Urban Planning

The future has always held the promise of a better, more sustainable tomorrow. To help realize this promise, private citizens and public officials turn to professional planners. Planners invite residents and other stakeholders into the planning process, were together they address existing problems, identify strengths and opportunities, and create solutions to build better communities. Planners offer the technical skill and creative vision to make the future a reality.

In the Master of Urban Planning program at Texas A&M University, students benefit from the most varied planning "laboratory" in the country. Here students can observe firsthand the dynamic multicultural milieu of San Antonio, the fast growing but eco-friendly environment of Austin, the oil boomtown of Houston, and the cosmopolitan megacity of Dallas-Fort Worth - and get a close look at the issues and planning problems of rural America as well.

The Master of Urban Planning program is housed in the College of Architecture, the largest college of its kind in the nation. The college celebrated its centennial year in 2005, and the MUP program recently passed its 40-year milestone, making it one of the oldest urban planning programs in the southwest. The program is based on a foundation of sustainable development. The college's graduate certificate program in sustainable urbanism is one of a handful offered throughout the world, and sustainability principles infuse MUP courses and guide its faculty in teaching, research and service. International education is emphasized strongly as well; students can take a semester to study abroad in Spain, Italy, Germany, China, and many other international venues.

Add all this to a low cost of living, warm climate and very reasonable tuition, and it's easy to see why we say with pride, "This is not your typical planning school!"

Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Sciences

The beginning of the 21st century presents new challenges to the study of the built environment. As the baby boomers begin retiring and as people all over the world live longer than ever before, population growth and distribution are evolving at unprecedented levels. New demographics are redefining the makeup of the American population, with new minorities, majorities and a burgeoning elderly population increasing demands on healthcare systems. Changes in the geographic distribution of the population directly impacts the state and the availability of natural resources, as well as the safety of population groups inhabiting areas prone to natural disasters. Newly emerging metropolitan areas with more than 10 million residents pose new challenges in transportation and other issues inherent to population growth. Coupled with these transformations are the issues of environmental degradation that needs to be repaired and future planning for the wise utilization of natural resources.

The Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning has a large faculty with diverse interests that revolve around the built and natural environments. The Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Science (URSC) educates students to become leading researchers and scholars in areas directly responsive to the challenges of the built environment. By allowing students to specialize in areas such as health systems planning, sustainable development, urban design and community development, transportation, and environmental hazard management and planning, the Ph.D. program is producing graduates able to respond to the needs of a changing world.

The Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Science at Texas A&M University is one of the 39 Ph.D. planning programs accredited by the American Planning Association in North America. It is a transdiciplinary program that focuses on landscape and urban planning issues. Our faculty hail from backgrounds that include landscape architecture, urban planning, geography, engineering, sociology, wildlife biology, political science and land development. The program places emphasis on the interface of human systems with the natural environment, both in terms of the environment's impact on the human behavior and wellbeing, and human impact on ecological systems. With its superior reputation, outstanding faculty, progressive curriculum and a supportive environment, this program now has more than 50 Ph.D. students who come from all over the United States as well as countries such as Algeria, Australia, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Iraq, Korea and Thailand. The majority of our alumni have assumed positions as university faculty and researchers, while others are working for government agencies.

The mission of the Ph.D. program in Urban and Regional Science is to develop scholars in landscape, urban and environmental planning of distinguished excellence.

Department of Construction Sciences

Master of Science in Construction Management

Today, the construction industry accounts for eight to nine percent of the nation's gross domestic product and employs about seven million workers. Historically, construction managers were trained "on-the-job." Good engineers and architects became good project managers, good businessmen and good leaders through apprenticeship or trial and error. Formal construction management training has only recently emerged as a distinct discipline in engineering and architectural schools. Industry now acknowledges that formal education in construction science is essential to produce excellent construction managers and future leaders in the construction industry.

The Master of Science in Construction Management (MSCM) program at Texas A&M University is an advanced course of study. The program offers a curriculum that emphasizes the construction process, addressing topics in cost control, financial management, construction quality, project administration, project control for complex commercial or industrial construction projects, business management, contracts and law.

Individuals who complete the MSCM degree are prepared for careers in the management of commercial, industrial, institutional, civil and military construction in the roles of contractor, developer, subcontractor, owner's representative or consultant. Students are challenged to understand construction as a process and to develop management skills based on systematic, logical analysis of available resources and imposed constraints.

Department of Visualization

Master of Science in Visualization

The advent of high technology information, imaging and media systems has fostered a modern renaissance in visualization. During the European Renaissance, many of the period's great painters were not only artists, but also scientists, architects and engineers. Today's visualizers need skills spanning these older disciplines as well as several new ones, such as computer science, video technology, and psychology. In fact, the range of skills is so broad that no one person can master them all, and collaborative teams have replaced the solitary genius. Strong participants on such teams have both expertise in a specialty area and the broad background necessary for effective collaboration with other team members. The Visualization academic program produces leaders in the fields where art and science merge.

The Master of Science in Visualization, established in 1989, is designed to prepare students for a range of careers in visualization. The program helps students develop the focused expertise and broad foundation knowledge needed in the burgeoning field of digital and electronic visualization. Graduates have achieved success as creative directors, computer animators, university professors, software designers and in many related professions.

The core curriculum of the MS in Visualization program is designed to give all students a basic grasp of the artistic, scientific, cognitive and technical foundations of the discipline. Beyond this broad training, the program requires students to develop a strong focus area of advanced expertise and complete a research thesis in this area.

The program centers on the computer as a primary tool for visualization with strong offerings in animation, modeling and simulation, image generation and manipulation, and supporting technology.

Core courses include 3-D modeling and animation, digital imaging, image synthesis, design communication, and cinematics. Also offered are many elective courses in fields of modeling, animation, rendering and shading, compositing, design communication, time based media, multimedia, photography, computational geometry, physically based modeling and game design.

Opportunities for thesis work span a broad spectrum, from multidisciplinary themes to those that fall more directly into fields such as computer animation, computer science, cinematography, art and design, and psychology.

The program typically has about 80 active students at any given time. The majority of former students are currently working in the animation, visual effects, and electronic gaming industries including Blue Sky, Dreamworks/PDI, Electronic Arts, ILM, Laika, Pixar, Rhythm & Hues, Reel FX, and Sony Pictures Imageworks.