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Master of Architecture — Career Change

The Master of Architecture career change program at Texas A&M University teaches you to think like an architect. During this fast-paced program, you’ll leverage your unique background as you dive into the architectural discipline. 

After completing this program, you will enter the professional NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture program that will prepare you to become a licensed architect.

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About the Program

The career change program is designed for students with non-architecture related degrees who wish to pursue architecture. Our intensive introductory curriculum teaches foundational architectural knowledge over the course of four semesters (two summer semesters and two long semesters). 

Students who successfully complete the program will begin the Master of Architecture curriculum. 

What You’ll Study

  • Architectural Design
  • Visual Communication
  • Building Materials & Construction
  • Structural & Building Systems
  • Environmental Control Systems
  • Architectural History & Theory

“Trying to approximate four years of undergrad education in one-and-a-half years of Career Change was a wild, completely exhausting test of mind and body.”

Bill Poole ’94
Poolehaus Residential Design, an Award-Winning Kansas CIty-Based Design Firm
Architecture Career Change Students


The Master of Architecture Career Change program is designed for students with non-architecture related degrees who wish to pursue architecture as a career. Our intensive introductory curriculum teaches foundational architectural knowledge. The career change program requires 42 hours of class credit. It’s completed over the course of a 5-week summer introduction course, and a fall, spring, and summer semester.

Students who successfully complete the Career Change program will then begin the Master of Architecture 2-year curriculum. 

Master arch curriculum
Summer Semester (Introduction to Architecture) 3 credit hours
ARCH 600 Special Topic – Introduction to Architecture and Urban Design 3
Introductory seminar and studio on architecture and urban design; focus on topical readings, in-class discussions and short writing exercises;
provides opportunity to learn or refine hand drawing, rendering, and model building, and to learn to be productive and creative within the studio
context. Must be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Prerequisite: Graduate classification in architecture or approval of instructor.
Fall Semester 15 credit hours
ARCH 601 Design Foundations I 6 credit hours
Introduction to the development of verbal (design vocabulary), graphic, research and critical thinking skills through the design of small-scale projects, and
investigation of typologies and precedents as the basis for architectural design.
Prerequisites: Graduate classification in architecture or approval of instructor; career change program, ARCH 600 and concurrent enrollment in ARCH 610.
ARCH 610 Visual Communications 3 credit hours
Investigation and practice of various communication techniques used to explore, verify and present design decisions in architecture; freehand drawing
principles; graphic theory and mechanical drawing techniques; architectural presentation and rendering methods in different media and their application.
Prerequisite: Graduate classification or approval of instructor; concurrent enrollment in ARCH 601.
ARCH 612 Structural and Environmental Technology Concepts 3 credit hours
An introductory course which is intended to quickly and broadly develop the vocabulary base, visual understanding and familiarity with technological
systems that architects deal with throughout their practice.
Prerequisites: Graduate classification or approval of instructor; MATH 142 and PHYS 201 or equivalents.
ARCH 350 History of Modern Architecture 3 credit hours
Development of modern and contemporary architecture in the 20th and 21st centuries; materials, structure, social and economic changes as well as
architectural theory.
Prerequisites: Junior or senior classification.
Spring Semester 15 credit hours
ARCH 602 Design Foundations II 6 credit hours
Further development of verbal, graphic, research and critical thinking skills through architectural design projects, with emphasis on basic
understanding of major philosophical doctrines and their influence on architectural theory; studies of place-making, space, form and order; knowledge
of world views, formal spatial manipulations and design vocabulary.
Prerequisites: ARCH 601, ARCH 610, ARCH 612 or approval of instructor.
ARCH 614 Elements of Architectural Structures 3 credit hours
Investigation of the structural factors that influence the development of architectural space and form; introduction of the physical principles that govern
statics and strength of materials through design of timber and steel components of architectural structures.
Prerequisite: ARCH 612 or approval of instructor.
ARCH 615 Elements of Environmental Control Systems 3 credit hours
Theory and applications of building energy use, envelope design, shading analysis, heating and cooling systems, lighting design, building water
supply plumbing and drainage systems, electrical, acoustical, fire and lightning protection, transportation systems and construction materials; design
opportunities, calculations, equipment selection, and component sizing as they relate to design.
Prerequisite: ARCH 612 or approval of instructor.
ARCH 249 Survey of Architectural History I 3 credit hours
(ARCH 1301) Survey of World Architecture History I. A survey of world architecture and the human-designed and built environment from prehistory to
the 13th century.
Summer Semester 9 credit hours
ARCH 603 Design Foundations III 6 credit hours
Theory and practice of architecture; methods and techniques used in the analysis and synthesis of concepts unique to spatial enclosure; developing
responses to building systems; objects in a current cultural, physical or social context; complex building programs, site development and design
solutions integrating formally expressive visual ideas and functional planning.
Prerequisite: ARCH 602.
ARCH 250 Survey of Architectural History III 3 credit hours
(ARCH 1302) Survey of World Architecture History II. A survey of world architecture and the human-designed and built environment from the 13th to
the 19th century.

Recent Graduates’ Final Study Projects

White sketch of teacher housing in a school building
Cover Image of
Supportive Collage Infrastructure cover graphic
3D model of a building made of off-set rectangles
Floor plan for POLA Energy Recovery Center


Admission to our career change program is offered to students with a bachelor’s degree wishing to enter the architecture field.

A harp player who’s sensitivity influenced her building designs, a mathematician who designed amazing structures by calculating weight and balance to a very advanced level, and a psychology major who created the most beautiful equine center project he’s ever seen because she understood of how it should “feel” when people walked through it.

Marcel Erminy

More about requirements Apply

FAQ about the admission process

What do you look for in an applicant?

We look for applicants with a bachelor’s degree who show a capacity and passion for work in the architecture field.

How can I prepare for the program?

We recommend you have sufficient preparation in math and physics.

Is a portfolio required to apply?

A portfolio displaying creative abilities and/or interest in architecture is optional and may include:

  • Reproductions of the applicant’s drawings, artwork, or other examples of ability for graphic expression;
  • Articles, essays, or papers prepared by the applicant on design or environmental topics; and
  • Illustrations from the applicant’s work experience in architecture or related fields.
How does the admission process work?

Submit your application at Texas A&M GradCas along with a non-refundable application fee.

Your application should include the following:

  • Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation (academic references preferred)
  • Comprehensive Goals statement
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae
  • Optional academic/professional portfolio

Read more about the Master of Architecture Career Change application requirements.

What’s the next step after I complete the program?
  • Students enter the professional Master of Architecture program following the Career Change program. You must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and submit a portfolio of your work to be considered for admission. In some cases, the Department of Architecture may require students to complete additional prerequisite courses before entering the professional program.
What are the admissions deadlines?

In general, the university application deadlines should be observed. Students wishing to be considered for financial assistance should submit all application materials to the university and department by 15 January for fall admissions.

What kinds of financial aid does the program offer?

We offer competitive recruiting scholarships upon admission.

Who can I go to for questions?

All curricular inquiries regarding the Master of Architecture program should be directed to Ahmed Ali.

All inquiries regarding application or admission to the Master of Architecture program should be directed to


The Master of Architecture program provides graduates with the required educational background to enter the professional practice of architecture. Students who wish to become a licensed architect must gain professional experience and pass a licensing examination.

Other career directions include:

Texas A&M’s Career Change Program: Another path to a Masters of Architecture degree

FAQ about the Career Change program

How can I prepare academically for the career change program?

Applicants wishing to improve their chances for admission or to avoid the need for taking prerequisite courses should be proficient in math and physics.

What are the prerequisites for applying to the career change program?

Students must possess a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

Math and Physics are prerequisites for admittance into the Career Change program.

You may be assigned additional prerequisites depending on your proficiency level in the required coursework.

Do you offer the program online?

No, our master’s programs are offered face-to-face only.

How long will this program take to complete?

This program will be completed over the course of the 5-week (Summer II) introduction, and a fall, spring and 10-week (Summer) semester.

The Career Change program is a pre-Master of Architecture curriculum that prepares students for the NAAB-Accredited Master of Architecture Degree program. If a student does not complete the Career Change Curriculum they will not receive any credentials or certificate.

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Ahmed K. Ali

Associate Professor // Director of Professional Programs // Harold L. Adams Endowed Professor of Architecture

979.862.5863 Email Ahmed K. Ali