Jun 13, 2021  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Architecture (M.S.)

The Master of Science in Architecture  program at Kansas State University is a post-professional program of study requiring a minimum of 30 semester credit hours for completion of the degree. The program usually requires two years in residence, and is designed to enable students to pursue specialized study in specific Architectural topics. It is not a NAAB accredited degree.

Specializations are available in Design Theory, Ecological and Sustainable Design, and Environment Behavior and Place Studies. These areas of specialized study in the Master of Science in Architecture program accommodate graduates of five or six year programs in architecture, interior architecture, or landscape architecture, and of certain four year baccalaureate degrees. Applicants are considered upon the merits of their academic backgrounds and proposed programs of study. Minimum entrance requirements established by the Kansas State University Graduate School include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a grade point average of B (3.0) or better in the last two years of undergraduate study (or a “first class” degree).

This program focuses on research, and therefore does not include the full range of topics required to qualify a student to sit for the examination to become licensed to practice architecture. Since research is the mode of learning at the limits of knowledge, our objective is to develop the capacities needed for independent study and research.

Approximately 10 students matriculate each year, and the total enrollment in the program is about 20.

Required coursework

All M.S.ARCH students will be required to take a class that provides them with the tools to facilitate in-depth academic research. Other coursework will be determined by selected area of emphasis and individual programs of study.

Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

There are two options in the Master of Science in Architecture program. Students must, in conjunction with their advisory committee, choose to pursue either a Thesis or Non-Thesis (coursework only) option. Both options require the submittal of a proposal to the Graduate Committee for approval. Both options require a final examination, which can be the defense of the thesis, or an exam based on coursework taken by the student.

A non-thesis option should have a defined focus within the general area of emphasis. A number of courses must be taken that relate to this focus.

Students may undertake an applied or theoretical research-oriented thesis which involves qualitative and/or quantitative approaches to a problem, or a design-oriented thesis that examines a physical design problem in depth from a number of points of view, including but not limited to theoretical, behavioral, economic, social, and cultural issues.

Design theory emphasis

The graduate emphasis in Design Theory enables the student to study specific issues in architectural and urban theory and history. The studies are not based on a rigidly defined set of theoretical courses, but an association of the student’s academic interests and faculty expertise. In general, studies consist of the development of a theoretical framework, through selected courses and readings, which is subsequently used as an instrument for the analysis and examination of a particular architectural or urban phenomenon. The so defined inquiry ranges qualitatively from the poetic and speculative to the applicative and pragmatic. Analytical methods encompass a wide range of potential techniques from critical literature review to in-depth building design.

Required curriculum credits

Choose one of the following:

Non-Thesis Option

Thesis Option

Total (30 credit hours)

Recommended electives

Students consult with their advisors to select courses that match their educational and research objectives. Appropriate graduate-level history and theory courses will be identified each semester from among current course offerings. Normally, at least one three hour course on an aspect of contemporary architecture is taken by students in the design theory option. It is recommended that international students take one or more courses concerned with American architecture and urbanism. The Design Theory emphasis requires nine of the sixteen elective credits be taken within the discipline; seven may be taken outside the Department of Architecture. Outside electives should be related to the student’s overall program of study, to reinforce or complement other courses and their thesis topic.

Ecological and sustainable design

Ecological and Sustainable Design (ESD) focuses on the theory and practice of architectural and environmental design that makes maximum use of the same renewable energy flows and material cycling processes by which all other living systems on earth are sustained. It is an approach to design that is holistic in nature, encompassing a concern for ecological systems, building technological systems, and socio-cultural/existential systems. Ecological systems are studied not only as the context for architecture but also as models for design, providing the fundamental principles by which sustainable buildings are designed and operated. Energy and resource conserving building technologies as well as healthy and ecologically benign building materials are studied so that ecological design principles can be implemented in environmentally appropriate architecture. The emphasis also stresses the socio-economic, political, and cultural/existential context of design as a complexly structured framework within which questions of sustainability must be considered and building designs implemented. The ESD option necessarily involves the development of a broad understanding of architectural and environmental design that is as much philosophical as it is practical.

Required curriculum credits

Choose one of the following:

Total (30 credit hours)

Recommended elective credits

In addition to completing the required courses, students are encouraged to select an area of focus that will support their thesis. The Ecological and Sustainable Design emphasis recognizes the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the sustainable approach to design. As such, at least six elective credits should be taken outside the Department. Students consult with their faculty advisors to develop a program of study that meets their individual needs and interests.

Environment behavior and place studies emphasis

Environment-Behavior and Place Studies (EBPS) focuses on the behavioral and experiential aspects of person-environment relationships and their implications for environmental design and research. The program examines varying philosophic and methodological approaches to issues in environmentbehavior and place experience. Approaches to these issues range from quantitative, explanatory styles of research, emphasizing analytic philosophies, pragmatic strategies and solutions, to qualitative, descriptive styles emphasizing continental philosophical concerns. Within this framework, students’ programs of study and research are individualized to meet particular interests and needs. After completing an introductory core curriculum, students may choose to concentrate on a specific environmental problem or approach, or to work creatively to combine several approaches and issues. Within environment-behavior and place studies, areas of focus can include community and facility design for special populations, experience of place and landscape, project planning and programming, or a special focus meeting the particular educational and career goals of an individual student. Students, in consultation with the advisor, combine elective courses within and outside the College to meet the needs of their specific areas of focus.

Required curriculum credits

Choose one of the following:

Total (30 credit hours)

Recommended elective credits

Any of the thirteen elective credits in the Environment-Behavior and Place Studies Emphasis may be taken outside the Department. Courses in other Departments including Philosophy, Anthropology, Art and History may be considered, pending approval of the student’s advisory committee.

Application Procedures

Admission to the Master of Science in Architecture program requires the following. All application materials must be submitted online via the Graduate School website. No hard copy applications or supporting documentation will be accepted.

The deadline for international applicants is January 1 for the fall and August 1 for the spring semester. The priority deadline for domestic applicants is February 1 for the fall and August 1 for the spring semester.


  • A 3.0 graduate point average (on a 4.0 scale) in all higher education work to-date
  • A baccalaureate degree
  • Complete the K-State Graduate School application
  • Pay the application fee (Domestic $90 & International $100) 
  • Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation from professors and/or employers
  • Statement of objectives
  • Transcripts: Please include official transcripts from any institution of higher education you have attended. If the transcripts are not in English, a translated copy to English must be provided.
  • Portfolio: Samples of academic/professional work, including a description of each project, its objectives, and your role and responsibilities. Samples of written work are also highly recommended. 
  • TOEFL/IELTS scores (international students):  Applicants who are submitting iBT TOEFL (internet based) scores must have a minimum total score of 95. Applicants who are submitting an IELTS score must have a minimum total score of 7.0. 
  • Financial statement (international students)
  • There is a non-refundable application fee of $90.00 for U.S. citizens/permanent residents and $100 for international applicants, which includes the department and Graduate School fees. Applications will not be considered without this fee. Applicants will pay their application fee online by credit card, debit card or online check through CollegeNet prior to submitting their application materials. The credit card must be issued by a U.S. financial institution. Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover are all accepted.

Graduate Teaching Assistant

A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships are available for students with particularly strong qualifications. Appointment as a teaching assistant requires knowledge in the subject matter of the course, human relations skills, and excellence in spoken and written English. Continuation of an appointment is contingent upon availability of positions and the GTA’s academic performance as well as performance as a GTA.