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Master of Science in Architecture

As design professions respond to new challenges and opportunities presented by a range of social, environmental, technological and economic catalysts, designers are increasingly asked to work across scales and disciplines, to possess specialized expertise while maintaining a broad contextual grasp, and to emerge as leaders at the hub of collaborative endeavors.  Within this context, the Master of Science program offers the opportunity for advanced study and research in specialized areas related to design, construction, operations, and human-material interaction at range of scales, providing the basis for diverse career paths and/or entry into a Ph.D.-level program. The Master of Science program allows a student to conduct a research-based program of study which is expected to contribute to the body of knowledge in the design and building professions and may lead to future study in the doctoral program, where advanced standing may be awarded for acceptable graduate credits earned at the master’s level. Candidates for the Master of Science in Architecture are encouraged to diversify their plan of study with courses from schools across the university and engage in collaborative research opportunities.

While the Master of Science in Architecture program accommodates a variety of interests the following concentration areas have been developed to help guide students in specific, at times related, areas of study:


Design Technology (Pending): provides a comprehensive overview of emerging technologies, their consequences, and potential to inform new opportunities and solve critical challenges in design practice. Areas of focus include Computational Design; Building Information Modeling; Reality Computing; Design Robotics; Digital Fabrication; Additive Manufacturing; Construction Automation; Material Systems; and Interactive Environments. Students in the Design Technology concentration will have access to the School of Architecture + Design’s state of the art Design Robotics Facility and are encouraged to engage collaborators in the College of Engineering. This concentration is available on the main campus in Blacksburg. (Link: CAUS Facilities Page- to be expanded)


Design and Health (Pending): explores the relationship between the design of the built environment and global health. The immediate and critical global need for improved health has converged with an increasing understanding of the relationship of design and planning and health outcomes, and presents an unprecedented opportunity to re-position designers as leaders in the field of global health. The concentration in Design and Health aligns related research interests, complimentary resources and expertise across campus and beyond, and strategic partnerships with industry, governments, and NGOs to reposition design as a leading force within critical areas of public health –in local, regional, national, and global contexts. This concentration is available on the main campus in Blacksburg and is supported by the collaborative Commonwealth Consortium for Design and Health.


Impact Design (Pending): is an emerging concentration focused on the understanding of design and design processes to impact impact at levels across a range of scales and disciplines. The concentration in Impact Design is centered about defining and evaluating impact from a perspectives related to the environment, education, economy, society, and individual health and happiness. Through a strategic network of partnerships students will engage in study related to development; evaluation methodologies; research methods; stakeholder engagement; policy and planning; non-profit management; design thinking; and strategies for engaging the design process to develop innovative- scalable solutions toward a better world. This concentration invites applicants with design and related background as well as those from other disciplines and is available at the main Blacksburg Campus.


Building Science: Studies in the category of Building Science focus on various environmental systems issues over a broad range of scales and may concentrate on the following (or other) areas: energy and building design; mechanical systems and large buildings; lighting and daylighting; natural ventilation and air flow; indoor air quality; acoustics and theater design; and building structure, assembly, and/or economics. This concentration is available on the main campus in Blacksburg.

PhD in Design Research

The Design Research track within the Ph.D. program in Architecture and Design Research primarily operates on the Blacksburg campus. Focus areas within the Design Research track include Building Science, Design Technology, Design and Health and Impact Design, but students are welcome to propose a wide range of research topics.  Over the past fifteen years the number of students and diversity of research activities in the Design Research track has steadily grown resulting in an internationally recognized program. Admission to the program is highly competitive with only a few admissions offered each year. 


The faculty are seeking to admit a highly selective group of students who have master’s degrees in closely allied fields, such as Architecture, Environmental Design, Building Science, Landscape Architecture, Architecture History and Theory, Interior Design, and Industrial Design. In addition to the application requirements of the Virginia Tech Graduate School and those pertaining to all graduate programs within the School of Architecture + Design, applicants to the Ph.D. degree in Architecture and Design Research must submit a portfolio and a 2,500 word statement of research focus.

Degree Requirements for the Ph.D. in  Design Research:

  • The Graduate School requires each Ph.D. student to complete 90 semester hours of graduate study and dissertation.

  • All students, regardless of area of specialization, are required to complete a sequence of specific Architecture and Design Seminars. A two-semester sequence seminar will focus primarily on epistemology and the nature of discipline and practice of architecture, viewed in the context of architecture and the allied fields. Students will also enroll in a continuing seminar course required every semester of residence. In these seminars, Ph.D. students, the School faculty involved with the graduate program, and possible guests present their own research for critical review and feedback. The Ph.D. students in the Architecture track must also pass a test of reading ability in a foreign language related to their selected topics (native languages and English do not fulfill this requirement).

  • In addition, all students must complete a special Research Methods course organized by area of specialization. At the approval of the student’s advisory committee the course may be also taken in the other area of specialization or outside of the school.

For more information and for application please visit the program page




Need a paragraph about undergraduate reserach opportunity 


inside ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN is an incisive introduction into the ways designers think and work. For individuals considering the world of design, this program cracks open the excitement and opportunities of architecture and related design disciplines. Primarily a hands-on experience, students work with long time educators and practitioners in exercises designed to stimulate discussion and discovery of issues affecting the professions. No prior course or subject experience is necessary, just the initiative to break the bounds of conventional modes of thinking.

Over its fifteen year history, the course has been refined and amplified to give high school students one of the best week-long experiences of architecture and design. Faculty learn with the students and adjust coursework based on discoveries from each successive class. The course is modeled around the curriculums of the nationally ranked programs in the School of Architecture + Design (architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture). Architecture and landscape architecture were recently ranked #1 of all programs in the country.

For more information and to register please visit the program website @ inside ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN


The world of design is in constant and increasing transformation. Conventional practice is giving way to novel modes of collaboration and the application of new technologies. Design as an integrative process of thinking and making is opening new visions to the way we live and employ our resources. This hands-on course will explore the new machines and processes, expanding the perceptual and operational fields of design.


Outside architecture builds on the well established Inside ARCHITECTURE + Design curriculum - and is intended to provide a forum for the exploration of emerging design technologies through a one-week immersion. The first iteration of the program focuses on digital design and fabrication utilizing facilities within the college. The workshop will impart an understanding of the context in which these technologies apply to the design fields. The result of the workshop will be a series of design experiments that test the design-to-fabrication workflow resulting in the realization of physical prototypes.

For more information please use the 'contact us' link below

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