Architecture: The UDC Edge

Whether you studied architecture as an undergraduate or are looking to make a mid-career switch, our master’s degree program in architecture has a track that can meet your needs and place you on the path to professional licensure in the field.

And no matter which track you choose, at UDC, you learn by doing. By coupling real-world projects in the D.C. community with exploration of cutting-edge theory and technique and a focus on urban design and sustainable practices, we prepare future architects to enter the industry as knowledgeable, experienced and creative problem solvers.

Master’s Degree (M. Arch) in Architecture

Our program stresses the importance of design as a tool for creating sustainable urban environments through research-based academic collaboration with partners in the health professions, nutrition science, environmental studies, water resource management, agriculture and Cooperation Extension Services. The program resides in the only urban land-grant institution in the nation. A major focus is the relationship between architecture and urban agriculture, as we strive to provide leading edge ideas on farming and food security in urbanized areas.

We believe that urban architecture and design is a rigorous act of creativity, research and scholarship. This process is informed by a desire to improve the lives of the residents of the District of Columbia by providing sustainable and healthy environments. We also recognize the plurality of cultures in the District and the world, and respond in that light.

Our land grant center, the Architectural Research Institute (ARI) offers a research and community service agenda that utilizes the University’s human resources and capital assets to support the District of Columbia’s mission of providing affordable and energy efficient shelter to its citizens.

Learning Objectives:

To capitalize on collaborative opportunities within CAUSES and the University as a whole to:

  • Provide experiential learning, which will position our graduates for employment opportunities immediately upon graduation.
  • Engage the faculty and graduate students in research relevant to the mission and vision of the program.
  • Contribute to the land grant mission of the University and the workforce development efforts through certificate programs, which will prepare participants for national exams leading to professional credentials.


Curriculum and Requirements

The University of the District of Columbia offers both a Bachelor of Science in Architecture pre-professional degree (BSc. Arch.) and a Master of Architecture first professional degree (M.Arch.). The M’Arch program is currently in candidacy for accreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), and anticipates receiving full accreditation in 2017. For more information reference the NAAB website

The M’Arch (track I) program is for students with a pre-professional degree in architecture and can be completed it three semesters. It requires 49 credit hours to complete. The full program can be viewed here.

For students with a non-architecture undergraduate degree, we offer an accelerated program of study in our M’Arch (track II). This program requires 85 credit hours to complete. The full program can be viewed here.

Student Organizations and Activities in the UDC Architecture Graduate Program

In addition to the academic program in architecture, the Architectural Research Institute (one of the land grant centers in CAUSES) has provided support for the activities and aspirations of numerous academic departments and research centers within the University. These efforts have provided the opportunity for architecture students, who work at ARI through paid internships, to assist the University Community in many ways through attending project meetings, providing design services, feasibility studies, cost analysis, construction documents and field supervision consultation.

Faculty Spotlight: Architecture Program

Susan Schaefer Kliman, Ph.D., AIA, is the Chair and Architecture Program Director in the department of Urban Architecture and Community Planning, where she is leading the department’s AIA accreditation efforts. Dr. Kliman oversees the academic programs associated with the BS and Masters in Architecture Degrees. She also provides oversight and leadership for the graduate and undergraduate programs in Architecture and Community Planning, and collaborates closely with the ARI to ensure the successful implementation of UDC’s strategic objectives in experiential and active learning.

Dr. Kliman is an experienced architect, educator and firm principal. With over 25 years industry experience, including more than 20 years as firm principal, overseeing firm financial operations, strategic planning, marketing, personnel, and managing complex architectural projects.  She has taught a variety of courses, including design studio, professional ethics and practice, construction systems and internship, at both UDC and the University of Arizona. Her expertise includes sustainability and high performance architecture, urban heat island effect, quantitative methods/analysis and research methodologies.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

Career Pathways and Prospects

Students who graduate from UDC’s master’s program in architecture are able to pursue a multiplicity of public or private sector career options within the design, construction and real estate development professions, equipped with:

  • Marketable IT and computer-assisted design (CAD) skills.
  • A solid foundation in ethical and sustainable community design and planning.
  • Real-world experience through the Architectural Research Institute and the intern development program.
  • The ability to identify, analyze and solve problems—a skillset that transcends the field of architecture.

Given the program’s long-standing reputation and presence in the community, graduates can take advantage of a distinguished network of alumni and program connections to pursue their new career or advance along the career ladder.

Contact Information

Dr. Susan Kliman

E: | T: 202.274.5774 | F: 202.274.5062