The accredited Master of Architecture degree is a first professional degree for students with an undergraduate degree in architecture and for students with a background in non-architectural studies. The duration of graduate studies will vary according to prior preparation and coursework in architecture, and the quality and complexity of work in an applicant's portfolio. The Graduate School's MArch 3 program forms the overall basis for the graduate program. Students with strong backgrounds in architectural studies (a BS in Architecture most typically) are considered for selective entry into MArch 2 and 2+ programs, curricula of 4 and 5 semesters in duration, respectively.
The post-professional Master of Architecture degree is for individuals already holding professional degrees in architecture accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) who are interested in pursuing opportunities in research, teaching, and independent studies.
A number of joint dual degree programs also exist, combining the Master of Architecture degree with the study in other divisions at Washington University. These programs lead to dual degrees in architecture and a Master of Urban Design, Master of Business Administration, Master of Social Work, or Master of Construction Management.
National Architecture Accrediting Board statement on conditions of accreditation
In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. Master's degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
The NAAB grants candidacy status to new programs that have developed viable plans for achieving initial accreditation. Candidacy status indicated that a program should be accredited within six years of achieving candidacy, if its plan is properly implemented.
In 2006, Washington University's professional MArch programs were approved for a six-year term of accreditation.