Standard Pathway Online M.Arch.

The online Standard master of architecture pathway features the same advanced curriculum as our on-campus program track, but with the added benefit of being able to attend class from wherever you live. You will learn from the same distinguished faculty, who are leaders in both the design and architecture industries.

The Standard M.Arch. pathway is for students with little to no background in architecture. If you have a bachelor’s degree related to architecture, explore our Advanced Standing M.Arch. online pathway.


Through the curriculum, you will advance your foundational knowledge of architecture in core courses, hone skills in your areas of interest through electives, and apply your learning during hands-on experiences as well as in your final thesis.





During the first year of the Standard Admission pathway, you will develop an understanding of the basics of architecture in foundation courses. After completing foundation courses, you will take a more in-depth look at architecture, exploring topics such as architectural theory, integrated building systems, urban planning, and industrial ecology.

All courses are completed entirely online and are complemented by studio time and in-person, experiential learning.

Curriculum Themes

The curriculum is broken down by the following themes.

Design and Studio: 36 credits
Representation: 6 credits
Sustainability: 12 credits (including a sustainability elective)
Building Systems: 15 credits
History and Theory: 12 credits 
Research: 9 credits (including the required thesis)
Professional Practice: 3 credits 
Global Experience: 0–3 credits (required; included in elective total)
Electives: 12 credits (not including the sustainability elective)


You will complete your studies with a thesis investigation that integrates all of your learning from the program into a design- or research-based document. You have the option to choose a Research Thesis, a Design Thesis, or a hybrid of the two—the topic is entirely up to you. Previous on-campus student projects include:

  • Designs for an urban master plan for Rochester’s downtown
  • A net-zero or positive energy building
  • A turbine system that harvests rainwater for energy
  • Aging in place with health and sustainability in mind

Learn to Design Buildings with the Environment in Mind

Request information to learn more about the online M.Arch. program.

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Sample Standard Pathway Schedule

This is an example of a possible schedule and is subject to change.

1 (Fall)
Architectural Representation I
Architectural Representation II
Architectural History I
2 (Spring)
Fundamentals of Building Systems
Architectural Design I
Immersion I
3 (Summer)
Architectural Design II
Architectural History II
4 (Fall)
Architectural Studio I: Site
Integrated Building Systems I
Understanding Sustainability
5 (Spring)
Architectural Studio II: Urban
Integrated Building Systems II
Urban and Regional Planning
Immersion 2
6 (Summer)
Industrial Ecology Fundamentals
Architectural Theory
7 (Fall)
Architectural Studio III: Adaptive
Integrated Building Systems III
Sustainable Building Metrics
8 (Spring)
Architectural Studio IV: Integrative
Integrated Building Systems IV
(Optional) Immersion
9 (Summer)
Research Seminar/Thesis Preparation
Graduate Elective 1
Sustainability Elective
10 (Fall)
Professional Practice
11 (Spring)
Graduate Elective 2
Graduate Elective 3
Graduate Elective 4
Flexible Term
Global Experience
Co-op Architecture

Explore all online M.Arch. courses for the Standard Admission pathway.

In-Person Learning

With a subject matter as hands-on as architecture, experiential learning is crucial. In the online master of architecture program track, your city becomes your classroom and you complete in-person learning locally and on the RIT campus.

  • Studio and Design: Through collaborative work at your in-home studio and on-site visits, you will apply concepts from your other courses to the design of real-world building projects.
  • Professional Cooperative Educational Experiences: You will complete a professional co-op where you will gain 350 to 400 hours of experience at a site in your community.
  • Global Experience: You will spend up to 10 days studying the architecture and culture of a foreign city. You can choose an individual travel experience for 0 credits or receive up to 3 credits for attending a global experience led by an RIT instructor or at another academic institution.
    *Note: Alternatives for completing the requirement are available per the Department of Architecture’s Global Experience Policy.
  • Immersions: You will visit RIT’s campus in Rochester, N.Y., for two required in-person immersions. Here, you will collaborate with your classmates on projects and competitions, participate in live critiques, and experience the RIT culture firsthand. You also have the option to attend a third immersion.

Visit the experience page to learn how RIT’s online M.Arch. program track brings the curriculum to life.

Learn by Doing

Fill out the form to learn more about RIT’s hands-on education.