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Master of Architecture Degree Accredited

Earlier this year, the University of Memphis received notification from the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) that the professional Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree was granted initial accreditation at their March board meeting. The accreditation is effective retroactively to January 1, 2012.

This means that the professional M.Arch degree will meet the educational requirements of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) for registration as an architect in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. In addition, NCARB recognizes the degree retroactively which means all the students who have earned the professional M.Arch at the U of M will have the benefits of a NAAB-accredited degree. From May 2008 through May 2013, 18 students have earned the M.Arch degree.

The formal accreditation process was initiated in 2008 with the first NAAB team visit and the Master of Architecture degree program was awarded Candidacy status shortly thereafter based on the strength of the BFA in Architecture degree program and the format of the new M.Arch program.

The NAAB conducted extensive site visits again in 2010 and 2012. However, efforts had been underway to develop an accredited architecture degree program for more than 20 years prior to 2008.

Significant milestones leading to the establishment and accreditation of the M.Arch include visits from two previous executive directors of the NAAB (1992 and 2005), the move of the Architecture Program into the College of Communication and Fine Arts in 2000 and the peer review visit by noted architectural educators Larry Speck (University of Texas) and Peter Waldman (University of Virginia) in 2004.

The initial letter of intent to establish the M.Arch was submitted to the Tennessee Board of Regents by President Shirley Raines in 2005 and TBR and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved the M.Arch degree in 2007.

The professional sequence at the U of M is based on the national “4+2” model and consists of an approved four-year pre-professional degree (such as the BFA in Architecture) plus the 60-credit hour Master of Architecture degree. The professional degree, Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture, is the terminal degree in architecture.

— by Michael Hagge, Architecture Department chair

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Last Updated: 9/3/13