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