Master of Architecture II

Program Description

In addition to the existing curriculum of Advanced Design Studio work that culminates in a design-research Thesis project, the Criticism, History and Theory concentration offers a intensive one-year immersion in the criticism, history and theory of architecture.  Emphasis is placed on approaches to architectural analysis and history, the role and contemporary relevance of theory, and the relations between theory and design.  Seminars will offer students preparation for careers in journalism, teaching, and eventual doctoral studies, with a broad understanding of the cultural conditions of architectural production and a concentration on excellence in writing.  Analysis studios provide a deep insight into the formal and programmatic diversity of historical and contemporary architecture, the process of design, and potential avenues for new approaches towards theory and practice.  A required emphasis in Urbanism or Technologies of Representation allows for deeper investigation into specific areas of historical or contemporary architectural theory.

Faculty directly engaged with the Master of Architecture II program in studios and seminars for the current year include Diana Agrest, who directs the Graduate Research Design Studios and Thesis, Pablo Lorenzo-EiroaDaniel MeridorWill ShapiroAnthony VidlerMichael Young, Tamar Zinguer and Guido Zuliani.

Instructors and guest lecturers have included Barry Bergdoll (MoMA and Columbia University), Craig Buckley (Yale University), Daniella Fabricius (Princeton University), Dietrich Neumann (Brown University), Spyros Papapetros (Princteton University), Emmanuel Petit (Yale University), Lucia Allais (Princeton University), D. Graham Burnett (Princeton University), Kurt Forster (Yale University), Ruben Gallo (Princeton University), Adam Maloof (Princeton University), Joan Ockman (UPenn School of Design), Gyan Prakash (Princeton University), Lydia Xynogala (The Cooper Union), among others. 

The Master of Architecture II post-professional degree program was launched in 2009 to extend the vision and intellectual rigor of the undergraduate program and allow a further development of the school’s preeminent position in the education of architects. It is open to applicants with a first professional degree in architecture (Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture I) from a program accredited by the NAAB or equivalent accrediting agency in another country. 

The program serves professionals who wish to continue in practice with higher research and design skills in those areas in which the program offers specialization. It additionally prepares those with first professional degrees who wish to develop parallel careers in teaching and/or continue to engage in research toward an appropriate Ph.D. degree at another institution.

Applicants are required to complete a minimum of one year of work experience after obtaining their first professional degree before applying to the program.

The design studio serves as a major component of the program. Seminars address issues particular to the concentrations as well as other topics making use of the interdisciplinary resources offered by The Cooper Union.

Concentrations in one or a combination of three areas are offered: theory, history and criticism of architecture, urban studies and technologies. Prospective students will declare their area(s) of concentration during the application process.

Theory, History and Criticism of Architecture
Considers questions concerning the theory and criticism of modernism and contemporary architecture, the philosophy and aesthetics of architecture, the mediatization of architecture and broader cultural and historical issues through the critical readings of texts, the development of critical projects and a written thesis.

Urban Studies
Addresses issues central to the design, planning and development of cities and regions, including study of the morphological, social and cultural effects of globalization; the survival of local urban cultures; redevelopment of central cities, suburbs and exurbs; and issues specific to NewYork and comparative cities.

Focuses on technological issues of architectural design, representation, planning and production, such as the impact of new information technologies, new materials and manufacturing processes; hardware and software development; mapping and modeling techniques; and the technologies of fabrication as they influence new design strategies. This area focuses as well on the economic, ethical and technological dimensions and design potentialities of sustainability and developments in new structural systems, materials and building assemblies.

View Degree Requirements  >

View Selected Design Studio Projects  >

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.