Master of Science in Architecture


The Master of Science in Architecture, formerly known as Master of Architecture II, is a post-professional degree program 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.

Applicants are required to complete a minimum of one year of work experience after obtaining their first professional degree before applying to the program. Design research serves as the core of the program. Seminars address issues particular to the interdisciplinary environment of the graduate program, making use of the varied resources offered by The Cooper Union.

While the Master of Science in Architecture program is studio based, concentrations in one or a combination of three areas are offered: theory, history, and criticism of architecture, urban studies, and technologies. The program offers the opportunity for advanced research in an enlarged field of inquiry; as well as the possibility for students to craft their own agenda, crossbreeding between areas of studies upon admission. Prospective students will declare their area(s) of concentration during the application process.
In addition to the curriculum of Advanced Design Studio work that culminates in a Thesis project, advanced level seminars and workshops offer an 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 Science in Architecture program in studios and seminars include Diana AgrestAnthony VidlerMichael YoungLydia Kallipoliti, Nora Akawi, Tamar Zinguer, Lauren Kogod, and Guido Zuliani among others.

The Master of Science in Architecture foregrounds supervised independent research in one of the following areas of study:

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 New York 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.


All applicants to the Master of Science in Architecture program must 1) hold the professional degree of Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), the professional degree of Master of Architecture (M.Arch. I) or an equivalent accredited professional degree in architecture from a foreign institution; and 2) have completed a minimum of one year of work experience after obtaining their first professional architectural degree. The program is structured to be completed in two full-time consecutive semesters with a final thesis semester during the subsequent summer session. The Summer semester runs from June-early September (after Memorial Day until the date of the Master of Science in Architecture final Thesis review and exhibition opening during the second week of September). Final thesis presentations will take place during the second week of September at the end of the student’s year of study. Graduate students must complete all 30 credits of the Master of Science in Architecture degree requirements in full-time contiguous resident study at The Cooper Union.


  • 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.