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Explore solutions to the critical issues of the 21st century built environment through a two or three semester program

The Master of Advanced Architectural Studies is a two to three-semester, research-based innovative program for committed, self-directed students who have earned a professional degree in architecture, or a degree in a related discipline. It provides opportunities for specialized study in leading-edge areas of the built environment, and a platform to explore solutions to the crucial issues of the 21st century. Students in the MAAS program work closely with a faculty advisor with expertise in students’ areas of study during the duration of their program.

The School of Architecture has four primary focus areas of research and specialized studies – City Design, Energy and Technology, History and Theory and Public Interest Design. They address the design of sustainable, regenerative, equitable and inclusive cities, suburbs, and buildings, and the means to interpret and assess built environments.

School of Architecture Focus Areas

City Design Image

City Design focuses on design inquiry and applications that address the challenges and opportunities of 21st-century global cities. It incorporates identity and meaning in urban places, designing integrated systems of movement for increased accessibility, promoting a greater mix of uses within well-scaled urban fabrics, creating equitable and inclusive cities, applying new energy efficiency and production systems, and defining new means of greening cities. This focus area also supports interdisciplinary collaborations between departments at NC State and inter-university studies between NC State and the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Energy and Technology

Energy and Technology focuses on leading-edge energy, building control, and regenerative technologies in the design of sustainable buildings and built environments. Properly designed energy and control systems can substantially enhance building performance to reduce or eliminate fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions, or produce energy. This focus area provides opportunities for students to explore new and emerging technologies that meet the challenges of our changing world and address climate change.

History and Theory Image

Histories and theories of architecture play increasingly important roles in defining and reshaping the boundaries, tasks, and challenges of contemporary architecture and urbanism. This focus area provides a platform for students to build a substantive knowledge base and develop deeper understandings of the crucial issues confronting architecture, urbanism, and the built environment. Critical, multidisciplinary methodologies of interpretation and analysis provide potent means to research and design in the 21st century.

Public Interest Design

Public Interest Design is a rapidly emerging field with a long history at the School of Architecture. It comprises participatory and issue-based design practices that broaden the public’s access to the benefits of design, and emphasizes the “triple bottom line” of environmental, economic, and social challenges. Through research, field-based, and design methodologies, this focus area provides opportunities for exploring and advancing how design can address a range of critical challenges that global 21st centuries communities face. 

Faculty Research Areas

Who is this program for?

The MAAS program is for:

  • Students who hold a professional degree from a NAAB accredited architecture program who want to earn an additional advanced degree in architecture.
  • Students who hold non-professional architecture or related degrees in other disciplines, who can demonstrate relevant knowledge.

Process and Duration

MAAS is a flexible, innovative, and individualized program that provides students with opportunities to engage in specialized studies. Students choose a research subject and topic as part of their application and work closely with their advisor to design a self-directed program and work with faculty who are experts in the field. Student-led opportunities provide settings to share current research. Teaching and research assistantships are available on a competitive basis. 

MAAS is designed to be completed in two to three semesters. However, students can accelerate completion by applying up to 12 credit hours of graduate electives or studios appropriate to a research area, or other graduate electives from design-related programs, as approved by their faculty advisor after admittance into the program.

Curriculum Template

Program Overview 

  • Directed Research: 3-6 credits
  • Electives (in focus area): 9-12 credits
  • Advanced Architectural Studies Project: 15 credits 

Total: 30 credits

First Semester (12 credit hours)

  • ARC 698 Advanced Architectural Studies Project: 3 credits 
  • ARC 682 Directed Research: 3 credits
  • Elective: 3 credits
  • Elective: 3 credits 

Second Semester (9 credit hours) 

  • ARC 698 Advanced Architectural Studies Project: 3 credits
  • ARC 682 Directed Research or Elective: 3 credits
  • Elective: 3 credits 

Third Semester (9 credit hours)

  • Advanced Architectural Studies Project: 9 credits 

Total: 30 credits