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15 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Architecture for 2020

If you are looking for online master’s degree programs in architecture, consider your search over. We have researched and studied the online programs offered and shortlisted the best and most affordable options for you. They offer students rigorous professional training in design, planning, history, and technology along with options to customize their studies by their career goals. These M.Arch programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NAAB accreditation is a standard required for U.S. licensure. The programs help students develop critical strategic thinking and communication skills to tackle a range of issues, from sustainability and urbanism to historic preservation.

An online master’s degree in architecture teaches students to design buildings by combining the principles of beauty, utility, durability, and sustainability. Top architecture schools focus on how to make the built environment both functionally and aesthetically sound. Graduates go on to work as architects, landscape architects, urban designers, or structural engineers. Some graduate programs offer paid assistantships and internships as a part of the curriculum. They also have design studios that form an integral part of the study, where students get hands-on learning opportunities from expert faculty.

Some of the graduate degrees in architecture and related fields mentioned here are:
• Online Master of Science (M.S.) in Architecture
• Online Master of Architecture
• Online Master of Science in Interior Architecture
• Online Master of Science in Strategic Design and Management program
• Online Master of Science/Master of Arts in Architectural Studies
• Online MA in Interior Design
• online Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design
• Online Master of Fine Arts in Design
• Online Master of Science in Design Studies

The online master’s degree in architecture programs are designed for working professionals who wish to get an advanced degree without leaving their day jobs. The flexible and self-paced format helps them balance work and studies and also provides many opportunities for career advancement. The top schools have invested in the latest communication technologies so that students can attend classes, access resources, interact with faculty, and network with fellow students with ease. They can communicate via electronic forums, e-mail, videoconferencing, bulletin boards, chat rooms, and instant messaging. Online master’s in architecture degree programs offer the same quality as an on-campus master’s program and affordable tuition rates.

Methodology

The most significant factors to determine which college is a good fit, students need to look at the cost, quality of the program, return on investment, and accreditation. Our research was based on each school’s website and other reputable college ranking sites like U.S. News, College Factual, The Princeton Review, Niche.

In this ranking, we have gone through the schools that offer an online master’s degree in Architecture and shortlisted 15 of the most affordable programs. Schools were then independently analyzed and awarded points based on the following factors:

Tuition (as reported by the NCES)

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 2 points
  • Net Price Below $25,000: 1 point

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

School and Program Quality

Student Support Network: 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations: 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific): 1 point per item

Campus Diversity Support Network: 1 point per item

Wow Factor: 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

#15 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, Massachusetts

Online Master of Architecture

Website
Points: 6

university-of-massachusetts-amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst offers an online Master of Architecture via its College of Humanities & Fine Arts and the Department of Architecture. It is the first NAAB-accredited architecture degree that is available at the public institution in New England. The 57-graduate credits program leads to a two years M. Arch. degree program that requires applicants to have a pre-professional degree. Students delve into knowledge exploration, manage their core requirements, and work on a culminating Master’s thesis. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes studio art, architecture, public history, art history, building construction and wood technology, landscape architecture and regional planning, environmental sciences, environmental engineering, and computer science and management.
Average tuition per credit: $2,081.50
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
ROI (College Factual): 8%

#14 New School Parsons School of Design

New York, NY

Online Master of Science in Strategic Design and Management program

Website
Points: 7

The New School Parsons School of Design offers an online Master of Science in Strategic Design and Management that explores the community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world. Students can complete the 37 credit program 100% online, on campus, or in a blended learning format. A diverse group of students studies together to initiate and lead change in emerging fields through design. The academically rigorous and practice-oriented program blends theory with hands-on learning experiences, all led by a world-class faculty. The flexible graduate program is tailored to working professionals. It is well suited to early- to mid-career professionals who are looking to add to their design and business expertise with professional application.
Average tuition per credit: $1,810
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI (College Factual): 6%

#13 Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah, Georgia

Online MA in Interior Design

Website
Points: 7

Savannah College of Art and Design or SCAD offers an online MA in interior design that empowers students to gain the technical and research skills to excel in the profession of architecture. The 45-credit curriculum includes topics like internal design theory, emerging materials, research methods, and environmental psychology. Students learn to combine critical thinking and practical design concepts during their two-year tenure at the school. Topics covered include Interior Design Theory and Criticism, Research Methods for Interior Design, Environmental Psychology for Interior Design, Emerging Interior Materials, Contemporary Issues in Interior Design, among others.
Average tuition per year: $38,475
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
ROI: N/A

#12 Lawrence Technological University

Southfield, Michigan

Master of Architecture Online

Website
Points: 8

The online Master of Architecture program offered by the Lawrence Technological University is a nationally renowned program with a focus on teaching. It is known for its small classes and challenging yet manageable coursework. It promotes student-centered learning and is NAAB accredited. The 36-credit program is designed for people who wish to hone their skills in design and architecture and get a license to work in the field. Depending on a student’s needs, he or she can opt for any of the two formats –
1. 15-month program of Master of Architecture: This is advanced architectural coursework with 36 additional credit hours. It is designed for participants with a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture.
2. 3+ years Master of Architecture: This program is meant for the participants, who have undergraduate degrees except for Bachelor of Science degrees in architecture and who want to become licensed architects in the future.
Average tuition per credit: $1,200
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI (College Factual): 7.6%

#11 Academy of Art University

San Francisco, California

M.Arch or Master of Architecture Online

Website
Points: 8

The M.Arch or Master of Architecture program offered by the Academy of Art University is an online degree program that educates through the process of designing and critical thinking. At the same time, it enables students to learn how to make significant contributions to the environment through the help of architecture and urban design. The 63 unit program blends rigorous exploration, critical thought, and personal design vision of each student throughout the courses. It is focused on updated technical developments, the relationship of theory, the practice of making and building, and the latest architectural designs. Students go on to solve creative issues in the field of art and design, including research and synthesis of aesthetic, technical, and conceptual knowledge.
Average tuition per unit: $1,083
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
ROI (College Factual): N/A

#10 Chatham University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Online Master of Science in Interior Architecture

Website
Points: 9

The online Master of Science in Interior Architecture or MSIA program offered by Chatham University offers on-campus, online, or hybrid options. The online program is an excellent fit for busy professionals who wish to expand their experience and education that they received in their undergraduate degree. Students from related fields like interior architecture, interior design, or architecture may enroll in this program. The 30-credits program introduces students to different architectural theories and gains essential skills like critical reasoning, analyzing theory, evaluating globalization, and Sustainability in their industry. The emphasis on the design theory allows students to explore a particular user group, building type, or design issue in their specializations and gain some supervised teaching experience.
Average tuition per credit: $987
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
ROI (College Factual): N/A

#9 University of Washington

Seattle, Washington

Online Master of Architecture (M.Arch)

Website
Points: 9

The two years online Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree program offered by the University of Washington is a professional online degree program. It is meant for students who hold a Bachelor of Science in architecture, Bachelor of Science in environmental design, or a pre-professional Bachelor of Arts degree from a NAAB-accredited institution. The 90 credit hours program emphasizes on an incorporated architectural design, its relationship to the tectonics, and urban issues along with the technical knowledge required for practicing architecture professionally. It also focuses on the development of research skills for integrating different areas of expertise in the field of design. Some of the courses merge structure, material, and environmental issues in the format of collaborative teaching.
Average tuition per year: $19,293
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
ROI (College Factual): 7.7%

#8 Boston Architectural College

Boston, Massachusetts

Online Master of Architecture

Website
Points: 9

Boston Architectural College offers an online master’s in architecture program that is designed for students with an undergraduate background in architecture. The NAAB program provides an innovative approach that embeds professional practice into the curriculum. The low-residency model of this 36 academic credits program allows students to work full-time as they continue to earn their degrees. Topics covered in this program include urbanism, theory and research, professional practice, and building technology along with advanced studios that emphasize technical and conceptual design mastery. The online coursework is supplemented each semester by a week-long intensive residency at the Boston Architectural College. Students can also opt for practice-based learning each semester.
Average tuition per year: $15,604
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 3:1
ROI (College Factual): N/A

#7 Samford University

Birmingham, Alabama

Online Master of Science in Design Studies

Website
Points: 10

Samford University offers an online Master of Science in Design Studies via its Department of Interior Architecture. The 33 credits program emphasizes design research and critical analysis for transformative and powerful design solutions. Students can pursue advanced research to hone their knowledge in design or switch to the academic roles in the field of design education. Students learn to exhibit their understanding of different research methodologies, exhibit their knowledge of different research methodologies, demonstrate their skills and knowledge for effective educational practice, and design research in the specific field of expertise. The faith-based and enriched academic coursework prepares graduates to work as researchers or design educators.
Average tuition per credit: $862
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
ROI (College Factual): 8.8%

#6 Brenau University

Gainesville, Georgia

Online Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Website
Points: 10

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Atlanta, GA

Brenau University offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design that teaches students to address social changes and new client needs by developing innovative design projects. The 54-credit program is a good fit for students with an undergraduate degree in Interior Design, Architecture, or a related design field. The program covers areas within the design, including the application of more-diverse design styles, threose of computer-aided technology, and techniques. Students learn how today’s designers practice in the modern world as they learn to push toward Sustainability and socially responsible choices. Graduates are prepared to tackle critical issues in design education and research, teach at the college level, and contribute to research in the field.
Average tuition per credit: $695
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 9:1
ROI: N/A

#5 Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, Illinois

Online Master of Architecture

Website
Points: 11

Southern Illinois University offers an online master of architecture program that is designed for future architecture professionals. Students looking for accredited professional degrees to qualify for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification will be a good fit for this program. Students need to complete a Bachelor of Science program in Architectural Studies or equivalent to enroll in this Master’s degree program. The 42 graduate credit hours program uses distance education along with campus-based limited knowledge to support students. Students enjoy a broadened comprehension of architecture, enhance their collaborative skills, strengthen communication skills, and develop new technology skills, critical thinking skills through a complete analysis of different architectural issues.
Average tuition per credit: $460.40
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
ROI (College Factual): 9.2%

#4 University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri

Online Master of Science/Master of Arts in Architectural Studies

Website
Points: 11

university-of-missouri

The University of Missouri offers an online Master of Science/Master of Arts in Architectural Studies via its Department of Architectural Studies. The 30-credit curriculum focuses on the symbiotic relationship and harmony between interior design and architecture. In this program, students explore the design process and its connection to people and their surroundings to come up with a sustainable world. Graduate programs offer two emphases: 1) in the environment and behavior studies with a creative project and 2) in design with digital media studies. The scholarly, interdisciplinary climate is built on the architectural studies course work and encourages students to celebrate human sciences and aesthetic values. Courses also span supportive areas like art, physical and human sciences, allied design professions, and humanities.
Average tuition per credit: $453.03
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
ROI (College Factual): 7.7%

#3 Ball State University

Muncie, Indiana

Online Master’s Degree in Interior Design

Website
Points: 12

ball-state-university

Ball State University offers an online Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in interior design that is meant for students who wish to grow in their careers in the field of interior design. The innovative and rigorous curriculum equips participants to be professional interior designers while honing the creative processes to achieve design excellence. The main emphasis of this 33 credits program is on research and theory. Students learn about environmental psychology, design theory, design for ergonomic, cultural, functional, and accessibility needs, and graphic communication skills. Their practical skills are complemented by their critical thinking skills and design theory.
Average tuition per credit: $442
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16:1
ROI: N/A

#2 University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska

Online Master of Science (MS) in Architecture

Website
Points: 13

university-of-nebraska-lincoln

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Master of Science (MS) in Architecture online with Interior Design Specialization option. The program is designed for students who have undergraduate academic experience in the field of design. The 36 credit hours program is particularly well-suited for those who wish to embark on a research-based career in the field of architecture like research-based design jobs, some scholarly activities, or teaching. Students can complete this flexible program online as they continue to work. Some of the topics covered are Architectural theory and history, Gerontology and design, Branding, Design teaching and pedagogy, Healthcare design, Digital Design, and Sustainability.
Average tuition per credit: $440
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18:1
ROI (College Factual): 7.9%

#1 University of Wisconsin-Stout

Menomonie, Wisconsin

Online Master of Fine Arts in Design

Website
Points: 14

The University of Wisconsin Stout offers an online Master of Fine Arts in Design that has an outstanding reputation for preparing creative leaders and teachers. The 60-credit terminal degree combines practical problem-solving, innovative teaching in a ‘change the world’ mentality. Students are encouraged to reach across multiple design disciplines in an art school experience that will help them grow as a designer. The combination of experiential learning and design-based research offers them in-depth and comprehensive knowledge. They cover areas like Graphic design, Industrial design, Game design, Interior design, Interactive Media, Digital Cinema, and Animation through collaborative faculty-student projects.
Average tuition per credit: $397.52
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
ROI (College Factual): 8.4%

More about online Master of Architecture programs

What will you learn?

The online Master of Architecture programs are designed to broaden students’ comprehension of architecture and help architecture professionals get an accredited professional degree. A master’s degree gives architects a real edge over the competition and aids them in excelling with their creative designs.

Graduates are qualified for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certification. Working professionals in architecture deepen their foundational knowledge, get to Strengthen their communication skills and critical thinking skills through in-depth analysis of architectural problems. Increased collaborative and technological skills set them up for success. At the end of the program, their understanding of areas related to architecture is enhanced with the core and elective courses they select.

Online programs are designed for busy architects who wish to continue working and gain hands-on industry experience as they study. Most architecture registration boards require at least three years of experience, so online programs can be a big career boost. While they are online, some schools have limited campus-based instruction or some residency requirements. The design studio is an integral part of the curriculum, so some studio activities are conducted face to face. Students can sometimes use their work experience towards their practicum or capstone projects.

What is the program format?

They are mostly 100% online and can be offered synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous courses mean that the students from different locations are all on their systems at the same time. Asynchronous courses mean that students log into the class as desired and if also called on-demand learning. In general, design studios use a combination of both sessions, per faculty preferences.

Are these programs accredited?

The programs are accredited by the NAAB (National Architecture Accrediting Board). Most programs, though not all, look for students who hold a bachelor’s degree from a NAAB accredited school. Student Performance Criteria establishes the minimum expectations of an architecture graduate in the United States.

What is the value of the program?

Students who enroll in the online program get the same value that an on-campus student does. They receive instruction from the same faculty and follow the same curriculum as their traditional peers. The degree conferred is equally recognized by the industry.

What does a typical curriculum entail?

While the curriculum varies from one school to the other, typically they cover topics like Architecture Studio, Sustainable Systems, Building Systems, Project Management, Architecture Thesis, Detailing and Construction, Research Strategies along with History and Theory Electives.
Methods of assessment and instructional practices to determine learning outcomes differ from school to school.

What are the career opportunities?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, architecture jobs are set to grow at a pace of 8 % through 2028. The average salary for professionals in architecture is $79,380 per year. Jobs for master’s degree holders include architect, architectural manager, construction manager, landscape architect, urban and regional planner, postsecondary architecture teacher, among others.

Are there special software or hardware requirements for online programs?

No. Students simply need their laptops and a fast Internet connection. Everything works through the web browser and the learning content management programs. They are designed to work on Windows and Mac computers.

List of professional organizations for architects:

• American Design Drafting Association (ADDA)
• American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the
• American Institute of Architectural Students (AIAS)
• American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI)
• American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
• Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO)
• Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)
• Association of Licensed Architects (ALA)
• Society of American Registered Architects (SARA).
• Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)
• Stained Glass Association of America (SGAA)
• The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB)
• The Council for Interior Design Qualifications (CIDQ)
• The Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB)
• Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards (FARB)
• International Code Council (ICC)
• The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
• The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
• Society for Design Administration (SDA)

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