Architecture - Bachelors or 5-Year Master's
The architecture program is the central degree program in the School of Architecture. Two degrees are offered: a five year accelerated Master's of Architecture degree, which is a professional degree fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), and a four year Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.
The Master's program is actually a continuation of the undergraduate program, so the curriculum is the same in both programs for the first four years, and traditional high school students are admitted directly into the architecture program. Detroit Mercy is one of only four accredited schools of architecture in the state of Michigan, and the only one at a Jesuit or Mercy institution in all of North America.
The School also admits transfer students at various levels of the program when space is available. Transfer students' records are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and custom curriculum plans are developed for each individual transfer student. Click here for more information for transfer students.
A dynamic education
At Detroit Mercy, learning doesn’t just happen in a classroom through textbooks and lectures. We believe that a range of other settings enhances the classroom. Four key themes organize a dynamic educational experience that is the core of our curriculum:
Practice Ready Graduates
You will also hone your skills in the real world through our unique two-semester paid internship program - a curriculum requirement for all students.
Study AbroadYou will broaden your horizons through our fantastic study abroad programs where an entire foreign country will be your classroom.
You won’t just create fictional projects, but you will collaborate with real clients on projects in Detroit through our award winning community engagement programs.
Workshops and LabsYou will get your hands dirty making stuff and gaining a real tactile understanding of what architecture is made from in our newly renovated, state-of-the-art labs and workshops.
The five-year curriculum in architecture is centered around the following areas:
- Visual Communications
- Structures and Technology
- History & Theory
- Professional Practice
- University Core Curriculum
- Cooperative Education
Go to the University's Course Catalog to learn more about specific classes.Design is at the center of the curriculum spanning all five years of study. The Design Studios are organized into three parts: Foundation Studios (first year and second year), Upper Level Studios (third year and fourth year) and the Master's Studios (fifth year). Foundation Studios meets three afternoons a week for a total of 12 hours/ week and concentrates on developing basic technical, analytic, representational, and critical thinking skills necessary to deal with the complex social, psychological and poetic issues of the built environment. The studios are project based and the development of each student's personal and individual philosophy of design is one of the School's primary aims. Upper Level Studios meets three times/week for a total of 14 hours/week and is comprised of a mix of students from both third and fourth years together in investigations of complex architectural themes in more concentrated depth. Recently, Upper Level Studios has included community design, design of health care facilities, design-build experiences, architectural competitions, historical preservation, sustainability, furniture making and landscape design.
Visual Communications includes courses in multi-media drawing, computer graphics, computer aided design, three dimensional design and electives that explore various media. The ability to represent and model architectural ideas is fundamental to the design process.
Structures and Technology provides the technological background necessary to address the increasingly complex architectural themes of the studios. Included in this sequence are math, structures, energy and ecological design, and environmental technology (heating, ventilating, air conditioning, electrical systems, acoustics, etc.) courses.
History and Theory introduces the student to architectural tradition and precedent. It provides an understanding of the social, political, economic and philosophical forces that shape architecture. Through this foundation, students recognize their place in the architectural world and build their own work upon an understanding of the work of others.
Professional Practice introduces upper level students to fundamentals of managing an architectural office, project delivery systems, construction contracts, construction documents and legal and ethical issues concerning the profession. These courses, in concert with the cooperative training program, prepare students to enter the professional world.
An NAAB Accredited Degree Program
In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a preprofessional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture offers the following NAAB accredited degree program:
Master of Architecture, 176 total credits.
Next accreditation visit is in 2022 (8 year term).
Links to Information Concerning Accreditation and Career Development
Current NAAB Conditions and Procedures
2009 Conditions for Accreditation / 2012 NAAB Procedures for Accreditation
The NCARB Handbook for Interns and Architects
- Detroit Mercy SOA HONOR CODE / STUDIO CULTURE POLICY
The Emerging Professional's Companion
ARE Pass Rates by School
Sites for Career Information and General Information from related professional and educational organizations:
Links to Detroit Mercy SOA Annual Reports, Program Reports and NAAB Responses: