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Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research (M.S.)

The Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research (M.S.) is an advanced, post-professional degree, featuring a concentration in Digital and Material Technologies. The degree is offered by Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Rackham Graduate School.

Important Dates & Information:

Application and Portfolio Deadline: January 15 annually 

Enrollment Deposit and Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15 annually

The M.S. in Architecture Design and Research capitalizes on the University of Michigan's unique position as a premier research university with over 95 top-five ranked departments. The University's scope and breadth across various architecture-related disciplines is integral to the course of study in all concentrations. Our program is particularly appropriate for graduates with a B.Arch. or M.Arch. professional degrees in architecture (or equivalent degrees in related fields). The MS provides an additional credential that enables its graduates to pursue research and entrepreneurial practices, careers in the academy, or to expand their architectural practice.

Digital and Material Technologies

The Master of Science in Architecture concentration of Digital and Material Technologies is an intensive 3-term degree that invests in the technologies, materials, and production logics that are most drastically shaping and challenging our built world and its respective industries.

As architecture integrates advanced technologies and material applications from the aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding industries, it has altered both the way buildings are conceived and manufactured. Computer-aided design/manufacturing technologies and an insistence on the cohesive material systems have forced architects to reconsider their role in response to an influx of complex performance requirements, changing contractual relationships, and multidisciplinary collaborations. Master of Science in Architecture concentration of Digital and Material Technologies (DMT) not only allows for hands-on direct engagement with technology and materials but challenges students to explore different design theories and methodologies poised to have disruptive effects on future work in the field. 

Collapsing digital technologies and material systems into a cohesive framework of study, Digital and Material Technologies concentration focuses on cutting-edge research in advanced fabrication techniques, digital design and material systems. The interactions of matter and energies in a design practice is driven at all stages of design and production by complex constraints and feedbacks from manufacturing, environment and human interaction. The program focuses on the relationship to digital and material design and output, providing motivated students with an opportunity to pursue architectural innovation within a context where design, composition and modes of production for scales from wearables to buildings have radically changed due to an increasing sophistication and pervasiveness of computationally driven design and fabrication technologies.

The D.M.T project-based research led by innovative faculty in the college’s world-class Digital Fabrication Lab (FABLab) provides a powerful platform for motivated students to explore novel construction approaches of designed objects at various scales. Candidates work in small collaborative teams with faculty at Taubman College and across campus in departments such as Material Science, Engineering, Computer Science, Interaction, Art & Design and the Center for Sustainable Systems. Taubman College and the University of Michigan possess unique resources, such as the Taubman College FABLab, the Duderstadt Center with Motion Capture Lab and Immersive Virtual Environment, the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Lab, and the Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems. The Southeast Michigan region positions candidates in close proximity to some of the most advanced manufacturing facilities worldwide.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research Degree with a concentration in Design and Material Technologies requires 36 credit hours. The program is three terms in length consisting of fall term (September-December), winter full term (January-April), and fall full term (September-December). Specifically, a student must complete:

  • ARCH 700: MS Practicum (6 credits)
  • ARCH 714: MS Proseminar (3 credits)
  • ARCH 701: Theories in Digital and Material Technologies (3 credits)
  • Three required of the four listed: ARCH 702: Robotic Engagement (3 credits), ARCH 703: Virtual Engagement (3 credits), ARCH 707: Material Engagement (3 credits), ARCH 708: Systems Engagement (3 credits)
  • ARCH 739: MS Capstone (6 credits)
  • Two courses (6 credits) of graduate-level (500/600) architecture elective courses
  • One course (3 credits) of graduate-level elective (either architecture or non-architecture) 

Please see the sample schedule for the typical terms of these course offerings.

Sample Schedule

Course Descriptions

ARCH 700:  MS Practicum: The course is designed as an intensive skill-building design laboratory that launches the program with digital, material, and machine-based learning.  Participants work individually and collaboratively. (6 credit hours)

ARCH 714:  MS Proseminar: This course engages interdisciplinary work, projects and scholarship related to the MS areas of concentration (Digital and Materials Technologies, and Design and Health) - through lectures, class discussion, and guest lectures including experts in the MS concentration areas from Taubman College and the University of Michigan. (3 credit hours) 

ARCH 701: Theories in Digital and Material Technologies: The course will introduce topics and precedents as a means of giving insight to research methods related to digital and material technologies.  Participants should complete the course with an understanding of crafting a research proposal and positing their propositions within a broader field of architectural design/research. (3 credit hours)

ARCH 702: Robotic Engagement: This course covers topics related to hardware, fabrication, and materials as related to advancements in digital fabrication.  Beyond teaching the mechanics of specific machinery, the course will develop a framework for understanding exemplary projects in the field with an understanding of different design methodologies and their relations to project development and fabrication. (3 credit hours)

ARCH 703: Virtual Engagement: This seminar covers topics related to digital design practices that cover a range of topics that include generative design, algorithmic design, scripting, parametric modeling, BIM, simulation, and analysis.  Beyond the introduction to specific software packages, the course will develop a framework for understanding exemplary projects in the field with an understanding of different design methodologies and their relation to geometry and workflow. (3 credit hours)

ARCH 707: Material Engagement: This technique-based course covers topics related to material properties, behavior, performance, tooling, and manufacturing techniques.  The course will focus, in part, on physical explorations in working processes related to the development of material assemblies, assessment of their behavior and effects, and their potential applications. (3 credit hours)

ARCH 708: Systems Engagement: This technique-based course covers topics related to technology integration within high-performance material system.  Specific areas of study will include smart materials, integration with sensing and actuation technologies, interactive systems and environmental response.  Work of the course will be combine both material explorations as well as digital simulations. (3 credit hours)

ARCH 739: MS Capstone: This course is the culmination of the academic course of study.  Participants are expected to apply new skills and knowledge towards advancing the discipline through their projects.  Intensive and research-based, participants will be required to document their research and project-based work in partial fulfillment of their degree.  Outside expert discussion is integrated into the MS Capstone and public exhibitions by participants. (6 credit hours)

ELECTIVES: The requirement to fulfill up to three elective courses provides students with the opportunity to learn topics beyond the DMT curriculum and engage with faculty from across the entirety of Taubman College, as well as in other departments at the university. (6 credit hours are required, up to 9 credit hours - depending on the balance of core seminars taken)

ELI 530: Students who are non–native English speakers and do not have a four-year degree from an English-medium institution are required to take and successfully complete ELI 530, a two-credit hour architecture-specific English course offered by the English Language Institute (ELI) at U-M in their first fall term. ELI 530 is taken in addition to their regular architecture coursework and does not count toward degree requirements.

Faculty associated with the concentration:

Aid & Scholarships

All Master of Science applicants are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. Applicants are notified whether they have been offered a scholarship award in their admission letter. Scholarships can range from partial to full semesters of tuition. About one half of the incoming Master of Science students typically receive a scholarship. These financial scholarships are made possible through our generous alumni and friends of Taubman College. Because financial resources are limited, applicants are encouraged to seek out other sources of funding as well.

Each year 1 to 2 students are also selected for the prestigious MSc Fellowship position which comes with a stipend, and a research and mentorship position with a faculty member within their concentration.

For additional information on financial aid and scholarships please visit this page.


Taubman College Career and Professional Development offers a variety of programs, services and resources to assist students and alumni in exploring careers, securing positions and continuing skill development and management.

For additional information on career opportunities, visit our career and professional development page.

STEM-Designated Degree Program

The Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research degree is an approved field of study within the U.S. government’s official STEM fields list. When a student earns a degree in a field on the STEM fields list, he/she may be eligible for the 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension. OPT is defined as practical work experience in your field of study after completion of a degree. With a STEM degree, a student's "regular" OPT of 12 months may be extended for an additional 24 months. For further details regarding STEM extensions contact the International Center.



Gradient is an online platform for current conversations in architecture and urbanism at Taubman College and beyond. The journal highlights the wide variety of expertise and methods and diverse ways of designing and theorizing the built environment’s role in the world. Project Papers further spotlight the intellectual diversity of our internationally recognized faculty.


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