scan the FACTS shows the design thesis requirements for NAAB (National Association of Accrediting Board) certified undergraduate and graduate architecture programs in the United States.
Overall, graduate architecture programs are more likely to require the design thesis than undergraduate ones. Of sixty-nine NAAB accredited undergraduate B Arch architecture programs, twenty-three or 33% require the design thesis. Of eighty-one NAAB accredited graduate M Arch architecture programs forty or 49.4% require the design thesis.
The length of time allowed for completion of the design thesis also fluctuates but preference is given to a one-semester time period. Of the twenty-three NAAB accredited undergraduate B Arch architecture programs that require a design thesis, fifteen or 65% require a one-semester design thesis, seven programs or 31% require a two-semester design thesis, and one program or 4% requires a three-quarter design thesis. Three undergraduate programs offer an optional design thesis. A thesis preparation course is offered in sixteen of twenty-three undergraduate programs or 70%.
Of the forty NAAB accredited graduate M Arch architecture programs that require a design thesis, twenty-seven or 68% require a one-semester design thesis and thirteen or 32% require a two-semester design thesis. Eleven graduate programs offer an optional design thesis. A thesis preparation course is offered in forty of forty graduate programs or 100%.
The terminology used to describe a design thesis can vary widely between undergraduate and graduate programs. As such, only those professional architecture programs using the term design thesis or thesis were included in this survey. Courses or architectural design studio projects named capstone project, terminal project, diploma project, special studio, final studio, or final project, for example, were not included in this survey.
The information in this report was collected using a variety of methods and information resources including phone surveys, architecture school web sites, and NAAB data. Information was collected between June and December of 2002. Every attempt was made to be as accurate as possible. We thank all of the architecture programs and their representatives for participating in this survey and for being so patient and helpful.