Rice Architecture is the meeting point of design and discourse; of theory and practice; of past and future; of Rice and the world; and of our two inseparable aims: to educate architects and to position our graduates as leaders in a rapidly changing world.

Generosity binds these aims to one another. Inside the school, the exchange of knowledge depends upon the magnanimous sharing of intellectual culture among students, faculty, and visitors to the school. Beyond the school’s boundaries, Rice Architecture is a catalyst, an advocate for architects and architecture to step unflinchingly into public life. Taken together, these mandates underscore our goal of forming architects whose ideas will continue to reverberate across contemporary culture. Our ambitions are simple. Our graduates will be prepared with knowledge. They will always be curious about what they don’t yet know. And they will continue to propose alternatives that foster an unyielding optimism about the future.

The required core sequence of Rice Architecture’s Master of Architecture program includes courses in four areas: design studio, history/theory, technology, and practice. Each area provokes the others in a deliberate feedback loop. The collective conversation that characterizes Rice Architecture – in our studios, our seminars, our juries, our lectures, our hallways – is where we synthesize these threads. Our core courses in design, history/theory, technology, and practice focus attention on key topics within architecture: form, program, materials, technology. The core also establishes a shared set of references – significant historical and contemporary. We also offer a broad selection of electives within the architecture school and across the university.


Arch 503, Drew Heller

The advanced options studios of the final year of the masters program include Totalization, our unique program that embeds nationally-recognized consultants in the studios, emphasizing that architectural innovation results from collaboration and the nimble anticipation of contingencies.

The final course in the history/theory core is the required pre-thesis seminar, which reflects our conviction that every student must step back and define their argument vis-à-vis architecture’s contemporary position in the world. Students subsequently complete their studies either with a semester-long thesis project or an additional options studio in their final semester.

Rice Architecture’s Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) professional degree is fully accredited by the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB), qualifying our graduates to sit for the professional licensing exam.

M.Arch. programs are STEM designated, making international students from those programs eligible to apply for a three-year F-1 visa extension after graduation.  


Tracks of Study

Option 1

The Option 1, seven-semester (131 credit) track is for students with little or no background in architecture. In order to graduate, students in this program must complete 6 semesters of design studios, 44 curriculum credits, and 27 credit hours of free electives.

Option 2

The Option 2, five-semester (93 credit) track is for those students who hold a four-year undergraduate degree in architecture from schools that have been approved by our admissions committee for advanced standing (please note that this list is constantly under revision, so applications may be shifted to another options track as determined by the admissions committee).

Present Future

Rice Architecture’s Master of Science in Architecture is our second graduate program. Known as Present Future, this program is a post-graduate, three-semester (39 credit), special-topic research course under the leadership of Rice Architecture. This full-residency program is akin to a lab: students work collectively on a focused research project, culminating in an exhibition, book or similar shared project. 

Facets of the Graduate Programs


Thesis at Rice is payback time of sorts: it’s the moment when the faculty learns from the students – when graduate students contribute to and advance architecture at Rice. 

Present Future

Present Future is equal parts education, research, think tank, and soapbox. From urbanization, to media, globalization, the environment, technology, to name just a few of the issues that press in on us as never before, architecture can, and will, play a role in the most urgent questions facing us today. 


Totalization recognizes that architecture is generalist, collaborative, and unpredictable, and that architectural innovation only happens when that messy totality is nimble enough to accommodate contingencies. 

Rice Architecture Paris

There may well be a Paris, Texas, but Paris, France is nothing like Houston. Founded in 2002 and located near la Bastille, Rice Architecture Paris provides advanced B.Arch. and M.Arch. students with a semester-long complement to Rice Architecture Houston.

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