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.

Every Master of Architecture student is required to take Pre-Thesis Preparation: Design Research during their penultimate semester. The course provides an environment and structure in which the conceptual formulation, articulation, and critical evaluation of thesis proposals can take place. Each student is expected to clearly outline a thesis focus and relevance, its architectural implications, and projected material results. This course assists students to pose a question that will continue to motivate them long after they graduate.

View Thesis Projects

The students who are admitted into the Design Thesis in the following semester test their proposed thesis in a project that is a synthesis of intellectual and design objectives. These projects are not meant to be comprehen­sive building designs; thesis is a laboratory for focused research in our field. Thesis concludes in a final public review with distinguished invited guests, that engages the entire school. The project is evaluated both on its own terms and within the broader field of contemporary archi­tectural discourse. Successful theses and the discussion they foster stimulate future activity at Rice Architecture and beyond.

Selected Thesis Projects


C3 C2: A Civic, Cultural & Commercial City Center

By Srijaya Simhadri

This thesis imagines an autonomous urban center that combines the 3 Cs—civic, cultural, and commercial—together, without letting one program or institution dominate.

See more


Skin Deep

By Sean Stevenson

This thesis confronts the role of the facade in recladding scenarios.

See more


The Secret of the Zoo Exposed

By Yingying Guan

This thesis investigates the urban and architectural implications of the zoo. 

See more

Apply Featured