Mar 18, 2019  
Rensselaer Catalog 2009-2010 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2009-2010 [Archived Catalog]

Architecture


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Undergraduate Programs

The five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) curriculum centers on the design studio and culminates in a year-long research and design project. Theoretical, technological, and computational and historical issues are progressively integrated into studio projects beginning in the first year. Projects range in scale and form, but relate to issues in contemporary culture with a focus on globalization and urban contexts.

This degree program is described in detail below.

Students in the School of Architecture undergraduate program are required to complete courses in the arts, sciences, humanities, and social sciences as part of the Institute core requirements. The core courses are structured to provide exposure and breadth of education.  A series of professional electives and free elective courses provide students the opportunity to pursue specific interests in greater depth, to minor, or to pursue other special interests.

In addition to Institute-wide academic regulations outlined earlier in this catalog, the following pertain to the bachelor’s program in architecture:

  • Advancement in Design—Students not passing a required design course (including Final Project 1 and 2) may not advance to the next course in the design sequence. The architecture faculty will review students earning grades of D or lower in required design courses. A student earning a D or lower in any subsequent required design course must either repeat the course or take another course specified by the faculty before advancing to the next course in the design sequence. Students who fail to earn a grade of C or better in the repeated or specified course, or who earn a third grade of D or lower in design, may not continue in the design sequence. A student earning an F in any course must repeat the course in addition to completing any remedial actions specified by the faculty after a second grade of D or lower in a required design studio.
  • Retention of Student Design Work—All drawings and models done by students as part of the instructional program are the property of the Institute until they have been released by the instructor. The School of Architecture at its option, may retain certain works for academic purposes.

Dual Major Programs

Dual majors are available to students interested in pursuing two majors simultaneously and who can develop an acceptable program of study that meets the requirements for both majors. There are many possibilities, with the most common options combining civil engineering or management with architecture.

Minor Programs

A minor consists of an approved 16-credit program.

The School of Architecture offers minor options for both School of Architecture students and students majoring in other Rensselaer programs. These options are described below.

Special Undergraduate Opportunities

Study Abroad

International study is a defining aspect of Rensselaer’s architectural education and the School of Architecture offers several international semester long programs of study. Offered in Italy, India, and China; these programs are fully integrated with the requirements of the undergraduate degree and have been established in three world cities that will challenge and help to define the future of architecture. Each of these programs is open, by competitive application, to students in their fifth semester and above. Limited numbers of students (B.Arch. and M.Arch. I) are selected each year on the basis of academic accomplishment. In addition to a Rensselaer faculty member who travels with and directs these students, adjunct faculty in the host city or institution provide instruction. There is a program fee for participation in each of these programs, which are described briefly below.

  • Italy—The Italy semester includes a design studio based part of the time in Turin and part of the time in Rome, an examination of the architectural development of Turin and Rome, courses in Italian language and culture, and travel throughout Italy. The program seeks to deepen appreciation of historic cities and the layers of culture that have played a seminal role in the development of Western culture and architecture. The Turin workshop component involves collaboration with students and faculty from the Polytechnic of Turin.
  • India—The program is based in the School of Architecture CEPT at Ahmedabad, India, a highly respected school for the study of architecture and urbanism. It offers students the opportunity to travel, study, and apply the lessons learned from Indian architecture and Indian history and theory within the context of a major research center.
  • China—The semester in Shanghai is based at the School of Architecture at Tongji University, one of the great institutions of China. The program offers joint studios in design with Chinese faculty and students, and travel through central China augments additional courses in Chinese history and culture.

In addition the School of architecture offers short term summer and mid-semester study abroad programs to places of special architectural interest. In recent years, these have included visits to Turkey, the Czech Republic, London, Paris, Berlin, Stuttgar, Tokyo, Osaka, Lausanne, Buenos Aires, and San Paolo.

Exchange Programs
Exchange and study abroad opportunities are available.

New York Program

A semester in New York City based at the global architecture firm Skidmore Owings Merrill’s (SOM) allows both undergraduates and graduates to work in a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment focused on the development of advances in sustainable technologies. The Built Ecologies program is located at Rensselaer’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology hosted by SOM.

Summer Studios
The school offers two six-week studios in the summer session that are open to accepted transfer and entering Master of Architecture students.

Co-op Experiences
A number of architecture students insert co-op work experiences into their program of study. Work opportunities are available in a wide range of situations, from architecture firms large and small to design groups in industry or institutions. Co-op experiences are an invaluable introduction to practice and strengthen the learning experience. Co-ops can usually earn credit toward the professional Intern Development Program (IDP) requirement.

Lectures and Exhibits
Architecture and architectural education advance through full engagement in the world of ideas. The school offers visiting faculty and lecturers and provides field trips, student travel funds, seminars, and exhibitions. Each semester a lecture, exhibition, seminar, and workshop program is created. The lecture and exhibition series presents the work of internationally recognized faculty and practitioners, providing students and faculty with exposure to current and critical ideas influencing the profession. Lectures and exhibitions are open to all Rensselaer students and the local professional community.

Graduate Programs

The School of Architecture offers several graduate degrees at the master’s level. These include the Master of Architecture I as a first professional degree for students already holding at least a baccalaureate degree in any field of study.

Those who have accredited degrees in architecture and wish to pursue advanced studies related to architecture may seek a Master of Architecture, a Master of Science in Architectural Sciences, or a Master of Science as post-professional degrees in the School of Architecture. Master of Science and Master of Science in Architectural Sciences degrees are also available to applicants who have been enrolled in other related fields. The degrees offer the opportunity for advanced, focused, and intellectually rigorous study in architecture, building, and related sciences.

Included among these post-professional master’s programs are the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) II, Master of Science in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Architectural Acoustics), Master of Science in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Built Ecologies), Master of Science in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Lighting), and the Master of Science in Lighting.

A degree limited to applicants who have gained a professional degree in architecture, the Master of Architecture II is distinct from the Master of Science in Architectural Sciences and Master of Science. For students entering this program with a five-year first professional bachelor’s or master’s degree, the M.Arch. II is one path to a terminal degree (for teaching). Either the M.Arch.II or the M.S. involves a minimum 30 credit hours of study.

The School of Architecture provides some specialized seminars of particular benefit to most graduate students. These include:

  • Research Design Seminar—Covering the essential bases of research work, whether to assist with the development of a Ph.D. dissertation, masters thesis, or masters project, this course builds students’ critical reading skills and ability to conduct a research project creatively and pragmatically.
  • Graduate Thesis Seminar—Taken in a student’s second term, this course provides graduate students from the Architectural Acoustics, Built Ecologies, and Lighting research programs a forum for publicly presenting and discussing their work.

In addition to the Institute-wide academic regulations outlined in this catalog, the following pertain to graduate programs in architecture:

  • Academic Progress—To earn the professional M.Arch. degree, students must maintain a B average in the following courses: Design Explorations (ARCH 6110, ARCH 6120 and ARCH 6130), Design Development (ARCH 4300), and Master’s Thesis (ARCH 6990). Students whose cumulative averages for all course work drop below 3.0 will be reviewed for satisfactory progress. The architecture faculty, as part of its academic review process, will review professional M.Arch. students earning grades of C or below. A student earning a C or below in a subsequent required design course must either repeat the course or take another course specified by the faculty before advancing to the next course in the design sequence. Students who fail to earn a grade of B or better in the repeated or specified course or who earn a third C or lower in design may not continue in the design sequence.
  • Retention of Student Work—All student drawings and models created as part of the instructional program are the property of the Institute until the instructor releases them. The School of Architecture, at its option, may retain certain works for academic purposes.

Requirements for all Graduate Programs

Applicant Requirements
For specific information regarding admission to the School of Architecture’s graduate programs see the Admissions section of this catalog.

Individuals applying for degree-seeking status must have official transcripts of previous college-level study sent directly from all institutions attended. Two faculty references or relevant employer references are required of all degree-seeking applicants. The faculty from a given area of concentration may waive the portfolio requirement.

Applicants whose native language is not English must have scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) submitted directly by the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ. A minimum score of 570(paper-based)/230 (computer-based) is required.

Courses and Grade Requirements 

Continuation in the graduate program requires satisfactory performance by the student. Satisfactory performance is not limited to the academic record, but includes other appraisals of the student’s academic record, ability in areas such as teaching and research, collegial interaction within a community of research and scholarship.

The minimum average of all grades used for credit toward an advanced degree must be B. If a student’s grades fall below a B average, the Graduate School may request that the doctoral committee conduct a formal review to determine whether continuation is warranted. The student’s adviser, with the consent of the student’s doctoral committee, may recommend to the Graduate School that a student whose performance is unsatisfactory be dropped from the graduate program. A student who has accumulated two failing grades will be dropped from the graduate program.

Doctoral Programs

Each of the Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences degree concentrations have different course requirements. In keeping with Rensselaer requirements, a candidate for the doctoral degree must complete a Plan of Study with satisfactory grades containing a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. Within those 72 credit hours there must be at least 48 additional credits including the required disciplinary and interdisciplinary doctoral seminars, additional concentration coursework, interdisciplinary design research project(s) and a dissertation.  To satisfy this requirement, at least half of the total credit hours, excluding dissertation, must contain the suffix numbers 6000–6990 with the further limitation that no more than 16 credit hours of 4000-4990 courses are to be allowed. (Undergraduate courses below the 4000 level may not be used for credit toward graduate degrees, although some may be required to make up missing prerequisites.)

Depending on the chosen concentration area and the agreed Plan of Study, candidates may either enter directly into the doctoral program or plan to complete a master’s degree before beginning doctoral study. All candidates must successfully take a qualifying exam for entry into doctoral study. The Ph.D. manual for Architectural Sciences is currently being edited. For the most up to date information, please contact the Director of the program.

Degree completion is possible in three years of full-time study with the Bachelor’s degree and the Institute requires, without exception, degree completion for full-time students within five years for those entering with a master’s degree and within seven years for those entering with an undergraduate degree.

Those pursuing doctoral study in architecture at Rensselaer may select from three areas of concentration. They include:

  • Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Architectural Acoustics)
  • Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Built Ecologies)
  • Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Lighting)

They may also concentrate on emerging areas of specialization in other aspects of architecture and technology.

Master’s Degrees—Advanced Programs

Applications to any of these programs should be directed to Rensselaer Admissions. Since a match between student interests and faculty research capabilities is an integral part of this program, applicants must include a focus-of-study proposal and, where appropriate, a portfolio of design and other creative work, with critical commentary, as part of the application.

Master of Science in Architectural Sciences

Concentration Areas

Architectural Acoustics
Applicants to the M.S. in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Architectural Acoustics) are not required to submit a portfolio. A 30-credit, one-year degree offers an intense program of advanced study in architectural acoustics, emphasizing the room acoustics of both large and small venues, such as automobile, household, and sound control and maximization of performance spaces. Applicants should have a B.A. or B.S. in Architecture, Architectural Engineering, Music, Acoustics, Physics, or comparable fields.

Built Ecologies
Applicants to the M.S. in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Built Ecologies) are required to submit a portfolio and a focused goal statement. This 12 month, 30-credit-hour program is designed to provide knowledge of, and creative expertise in, the design of buildings, systems, structures, and environments as informed by the dynamic behavior of natural systems and emergent technologies. Applicants should have at least an undergraduate degree in architecture, or engineering: or have a graduate degree in a related field, with demonstrated interest in areas relating to built systems and/or the environment.  Program location in New York City.

Lighting
Applicants to the M.S. in Architectural Sciences (Concentration in Lighting) should submit a portfolio or other examples of work and a statement of goals and objectives. They are also urged to complete two college-level math courses before applying to the program. This one-year, 30-credit-hour program of study provides an education that cultivates both a scientific and artistic understanding of the many issues involved in the development of lighting and designing with light.

Special Master’s Opportunities

Study Abroad (M.Arch. I)
International study is a defining aspect of Rensselaer’s architectural education and the School of Architecture offers several semester-long international programs of study. Offered in Italy, India, and China, these programs are open by competitive application to M.Arch.I students. Limited numbers of students (B.Arch. and M.Arch.) are selected each year on the basis of academic accomplishment. In addition to direction from a Rensselaer faculty member who travels with and directs these students, adjunct faculty in the host city or institution provide instruction. There is a program fee for participation in each of these programs, which are described briefly below.

  • Italy—The Italy semester includes a design studio based part of the time in Turin and part of the time in Rome, an examination of the architectural development of Turin and Rome, courses in Italian language and culture, and travel throughout Italy. The program seeks to deepen appreciation of historic cities and the layers of culture that have played a seminal role in the development of Western culture and architecture. The Turin workshop component involves collaboration with students and faculty from the Polytechnic of Turin.
  • India—The program is based in the School of Architecture CEPT at Ahmedabad, India, a highly respected school for the study of architecture and urbanism. It offers students the opportunity to travel, study, and apply the lessons learned from Indian architecture and Indian history and theory within the context of a major research center.
  • China—The semester in Shanghai is based at the School of Architecture at Tongji University, one of the great institutions of China. The program offers joint studios in design with Chinese faculty and students, and travel through central China augments additional courses in Chinese history and culture.

In addition the School of Architecture offers short term summer and mid-semester study abroad programs to places of special architectural interest. In recent years, these have included visits to Turkey, the Czech Republic, London, Paris, Berlin, Stuttgart, Tokyo, Osaka, Lausanne, Buenos Aires, and San Paolo.

New York Program

A semester in New York City based at the global architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill’s (SOM) allows both undergraduates and graduates to work in a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment focused on the development of advances in sustainable technologies. The Built Ecologies program is located at Rensselaer’s Center for Architecture Science and Ecology hosted by SOM.

Doctoral Programs

Rensselaer’s Ph.D. program in Architectural Sciences offers concentrations in Architectural Acoustics, Built Ecologies, and Lighting.  This research degree supports the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary investigation of wide range of topics arising from the theory and practice of architecture and the configuration of the built environment. The School of Architecture offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree to candidates who are prepared to undertake innovative and substantive research that adds to the body of knowledge drawn on by the design disciplines. The degree provides a context for advanced study and research which combines architecture and appropriate areas of science, engineering, and the humanities. A general template for developing individual programs of study and determining specific course requirements for these programs is as follows:

  • Minimum time for degree: three years following the Bachelor’s degree.
  • Total credit hours for degree: 72 minimum.
  • 24 credit hours may be transferred from the master’s degree to satisfy the basic Institute course requirements for the doctoral degree. All additional coursework is determined by the area of specialization in consultation with an adviser.
  • In addition to the degree-specific and core requirements, individual Plans of Study are defined between student and adviser.

Significant cross-disciplinary study is encouraged not only to build on advanced work in architecture and technology emerging in the School, but also to form a program of study that draws widely on Rensselaer’s strength in other disciplines. 

Students may enter the Master’s program with the intent to continue into the Ph.D. in Architectural Sciences. Upon successfully completing the M.S. requirements with a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average, and passing the candidacy exam at the end of the summer of the first year, students may enter doctoral studies in the second year. The doctorate shall require a minimum of two additional years.

In addition to the 30-credit M.S. in Architectural Sciences, Ph.D. students must develop and complete a Plan of Study with 48 additional credits including the required disciplinary and interdisciplinary doctoral seminars, additional concentration coursework, interdisciplinary design research project(s) and a dissertation. Each student must develop a Plan of Study and dissertation topic with an adviser for approval by the Ph.D. committee. The thesis or dissertation must consist of a minimum of 30 and maximum of 52 credits as approved by the thesis and program committee.

 

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