Master of Architecture

The MArch program provides students the opportunity to engage in a critical investigation of theory and practice, architectural approaches, concepts, application, and practice. Students are challenged to:

  • frame architectural inquiries within social, cultural, and interdisciplinary contexts with an emphasis on Asia and the Pacific and tropical climates;
  • investigate local/global relations evidenced in theory and practice with an emphasis on the quality of the built and natural environment;
  • critically test and expand the definitions of and relationships between the academy and the profession;
  • use research as a basis for the grounding of design and as a primary means of expanding knowledge in the discipline;
  • participate with local and international partners in applied design research and community outreach projects; and
  • Investigate the unique Hawaiian sense of place and its applicability to other international locations.

The program culminates in a capstone project combining research and design. The school’s Asia-Pacific focus is integrated into the curriculum including studio, architectural history, and elective courses. The program therefore aims to prepare students to serve as future professional leaders able to address critical architectural issues specific to the region.

MArch Mission

The School of Architecture responds to our unique tropical location in the Asia Pacific Region and practices its kuleana [“the right or value to a virtuous purpose, responsibility, duty, or obligation”] to advocate cultural, environmental, and social diversity.

Program Information

The professional MArch degree prepares students for active and critical engagement to advance the quality of the built environment, including design and professional practice, teaching, research, and civic leadership.

The program is open to students holding a four-year pre-professional baccalaureate architecture degree (e.g., BS architecture studies, BA architecture studies, BA environmental design). Students holding a four-year baccalaureate degree in a field unrelated to architecture are not eligible for the program and are advised to apply instead to the school’s DArch program.


Note that students will be admitted only for a Fall semester start date.

STEM Designation

The MArch is a STEM-designated 04.0902 Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology degree. This STEM-designation allows international student graduates to apply for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for international students holding F-1 visas. It allows the extension of the OPT period from the regular one year to three years, gives eligibility for STEM specific scholarships, and offers expanded GI Bill benefits for U.S. veterans.

MArch Program Admissions

Graduate admissions procedures for the Master of Architecture (MArch) degree program are handled by the UHM Graduate Division.

All applicants to the professional Master of Architecture (MArch) program must hold a pre-professional architecture four-year baccalaureate degree to be considered for acceptance.

MArch Program Admissions University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Catalog

National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) Accreditation

In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year term, an eight-year term with conditions, or a two-year term of continuing accreditation, or a three-year term of initial accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established education standards. Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a non-accredited undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the non-accredited degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.”

The NAAB grants candidacy status to new programs that have developed viable plans for achieving initial accreditation. Candidacy status indicates that a program expects to achieve initial accreditation within six years of achieving candidacy, if its plan is properly implemented.

In order to meet the education requirement, set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, an applicant for an NCARB Certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB; the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation. However, meeting the education requirement for the NCARB Certificate may not be equivalent to meeting the education requirement for registration in a specific jurisdiction. Please contact NCARB for more information.

The University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture was granted candidacy status for the following professional degree program in architecture:

Master of Architecture: (preprofessional degree in architecture [126/120 credits] + 90 graduate credits)

Year candidacy awarded: 2023

Next visit: Initial Accreditation, 2025

Projected year to achieve initial accreditation: 2025

Earliest graduation date projected to meet NCARB education requirement: 2023

MArch Accreditation Information Pathway to Architectural Licensure

Student Financial Information

Various forms of merit-based financial support are available to graduate students at UHM, including Graduate Division Achievement Scholarships, intramural graduate fellowships, extramural funding, and graduate assistantships.  Questions on need-based financial aid should be addressed to the Financial Aid Services Office.

The University of Hawaiʻi System Common Scholarship Application is available online in the fall semester for the following academic year.  For example, in order to be considered for a scholarship in the 2021-2022 academic year, you must apply in the Fall 2020 semester.  Typically, the timeframe for the open application period is between October and March.  Students attending any University of Hawaiʻi campus are encouraged to apply in order to be considered for system and campus scholarship.

UHM participates in the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP), a Student Access Program administered by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education WICHE).  This program enables legal residents of WICHE member states to enroll in selected out-of-state graduate programs at a reduced tuition of 150 percent of the institution’s regular resident tuition. Eligible applicants may qualify for reduced tuition rates through WRGP/WICHE programs.

Career Development Information

The UH Mānoa Career Center partners with both on-campus and off-campus employers to empower UH Mānoa student to engage in career life planning through awareness, exploration, experience, and reflection. Career Counselors are available to assist in achieving academic and career goals, and in exploring career options and opportunities.

University Employment:  There are nearly 4,000 students working on the UHM campus in a variety of positions, at convenient on-campus locations and with flexible hours.  The Student Employment Office maintains a database of jobs that can meet your needs.

Federal Work Study Program: The Federal Work Study is a financial-aid based program offering employment in career or community service positions in the community and at the university.  It is a form of federal financial aid awarded to students who demonstrate financial need.  Opportunities are available in various UH Mānoa on-campus departments or off-campus in a private non-profit or public agency on the island of O‘ahu, based on availability of funds.


For additional MArch information, please contact:

David Rockwood
Graduate Chair and Director of Graduate Architecture Programs and Professor

Professional Fee

In addition to UHM graduate tuition and fees, all UHM School of Architecture students, including MLA students, are assessed a professional fee in the amount of $500 per semester at the time tuition is paid. These fees help pay for the operational costs of the school’s IT Lab and Fabrication Lab. Students pay additionally for materials which are provided at cost.