Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
College of Architecture, Arts, and Design
Academics and Architecture administration; construction begun 1966; major work completed 1969; dedicated April 30, 1970. Cost $1,388,968; 68,417 sq.ft. Building represents first major departure from traditional neo-Gothic architecture in academic buildings on campus; first building expressly for architecture use. Named after Clinton Harriman Cowgill (1897-1975) who was Department Head of Architectural Engineering from 1928 to 1956.
Cowgill Hall 201, Virginia Tech 1325 Perry Street Mail Code:0205 Blacksburg VA 24061
Cowgill Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MS
MS Degree in Architecture
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
National Capital Region
• MArch
MArch Degree in Architecture
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
National Capital Region
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Feb 15
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Interim Department Head : James Bassett
Associate Department Head : Aki Ishida
Graduate Program Director : Kay Edge (Graduate Chair)
Emeriti Faculty: Salahuddin Choudhury; Humberto Rodriguez-Camilloni; Hans Rott; Robert Schubert; Steven Thompson
Professors: Kathryn Albright; Aaron Betsky; Markus Breitschmid; Terry Clements; Donna Dunay; Robert Dunay; Paul Emmons (National Capital Region); Michael Ermann; James Jones; Mintai Kim; Susan Piedmont-Palladino (Washington Alexandria Architecture Center); Mehdi Setareh; Marcelo Stamm (National Capital Region); Frank Weiner; Joseph Wheeler; Henri de Hahn
Associate Professors: James Bassett; Edward Becker; Joseph Bedford; Hilary Bryon; Patrick Doan; David Dugas; Kay Edge; Marcia Feuerstein (Washington Alexandria Architecture Center); William Galloway; Howard Gartner; Ronald Gibbons; William Green; Aki Ishida; Paul Kelsch (National Capital Region); Brook Kennedy; Shelley Martin; Margarita McGrath; Vance Pittman; Heinrich Schnoedt; Gregory Tew; Sharone Tomer; Elif Tural; Brad Whitney; Paola Zellner Bassett
Assistant Professors: Stefan Al; Yoon Jung Choi; Eiman Elgewely (Blacksburgt); Jaeyoung Ha; Jonas Hauptman; Jonathan King; Shaun Rosier; Jennifer Thomas; Mehmedalp Tural; Yaoyi Zhou
G. Truman Ward Endowed Professor in Architecture: Donna Dunay
T.A. Carter Professor in Architecture: Robert Dunay
Patrick and Nancy Lathrop Professor: Paul Emmons (National Capital Region)
Associate Professor of Practice: Kevin Jones; Martha Sullivan
Professor of Practice: Enrique Ruiz Geli
Collegiate Associate Professors: Ryan Pieper (National Capital Region); Christopher Pritchett
Assistant Professor of Practice: Luis Borunda Monsivais; Deidre Regan; Miranda Shugars
Adjunct Faculty: David Lever (National Capital Region)

Architecture Introduction

Master of Architecture
The graduate curriculum is structured to allow flexibility and to accommodate diverse student needs. This is accomplished by offering a combination of choices of studies available within the various program options. The M.Arch. 2 and 3 options result in the conferring of a first professional degree, fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. For details see

Central to the academic structure of these several options is the design laboratory. The various design laboratories are oriented toward formulation and resolution of design questions at a broad range of scales. In addition to fostering a mastery of the design process, the design laboratory is intended to cultivate a foundation for design through the study of concepts and principles of form generation, through education of an environmental awareness and aesthetic judgment, through study of the syntax of architectural language, and through the development of technical knowledge of the processes of fabrication and construction. These learning-oriented laboratories encourage the use of previously acquired knowledge, skills, and experience gained in the architectural profession and in other academic disciplines.

Research and Outreach Centers

International Archive of Women in Architecture
The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) documents the work of women architects and designers.

Center for High Performance Learning Environments
The Center for High Performance Learning Environments (CHPLE) serves as a resource for designers, engineers, system consultants, teachers, school administrators, facility managers, and others interested in improving the design and operation of K through 16 learning environments.

Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory & History of Art & Architecture
The Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory and History of Art and Architecture gathers and actualizes interests in teaching, study and research of contemporary and historic art and architecture and theory.

Community Design Assistance Center
The Community Design Assistance Center assists communities, neighborhood groups, and non-profit organizations in improving the natural and built environments through design, planning, policy, and research.
Offered In (National Capital Region, Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 577.0
    • Computer
      • 233.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0
Master of Science in Architecture (offered in Blacksburg and at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center in the NCR)

The Master of Science in Architecture program offers the opportunity for advanced study and research in specialized areas related to building design, construction, and operations over a broad range of scales, providing the basis for diverse career paths and/or entry into a Ph.D.- level program. The M.S. is not directed toward professional licensing and therefore is not accredited by the NAAB as a "first professional degree." While an undergraduate degree in architecture or a related field is not required, applicants must demonstrate relevant background and experience, as well as capabilities for undertaking advanced academic study.

The Master of Science program allows a student to conduct a research-based program of study which can be expected to contribute to the body of knowledge in the design and building professions, and may lead to future study in the doctoral program, where advanced standing may be awarded for acceptable graduate credits earned at the master's level.

Students will develop their own programs of study in cooperation with appropriate faculty and in consideration of the courses and facilities available. A brief description of the available research concentrations follows:

  • Building Science: Studies in the category of Building Science focus on various issues over a broad range of scales and may concentrate on the following (or other) areas: energy and building design; mechanical systems and large buildings; lighting and day-lighting; natural ventilation and air flow; indoor air quality; acoustics and theater design; and building structure, assembly, and/or economics.
  • Interior Design: This concentration allows those with professional degrees in Interior Design or closely related areas the opportunity for advanced research which is expected to add to the body of knowledge in the discipline of Interior Design. Potential research areas include design practice, history of interiors, computer applications in interior design, and environmental factors related to interiors.
  • Urban Design:  This concentration allows students an opportunity to engage in advanced studies in urban design, addressing the design of beautiful, healthy, and sustainable urban environments.  Emphasis is on the physical form of cities and the complex forces that shape them.  Focused on the overlapping terrain of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning, the program addresses general underlying themes of civicness, health, and sustainability. Possible research areas include but are not limited to landscape urbanism, pedestrian environments, and changing notions of urbanization.  The Urban Design program is housed in the facilities of the Washington - Alexandria Architecture Center in Alexandria, VA (Greater Washington Metro Area).

  • History and Theory:  Studies in this concentration examine the works, artefacts and ideas of architects, historians, theorists and educators to inform a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in architecture. Includes reading in related fields such as philosophy, histories of art, literature and science and technology studies to reconsider and critique forms of knowledge, practice and pedagogy in architecture culture. Available at both the main campus (Blacksburg) and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (Greater Washington Metro Area). 
    The Master of Science degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved plan of study of at least 36 credit hours, normally including a thesis representing up to 10 hours of the total hours required.
Offered In (National Capital Region, Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 577.0
    • Computer
      • 233.0
    • iBT
      • 90.0
Master of Architecture (offered in Blacksburg and at the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center in the NCR for all or a portion of the of the degree)


First Professional Degree Programs

M.Arch.2, Advanced Professional Studies:

An Advanced Professional Studies option (M.Arch.2) is offered for the student who has previously obtained a four-year, pre-professional baccalaureate degree in architecture. The first year of study continues the student's professional building design education and related technical and history/theory studies. The second year is reserved for preparation of a design thesis demonstrative of the student's academic accomplishment and professional potential. Students in this program typically complete 54 (min.) credit hours, normally requiring at least two academic years (four semesters) of study. Students in the M.Arch.2 program may elect to enroll at the Washington-Alexandria Center for all or a portion of their required studies and/or may spend a semester participating in the Europe Study Abroad Travel Program or in residence at the Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

M.Arch.3, Comprehensive Professional Studies

A Comprehensive Professional Studies option (M.Arch.3) is provided for graduate applicants with degrees in fields other than architecture. The student is presumed to have undertaken little or no concentration in architecture prior to enrollment in the program. In addition to the 54 (min.) graduate credit hours required for the degree, students in the M.Arch.3 option complete 27 credit hours of qualifying year academic work, engaging in studies to provide a foundation of environmental design experiences and to promote a basic understanding of the discipline. Upon successful completion of the qualifying year, students advance through a sequence of studies providing for development of building design skills and knowledge of building systems and the technical processes of construction. During the final year of the curriculum, students pursue individual study interests and prepare a thesis. This program usually requires at least three and one half years (three academic years, plus one required summer) of study. Students in the M.Arch.3 program may elect to enroll at the Washington-Alexandria Center for the final, thesis year and/or may spend a semester participating in the Europe Study Abroad Travel Program or in residence at the Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

Accredited degrees:

The M.Arch.2 and M.Arch.3 programs are fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board as first professional degree programs in architecture.

In the United States, most state 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 US professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

Masters degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

Architecture Facilities Introduction

The Architecture programs are housed on the Blacksburg campus in Cowgill Hall and Burchard Hall and are supported by research shop facilities located at the Research and Demonstration Facility and the Advanced Design and Construction Facility. 
The Washington Alexandria Architecture Center [WAAC] is located in historic old town Alexandria, Virginia and is a part of the university's National Capital Region facilities. Most program options are offered at the WAAC except the M.Arch 3 option. 
Students may also elect to spend a semester of study abroad at the university's Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland where we have a residential studio each spring.

Advanced Design and Construction Facility

The Advanced Design and Construction facility is a new 5,000 square foot building scheduled for occupancy Spring of 2019. Situated adjacent to the Research and Demonstration Facility in the Plantation Road Research complex, this laboratory is an integral part of academic and research programs, supporting building prototype construction and testing at a range of scales from components through full-scale building assemblies. This flexible laboratory is outfitted with an overhead gantry crane and a wide complement of state-of-the-art computer-aided fabrication tools. Intelligent buildings, advanced material research, and robotic-assisted assembly with an emphasis on testing and evaluation are among the types of projects taking place here.

Burchard Hall

Burchard Hall provides studio space for the architecture and industrial design programs of the School of Architecture + Design, faculty office space, and workshops for ceramics, plaster, graphics, and computer/digital media.

The building was constructed underground -- with four pyramidal skylights illuminating studio spaces below -- to preserve Cowgill Plaza, a popular meeting place and campus thoroughfare.

A stairway leads from a kiosk in the plaza to the subterranean offices and studio space.

Cowgill Hall

Cowgill Hall houses the School of Architecture + Design administrative offices, as well as the College of Architecture and Urban Studies Dean's offices. In addition, it provides space for faculty offices, classrooms, and undergraduate and graduate architecture studios.

The lobby of Cowgill Hall serves as the school's principal exhibition space. Literature resources are also housed on the ground floor of Cowgill Hall in the Art and Architecture Library, a branch of the University's Newman Library. Shop facilities, located adjacent to the building, provide woodworking and metalworking equipment; a ceramic workshop allows creative and analytical work with clay and plaster; a graphics workshop includes equipment for etching, embossing, and serigraphy; and there are five darkrooms plus film, video, and other photographic facilities.

Research and Demonstration Facility

Located at the end of Plantation Road, approx. 1 mile from the center of the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, the Research + Demonstration Facility provides approximately 11,000 square feet of space, including a design studio, a seminar/lecture room, workshops, a testing facility for wall constructions, and testing laboratories for indoor air quality. Since its dedication in the Spring of 1994, the Research and Demonstration Facility, built through a series of construction research projects sponsored by the National Concrete Masonry Association and other industry groups, has become an integral part of the School's academic and research programs, supporting prototype construction and testing at a range of scales from components through full-scale building assemblies. The surrounding University-owned land is suitable and available for the construction of building prototypes for testing in an exterior environment.

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