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College of Architecture and Planning University of Colorado Denver

College of Architecture & Planning
Abstract Parking Garage


College of Architecture + Planning


 Design Build Program


In Colorado’s only graduate architecture program, we prepare students for entry into the profession and licensure. Our mission is to lead in the discovery, communication and application of knowledge in the discipline of architecture by integrating theory and practice.  In this collaborative educational model, environmental, economic, social, cultural, aesthetic and ethical concerns are fundamental.

Our program responds to and aligns with the evolving nature of professional practice. Collaborative work environments prize critical thinkers, problem-solving team players, builders and leaders with excellent communication skills. Recognizing that the practice of architecture is now global, we provide students with international perspectives and experiences giving them a competitive edge when they enter the profession.

Students whose undergraduate degree was not a design degree will take about 3 ½ years to complete; those who have an undergraduate design degree will likely receive credit for courses previously taken and can complete typically in about two years. The program provides the skills and bodies of knowledge nationally specified for graduate study in architecture and is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).



Most MArch students enroll in the program intending to become licensed architects.  Many recent graduates are now intern architects or designers, completing the “experience” requirement for licensure. They stayed at local firms or work at other firms across the country.

Many at mid-career hold the title architect, senior architect, senior designer or project manager. Some are presidents of their own small firms. One heads a non-profit organization that works on green building development and sustainable production methods in developing countries. Many of our alumni are now principals at award-winning firms with local and international practices.

Graduates also have taken jobs related to architecture at the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and at real estate investment, construction, civil engineering and land development, and campus planning firms. Some graduates choose teaching, in architecture and design programs here and around the country.


  • Leading technologies: digital tools and a state-of-the-art design fabrication shop, LIDAR 3-D laser scanning technology to document structures, and a Visual Resource Center. We teach both digital and manual graphics skills, with courses in sketching, drawing and ink wash as well as the latest parametric and digital fabrication design technologies.

  • Sustainability areas: Courses in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) training and new approaches such as the 2030 Challenge. 

  • International study opportunities: 
    Internship program sponsored by Gensler Associates to exchange our students and students from Tongji University in Shanghai who study at the host institution and work in the Gensler office in the host city. 
    Collaborative design studios with Dar Al-Hekma University in Saudi Arabia, discovering new ways to preserve cultures and enhance global initiatives in sustainable urban design. 
    Opportunities to develop international partnerships with our diverse body of international and domestic students.
    Travel study courses to Rome, Finland, Turkey, Thailand or India. 

  • Design-Build Certificate: Our award-winning program has taken students to sites including Colorado communities, the Navajo Nation, Guatemala, and on local non-profit projects. 

  • Classical Architecture special topic area: courses qualify students to apply for the Certificate in Classical Architecture from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in New York.

  • Aspen Summer Design Studio: students work with noted architects in their offices on weekly sketch problems, and have exclusive tours of their built and under-construction works.  

  • Extensive civic engagement options: paid internships at the college’s Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD).

  • Research assistantships: project and field-based opportunities at the college’s Center of Preservation Research (CoPR). 

  • Recognition of outstanding student work: via Studio Awards, Design Excellence Awards, and AIA Denver’s Young Architects Awards Gala.


WICHE stands for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a regional organization headquartered in Boulder that was created in the 1950s to help higher education systems in the western United States share resources with each other. The participating WICHE states and territories include: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

WRGP stands for the Western Regional Graduate Program which is coordinated by WICHE. The WRGP is a tuition-reciprocity program that allows graduate students who live in one of the WICHE states to enroll in certain high-quality, distinctive graduate programs located outside of their home state and yet pay the in-state resident tuition rate. This results in a substantial savings on tuition!

The CU Denver MArch program is a qualified WICHE-WRGP program. Therefore, anyone living in a WICHE state can apply to the CU Denver MArch program as a WICHE-WRGP applicant and, if accepted into the program, pay Colorado in-state resident tuition. For more about WICHE-WRGP, visit their webpage

When applying to the CU Denver MArch program, students should indicate they are a WICHE-WRGP applicant and provide a photocopy of their driver’s license that demonstrates they currently reside in a WICHE state or territory.

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