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College of Architecture and Planning


 Design Build Program



We prepare students, through discovery and innovation, to become skilled professionals in architecture. We believe success relies on our ability to

  • inspire students creatively; 
  • provide them with the tools they need; and
  • encourage them to think courageously. 


Every member of our faculty is committed to personal success and the success of our peers, our students, and our profession. Our vision is to be at the forefront of emerging trends in design, research, and application so our students and faculty can contribute creative and sustainable approaches to the development and preservation of the world around us.


Our graduate program provides the skills and knowledge specified for graduate study in architecture and is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). 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.

If you have an undergraduate degree that is not a related design degree, you should plan on up to 3½ years to earn your Master of Architecture (M Arch) degree.

If you have a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture or a related design field, you may receive advanced-standing credit for your previous coursework and can expect to complete your Master of Architecture (M Arch) degree in about two years. 


  • Most students who graduate with a Master of Architecture degree enroll in our program with the goal of becoming licensed architects. 
  • Many of our graduates become intern architects or designers at firms across the country in order to complete the experience requirement for licensure. 
  • This experience also helps our graduates break into and thrive in the highly competitive field of architecture. 


  • Many are architects, senior architects, senior designers, or project managers.
  • Several alumni are principals at award-winning local and international firms.
  • ​​Several graduates teach in architecture and design programs around the country.


Access to Technologies: You will have access to a fully equipped design fabrication shop and a visual resource center to develop both digital and analog graphics skills. You will learn sketching and drawing as well as the latest parametric and digital fabrication design technologies. You will have opportunities to engage in LIDAR 3-D laser scanning technology to document structures through work in the CAP centers. 

Sustainability Focus: You will have a broad range of courses in Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) and the opportunity to apply your thinking about carbon-neutral new buildings and renovations to the 2030 Challenge.

International Exploration: We encourage you to think, collaborate, and network globally by offering foreign study courses in Rome, Finland, Turkey, and Amsterdam. We also offer a collaborative design studio with Dar Al-Hekma University in Saudi Arabia.

Design-Build Certification: This award-winning program takes you out of the classroom and immerses you in hands-on work for a diverse set of cultures and communities. Projects take place with regional Colorado nonprofits. 

Leading Preservation: You will have opportunities to seek training in spatial, technical, and design aspects of the broader field of preservation and adaptive reuse encompassing architecture, cultural landscapes, planning, building technology, project management, documentation, interpretation, and representation. 

Hands-on Training: The Aspen Summer Design Workshop puts you to work on weekly sketch problems with noted architects at their offices. You will also have exclusive tours of their built and under-construction projects.

Real-World Engagement: You can gain valuable experience as a paid intern at the college’s Colorado Center for Community Development (CCCD) or as a paid research assistant at the college’s Center of Preservation Research (CoPR). 

Recognition and Reward: Your work will be recognized. Build your resume and reputation with Studio Awards, Design Excellence Awards, and AIA Denver’s Young Architects Awards.

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.


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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