MA in Architectural Studies

Master of Art

The creative, project-based, MA plan of study is preparation for advanced careers in the design professions and higher education. The project (instead of a written thesis) is conducted in one of two areas:  (1) architectural representation culminating in a visual project employing digital media; or (2) environmental design culminating in a design project. Both are professionally reviewed.

Environment and Behavior Studies Emphasis

The Environment and Behavior Studies focuses on the multifaceted relationships between people and their physical, social, and cultural environments. Environment-behavior research explores a variety of environments, linking them to a range of behavioral concerns. This program is suitable for persons who seek careers in research, consulting, and/or teaching in design disciplines.

Current study areas in environment and behavior include:

  • Sustainable Design
  • Design Education
  • Social and Cultural Bases of Design
  • Place Attachment
  • Learning Environments for Design
  • History of the Designed Environment
  • Design Planning and Analysis
  • Aesthetics of Design
  • Universal Design/Accessibility
  • Environment and Aging
  • Housing and Neighborhood Design
  • Programming, Design and Post-Occupancy Evaluation
  • Facility Management and Design

Contact Dr. Newton D'souza for more information about the department’s graduate program or the emphasis in environment and behavior.

Design with Digital Media Emphasis

Design with Digital Media, as an integral part of the design process, focuses on graphic ideation and the application of computer technology for architecture, interior design and related disciplines. This program of study has an emphasis on design with digital media leading to the MA degree.

Current study areas in the digital media program include:

  • Design computing and cognition
  • Design process using digital media and creativity research
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies for design visualization
  • Advanced visualization technologies for environment-behavior simulation
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Building Simulation
  • Human-computer interaction aspects of digital tools for design

The culmination of the degree is a written and/or visual project employing computer applications for design methods. Applicants interested in the Design with Digital Media option should contact the coordinator of Design with Digital Media Dr. Bimal Balakrishnan for course content and research proposals.

Design Research Concentration

A Design Research concentration is offered for:

  • Designers engaged in interior design, architecture, graphic or interaction design who require applied research skills from companies/organizations.
  • Researchers with a background in social sciences, anthropology etc. who conduct research for creative product development in industry -- Healthcare IT companies, Engineering etc.
  • Business and market professionals to advance understanding of design research for marketing.

The course work for the concentration is applied to the program of study. For specifics, see Design Research Concentration on department web site.

Admission Contact

Dr. Newton D'souza (
137 Stanley Hall; Columbia, MO 65211

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: January 15
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Minimum TOEFL scores:

Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
61 500

Required Application Materials

Apply online to the Office of Graduate Studies with the following:

  • Application statement of graduate goals and educational objectives discussing which of the department's emphasis areas is of interest; intentions regarding MA or MS; and request for a specific advisor.
  • 3 letters of recommendation (excluding MU Architectural Studies faculty).
  • Office of Graduate Studies application.
  • For MA applicants only, a link to a personal web site or electronic portfolio of images and/or publications should be included with application materials. (Do not mail originals.)