MS in Architectural Studies

Master of Science

The design and research-based MS plan of study is in preparation for advanced professional practice or preparation for the doctoral degree. The work is conducted in emphasis areas as described below. Within each of these emphases, specific course work is selected based on subject matter, the type of design project and its research application. 

Research is conducted in one of two emphasis areas — design with digital media or environment and behavior studies. Within each emphasis area, specific course work is selected based on subject matter and the research method selected — quantitative, qualitative or a combination of both methods. The culmination of the degree is the written research thesis and a final oral examination by an approved faculty committee.

Environment and Behavior Studies Emphasis

The Environment and Behavior Studies emphasis area 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 architecture, interior design, and related environmental 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, Neighborhood Design, and Cultural Landscapes
  • 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

The Design with Digital Media curriculum is structured to promote thought and work that crosses traditional lines between disciplines and challenges students to consider non-standard approaches to the computer as a creative and expressive medium.  Study of technology, art and design is balanced with inquiry grounded in conceptual, critical, social, cultural and historical considerations.

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. 

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

The Design Research Concentration can be applied toward the program of study. The concentration is of interest to:

  • 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.

For more information, see Design Research Concentration on the department's 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 Effective July 1, 2015 must have score of 80 500 Effective July 1, 2015 must have score of 80

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).
  • Graduate School application.

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