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The Nautilus - Fall 2005

New degree flexibility expands career opportunities for architecture students

The SOA has partnered with other UDM schools and colleges to give students new options for concentrating their master’s degree in a specialized area of architecture.

Students entering the School of Architecture (SOA) this fall and winter have exciting new options for earning a more specialized Master of Architecture. The SOA has partnered with the University’s colleges of Health Professions, Business Administration and Engineering and Science to develop interdisciplinary programs, which will ultimately afford students expanded career opportunities upon graduation.

Over the past year, the SOA’s Associate Dean Stephen LaGrassa has been working with Associate Professor Mary Kelly, RSM, and Assistant Professor Todd Ray from the College of Health Professions to develop a Certificate in Health Care Design, which combines the technical and structural expertise of the Architecture program with the facility management and health care understanding of the Health Professions program. The faculty members also consulted with representatives from Trinity Health and a committee of SOA alumni, including Doug King ’79, ’82 (who inspired the idea for a health care concentration in the Architecture program), Jens Mammen ’86, Dan Caren ’79, ’81, Andy Vazzano ’72, Bill Groh ’82, and Gary Woolard ’73, to develop the curriculum for the certificate.

Students earning their Master of Architecture can take specified courses in Health Systems Management and Health Services Administration in the undergraduate and graduate portions of the program to earn the certificate. This combination of course work is meant to equip architects with the specialized expertise needed to design health care facilities. Graduates might work as a resident architect in a health care facility or for an architecture firm that specializes in health care design. Currently, there are only a small number of architecture schools in the United States that prepare architects for this type of design work. A post-degree certificate option is also being considered so that those who already have an architecture degree, and students from majors other than architecture, can take courses to earn a Certificate in Health Care Design.

Joint degree options for architecture students are also available through the UDM colleges of Business Administration and Engineering and Science. Students pursuing a Master of Architecture can simultaneously work towards a Master of Business Administration or a Master of Civil Engineering through the respective colleges. This is an exciting option for students who want to focus their architecture careers, for example, in management or possibly in civil engineering/structural design. Students will still need to take the courses required for the individual master’s degrees, but the time necessary to complete the two degrees may be less than earning the degrees independently because some of the courses from one program may fulfill the requirements of the other.

Also in the works is a collaborative agreement between the UDM School of Architecture and the University of Windsor. Students earning a three-year bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Architecture at Windsor would then transfer to the UDM School of Architecture to complete the architecture courses needed to earn a Master of Architecture. This would be the second joint program UDM has with the University of Windsor. Currently, students from both the UDM School of Law and the University of Windsor Faculty of Laws can take courses at both schools to earn a joint J.D./LL.B., which affords them the opportunity to practice law in Canada and the United States.