Undergraduate Catalog 2005-2007
UDM Academic PoliciesCourse DescriptionsList of All ProgramsFaculty


The School of Architecture (SOA), as part of a Catholic university in the Jesuit and Mercy traditions, exists to provide an excellent student-centered, accredited professional architectural education in an urban context. A UDM SOA education seeks to develop architects who are sensitive designers; technically competent; exhibit the highest ethical and professional standards; are socially responsible and culturally aware; and are of service to the community and the profession.

The School makes a strong commitment to a broad based liberal arts education that prepares architects to understand the spectrum of human endeavor. The School intentionally keeps its enrollment small in order to maintain an identifiable relationship with individual students. The SOA advocates an open dialogue about architectural issues and philosophies, but searches for deeper architectural meaning than that offered by trend, fad or style. The curriculum provides a basic foundation in design excellence, but also addresses contemporary issues including a focus on urban revitalization. This foundation is provided through both in-class and out-of-class experiences that develop a student’s understanding of societal concerns. The School is actively involved in the life of the community. Through its design studios, including design-build studios, and through the Detroit Collaborative Design Center—an out-reach arm of the School—the SOA provides assistance to the community of which it is a part. The ability to gain real world understanding is further enhanced through the mandatory cooperative education program and through the optional international studies programs.


The five-year Master of Architecture degree program at the UDM School of Architecture is a professional degree accredited by the NAAB.

“In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6 year, 3 year, or 2 year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards. Master’s degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree, which, when earned sequentially, comprise an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree” (NAAB)

The pre-professional degree, Bachelor of Science in Architecture, is not accredited by the NAAB.

This degree is useful for those individuals wishing to obtain a foundation in the field of architecture, as preparation for either continued education in a professional degree program or for employment options in architecturally related areas. We offer the non-accredited Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree to students who have successfully completed the first four years of study, including Co-op, but do not wish to pursue the Master of Architecture degree or were not accepted into the Fifth year -the Master of Architecture degree program.

Admissions Requirements

Admission Criteria
The School of Architecture limits its freshman enrollment based on competitive standards. Students must satisfy general University requirements; however, additional criteria such as evidence of creative behavior, self-motivating characteristics, problem-solving tendencies, and abilities for visual expression are also considered.

In Term I of the students’ fourth year, they apply to the Master of Architecture program. Criteria for acceptance include a minimum of a 3.00 GPA in all coursework and a minimum Design studio GPA of 3.00 along with a substantive portfolio of their Design Studio work. If they are not accepted into the Master of Architecture program or if they choose to not apply to the Master of Architecture program, they can earn a non-accredited, non-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree upon successful completion of the four year requirements. Students that are accepted and complete the professional, accredited, Master of Architecture degree are awarded only the Master of Architecture degree.

Transfer students and students with degrees must meet all requirements for our Bachelor of Science in Architecture program prior to being considered for admission into the Master of Architecture program.

Additional requirements for admission are a substantive portfolio of design studio work as well as a minimum 3.0 GPA in all coursework as well as a 3.0 GPA for all design studio work.


The School uses a personal advisory approach. Freshmen are advised by the associate dean and sophomores are advised by the dean. In the third year, they are assigned to one of the architecture advising professors to act as a “mentoring advisor.” The student and advisor each have access to the student’s academic file which outlines the curriculum and all background information regarding the student. It is the student’s responsibility to insure that his/ her record is up to date, that all agreements are noted, and signed by both parties involved, and that there is conformance with the requirements of the School and University. Each student should see his/her advisor minimally for registration and at mid-term. The advisor is also available at other times during the course of the term at the request of the student. Further, students should meet with the associate dean upon their acceptance into the Master of Architecture program or one year prior to their anticipated date of graduation with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree to review a degree audit to verify that all degree requirements will be met.

Program Requirements

The five-year curriculum in architecture is centered around the following areas:

  • Design
  • Visual Communications
  • Structures and Technology
  • History & Theory
  • Professional Practice
  • University Core Curriculum
  • Cooperative Education

Design is at the center of the curriculum. The Design Studios are organized into three parts: Foundation Studios (first year and second year), Upper Level Studios (third year and fourth year) and the Master’s Studios (fifth year). Foundation Studios meet three afternoons a week for a total of 12 hours/ week and concentrate on developing basic technical, analytic and critical thinking skills necessary to deal with the complex social, psychological and poetic issues of the built environment. The studios are “project” based and the development of the student’s personal and individual philosophy of design is one of the School’s principal aims. Upper Level Studios meet three times/week for a total of 14 hours/week and are comprised of a “mix” of students from both third and fourth years together in investigations of complex architectural themes in more concentrated depth. Recent Upper Level Studios have included community design, design of health care facilities, design-build experiences, architectural competitions, historical preservation, sustainability, furniture making and virtual reality.

Visual Communications includes courses in multi-media drawing, computer graphics, computer aided design, three dimensional design and electives that explore various media. The ability to represent and model architectural ideas is fundamental to the design process.

Structures and Technology provides the technological background necessary to address the increasingly complex architectural themes of the studios. Included in this sequence is physics, math, structures, energy and ecological design, and environmental technology (heating, ventilating, air conditioning, electrical systems, acoustics, etc.) courses.

History and Theory introduces the student to architectural tradition and precedent. It provides an understanding of the social, political, economic and philosophical forces that shape architecture. Through this foundation, students recognize their place in the architectural world and build their own work upon an understanding of the work of others.

Professional Practice introduces upper level students to fundamentals of managing an architectural office, project delivery systems, construction contracts, construction documents, and legal and ethical issues concerning the profession. These courses, in concert with the cooperative training program, prepare students to enter the professional world.

University Core Curriculum

The core provides courses in the sciences and the humanities that are necessary prerequisites for an educated person. The architect, faced continually with broad social issues, must have an awareness of the manifest activities of people in order to fulfill architectural responsibility.

Graduate Concentration

Candidates for the Master of Architecture degree, as part of the application process, declare an area of concentration and create a curriculum by incorporating existing graduate level courses from the colleges of the University as concentration electives. The purpose of these concentration electives is to provide the opportunity for developing specialized knowledge in the student’s special interest area. Concentrations are also intended to build upon the strengths of the University by establishing strong cross-disciplinary ties with other academic units. The concentration will form the focus of the student’s graduate study and can be the basis for the Master’s Studio design project. Some examples of concentrations are: architecture, health care design, community development, business administration, structural design, marketing, imaging and representation, and urban studies. In some cases, graduate level courses taken in the fifth year of the Master of Architecture program may in part satisfy requirements leading to a second Master degree in Business Administration , Security Administration , Community Development or Civil Engineering. The student must consult the individual schools for determining all degree requirements and admission standards that may apply to their degree program.

Cooperative Education

The required Cooperative Education sequence is one of the unique aspects of the UDM architecture program.

It gives students direct experience in the real world of architecture through required work experiences at architectural offices of the student’s choosing.

The co-op experience begins with the course CEC 300, Cooperative Education Preparation. The program in architecture integrates two required terms of on-the-job educational experience, which occur during the third term of the third year (Arc 391) and the second term of the fourth year (Arc 392). Further optional co-op terms are also possible. This sequence provides students with the opportunity to alternate their development in professional offices with academic studies. Co-op is valuable in developing practical skills prior to graduation and in being exposed to the profession of architecture and the realities of architectural practice. Each co-op term, students are required to keep a journal and write a report on their work experience, and submit representative samples of the work they produced. Students are also evaluated by both the employer and the cooperative education coordinator. Master of Architecture students are required to take the following: CEC 300, Cooperative Education Preparation, ARC 391, Co-op Assignment I, and ARC 392, Co-op Assignment II.


The total credits required for the Master of Architecture are 172 and 136 for the Bachelor of Science in Architecture. An excess of credits from several courses cannot be applied toward satisfaction of a course requirement. Excess co-operative education credits may not substitute as electives.

First Year, Term I (17credits)
AR 111 Architectural Design I 4 0 12
AR 110 Visual Communication I 3 0 8
AR 119 Intro. to Architecture 1 2 0
ENL 131 Academic Writing (Obj. 1) 3 3 0
MTH 140 Elementary Functions (Obj. 2) 3 3 0
PHL 100 Intro. to Philosophy (Obj. 4.A) 3 3 0

First Year , Term I (16 credits)
AR 120 Architectural Design II 4 0 12
AR 121 Visual Communication II 3 0 8
AR 213 Principles of Structural Behavior 3 3 0
PHY 120 Physics for Architects (Obj. 3.B) 3 3 0
CST 101 Fundamentals of Speech (Obj. 1) 3 3 0

Second Year, Term I (16 credits)
AR 130 Architectural Design III 4 0 12
AR 116 Intro. to Computer Graphics (Obj. 2) 3 3 0
AR 212 Architectural History & Theory I 3 3 0
AR 233 Structures I 3 3 0
ENL Literature Level (Obj. 5.B) 3 3 0

Second Year, Term II (16 credits)
AR 140 Architectural Design IV 4 0 12
AR 216 Computer-Aided Design (Obj. 2) 3 3 0
AR 222 Architectural History & Theory II 3 3 0
AR 243 Structures II 3 3 0
AR 234 Environmental Technology I 3 3 0

Third Year, Term I (18 credits)
AR 210 Architectural Design V 5 0 14
AR 215 Construction I 3 3 0
AR 244 Environmental Technology II 3 3 0
RS Religious Studies Elective (Obj. 4.B) 3 3 0
HIS Historical Experiences (Obj. 5.A) 3 3 0
CEC 300 Cooperative Education Preparation 1 1 0

Third Year, Term II (17 credits)
AR 220 Architectural Design VI 5 0 14
AR 225 Construction II 3 3 0
PYC 265 Psychology of Environment(Obj. 3.A) 3 3 0
ETH Ethics Elective (Obj.6.A) 3 3 0
Philosophy/Religious Studies 3 3 0
Elective (Obj. 4.C) 3 3 0
PHL 100 Intro 3

Third Year, Term III
ARC 391 Co-op Assignment I 2 0 0

Fourth Year, Term I (17 credits) Apply to the Master’s Program
AR 230 Architectural Design VII 5 0 14
AR 252 Architecture History & Theory III 3 3 0
AR 314 Energy & Architecture 3 3 0
Social or Natural Science Elective (Obj.3.C) 3 3 0
Socio-Political Problems Elective (Obj. 6.B) 3 3 0

Fourth Year, Term II
ARC 392 Co-op Assignment II 2 0 0

Fourth Year, Term III (17 credits)
AR 240 Architectural Design VIII 5 0 14
Core Choice (Obj 3-6) 3 3 0
Comparative Experiences (Obj. 5D) 3 3 0
Elective 3 3 0
Elective 3 3 0

Receive Bachelor of Science in Architecture or acceptance into the Master’s Program:

Fifth Year, Term I (17 credits)
AR 510 Master’s Studio I 5 0 14
AR 559 Architecture & Construction Law 3 3 0
Graduate Concentration Elective 3 3 0
Graduate Concentration Elective 3 3 0
Graduate Elective 3 3 0

Fifth Year, Term II (17 credits)
AR 519 Profession of Architecture 3 3 0
AR 520 Master’s Studio II 5 0 14
Graduate Concentration Elective 3 3 0
Graduate Concentration Elective 3 3 0
Graduate Elective 3 3 0
*Abbreviations represent: Cr. for credit hours earned, Rec. for recitation hours required, St. for studio contact hours required.


Elective courses are intended to provide students with the opportunity to take special interest courses which may be of value but are not necessarily related to the architectural program. Electives must be at least 3 credits in value and may be chosen from among any courses offered as credit at the University.

Architectural Electives
Each term architectural undergraduate electives and graduate concentrations are offered to students in areas such as: visual communication, building technology, practice, sustainable building, advanced computer graphics, history and theory or urban planning as options for satisfying their elective requirements. These courses permit students to examine architectural topics of special interest in greater depth.

Laboratory Facilities

Located in the Warren Loranger Architecture Building, the Ronald F. Titus Digital Studio is a fully equipped architecture computer graphics laboratory that introduces students to this important form of electronic technology. Software includes AutoCAD, Animator Pro, and 3D Studio, as well as, a variety of other programs which are used to support architectural courses. Students can access spreadsheet, database and word processing software, in addition to their University e-mail accounts and the Internet, by linking into the University network. This laboratory is adjacent to design studios to facilitate the use of computers as a design tool.

Architecture tools and equipment are also available to both students and faculty for instruction and research. A woodworking model shop containing power and hand tools is accessible for student work in conjunction with their design and visual communication studio classes.

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

The national and international award winning Detroit Collaborative Design Center provides technical design and planning assistance to non-profit community organizations. It is the primary applied research arm of the School of Architecture in the area of urban revitalization. It has a full time staff of licensed architects, intern architects and planners.

The Center utilizes students in three ways: in a classroom environment, through the Neighborhood Design Studio; for cooperative education experience; and for an outlet for volunteer activities.

International Study Programs

Warsaw Exchange
Since 1980 the School of Architecture has conducted an exchange program with the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland. Ten students and one professor from each institution are exchanged for a full academic term. UDM students are taught by Politechnika faculty in English.

Volterra Study Abroad Program
Beginning in 1984 the School of Architecture has conducted a full term of study in Italy during the summer/term III. The program is based in the Tuscan hilltown of Volterra and is limited to 15 third and fourth year students. It is taught by UDM faculty in addition to faculty on site. Five weeks are spent in travel prior to arriving in Volterra.

Lecture Series

There is a sponsored lecture series which brings leading edge architects and designers to the campus. These lectures are open to and attended by students, professionals and the general public.

Dichotomy Student Journal

Architectural students periodically publish a journal of theory and criticism entitled Dichotomy. This journal is organized exclusively by the students in consultation with a faculty advisor. It is funded by subscriptions and a special fee charged to architecture students each term they are enrolled.

Special Policies for the School of Architecture

Studio placement for Transfer students
For transfer students from other architecture programs, the following will apply in placing them in the appropriate design studio level. If the transcript and portfolio of work clearly indicates that the requirements of the foundation studios (AR 110, 120 130 & 140) have been met, then the student will be placed in the AR 210: Design V level and a final determination of design level will be made in consultation with the studio instructor at the completion of the term.

Retention of Student Work
The School reserves the right to retain and eventually dispose of examples of student work, done in conjunction with class assignments, for purposes of exhibition and accreditation needs. Students should document their work prior to its submission to the instructor.

Grading System
The School of Architecture reserves the right to require a student to withdraw from its program even when the student has an overall quality point average of 2.00 or better if, in the judgment of the Faculty Council, the student does not possess the requisite skills and attitudes to succeed in the architectural profession.

Students have the right to appeal actions with which they disagree. Two steps are followed. First, the student confers with the instructor involved. Second, the final appeal, (if the above does not resolve the issues), is an appeal on the part of the student to the dean of the School of Architecture. It must be emphasized that the faculty member has full jurisdiction in terms of grading. The dean is acting strictly in an advisory capacity and can recommend to the instructor that the grade in question be raised or lowered based on the evidence presented.

Students may also appeal actions of the Faculty Council such as probation and dismissal. Appeals should be in written form to the chair of the Faculty Council who will then put the appeal on the next available agenda. The student is encouraged to be at the meeting when her/his appeal is being heard and make a verbal presentation of her/his case at that time.

The student has a final appeal to the dean of the School of Architecture.

Summer Design
Each year during term III, an undergraduate design studio is offered for those students who are out of phase.

It is a multi-level studio and may be taken by any student who has completed second year studios and the technical courses in advance of his or her design level. This studio is not open to first or second year design students.

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For more information about UDM, or to apply online, go to www.udmercy.edu/apply.

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