Graduate Catalog 2016-2017

UDM Academic Policies Course Descriptions List of All Programs Faculty

School of Architecture | Office


Mission Statement

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.

Program Description

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.


Master of Architecture Degree

The Master of Architecture degree culminates five years of study, four undergraduate and one year graduate. The Master of Architecture degree program at the UDM School of Architecture is a professional degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (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."

"Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree, that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.” (NAAB)

The University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture offers the following NAAB accredited degree program: Master of Architecture, 36 graduate credits. The Bachelor of Science in Architecture and the Master of Architecture degrees combined are 174 total credits. 

Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Pre-Professional

Students receive a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree when they have successfully completed their first four years of study. The Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree is 138 credits. During the fourth year a student may apply for the fifth year of study which leads to a Master of Architecture degree; or they may leave the program with a pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.

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.

Admissions Requirements

Admission Criteria

The School of Architecture limits its freshman enrollment based on competitive standards which should be confirmed with the University admissions office. However, additional criteria such as evidence of creativity, self-motivating characteristics, problem-solving abilities, and abilities for visual expression are also considered and may allow the minimums to be waived if the student has a positive interview with the Dean or Associate Dean.

In Term I of the students’ fourth year, they apply to the Master of Architecture program. In order to be considered for admission, a minimum overall and design GPA of 3.0 is required along with submission of a substantive design portfolio (as well as an admissions essay). All three components are considered equally in the decision making process for admission. Their portfolio must demonstrate their ability and potential for success in all aspects of graduate design work and other studies. 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, pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree upon successful completion of the four year requirements. 

The admission requirement for transfer students, including students who already possess a degree, is a minimum GPA of 3.0. Transfer students from an architectural program should also have at least a 3.0 GPA in all design studio courses. If available, a portfolio of architectural or artistic work is also desirable if the student is close to but under the required 3.0 GPA. Transfer students and students with degrees must meet all requirements for our four year Bachelor of Science in Architecture program, including Co-op, prior to applying for admission into the fifth year Master of Architecture program. Students who hold a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from another institution will likely be required to take some undergraduate coursework before being eligible to apply for the masters program.


The School uses a tiered advisory approach. The Dean advises freshmen. In the second year, students are assigned a specific faculty member who will remain their advisor until the Winter term of their fourth year. Transfer students are advised by the Associate Dean until the Winter term of the their fourth year. Beginning in the Winter term of the fourth year, through the completion of their degree, students are advised by the Director of the Graduate Program in Architecture. 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 ensure 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. Additionally, students should meet with the Associate Dean at the beginning of the first term of their fourth year and 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. It is the student's responsibility to initiate a meeting with the Associate Dean for a graduation audit.

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 spanning all five years of study. 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, representational, 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 primary 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 landscape design. The center piece of the masters year is a two semester thesis studio that allows students to establish their own objectives and project parameters for their final year of design.

Visual Communications

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

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

History and Theory of Architecture

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

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 social and ethical responsibilities as a design professional.

Graduate Electives

Candidates for the Master of Architecture degree select four graduate level courses from the colleges of the University as electives to compliment their thesis design project. The purpose of these electives is to provide the opportunity for developing specialized knowledge in the student’s special interest area. Electives may also build upon the strengths of the University by establishing strong cross-disciplinary ties with other academic units. Some examples of areas of elective study are: urbanism/development, critical studies, media/fabrication technologies, building technology and tectonics, 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 any secondary degree program in which they might be interested.

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. Co-op students are paid competitive wages according to their skills and experience. They may co-op anywhere in the world.

The co-op experience begins with the course ARCH 3000, Professional Experience 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 (ARCH 3010) and the second term of the fourth year (ARCH 3020). Further optional co-op terms are also possible. This sequence provides students with the opportunity to alternate their intellectual 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. Co-op students may also be required to participate in community service during this time. A series of questions are also given to the students to stimulate reflection on the profession and their position within it. Students are evaluated by both the employer and the cooperative education coordinator. Master of Architecture students are required to take the following: ARCH 3000, Professional Experience Preparation, ARCH 3010, Professional Experience I, and ARCH 5020, Professional Experience II. Only ARCH 3000 and ARCH 3010 are required for those students receiving the non-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree.

Program Curriculum

The total credits required for the Master of Architecture are 174 and 138 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 (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 1100 Architectural Design I 4 0 12
ARCH 1110 Visual Communication I 3 0 8
ARCH 1190 Introduction to Architecture I 1 2 0
ENL 1310 Academic Writing (Obj. 1) 3 3 0
MTH 1400 Elementary Functions (Obj. 2A) 3 3 0
PHL 1000 Introduction to Philosophy (Obj. 4A) 3 3 0

First Year , Term II (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 1200 Architectural Design II 4 0 12
ARCH 1211 Visual Communication II (Obj.2B) 3 0 8
ARCH 1290 Introduction to Architecture II 1 2 0
ARCH 2130 Principles of Structural Behavior 3 3 0
CST 1010 Fundamentals of Speech (Obj. 1) 3 3 0
  Natural Science Elective (Obj. 3B) 3 3 0

Second Year, Term I (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 1300 Architectural Design III 4 0 12
ARCH 2110 Visual Communication III (Obj. 2B) 3 0 8
ARCH 2120 Architectural History and Theory I 3 3 0
ARCH 2140 Ecological Design 3 3 0
ARCH 2150 Construction I 3 6 0
ARCH 2190 Site Analysis and Design 1 2 0

Second Year, Term II (16 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 1400 Architectural Design IV 4 0 12
ARCH 2211 Visual Communication IV  3 0 8
ARCH 2220 Architectural History and Theory II 3 3 0
ARCH 2250 Construction II 3 6 0
ARCH 2340 Environmental Technology I 3 3 0

Third Year, Term I (18 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 2100 Architectural Design V 5 0 14
ARCH 2440 Environmental Technology II 3 3 0
ARCH 2520 Architecture History and Theory III 3 3 0
ARCH 3000 Professional Experience Preparation 1 1 0
  Social or Natural Science Elective (Obj. 3C) 3 3 0
RELS Religious Studies Elective (Obj. 4B) 3 3 0

Third Year, Term II (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 2200 Architectural Design VI 5 0 14
  Historical Experiences Elective (Obj. 5A) 3 3 0
  Core Choice Elective (Obj 3-6) 3 3 0
Comparative Experiences Elective (Obj. 5D) 3 3 0
Free Elective 3 3 0

Third Year, Term III

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 3010 Professional Experience I 2 0 0

Fourth Year, Term I (17 credits) [Apply to the Master’s Program]

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 2300 Architectural Design VII 5 0 14
ARCH 2330 Structures I 3 3 0
Philosophy/Religious Studies Elective (Obj. 4C) 3 3 0
Literary Experiences Elective (Obj. 5B) 3 3 0
Social/Political Problems Elective (Obj. 6B) 3 3 0

Fourth Year, Term II (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 4100 Integrative Design Studio 5 0 14
ARCH 2430 Structures II 3 3 0
PYC 2650 Psychology of Environment (Obj. 3A) 3 3 0
Ethics Elective (Obj. 6A) 3 3 0
Free Elective 3 3 0

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

Fourth Year, Term III

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 5020 Professional Experience II 2 0 0

Required for the Master of Architecture degree only.

Fifth Year, Term I (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 5100 Master's Studio I 5 0 14
ARCH 5110 Master's Studio I Supplement 3 3 0
ARCH 5590 Architecture and Construction Law 3 3 0
Graduate Elective 3 3 0
Graduate Elective 3 3 0

Fifth Year, Term II (17 credits)

cr. rec. st.
ARCH 5190 Profession of Architecture 3 3 0
ARCH 5200 Master’s Studio II 5 0 14
ARCH 5210 Master's Studio II Supplement 3 3 0
Graduate 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 (1000 level or higher) offered as credit at the University.

Architectural Electives

Each term a limited number of architectural electives are offered to students in several of the following areas: visual communication, building technology, practice, sustainable building, advanced computer graphics, graphic design, 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, Revit, as well as, a variety of other programs which are used to support architectural as well as other academic 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.

A model shop equipped with a laser cutter, band saw, chop saw, drill press, and wire foam cutter is available for student use in conjunction with their design and visual communication studio classes.

In addition, a wood shop containing a variety power and hand tools is accessible to students for larger studio related projects.

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

An essential human need is supportive and attractive physical surroundings. With this view that “good design” is an essential force in establishing human relations and cultural stability, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) fosters university and community collaborations and partnerships that create inspired and sustainable neighborhoods and spaces for all people. The Center is dedicated to urban and community revitalization through an educational and participatory design process. The sustainability of any neighborhood lies in the hands of its residents. Thus, the Design Center provides not only design services but also it empowers residents to facilitate their own process of urban regeneration.

The national and international award winning Detroit Collaborative Design Center provides architecture and urban design assistance exclusively 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 urban designers.

The Center provides experiences to the students in three ways: in a classroom environment, through the Community Design Studio; for cooperative education experience; and as 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 to twelve students and one professor from each institution are exchanged for a full academic term. UDM students are taught by WUT faculty in English.

Volterra Study Abroad Program

Since 1984 the School of Architecture has conducted a study abroad program in Italy during the summer/term III. The program is based in the Tuscan hill town of Volterra and is limited to 15 third and fourth year students. It is taught by UDM faculty in addition to faculty on site. Students take a full schedule of courses and are in residence in Volterra, Italy for approximately 13 weeks.

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 that 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 (ARCH 1100, 1200 1300 & 1400) have been met, then the student will be placed in the ARCH 2100: 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. If this is not the case, then students will be placed in ARCH 1100: Design I, or whatever foundation level studio the Dean or Associate Dean feels is appropriate based on the transcript and portfolio, and will be required to complete the foundation sequence (ARCH 1100- through ARCH 1400) before proceeding to the vertical studio sequence (ARCH 2100 through ARCH 4100).

Retention of Student Work

The School reserves the right to retain and eventually dispose of any 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. Additionally, the submission of a written thesis document is a requirement for graduation for the Master of Architecture degree. Thesis documents are submitted to the program in both hard copy and electronic format, and to the University in electronic format. As with other student work, the School and the University reserves the right to retain this work. In addition, University of Detroit Mercy reserves the right to make curriculum required theses/projects electronically available to the world wide community.

Grading System

The School of Architecture enforces standards of academic performance consistent with those of the University that may result in a student being placed on academic warning, academic probation or a student being dismissed from the program. The School of Architecture reserves the right to require a student to withdraw from the program even when the student has an overall grade point average of 2.00 or better if, in their judgment, the student does not possess the requisite skills and attitudes to succeed in the architectural profession.


Students have the right to appeal academic assessments with which they disagree. Two steps are followed. First, the student confers with the instructor involved. If this does not resolve the situation then the second step is the final appeal 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 only recommend to the instructor that the grade in question be raised or lowered based on the evidence presented.

Students may also appeal actions such as academic probation and academic dismissal. Appeals should be in written form to the Dean or Associate Dean. The student is encouraged to be at the meeting when their appeal is being heard and make a verbal presentation of their case at that time.

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.

Laptop Computer Requirement

The School of Architecture strongly encourages that all new students entering the programs of architecture and digital media studies own a laptop of minimum required specifications and specific software. These requirements may be found on the University website. The University has a program with a vendor to assist the student in purchasing the hardware and or software if the student so desires. In addition, the financial aid office can provide low interest loans to cover the cost of the laptop.

College Contact Information:


  • Warren Loranger Architecture Building LO 118
  • McNichols Campus
  • 4001 W. McNichols Road
  • Telephone: (313) 993-1532
  • Fax: (313) 993-1512
  • Email:
  • Website

  • Dean: Will Wittig
  • Telephone: (313) 993-1532
  • Fax: (313) 993-1512
  • Email:

  • Associate Dean: Joseph Odoerfer 
  • Telephone: (313) 993-1532
  • Fax: (313) 993-1512
  • Email:

For more information about UDM, or to apply online, go to

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