At The School of Architecture, we offer an accredited contemporary design education based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy of learning by doing, experimentation, and building with the landscape. We strive to bring lasting innovation, equity, and sustainability to the diverse communities that we serve.
The School offers one of the most experimental curricula in the country centered on studio-based, hands-on, integrative learning. Students explore architecture through design, technical and professional practices, history and theory, and the arts. Project-based learning is central to the educational experience and students may enlarge their experience through independent study. In addition to taking regular courses, students must also earn Architecture Project (AP) hours by working on various design/build projects. The curriculum culminates in a thesis that is organized around TSOA’s student shelter program. During the year-long thesis project, students research, design, construct and occupy a small, environmentally astute shelter — a small comprehensive project that they develop themselves with the help of a faculty advisor, professional mentors and the support of their classmates.
The education is rigorous; traditional grading is supplemented by an assessment of the student’s learning by faculty, mentors, and practicing architects on the basis of evidence documented in coursework and through annual Learning Portfolio review. The educational experience is closely linked to the our historically significant campus and is fueled by the intense year-round educational community at Cattle Track Arts Compound in Scottsdale, AZ.
Students find themselves continually inspired both by the quality of the spaces, and the messages they propagate and the communal lifestyle they support. Life at TSOA will teach students to truly “see”: it encourages them to get out of the studio to look, feel, and create architecture from the ground up. Students leave the School of Architecture with a renewed sense of pride and responsibility towards their own social, political, and ecological communities. Most of all, TSOA has the uncanny ability to instill a love for one’s profession and creative potential. With the School’s dynamic future as an independent institution ahead of us, we feel excited about helping to steer this legendary institution into the future.
The School’s Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree is an accredited, professional graduate degree leading to qualifications for architectural licensing. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter leadership roles within the architectural profession and become licensed architects upon completion of internship experience and passing the architectural exam. An undergraduate degree in either a related or an unrelated field and post-secondary prerequisites are required for admission.
All classes and experiences at the school are built on the following shared values and outcomes:
Learning By Doing
Interactive experiences both within and beyond the classroom foster student leadership through real-world professional and community-based scenarios.
Material Knowledge and Experimentation
Projects address how the materials and contexts we work with are directly impacted by their embodied relationships within society, culture, and the environment.
Students, faculty, and staff work, live, and learn together within a communal environment, creating a holistic experience across academics and community life.
Building with the Landscape
Access to diverse natural landscapes through our campuses and migrations cultivates long-term, meaningful connections to the ecologies we are a part of, steward, and build with.
The M.Arch II (2-year track) requires a 4-year Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, Environmental Design, or equivalent. Students on the 2-year track enter the second year of the M.Arch III 3+ track program.
The M.Arch III (3+ track) welcomes students with a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline and includes 7 semesters (3 years + 1 summer) to encompass fundamentals through advanced studies in Architecture.
The Master of Architecture curriculum encourages students to explore beyond perceived boundaries rather than relying solely on abstraction or being limited by preconceptions. The School integrates theory and practice. It uses a workshop model in which design and construction for communities is a central focus.
The M.Arch degree relies on the Design Studio as the core of the curriculum. Studios are taken every semester and are structured to explore a variety of facets of the architectural discipline. Students are typically enrolled in three progressive studios, an experimental studio, and an integrated studio. Finally, student work culminates in the preparation and presentation of a comprehensive thesis project centered on the design, construction, and inhabitation of a student shelter.
To expand knowledge and understanding of architecture, design studios are accompanied by core classes that focus on specific and required knowledge and skills. Core classes range from architectural history and theory to building construction technology and practice management. In addition to core classes, electives are offered to explore a variety of contemporary issues and interdisciplinary topics ranging from landscape architecture to performance.
Curricular and co-curricular activities through community life offer an overall integrative approach to the student experience that ultimately informs design thinking through values of equity, community interaction, and environmental responsibility. Together, students better understand systemic challenges that inform design as a critical practice.
Alongside coursework, the school provides various opportunities and formats for sustained and action-oriented dialogue with the architecture community within and beyond the classroom through service-learning initiatives, lecture series, exhibitions, professional interactions/gatherings, and field trips to architecturally significant sites or underserved communities. Participation in professional internships, “real world” design charrettes(short, intensive group projects) and collaborations with other schools and institutions help to translate skills and experiences into successful practice, as does the undertaking of community design-build projects, both on and off campus. During their time at TSOA, students engage Architectural Practice Projects and Internships as a requirement for graduation.
TSOA also continues to offer a highly immersive experience, in that it interweaves learning, living, and working within a communal environment. TSOA requires students to participate in the following Community Life activities, organized around the values of Leadership, Collaboration, Responsibility, Communication and Critical Thinking:
- Weekly Maintenance (Joylist)
- School Events, Workshops, and Exhibition Planning
- Shelter Building Assistance
- Student Governance
General International and Domestic Application/Fee Deadline for Spring 2024
General Applicant Portfolio and Letters of Recommendation Deadline for Spring 2024
Early International And Domestic Application/Fee Deadline for Fall 2024
Early applicants receive a $1,000 tuition discount for the first semester
Early Applicant Portfolio and Letters of Recommendation Deadline for Fall 2024
General International And Domestic Application and Fee Deadline for Fall 2024
General Applicant Portfolio and Letters of Recommendation Deadline for Fall 2024