About Architecture

Architecture model in the Rapson Hall Atrium

The University of Minnesota School of Architecture values curious, independent, and adaptable thinkers—students who engage with the diverse aspects of architectural practice while challenging its boundaries. We are here to prepare people to be leaders in a rapidly changing world. The education we provide in our degree programs extends from introductory to advanced, and from the mastery of the core discipline to advancing knowledge in emerging areas of architectural research and practice. The School of Architecture’s professional and pre-professional programs in architecture are invested in design excellence grounded in research, critical thinking, and social engagement.

Degree Options

At the heart of architecture education is the design studio. Within our vibrant and supportive studio culture, students learn ways of working that are essential to architectural practice: they develop processes for critical inquiry and conceptual thought, they become experts at thinking through physical and digital media, and they learn to integrate cutting-edge technology and research into design processes. This empowers our students to work independently and collaboratively, to experiment and take risks, and to begin seeing themselves as curious, creative, and critical thinkers.

Our graduates are prepared to approach a variety of design questions across a range of scales, from objects to buildings to the urban landscape. Our students become part of a collaborative community of highly regarded architecture faculty, expert guest critics and visiting faculty, and other dedicated architecture students, all of whom collectively advance individual student learning. This culture of design learning is further enriched by relationships throughout the College of Design, and through intersections with our MS degree programs in research practices, sustainability and metropolitan design.

What Students Say & Do

Our graduates become practicing architects, but also find careers in government, academia, public service, business, urban design, historic preservation, interior architecture, furniture design, digital design, public art, building fabrication, and the construction industry. In professional practice, they become designers, project managers, firm leaders, and research specialists.

“I was one of the first students to participate in the Master of Science in Architecture Research Practices (MS-RP) pilot program and it has substantially impacted my career. As a participant, I developed an energy modeling methodology for a leading Minneapolis design firm. The power of the MS-RP program is that it upends the typical intern relationship with an office; I was able take a leadership role developing new knowledge for the firm and worked directly with one of the founding Principals to do so. I was hired by the firm after graduation and now lead our internal applied research initiatives.”

—Chris Wingate (Arch MS '12, Research Practices)

Research, Scholarship & Creative Work

Founded in 1913, and situated within the College of Design, the School of Architecture maintains cross-disciplinary collaborations with its research centers that focus on sustainability, urban and rural design, and digital design and also with its programs in landscape architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design, apparel design, retail merchandising, and human factors and ergonomics.

Recent Faculty Presentations

Our distinguished faculty includes experts in a range of interrelated architectural fields: design; urban and rural design; building technology; design/build; sustainable building design; resilient and regenerative infrastructures; housing; heritage studies and public history; critical practice and representation; history, theory, and criticism; and research embedded in practice.

Architecture in the Twin Cities

Ingenuity and industry connections

Located just across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, the School of Architecture is in the heart of a dynamic metropolitan area of 3.5 million people with an internationally regarded arts and design community. The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have a long history of supporting innovative architecture, evident in numerous architectural landmarks and public spaces designed by significant international architects, including Steven Holl (designer of our facilities in Rapson Hall), Marcel Breuer, Jean Nouvel, Maya Lin, Eero and Eliel Saarinen, Jacques Herzog/Pierre de Meuron, Frank Gehry, and internationally renowned regional architects including Cass Gilbert, Ralph Rapson, Clarence W. “Cap” Wigington, Elizabeth Scheu “Lisl” Close and Winston Close, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

We are an integral part of one of the largest and most active design communities in the country with more than 250 firms working locally and internationally. Our reciprocity with local practitioners who mentor, teach, and frequently hire our students dates back to Ralph Rapson, who led the architecture department (then part of the Institute of Technology) for 30 years. The Twin Cities is home to a vibrant design culture that produces some of the most ground-breaking, thoughtful, as well as nationally and internationally recognized architecture projects across the country. With a thriving professional network that extends over a wide range of allied design disciplines, the school benefits from its place in an architecture community that values and supports progressive design.