The Master of Architecture is a professional graduate degree, leading to certification with the Canadian Architectural Certification Board. The three-year program is highly demanding, with a large proportion of the curriculum dedicated to required coursework. You’ll take design studios alongside courses in history and theory, technical and material systems, and design media. However, you will graduate with the disciplinary knowledge and technical skills required to succeed in a career in architecture.
You’ll have opportunities to pursue individualized research through the selection of special topic design studios, thoughtful engagement with electives, and your graduate project. You can also participate in a number of enriched experiences within the MArch program. These include co-op, design build, study abroad, and exchanges.
Our MArch program is shaped by our situation in Vancouver, and the strength of our faculty. Community engagement and collaborative leadership are core elements of our program, and are applied throughout students’ time at SALA. Our low student-faculty ratio means we know our students by name, and we’re proud of our small studios, intimate seminars, and personalized learning opportunities.
We take full advantage of Vancouver’s position as a locus for innovative sustainable design. In addition to our internationally-renowned faculty, we routinely bring in local practitioners to lead studios and courses, as well as offer insight into the contemporary profession. Study topics often require our students to deeply engage with the diverse communities in our city, as well as those further afield.
Our architecture and landscape architecture programs are closely connected, and share many core courses and electives, including design build and study abroad opportunities. Architecture students are also able to register for a landscape architecture studio. This cross-pollination of ideas fosters a holistic design culture within the school; one increasingly reflected in the profession.
Outside the classroom, students have a number of opportunities to develop their leadership skills. We offer well over 100 course support positions every year, from teaching assistantships to researching in faculty-led labs. Frequent professional development workshops cover networking, interviews, and portfolio development. ARCHUS, the architecture student group, is very active in the life of the school with a mission of encouraging connections between students, faculty, and industry through hosting social, wellness, and academic events.
The three-year Master of Architecture degree requires the completion of 119 credits, which includes your graduate project. If you already have a design degree or advanced design education, you may receive advanced placement, subject to faculty approval.
Typical course of study
- ARCH 502 Introductory Workshop
- ARCH 500 Architectural Design Studio I
- ARCH 511 Architectural Technology I
- ARCH 515 Design Media I
- ARCH 597 Themes in Architecture
- ARCH 501 Architectural Design Studio II
- ARCH 512 Architectural Structures I
- ARCH 517 Design Media II
+ one of
- ARCH 505 Topics in Architectural History II, 1900 – present
- ARCH 504 Topics in Architectural History I, Pre-1900
- ARCH 520 Architectural Design Studio III
- ARCH 513 Environmental Systems and Controls I
- ARCH 532 Architectural Structures II
+ one of
- ARCH 505 Topics in Architectural History II, 1900 – present
- ARCH 504 Topics in Architectural History I, Pre-1900
- ARCH 521 Architectural Design Studio IV
- ARCH 523 Contemporary Theories in Architecture
- ARCH 531 Architectural Technology II
- ARCH 533 Environmental Systems and Controls II
We accept applications for the Master of Architecture between October 1 and January 15 each year. Admissions decisions are sent out in mid- to late-March. We receive many outstanding applications, and admission to our programs is competitive. Unfortunately, we cannot offer admission to all qualified applicants.
Please note that tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors and are subject to change each year. Tuition fees for international students are expected to rise for the 2024-25 academic year. For information about current tuition fees for domestic, international, and continuing students please see the UBC Academic calendar.
You must meet all admissions requirements in order to be considered for entry into the program.
You must hold a degree that is academically equivalent to a four-year bachelor’s degree at UBC. There is no requirement for the discipline of your previous degree. We accept students from a wide variety of academic fields.
If you have completed your degree at a Canadian or American university, you must have a B+ average in your third- and fourth-year-level coursework. If you completed your degree at an international university, you must have a B+ average in all coursework.
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
The minimum scores are:
TOEFL – 100 iBT or 600 paper based
IELTS – Overall band score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component of the academic (not general) test.
While not required, you may submit GRE results as additional evidence of scholastic promise and aptitude
All application materials should be submitted through the online application.
You must submit an online application form, complete application materials and the non-refundable application fee by the deadline of January 15.
A summary of your experiences in education, work, travel, volunteering, and other relevant areas. The maximum length is two pages, single spaced.
A written statement outlining your interest in the program and your motivation to pursue this degree at UBC. The maximum length is two pages, double spaced.
Your portfolio is submitted digitally in your online application. The PDF can be a maximum of 20 letter-sized (8.5″ x 11″) pages (or 10 spreads) and must be under 10MB in size. These 20 pages do not include your cover page or table of contents.
Tip: Use 150 pixels-per-inch or even 72 ppi images, or try saving the file as a Reduced Size PDF (“Save as Other”) in Adobe Acrobat, to bring down the file size.
The intent of the portfolio is to highlight design potential. You should use the portfolio to showcase your interests and accomplishments, and to show how you could contribute to a demanding professional program.
Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to conceptualize projects in two and three dimensions through a variety of media. The portfolio may contain drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, printmaking, ceramics, fashion design, and woodworking, as well as other media. Showing your creative process and ability to think conceptually will also provide context for your work.
You should organize your portfolio into a clear, well-crafted document. The portfolio should have concise, descriptive text on each page to adequately explain the work. If working in collaboration with others, please clearly indicate your contribution to the submitted work.
You must upload scans of official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions previously attended, including transcripts from universities attended on exchange. Uploads of unofficial transcripts will not be accepted. If you are currently completing a degree, submit your transcripts to date. In that case, UBC will not grant final confirmation of acceptance until you have submitted the final transcripts after the degree is conferred. If offered admission, you will be asked to send official transcripts in hardcopy.
If the academic records are in a language other than English or French, you must submit scans of the official transcripts in their original language and accompany them with scans of official translations.
You must arrange for three letters of reference, two of which should be academic and speak to your past performance and ability to succeed in a graduate program. Referees submit their letters through the online application system.
Please note that you will pay a non-refundable application fee through the online application system.
SALA offers advanced placement to qualified master of architecture applicants who, during their undergraduate degree, have undertaken a sufficient number and type of courses equivalent to the first year of SALA’s traditional 3-year MArch degree track. This includes specific training at the 3rd and 4th-year undergraduate level in the form of design studios, architectural technology courses, architectural structures courses, and courses on architectural history and theory.
Based on this criteria, students possessing the following undergraduate degrees will receive 36 credits of advanced placement and will complete a 2-year MArch program:
- Bachelor of Architecture (professional track program)
- Bachelor of Science in Architecture
- Bachelor of Arts – Architectural Studies (design stream from Carleton University only)
- Bachelor of Architectural Science (from Ryerson University only)
- Bachelor of Design (from UBC)
- Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies (from Dalhousie University only)
The following undergraduate degrees are not eligible for advanced placement and prospective students will complete a 3-year MArch program:
- Bachelor of Arts – Architectural Studies
- Bachelor of Architectural Studies
- Bachelor of Technology
- Bachelor of Architectural Science
- Bachelor of Environmental Design
- Bachelor of Architectural Engineering
- Bachelor of Engineering
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Fine Arts
- Bachelor of Design
Whilst SALA cannot waiver its criteria for admission to the advanced placement track, it is understood that in some exceptional circumstances, prospective students may have satisfied the admission criteria for advanced placement through elective courses, diploma programs, technical schooling, or other extracurricular activities that are not covered by their bachelor’s degree. If you are in this position, please email the Student Services Coordinator at email@example.com to inquire whether you may still be considered for advanced placement. A strong justification will be required.
Our Master of Architecture program prepares you to enter the world of practicing architects. Your degree is certified by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board, which is recognized in Canada, the US, and several other countries under the Canberra Accord. Each province has its own regulatory body for the architectural profession. In British Columbia, you must complete the Intern Architect Program to become eligible to register as a licenced architect with the AIBC.
How you practice architecture is up to you. Today’s firms range from small, one- or two-person teams to large multinational groups. The public and private sectors alike need architects to lead building projects with their creativity and technical knowledge. The Government of Canada predicts fair to strong growth across the country for the profession, with low levels of unemployment.
While the majority of our graduates have gone on to careers directly in architecture, that path is by no means the only one. Over the course of your studies here, you’ll gain invaluable skills in:
- design and visualization
- a variety of digital media tools
- communication and presentations
- project management and organization
There are a number of positions that benefit from an education in architecture. Some of our alumni have pursued:
- community engagement
- environmental consulting
- sustainable building consulting
- public art
- graphic design
- temporary infrastructure planning for sporting events
- research management
You can also pursue further education through a post-professional degree program. Our Master of Urban Design, Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture, and Master of Engineering Leadership in High Performance Buildings programs are geared towards those who already have degrees in architecture and want to continue exploring the academic side of the field.
The Canadian Architectural Certification Board is the sole organization recognized by the architectural profession in Canada to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by Canadian universities.
“In Canada, all provincial/territorial associations/institutes/orders recommend a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit Canadian professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes two types of accredited degrees: the Master of Architecture (M.Arch) and the Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch). A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on its degree of 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.”
–CACB statement on accreditation
After its last continuing accreditation visit in 2018, the CACB accredited the M.Arch program for six years.
The six other signatories of the Canberra Accord – Australia, China, Korea, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States – recognize the degree.