Architecture Thesis Program

The Wentworth Master of Architecture degree is in many ways defined by its thesis program, a year-long independent design project. While all students admitted into the program demonstrate advanced ability in design, the thesis project represents design as critical inquiry and reflects each student’s attempt to deepen their skills in the service of increasing our collective knowledge of our discipline. 

The thesis program begins in the fall semester with two foundational courses. These two courses operate symbiotically, generating ideas and research methods to ground individual thesis work and project execution. The Methods course focuses on the history, theory and criticism of contemporary architectural discourse. It expands on students’ critical reading and writing skills in an effort to shape their own thesis documents, a form of design in and of itself.

The Design (as) Research course focuses on investigations and projections in architecture and allied fields, drawing from theoretical, cultural, and cross-disciplinary sources. It serves as a springboard for critical reading, thinking, writing, and making in preparation for the spring thesis studio.

These courses run concurrently with the fall-semester Special Topics Studios which focus on contemporary architectural preoccupations to provide not only a transformative travel experience (this past year to New Orleans, London, Lisbon, Paris, Benin, Bali and Shanghai), but also to become an avenue for testing a particular method, a site, or an architectural question.

The spring-semester Thesis Studio is devoted to an in-depth investigation of a now-defined design research project of the students’ own conception through an iterative structured methodology. While advisors shape the curriculum, define milestones, and play a supporting role suggesting possible approaches, techniques, methods, directions, or resources, each student retains primary authorship of the work produced.

The rigorous manner in which the students engage with the process – and the richly varied products that they create as a result – leaves an impact on the world that elevates the human spirit and speaks loudly for the public good. While the faculty have shaped the curriculum, it is the students who ultimately define Wentworth’s program through their unique, personal and courageous work.