Taubman College

Master of Science / Areas of Concentration

Design Research

Exploring spatial affiliations between institutions, territories and subjects, the MS_DR seeks new models of practice within a contemporary digital culture that compels us to do so.

The Master of Science concentration in Design Research (MS_DR) is a 2 semester (fall, winter), 30 credit-hour post-professional degree that posits architectural studio work as a research protocol. The 30 credit-hour curriculum is constructed around a two-semester studio/seminar combination that asserts ideas, ideation, and the making of theory as grounds for an independently pursued research path. Studio work attempts to place architecture deep inside its cultural site of reckoning, working vividly with media influences, technological imperatives, and representational biases within contemporary digital culture. The seminar colludes with this studio emphasis, deflecting studio practices through the heuristic making and leveraging of theory across a multitude of considerations within design research.

A Special Topic Seminar and Workshop make each year within the MS_DR a distinct experience as two visiting critics are asked to frame their own work with respect to the overarching emphasis within the degree. These support courses allow inter- and trans-disciplinary perspectives to be formalized within the curriculum. A required course on architecture pedagogy encourages students to bridge between their individual research paths and the rigors of academic life, and thus positions the MS_DR as a teaching credential for those interested in transitioning into design education.

Students conclude the two-semester sequence with an exhibition of work and the submission of a single document that presents both design exploration and theory production together in a hybrid format.

Degree Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 30 credit hours with a GPA of 3.0 (B) or better. Specifically a student must complete the following in good standing (grade of 'B' or better):

  • One course (1 credit hour) of MS _Topic Seminar (Arch 711).
  • One course (1 credit hour) of MS_Topic Workshop (Arch 712).
  • One course (3 credit hours) of MS_DR Seminar (Arch 720).
  • One course (3 credit hours) of MS_Teaching Practicum (Arch 721).
  • Two courses (10 credit hours) of MS_DR Thesis Studio (Arch 741).
  • Two courses (6 credit hours) of cognate courses related to the student's area, option, or interests. Courses offered by University units other than the Architecture Program are considered cognate courses.

Electives (must be taken for letter grades):

  • Two courses Open Elective (6 credits).
  • Two courses Cognate Elective non-Architecture program graduate level defined by Rackham Graduate School (6 credits).

No transfer of credits may be counted toward the 30 credit hour requirement. All course elections, including cognate courses, are made on the basis of area specialization and in consultation with the student's major advisor.

Design Research Sample Schedule

Fall Term Credit Hours
Arch 741 MS_DR Thesis Studio 6
Arch 720 MS_DR Seminar 3
Arch 711 MS_Topic Seminar 1
Arch 712 MS_Topic Workshop 1
Elective/Cognate 3
Total 14
Winter Term Credit Hours
Arch 741 MS_DR Thesis Studio 4
Arch 721 MS Teaching Practicum 3
Elective / Cognate 3
Open Elective 3
Open Elective 3
Total 16


Jason Young
Associate Professor, M.Arch., Rice University, Houston, TX

Will Glover
Associate Professor, M.Arch., University of Washington; Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Amy Kulper
Assistant Professor, M.Arch., The University of Pennsylvania; M.Phil and Ph.D., Cambridge University

Perry Kulper
Associate Professor, M.Arch., Columbia University, New York.