What can I do with an Architecture degree and an interest in Research – is a question often faced by architects once they graduate after spending 5 rigorous years in architecture schools, spend a few months, even years working in offices, only to realize that their interest calls them beyond the scope of just Architecture, into the macro-level approach of research and development.

Masters options for architects interested in research

So, what can you do? There are plenty of master opportunities that one in such a dilemma could look at, that could allow them to get involved in the field of architectural research, architectural history and theory, sustainable development, urban planning, and policymaking as well. Having a specialized Master’s degree concentrating on an area of interest, spending a year, or two working on a dissertation project provides the development of the necessary skills required to be able to contribute in the field and even pave way for a Doctor of Philosophy.

1. Masters in Architectural Research

With the advancement in digital design, tools, and methodology, the mode of expression, representation, and translation are dramatically changing day by day. The sort of information technology tools we incorporate into our practice has a significant impact on the architecture that we practice. These improvements are only possible through effective research that is being done by architects who focus on new software, methods, and tools that can be employed in the field of architectures all over the world.

2. Masters in Restoration and Heritage Conservation

Research is a crucial aspect of understanding our history, culture, and heritage. This Master’s option would not only provide architects the avenue to explore their abilities as a researcher but also pose a challenge, to help develop beautiful solutions of historical artifacts that are an asset to every nation.

3. Masters in Architectural Lighting

Understanding the importance of light in our practice, as well as mental and physical health, there are also many options available where the study of light as a specialization of research could allow improving the quality of our experiences, health, and wellbeing. This not only entails looking at the sustainability of our environment but our interior spaces as well.

4. Masters in Sustainable Architecture

A master’s degree in sustainable architecture is majorly structured around the aspects of the environmental impacts of the built environment, environmental performance, and design. The research aspects pertaining to this area of specialization would allow architects to explore the acquisition of specific knowledge for making building more competent and complementing to the natural environment, minimizing deleterious impacts of any of the building’s functions for future generations, and allowing the building to contribute to the wellbeing of the surrounding. Acknowledging the recent global trend towards green architecture, this area of research would indeed be a very vital topic to undertake, with widespread potential as a researcher after graduation.

5. Masters in Urban Policy and Analysis

An entirely research-driven specialization, this master’s degree would allow architects to consider the challenges of urbanism and analysis of urban policy and policymaking. It would allow them to focus on different theoretical and empirical approaches to understand urban governance, data and policy analysis, and the analytical skills to understand research in urban studies.

It explores socio-economic and political aspects of life and urban forces that lead the road towards greater city living. The research skills acquired through such a program would allow architects to dwell into the world of research analytics, and policymaking through an in-depth understanding of the conduction of surveys and GIS analysis as well.

6. Masters of Architectural History

This master’s program would open an architect’s scope of knowledge to the world of politics and socioeconomics that is the basis of all architectural history. It would allow them to develop critical, political consciousness, and a rich understanding of early architectural theories, practices, and movements concerning architecture. Rather than dealing only with the stylistic classification of categories of architecture, research in this field would allow one to explore new and existing methodologies and critical theories applying to cities and architecture, with the help of social, ideological, creative, political, material, technological and urban processes.

7. Masters in Archeology

This area provides an opportunity for architects to build on their knowledge of architectural history and archeology, often studied in most architectural colleges, and to specialize in the area of archeology, which provides an exciting foundation for those interested to continue research in this department at the doctoral levels. It not only includes research of medieval archeology, but also environmental, landscape, maritime, and theoretical archeology.

8. Masters in Cartography

A master’s in cartography would allow architects with an interest in mapping and research to understand foundations in cartography, geo-visualization, multimedia cartography, web mapping, and location-based services. It would help create foundations for scientific research and exchange with the help of applied projects and internships in research organizations.

9. History, Theory, and Criticism

This area of specialization aims to work with research enthusiasts and intellectuals in the field of art and architectural history. It holds a strong emphasis on analytical methodologies and historiography, dealing with the social and physical context of the built environment, issues in contemporary thinking, as well as the philosophical, political, and material understanding related to art and architecture. An applicant may be allowed to explore research projects relevant to their interests and reflect on contemporary concerns while developing a stronghold on the history of architecture.


An Architect by profession, a writer, artist, and baker by interest, Amna Pervaiz sees Architecture and Urban Planning as a multifaceted avenue allowing her to explore a plethora of disciplinary elements. She sees the field as an untapped canvas; a journey she hopes would one day lead her towards social responsibility and welfare.

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