Architecture and Lighting Design (MArch/MFA)

  • Those who wish to pursue studies in lighting design and architecture can apply to the dual-degree program, a four-year, 120-credit-hour curriculum that combines the NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture and the MFA Lighting Design. Interested students should apply directly to the dual-degree program; they will automatically be considered for admission to the individual Master of Architecture and MFA Lighting Design programs as well.

    Explore the MArch/MFA Architecture and Lighting Design community to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world at This program is part of Parsons' School of Constructed Environments (SCE).

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    Future Opportunities

    Graduates have gone on to open their own practices and work in prominent firms, including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, LevenBetts, Bernheimer Architecture, Gensler, Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis, Matter Architecture Practice, Smith-Miller Hawkinson, and Young Projects. In addition to architecture, graduates have pursued careers in engineering, urban planning, landscape design, or interior design.

  • Student Work

    See More Student Work From the Program


    The Master of Architecture/Master of Fine Arts dual degree is awarded for completion of 120 credits, including a master's thesis that reflects both areas of study. The curriculum includes the same required courses as each stand-alone degree. The compressed time frame and reduced total credit points are possible because required architecture courses replace free electives in the lighting program, and required lighting design courses replace free electives in the architecture program. There is one combined lighting design/architecture design studio. Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and fulfill all requirements in a timely manner. The standard course of study is four years.

    First Year / Fall
    PGAR 5001 Design Studio 1 6
    PGAR 5013 Representation & Spatial Reasoning 1: Lecture 0
    PGAR 5014 Representation & Spatial Reasoning 1: Recitation 3
    PGAR 5040 Histories of Architecture 3
    PSCE 5300 Environmental Technology 1: Lecture 3
    PSCE 5301 Environmental Technology 1: Recitation 0
    First Year / Spring
    PGAR 5002 Design Studio 2 (Housing) 6
    PGAR 5023 Construction Technology 1 3
    PGAR 5123 Theory of Architectural Form 3
    PGAR 5015 Representation & Spatial Reasoning 2 3
    Second Year / Fall
    PGLT 5001 Studio 1: Light, Vision, and Representation 6
    PGLT 5111 Principles of Lighting 1 3
    PGAR 5213 Structural Technology 1 3
    PGLT 5146 Light: Critical Issues 3
    Second Year / Spring
    PGAR 5214 Structural Technology 2: Lecture 3
    PGAR 5216 Structural Technology 2: Recitation 0
    PGLT 5002 Studio 2: Natural and Technological Light 6
    PGLT 5112 Principles of Lighting 2 3
    PGLT 5143 Daylight Methodologies 3
    Third Year / Fall
    PGAR 5201 Design Studio 3 (Allied Studio) 6
    PGLT 5116 Systems Technology 3
    PSCE 5310 Environmental Technology 2 3
    PGAR 5513 Theory of Urban Form
    Third Year / Spring
    PGAR 5202 Design Studio 4 (Design Workshop or Comprehensive) 6
    PGAR 5224 Construction Technology 2 3
    PGLT 5102 Light, Perception, and Culture 3
    Fourth Year / Fall
    PGAR 5401 Design Studio 5 (Urban Architecture) 6
    PGAR 5403 Thesis Preparation 3
    Fourth Year / Spring
    PGLT 5004 Design Studio 4: Thesis Studio 6
    PGAR 5523 Professional Practice 3
    PGLT 5125 Professional Practice 3
    PGLT 5127 Thesis Seminar 3
    Total Credits 120

    NAAB Accreditation

    For information about accreditation by the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB), see NAAB Accreditation.


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        NAAB Accreditation

        In the United States, most registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit professional degree programs in architecture offered by institutions with U.S. regional accreditation, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted an eight-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.

        Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may require a pre-professional undergraduate degree in architecture for admission. However, the pre-professional degree is not by itself recognized as an accredited degree.

        Parsons School of Design offers the following NAAB-accredited degree program: Master of Architecture (Pre-Professional Degree + 90 Credits)

        Next accreditation visit for this program: 2024


        Admission Requirements

        Application and Financial Aid Deadlines

        Application Deadline:

        The application deadline is January 2. To be most competitive for admission and merit scholarship consideration, please apply before the deadline. We will continue to review applications submitted after the deadline pending space availability in the program. The Admission Committee will make a decision on your application only after all the required materials have been received. Spring term admission is not offered for this program.

        Financial Aid Deadline:

        Merit Scholarships
        All admitted students are considered for merit scholarship awards determined by the strength of their applications. International students are eligible only for merit scholarships.

        Federal Student Aid
        If you are a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, we encourage you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be found at The FAFSA is available each year on October 1. The New School’s federal school code is 002780. You do not need to wait for an admission decision to apply for federal aid. Submit your FAFSA by our February 1 FAFSA Priority Deadline.

        Application Instructions

        All applicants are required to apply online. Save your work frequently and print a copy for your records. You must complete all required fields and uploads prior to submission.

        Any additional supporting documents that need to be sent by mail must include an Application Materials Cover Sheet. All supporting materials must be received before your application can be reviewed.

        Although applications to the dual-degree program are reviewed by both the Architecture and the Lighting Design admission committees, you submit only one set of application materials. The Office of Admission will ensure that the complete application packet is made available to both admission committees. In addition to being considered for admission to the dual-degree program, your application will be considered for admission to the graduate Architecture and Lighting Design programs separately as well.

        See below for additional information regarding submission of transcripts and recommendations.

        Some of your required application materials will be submitted through SlideRoom:

        1. Finalize your portfolio at the time you submit your application. This will help prevent any delays in reviewing your application, as we need to receive all required materials before we can place your application under review.
        2. Once you have submitted the required SlideRoom materials, a confirmation number will be emailed to you. Save this for your records and enter it on the online application when requested.

        Required Application Materials

        1. Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
        2. Application Fee: The application fee is $50. The fee is paid through the online application and is non-refundable. There is also a $15 SlideRoom fee.
        3. Transcripts:
          Unofficial Transcripts: Applicants must upload an unofficial transcript, mark sheet, or academic record for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) in the Educational Background section of the online application.
          • All transcript uploads must be accompanied by a key, a legend, or the back copy of the transcript.
          • Non-English transcripts must be accompanied by an English translation. Records from non-U.S. institutions must have grades or marks and contain a copy of diploma if the degree has been conferred.
          • Make sure your name appears on the transcript/record. Scans must be clear and legible.
          • If you experience trouble uploading your transcript, email and give a detailed description of the issue and attach the document in question.
          The New School reserves the right to require official transcripts at any time during the admission process. Any fraudulent activity or discrepancies found between uploaded and official transcripts will result in the immediate revocation of admission and/or dismissal from The New School. Transcripts uploaded with the online application are considered unofficial.

          Official Transcripts: Applicants offered admission will be required to submit official transcripts with proof of their degree conferral prior to enrollment. Admitted applicants must submit all official transcripts pertaining to their entire academic career. Transcripts uploaded with the online application do not satisfy this requirement.

          Submitting Transcripts By Mail: Applicants should make arrangements to have their college/university send transcripts directly to The New School at the mailing address for Supplemental Materials. All transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope with the institutional seal and signature of the registrar. All documents not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

          Submitting Electronic Transcripts (U.S./Domestic Institutions Only): The New School accepts electronic transcripts only from our approved vendors:
          • National Student Clearinghouse
          • Parchment Exchange
          • SCRIP-SAFE International
          We do not accept electronic transcripts sent directly by a student or school offices. All international academic credentials must be submitted as indicated in the International Academic Credentials sections below.

          International Academic Credentials: All transcripts not written in English must be accompanied by a certified English translation.

          International Academic Credentials with Transfer Credits: Applicants who attended postsecondary institutions outside of the United States are required to have their transcript(s) evaluated by World Education Services (WES), Education Credential Evaluators (ECE), or by another member of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). A course-by-course evaluation must be prepared for each transcript.

          Follow all document requirements as outlined on the evaluation service providers’ websites. Evaluations completed by WES or ECE will be sent directly to us electronically by the vendor.

          All other NACES provider evaluation should be mailed directly by the vendor to the address for Supplemental Materials. A copy of the transcript which was evaluated should accompany the evaluation in the same sealed envelope or the official transcript should be sent directly to The New School by the issuing college/university.
        4. Résumé: Submit a brief résumé/curriculum vitae summarizing your academic qualifications, relevant work experience, volunteer/community work, travel, exhibitions, public speaking, or any other relevant experiences as they may relate to your field of study, including dates and positions held. Please also note any special language or computer skills that you have.
        5. Statement of Purpose: Please outline your reasons for applying to this program. In what ways will you contribute to the subject matter of the program? You should include a thoughtful description of your background, tentative plan of study or area of inquiry in the field as you now envision it, your professional goals, and an explanation of how this graduate program will help you realize those goals. If you have not been enrolled as a student in the past five years, please address anticipated opportunities and challenges in pursuing the degree and future career expectations upon completion of the program. (500-750 word limit.)
        6. Recommendation Letters: Two letters of recommendation are required. Recommenders may submit recommendations online. Instructions are included in the online application. If preferred, the recommendation forms may be sent by mail in signed, sealed envelopes. To send by mail, download the PDF recommendation form found in the online application, complete the Applicant Information section, and save the form. Forward the saved form to the recommenders to complete the remaining sections and submit. Applicants may also send signed and sealed recommendations to the Office of Admission using an Application Materials Cover Sheet.
        7. Portfolio: The portfolio must be completed in SlideRoom only. The purpose of the portfolio is to show your individual perspective and creative skills. Prepare a sequence of 15–25 images that best communicate your visual thinking. Include work that best demonstrates your skills from previous educational and/or professional experience. Sketches and conceptual work can also be included.

          We welcome students from a wide variety of disciplines. If you are an applicant without previous training in architecture or design-related fields, you can demonstrate your aptitude by submitting examples of freehand drawing, photography, painting, sculpture, graphic design, three-dimensional work, furniture, product design, digital media, or work in other forms. Time-based works such as film, video, performance, installation, or sound are also accepted. Do not combine images in a prepared presentation or slideshow of any type (e.g., PowerPoint or Keynote).
        8. Test Scores: A GRE or TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/DET score is required of all applicants. International students who receive a TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, DET waiver must instead provide a GRE score.

          GRE: If English is the applicant’s native language, submit scores of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and general tests (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing). The institution code is 2638.

          TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, and DET: All applicants whose first language is not English must submit valid TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET scores. The minimum score required for TOEFL (IB) is 92, for IELTS is 7.0, for PTE is 63, and for DET is 115. Our TOEFL institution code is 2638.

          The New School does not require TOEFL, IELTS, PTE, or DET scores for applicants who have earned a four-year degree from a U.S. college/university or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (minimum of three years attendance). After reviewing your application, the Office of Admission may require you to submit an English Language Proficiency test score to evaluate your candidacy.

          We accept test scores taken within the past two years. If your scores are older, you must retake the test.

          Applicants also have the option of enrolling in The New School English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Students must pass Level 6 to waive the TOEFL/IELTS/PTE/DET requirement. Visit the ESL website for more information.
        9. Interview: Students may be invited for an interview in-person or by phone.

        Additional Information and Instructions

        1. Applying to More Than One Program: In any given term, a student can apply to only one department or program within The New School. Applicants who file more than one application in a given semester will be required to withdraw one of the applications, and application fees will not be refunded.
        2. Application Materials: All materials submitted in association with the New School application become the property of The New School and cannot be returned to you or transmitted to a third party.
        3. Application Status: Applications become complete and ready for review once all required items have been received by the Office of Admission. You can check your application status online at the Admission Hub.

          Allow at least 14 days from the date you submitted your application for items to be matched and shown as received on the Hub. Applicants are responsible for following up with schools and recommenders to confirm that items have been sent.

          The Office of Admission will periodically notify applicants by email if their file is missing any documents and again when their file is complete for review. These notifications are sent to the email address provided in the online application.
        4. Readmission:
          The Application for Readmission should be completed by students who wish to return after an absence of four semesters (fall and spring). If you would like to apply for readmission, review the readmission deadlines and requirements in the Readmission section of our How to Apply information.
        5. Mailing Address for Supplemental Materials:
          Parsons School of Design
          Office of Admission (PS 300)
          79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
          New York, NY 10003

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