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Architecture and Environmental Design - M.S.

Seeking career expertise in the built environment? Our research degree (STEM accredited) can help you forge a powerful career in architecture and the environmental design fields by combining design and science. Working closely with national leading faculty, students immerse themselves in cutting-edge topics such as A.I., robotics, bioclimatics, living architecture, kinetics or other subjects. Join us in making new knowledge, discoveries and innovations.

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Program Information

Program Description

Full Description

The Master of Science degree in Architecture and Environmental Design is a research-intensive program with one-year full residency requirement. The program is best suited for individuals interested in pursuing a specialization in the built environment. The program covers cross-cutting themes in sustainable buildings, smart systems and healthy settings.

Students in the M.S. degree have the opportunity to pursue research in the following areas:

  • Living architecture: Investigates vegetative integration upon and within buildings and structures in order to make cities more ecologically productive. Students master the conceptualization, assessment and examination of vegetative roofs, walls and related phytostructures for ecological service delivery through modeling and in-lab or field testing settings.
  • Bioclimatic architecture: Explores thermal comfort, energy conservation and building systems integration for sustainable design and human experience. Research in this area emphasizes computational simulation, physical modeling of natural phenomena, field/lab experiments and building information management.
  • Structural resilience: Investigates metaheuristic design principles for naturally efficient, durable, aesthetic and adaptable structural systems; performances of sustainable construction materials; and resilience of synergistically responding infrastructures.
  • Creative robotics: Revisits and explores the potential of cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, physical and digital computation; interaction and game design; X-R (augmented, virtual and mixed realities); app development; and UI-UX design as possible design mediums. Students work at the intersection of architecture, industrial design, robotics, computer since and media arts, developing applied design-research skills in response to contemporary design issues and through the lens of technology.
  • Kinetic systems: Investigates temporary (interactive) structures, specifically their typological, programmatic and material effects. Research includes the study of dynamic structural patterns and the role they play in the configuration of variable and/or flexible surfaces and enclosures.

The program may be taken as a dual degree with the Master of Architecture degree.

Admissions

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree in a professional or pre-professional environmental design program1
  • Minimum 3.000 undergraduate GPA on a 4.000-point scale
  • Official transcript(s)
  • GRE scores (effective with fall 2025 admission term, GRE is no longer required)
  • Résumé
  • Goal statement (two pages) that includes an outline of a proposed study program
  • Portfolio for design and research work
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions to waive) by earning one of the following:2
    • Minimum 79 TOEFL iBT score
    • Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
    • Minimum 58 PTE score
    • Minimum 110 DET score
1

Conditional admission may be offered to applicants with undergraduate and graduate degrees in related disciplines.

2

International applicants who do not meet the above test scores will not be considered for admission.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Application deadline: February 1

Applications submitted after this deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Investigate new relationships within the built environment.
  2. Gather, collect and analyze data.
  3. Co-author technical and scientific reports, summaries, papers, abstracts, briefs and/or the development of products and technologies that may lead to patents and intellectual property.
Coursework

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
AED 60922METHODS OF INQUIRY IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES 2
AED 60923EMPIRICAL RESEARCH IN ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN 1
AED 60930APPLIED RESEARCH METHODS IN ARCHITECTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN 3
AED 66098TOPICAL IMMERSION 3
AED 66198ADVANCED PROPOSAL WRITING 2
ARCH 60301THEORIES OF ARCHITECTURE 3
Electives (50000 or 60000 level) 115
Culminating Requirement
AED 66199THESIS I 6
Minimum Total Credit Hours:35
1

Students select elective courses upon approval of their advisor.

Roadmap

Roadmap

This roadmap is a recommended semester-by-semester plan of study for this major. However, courses designated as critical (!) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation.

Plan of Study Grid
Semester OneCredits
AED 60922 METHODS OF INQUIRY IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES 2
AED 60923 EMPIRICAL RESEARCH IN ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN 1
AED 66098 TOPICAL IMMERSION 3
ARCH 60301 THEORIES OF ARCHITECTURE 3
 Credit Hours9
Semester Two
AED 60930 APPLIED RESEARCH METHODS IN ARCHITECTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN 3
AED 66198 ADVANCED PROPOSAL WRITING 2
Elective (50000 or 60000 level) 3
 Credit Hours8
Semester Three
AED 66199 THESIS I 3
Electives (50000 or 60000 level) 6
 Credit Hours9
Semester Four
AED 66199 THESIS I 3
Electives (50000 or 60000 level) 6
 Credit Hours9
 Minimum Total Credit Hours:35
Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus
MSAED Admissions Guidance

Statement of Purpose and Outline of Proposed Course of Study

The two-page Statement of Purpose should elaborate, clearly and precisely, your purpose for entering the MSAED program, your proposed area of study, and describe any particular interest(s) and preparation in the field. It should delineate your intellectual and practical background for graduate school. As well as your perspective on how the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University and its resources would enable you to find an intellectual platform for your scholarly and research output. You should give the committee a sense of who you are and why you feel that the MSAED degree will help you reach your research and career goals. In general, you need to describe your accomplishments, and practical experiences in such a way that makes you an interesting candidate. Thus enabling the committee to match you with a faculty advisor with similar research interest.

Suggested Content

  1. The document usually starts with a brief introduction about yourself, your background, and your general interests.
  2. Summarize your relevant undergraduate experience and describe how it prepared you for a research-based graduate degree program. Please describe any significant research work you conducted by yourself or with a faculty or research advisor.
  3. Indicate current activities. These include, but are not limited to extra-curricular activities, summer internships, teaching or research assistantships. Try to direct the write-up to indicate how this experience was supportive of your decision to embark on your graduate research focus.
  4. Elaborate on the topic on which you will concentrate during your graduate program of study. In this section, you need to indicate you desired research area and state some of the questions and concerns associated with the topic based on your previous experiences and investigations.
  5. To support your statement, look on the website and research the program, the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Kent State University, and the region; its faculty, resources, and opportunities. Please indicate if there are professors or current research projects in which you may engage.
  6. Finally, end your statement in a positive and exciting manner that clearly demonstrates your readiness for the challenges of the a new program

Letters of Recommendation

Submit letters of recommendation completed by persons who are familiar with your academic record, accomplishments, your character, your educational goals and ability to achieve them. A (minimum of three recommendations required at least two of which are from professors who have taught or supervised the applicant in an academic setting. The format is the Recommendation Form, which can be downloaded from the Graduate College Forms Library.

Portfolio of Research and Design Work

This portfolio represents a record of the applicants’ experiences in conducting research in any form. It contains examples of academic or professional product in a written, an orally presented, or in graphical design formats. In any of these formats, the presented examples should clearly demonstrate applicant’s aptitude for research and inquiry. Submitting research papers or reports, presentations, or design work is not sufficient by itself. The committee needs to see a description of the projects, types of research conducted, facilities, and the role of the applicant in a multi-author projects or papers. The portfolio may be submitted as a single PDF formatted 8 1/2x11 or A4 file not exceeding 5 MB in size. The suggested document structure is as follows:

  1. Title page: This page includes the applicant’s name, program of interest, and a title of the portfolio
  2. Table of Contents: It is preferred if the items are linked to the referred document
  3. A page in front of every submitted document describing the context of research and the role of the applicant
  4. The document itself (papers, reports, design projects, grants, etc.)

Submitting Application Materials

Please submit all application materials electronically via the application portal. Select "Finish or check the status of your application" and log in with credentials you used to start your application.

If electronic submission is not possible, a hardcopy may be sent to:
Division of Graduate Studies
116 Cartwright Hall
650 Hilltop Drive
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242-0001

Program Coordinator

Reid Coffman, MLA, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
rcoffma4@kent.edu 
216.337.5934 

Academic Recruitment and Retention Coordinator

Deb Lamm
dlamm@kent.edu
330.672.0351

Academic Advisor II

Federica Gardner
fgardne1@kent.edu 
330.672.2917 

Themes and Research Area

CROSS-CUTTING THEMES

  • Sustainable Buildings
  • Smart Systems
  • Healthy Settings

RESEARCH AREAS

  1. Living Architecture: Investigates vegetative integration upon and within buildings and structures in order to make cities more ecologically productive. Students master the conceptualization, assessment and examination of vegetative roofs, walls and related phytostructures for ecological service delivery through modeling and in-lab or field testing settings. | Led by Dr. Coffman

    NEDlabResearchGateInstagram
  2. Bioclimatic Architecture: Explores thermal comfort, energy conservation, and building systems integration for sustainable design and human experience. Research in this area emphasizes computational simulation, physical modeling of natural phenomena, field/lab experiments and building information management. | Co-led by Dr. Sharag-Eldin and Dr. Luis Santos

    ResearchGate - Dr. Sharag EldinResearchGate - Dr. Luis Santos
  3. Structural Resilience: Investigates metaheuristic design principles for naturally efficient, durable, aesthetic and adaptable structural systems, performances of sustainable construction materials, and resilience of synergistically responding infrastructures. | Led by Dr. Liu 

    Learn MoreResearchGate
  4. Creative Robotics: Re-visits and explores the potential of cutting-edge technologies such as robotics, physical and digital computation, interaction and game design, X-R (augmented, virtual and mixed realities), app development and UI-UX design as possible design mediums. Students will work at the intersection of architecture, industrial design, robotics, computer since and media-arts, developing applied design-research skills in response to contemporary design issues and through the lens of technology. | Led by Professor Poustinchi
     
  5. Kinetic Systems: Investigates temporary (interactive) structures, specifically their typological, programmatic and material effects. Research includes the study of dynamic structural patterns and the role they play in the configuration of variable and/or flexible surfaces and enclosures. | Led Professor Davis-Sikora  
     

Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Architectural and engineering managers

2.6%

slower than the average

198,100

number of jobs

$149,530

potential earnings

Architecture teachers, postsecondary

5.1%

faster than the average

8,500

number of jobs

$90,880

potential earnings

Calibration technologists and technicians and engineering technologists and technicians, except drafters, all other

2.1%

slower than the average

91,600

number of jobs

$64,190

potential earnings

Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.

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