M.Arch ‑ Year 5

These notes are for students entering the MArch program. They describe the basic intent and structure of the program and summarize the requirements during Year 5.

Program Registration

As soon as you have been admitted to the MArch program you will be given instructions to approve your graduate program requirements in the Graduate Studies Information System (GSIS) on Dal Online.

Academic Advising

If you need academic advice on Architecture courses, instructors, regulations, studio arrangements, accommodation, medical extensions, counselling referrals, etc., check with the graduate coordinator. University-level advising is also available from the Bissett Student Success Centre.

Program Intent

The undergraduate BEDS program provides a foundation of architectural knowledge in Design, Humanities, Technology, Professional Practice, and Representation. It is a mandatory curriculum for all students. The subsequent two-year MArch program advances knowledge in the same architectural streams and completes the remaining requirements for professional accreditation. The MArch program consists largely of course options and electives that are based on the research and expertise of individual faculty members. Each MArch student is encouraged to develop a longer-term academic plan and a personal position within the broader discipline of architecture. These ambitions can be pursued through course selection, work term placement, and the design thesis.

Year 5 Terms and Courses

The MArch program is divided into Year 5 (M1-M4 terms) and Year 6 (M5-M6 terms). The entire set of courses is shown on the MArch worksheet. Year 5 consists of six core courses (ARCH 5xxx), two electives, and two work term courses. Core courses are offered only in the summer and fall terms; electives are offered in all three terms. The standard Year 5 sequence is:

Summer Fall Winter Summer
M1 M2 M3 M4
ARCH 50xx: Design ARCH 50xx: Design ARCH 5308: Work Term ARCH 5309: Work Term
ARCH 51xx: Humanities ARCH 51xx: Humanities
ARCH 52xx: Technology ARCH 52xx: Technology
elective elective

A request to depart from this sequence of terms must be justified by your longer-term academic plan and must be approved in advance by the School's Program Committee and Professional Practice Group. All Year 5 requirements must be completed before you can register for Thesis courses or the Professional Practice course in Year 6.

Core Courses

The MArch core courses (ARCH 5xxx) extend your central architectural studies. You cannot register directly for a core course. To ensure that the selection of courses is informed and equitable, the School uses an intermediate process in which course outlines are issued, students nominate their top three choices for Design, Humanities, and Technology core courses, and the School approves each student to register for particular courses. All core courses have a maximum enrolment. Some core courses may have a co-requisite: for example, a particular Design course may require you to take a particular Technology course at the same time.

Comprehensive Design

During M1 or M2, each student must complete one Design course (and perhaps a co-requisite course) that is designated by the School's Design Group as "comprehensive." A student who plans to go away on an exchange in M2 must complete this requirement during M1.


The four electives in the MArch program are intended to complement and diversify your central architectural studies. You can register directly for a Dalhousie ARCH elective after the course outlines have been issued and online registration opens. All electives have a maximum enrolment and faster students have priority. An elective can be an ARCH 6xxx course, an ARCH 5xxx course in which places are still available, or a graduate-level course (5xxx or higher) from Dalhousie or another university. Two of the four electives also may be a 3xxx- or 4xxx-level course Dalhousie course in a non-ARCH subject. This opens up more possibilities for you to take courses in other departments at Dalhousie (but not at other universities). To count toward your graduate degree, the undergraduate grade must be B– or higher.

Special Topics Courses

During the whole MArch program, a student can take no more than three "special topics" courses, as described in the Graduate Studies calendar > FGS Regulation 7.7.5. This includes "Seminar" courses in Architecture (Humanities Seminar, Technology Seminar, or Representation Seminar - which have not been formally approved by Graduate Studies) and directed reading or independent studies courses in another department. To maximize options for students, the School avoids offering courses as "Seminar" courses whenever possible.

Work Term

The MArch co-op work term is integral to your graduate studies in architecture. Your selection of an architectural office and/or its location should be aligned with your academic plan and thesis interests. The two parts of the work term (ARCH 5308 and 5309) are completed consecutively to encourage sustained and responsible professional experience. While registered for ARCH 5308 and ARCH 5309, the university considers you a full-time student. You must be working full-time in an office, working full-time on supervised research, or actively looking for work. The work term is not primarily for taking courses, working in another field, traveling, or taking time off. Work placements, supervised research, or any departure from the standard work term sequence must be approved in advance by the School's Professional Practice Group. A maximum of one 3-credit-hour course may be taken during each part of the MArch work term: ARCH 5308, 5309, or 5310. See the School's Extramural Electives page.

Work Term Continuation

If you wish to extend your work term for an extra year, please fill in an MArch Work Term Continuation Request form and send it to the School's Graduate Coordinator (SP) by July 15, preferably earlier. It should describe your work plans for the next year and how you would benefit from continuing your work term. This request will be considered by the Professional Practice Group. If it's approved, you must register for ARCH 5310: Co-op Work Term Continuation during the next three terms. Please note that your student status changes to part-time while registered in ARCH 5310. It may also have implications for student loan repayments. If you are receiving government student loans, check on the maximum number of terms for which you are eligible. The MArch program is nominally two years long (including all academic terms and work terms), so the maximum loan period may be six or seven terms. International students who are in Canada on a student visa may not be eligible to continue their work term for an extra year, as their student status would change to part-time. Part-time status also might make them ineligible to apply for a post-graduate work permit in Canada. For details, check with the International Centre.

Internship in Architecture Program (IAP)

Students who are currently registered in a Canadian accredited architecture program (e.g., Dalhousie) and have completed at least 60 credit-hours in it (two years) can count up to 760 of their co-op work term hours toward professional internship. This applies to the M3-M4 work term but not the B4 work term. This will reduce the number of internship hours you need to complete after MArch graduation. The Internship in Architecture Program is administered by the eleven provincial/territorial architectural associations. To proceed, follow these steps after you have started the MArch program (M1, M2, or M3). It's not possible to receive retroactive credit for hours, so don't wait until M4, M5, or M6 to apply.

  1. Contact the architectural association in the province/territory where you are doing your work term or where you plan to become registered.
  2. Ask them to send you their membership application for IAP. (The NSAA form is available here. Being a Student Member isn't sufficient in Nova Scotia; you need to become a Recognized Student Member.)
  3. Forward the IAP form to Steve Parcell. He will fill in the university declaration page, verifying that you have completed 60 credit-hours of architecture courses, and will return the form to you.
  4. Send the completed form to the provincial/territorial association.
  5. After the association has approved your application, you can start recording your work term hours toward IAP.
  6. After graduation, if you decide to move to a different province, you can ask for your IAP hours to be transferred to the other association.

If you have any questions, please check with your provincial/territorial association.