Master of Architecture (Professional)

Deepen your knowledge and understanding of architecture, and progress on your journey towards becoming a Registered Architect. Taught at our custom-built architecture school, the Master of Architecture (Professional) is the only course of its kind in the South Island.

About the programme

If you already have an undergraduate degree in architecture, this qualification is an exciting next step towards becoming an Architect.

You’ll develop advanced knowledge of complex architectural and heritage design opportunities in New Zealand, undertake a major research project, and explore what it takes to create first-class work in a collaborative environment.  

Sustainability is a key focus of this programme and our students will develop the critical skills and understanding needed to tackle the climate crisis and adapt our built environment to the challenges we all face. New Zealand has a rich architectural history stretching back centuries; the architecture of the 21st century and beyond must serve its people and communities with the lowest possible impact on the environment. 

Project-based learning and problem-solving is at the heart of what we do, and our graduates are sought after for being among the best prepared for a career in architecture after graduation.  

As a student of the Master of Architecture (Professional) you will:  

  • Learn and engage with the most up-to-date sustainable building design practices  
  • Critically engage with and work on designs for complex buildings such as hospitals and airports 
  • Become proficient with ideas and practices around place-based architecture, such as the inclusion of meta-narrative in heritage, civic and cultural buildings  
  • Have a wide range of work experience opportunities in one of New Zealand’s oldest and most tightly-knit architecture communities 
  • Use and enjoy modern facilities custom-built for the School of Architecture  
  • Have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of elective courses and undertake 480 hours of work experience, giving you valuable industry insights and understanding.  

How you’ll learn 

The aim of this qualification is to enable you to practice architecture in a way that regularly challenges notions of architectural value. We ask our students to reflect critically on their own creative production, as well as on architectural problems in general, and as part of our student body you will be a member of a dynamic, robust and inspiring architectural community.  

Our studio strategies enable students to construct viable, progressive projects that incorporate novel design research with productive new models of practice. These forms of practice strive to achieve collective goals such as public legibility, the active engagement of new technologies, and creative means of implementation.

This kind of practice is open to innovation, experimentation, and a thirst for the unexpected results that open-ended enquiry can bring.   

Did you know?

In New Zealand, you can’t legally call yourself an Architect unless you’re registered by the New Zealand Registered Architects Board (NZRAB). To use the job title of ‘architect’ you’ll need to complete an accredited Masters programme to meet the study component of registration. You’ll then need three or more years of professional experience before you can seek registration.  

The Master of Architecture (Professional) is modelled on Unitec Institute of Technology's accredited Master of Architecture (Professional) programme. The programme is regularly monitored (as required by NZQA) and is subject to a rigorous external moderation and examination process.   

The Master of Architecture (Professional) has been designed to meet the academic accreditation requirements for registration as an architect in New Zealand. Subject to accreditation by the Australian and New Zealand Architecture Program Accreditation Procedure (ANZ APAP) and an approved period of practical experience, graduates will be eligible to take the professional practice interview to become registered architects.

 Your courses  

Course name Credits
Research Methods 15
Studio 1 15
Studio 2 30
Architectural Theory 15
Architectural Technology 15
Professional Business Management 15
Research Project 120
One elective from a range of relevant topics 15
Practical and work-experience components  

In order to graduate you must complete 480 hours of approved work experience within the discipline of architecture, and present a log of this work to a standard and in a format approved by the relevant Academic Authority.  

Learners who have completed appropriate practical work prior to enrolling in the programme may apply to the Programme Committee to have this work recognised. Normally no more than 240 hours will be recognised, unless exceptional circumstances apply.   

We are part of Te Pūkenga

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people, and you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.


While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative only. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.