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Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism

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Key Fact
  • Program name
    Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism
  • Program code
  • Program director
    Dr. Asmaa Ibrahim
  • Program length
    2 years
  • Credit hours

 About the Program


The Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism (MSAU) degree is offered at Effat University, administered by the Architecture Department, and supervised by Effat College of Architecture and Design. The MSAU program constructs a common intellectual ground for architects, planners, designers, landscape architects, environmental designers, and graduates holding a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, business and humanities who plan to practice architecture and urban design professionally, pursue a career in academia and research, or enhance and update their knowledge and experience as architects and urban designers. Towards the attainment of this objective, the program provides state-of-the-art knowledge of the architecture and urbanism techniques-and-procedures. The program’s educational culture is to challenge students to reconsider architecture and urbanism within the contemporary context of economic, political, social, and environmental challenges that often designate today’s agglomerations. The program amalgamates theoretical-based knowledge and practical-based knowledge that enable graduates to seize a competitive edge in the job markets through the multiple career opportunities that might be pursued.

Students at the MSAU program work in groups to handle larger assigned projects. Students themselves will form their teams based on academic interests and assigned design problems. By working in groups students are able to take on projects that would otherwise exceed the capabilities of a single person. This allows the students to get a deeper and broader understanding of the complexity of the studied problems while developing teamwork skills.

The MSAU program focuses on Problem-Based Learning (PBL). The philosophy behind PBL is that the interaction between academic theory and professional practice develops the students’ ability to analyze and solve complex problems in a more independent and innovative manner. Naturally, students are also introduced to theories and methods through lectures, courses, and workshops. In each semester, there is a significant project, in which the taught theories and methods are applied. The MSAU program is based mainly on research so that students are offered the newest scientific knowledge. As a result, the students will be able to develop and present an individual graduation thesis on a topic of their choice.​

 Vision, Mission, and Goals

Program Vision:

The program aspires to be a leading higher education platform for advancing knowledge and expertise in architecture and urbanism. With an emphasis on architecture as a prominent and effective contributor to societal progress, the program aims for excellence in teaching, research, and sustainable community development. The Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism champions an applied scientific approach that brings together theory, design, engineering, environmental analytics, building technologies, digitalization, project management, urbanism, and culture. The program leverages the collaborative and multidisciplinary culture of Effat University to become a leader in contemporary architectural education and practice.

Program Mission:

The program prepares innovative future leaders in the fields of architecture and urban studies. It provides students with a wealth of scholarly resources represented in faculty expertise, library holdings, technology tools, community partnerships, and networking with global universities. Graduates of the Master of Science in Architecture and urbanism are qualified to take up senior and management positions in the private and public sectors in engineering consultancy firms, construction companies, research centers, universities, municipalities, and various government agencies.

Program Goals:

Upon the completion of the program, the graduate should be​ able to:

  1. Prepare professionals with theoretical and applied knowledge for leadership roles in architectural practice and effective participation in higher education.
  2. Spearhead the formulation of a sustainable developmen​t agenda for the region and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with graduates who master the knowledge and skills needed for effective leadership, management, and consulting roles in architecture, sustainable urbanism, and energy-efficient buildings.
  3. Provide high-level educational opportunities for a new generation of professionals who are abreast with cutting-edge developments in architecture and advanced building technologies.
  4. Encourage a multidisciplinary discourse that integrates spatial, social, cultural, economic, and urban development issues.
  5. Engage learners, educators, professionals, and the community at large in discussing the future of built environments and envisioning future improvements.
  6. Create an intellectual forum and conference opportunities for local and global higher education institutions to foster the exchange of knowledge, skills, and technological advancements in architecture and urbanism.
  7. Provide impetus and funding for research projects and publications in international refereed journals.
  8. Practice community design and urban development goals of environmental responsibility, social equity, and economic sustainability.​

 Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

  1. MSAU-K1: Examine a broad range of knowledge areas in architecture with an emphasis on developing creative thinking and analytical design approaches. NQF20-K1 (Itqan).

  2. MSAU-K2: Integrate critical thinking and interdisciplinary perspectives in researching theoretical and technical knowledge within architecture, urbanism, engineering, environmental science, and digital technologies. NQF20-K3 (Itqan).

  3. MSAU-K3: Articulate literature gaps and evidence-based arguments for research proposals using applied research methodologies and a wide range of qualitative and quantitative data. NQF20-K4 (Itqan).


  1. MSAU-S1: Synthesize architecture and urbanism theories with advanced technical knowledge of high-performance buildings, engineering systems, and digitization to evaluate and deliver solutions for real-world projects. NQF20-S1.2 (Itqan).

  2. MSAU-S2: Develop creative design solutions to complex problems related to buildings and cities based on the critical review of appropriate theoretical knowledge and application of advanced technical skills. NQF20-S1.3 (Itqan).

  3. MSAU-S3: Conduct a substantial research investigation employing advanced methodological and theoretical frameworks and writing a thesis with clear findings and scholarly contributions. NQF20-S1.4 (Itqan).

  4. MSAU-S4: Communicate complex theoretical ideas and technical knowledge effectively through oral presentations and clear effective writing. NQF20-S3.1 (Ambassador).

Values, Autonomy, and Responsibility

  1. MSAU-V1: Demonstrate commitment to professional ethics, social responsibilities, environmental stewardship, and public safety and welfare. NQF20-V1 (Ihsan)

  2. MSAU-V2: Master individual and collaborative work on complex tasks and exercise leadership roles that navigate interpersonal situations with multiple worldviews. NQF20-V3 (Stewardship).​

 Career Opportunities

The MSc in Architecture and Urbanism program prepares students for effective intervention and development of both physical change and design proposals. Upon completion of the program, students will have developed the necessary skills and understanding to have a smart and positive impact in a variety of architectural design-based roles in both public and private areas.

Alternatively, with a Master of Science Degree in Architecture and Urbanism, students will have received adequate preparation to pursue a higher degree at the Doctoral level.

Graduates of MSAU will be well equipped to pursue careers as:

  • Architects, urban designer practitioners, and project management roles for design processes.
  • Architecture and urban field executioners at different private and public projects.
  • Architecture and urban officials in municipalities, boroughs, townships, and governmental bodies as urban officers, urban officials, and urban managers.
  • A career in academia as instructors and researchers.
  • A career in governmental or private agencies.
  • Town and transport planners and historic buildings inspectors/conservation officers.
  • A career in professions related to urban development.
  • Effective designers and advocates for development enterprises.
  • Architectural technologist.
  • ​BIM Coordinator
  • BIM Manager​​
  • Landscape Architect.
  • Interior Architect.

 Graduation Requirements

Major Requirements (Total of 24 Credit Hours)

  • MSAU Core Courses​ = 18​
  • MSAU Thesis = 6

Elective Courses 

  • MSAU Elective Courses = 9​​

Total Program Credits = 33

 Fact Sheet





Bachelor GPA
2.75/4 or 3.75/5
Major GPA
2.75/4 or 3.75/5
Very Good
Effat Placement Tests
TOEFL / Linguaskill / IELTS
546 / 169 / 6.0
Definitions & Conversion Charts
Additional Department Requirement
Recommendation Letter
Personal Statement
Contact Information
Program Chair
Tel.+966 122137910

Effat Alumnae