Research Topics 2016

Research + Design Studio Options 2016-2017 (PDF with detailed descriptions)

Industrialized Housing Delivery Ecologies: Modular
Associate Professor Ivan Rupnik, PhD

Makerspaces: Design in the Age of Ubiquitous Maker Facilities
Teaching Professor Michael Smith

District Halls: Catalysts for Reviving Neighborhood Centers
Associate Professor Tim Love

Master of Architecture Directed Independent Research + Design Projects Guidelines
Associate Professor Peter Wiederspahn

M.Arch 1

This program gives eligible candidates the opportunity to get a NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture degree in one year.

The final degree project in the design studio offers an opportunity to leverage research conducted in the first semester with real innovation in new hybrid types, strategic alterations of existing ones, and to take on the challenge of finding prototypical solutions for systematic problems.

Course Description

Combining aspects of the conventional “option studio” taught by visiting critics and the thesis studio, the graduate research studio provides an opportunity for students to work together to do directed research on a topic that is highly relevant to the discipline and emerging trends in real estate development, planning policy, and/or culture. Each summer, the full-time Northeastern faculty considers new research topics for the following year. The criteria for selection includes the relevance of the topic and the potential for the resulting research to yield a wide range of architectural issues that can be mined when students do their independent projects during the Spring semester. Students are assigned their topic by a lottery that is held on the first day of class. Each instructor will make a presentation outlining the research topic, its relevance, and some of the issues that will be explored during the semester.

The most important deliverable of the semester is a published “guide book” that includes both comprehensive research on the topic and a potential framework for innovative design speculation. The book is due a few weeks before the end of the semester to allow time for each student to elaborate on one of the speculative themes as a potential subject and scope for their spring studio project. 

Course Sequence (32 Credits)

Class of 2017 Course Sequence

Class of 2016 Course Sequence

FALL

SPRING

M.Arch 2

This program offers students who have earned a BS in Architecture from an institution other than Northeastern to engage in the urban-focused curriculum that is offered at the School of Architecture.

YEAR ONE

In the Urban Housing Studio, students learn to develop new patterns of housing for specific Boston sites and to develop those sites with their own individual interventions. The Comprehensive Design Studio challenges the students to consider architectural connections at all scales, from the nut and bolt to the scale of the door or window to the scale of the whole building and the city. Additionally, students take classes in technology as well as architecture seminars.

YEAR TWO

In the second year, students engage in a research project based on topics chosen by the graduate faculty. Team research is conducted and complied into a published book. This book and the related work serve as the foundation of individual projects. The final degree project offers an opportunity to leverage research conducted in the first semester with real innovation in new hybrid types, strategic alterations of existing ones, and to take on the challenge of finding prototypical solutions for systemic problems.

COURSE SEQUENCE (60-68 credits)

Class of 2018 Sequence

Class of 2017 Sequence

Class of 2016 Sequence

FALL, YEAR ONE

SPRING, YEAR ONE

FALL, YEAR TWO

SPRING, YEAR TWO

M.Arch 3

The professional 3 year M.Arch program prepares students who come from a variety of disciplines with degrees in other fields for a career in architecture. Advanced placement is also available for students with an architecture background but do not have the necessary design skills or coursework to be eligible for our 2-year program.

The program requires three years to complete. Students may spend a semester at the School’s Berlin program (optional) and have the option to enroll in summer coops. After completing an accelerated introductory curriculum, graduate students in the 3 year M.Arch program will merge into the existing curriculum for the M.Arch program.

YEAR ONE

In the first year, students take intensive studios, technology classes, and architectural history classes to immerse them in the studio culture of the school and to give them a strong foundation to begin the upper level studios. The Grad skills studios are specifically designed for the students in this program. Students complete a series of projects that will enable them to develop the skills and the critical thinking needed in the graduate curriculum.

YEAR TWO

In the Studio, students learn to develop new patterns of housing for specific Boston sites and to develop those sites with their own individual interventions. Students also have the option to take studios offered in the school’s Berlin program during the fall. The Comprehensive Design Studio challenges the students to consider architectural connections at all scales, from the nut and bolt to the scale of the door or window to the scale of the whole building and the city. Additionally, students take classes in technology as well as architecture seminars.

YEAR THREE

In the final year, students engage in a research project based on topics chosen by the graduate faculty. Team research is conducted and complied into a published book. This books and the related work serves as the foundation of individual projects. The final degree project offers an opportunity to leverage research conducted in the first semester with real innovation in new hybrid types, strategic alterations of existing ones, and to take on the challenge of finding prototypical solutions for systemic problems.

Advanced Placement

Students with some background in architecture may be eligible for advanced placement into the program. Advanced placement will be determined by an applicant’s transcript and portfolio. Only select courses in the first year of the program will be waived. All waivers are at the discretion of the school and applicants maybe required to provide documentation if they seek additional waivers.

The minimum course work for all students in the first year of the program is

  • 2 Studio Courses (Minimum 10 credits total)
  • 2 Graduate Electives (Minimum 8 credits total)

COURSE SEQUENCE (78-112 Credits)

Class of 2019 Course Sequence

Class of 2018 Course Sequence

Class of 2017 Course Sequence

YEAR ONE FALL

YEAR ONE, SPRING

YEAR TWO, FALL BOSTON OPTION

YEAR TWO, SPRING BERLIN-OPTION

YEAR TWO, SPRING

YEAR THREE, FALL

YEAR THREE, SPRING

Electives

This is a list of approved graduate electives. Classes may not run every semester. If you wish to take a class that is not on this list, please email the course name, course number and description to Mary Hughes. The course will be reviewed and if approved, will be added as an option to the list.

 

IA 5010 Foundations of Information Assurance (4 Credits Spring 2016 CRN : 31730 

Builds a common cross-disciplinary understanding in the foundations of information assurance  Presents an overview of basic principles and security concepts related to information systems, including workstation security, system security, and communications security.  Introduces information security via database technology.  Discusses legal infrastructure such as DMCA, Telecommunications Act, wire fraud, and other ethical issues.  Covers security methods, controls, procedures, economics of cybercrime, criminal procedure, and forensics.  Describes the use of cryptography as a tool, software development processes, and protection.

ARTH 5100 – Contemporary Art Theory and Criticism (4 credits)
Spring 2016 CRN : 33677 

Introduces the major critical and philosophical approaches that have transformed the reception, interpretation, and production of contemporary art since the 1960s. Examines a range of key interpretive methodologies—including modernism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, feminism, Marxism, poststructuralism and deconstruction, critical race theory, visual studies, and globalism—designed to provide practitioners with the means to critically frame their own art making within contemporary debates about the meaning and social functions of art.

ARTG5130 Visual Communication for Information Design (4 Credits) Not offered Spring 2016 

Explores graphic and typographic theory, principles, and practices. Introduces students to visual communication design with a primary focus on typography as the fundamental means of conveying content. Readings locate design and typography within the larger history of visual art and writing development. Covers methods of organizing content through hierarchy and spatial organization of grid structures. Considers relationships between positive and negative space, depth perception, transparency, and color theory.  Prereq. Information design and visualization students only.   

ARTG 5330: Visualization Technologies (4 credits)
Spring 2016 CRN 34271

Introduces programming languages that allow computational analysis and digital delivery of dynamic information. Examines implications of environmental and personal sensor data sources, mobile collection and analysis of data, real-time networked data sets, and social use of shared data visualization tools.

ARTH 5400Contemporary Visual Culture (4 credits)
Not Offered Spring 2016 

Explores the implications of the erosion of the traditional boundary between fine art and mass culture for artistic theory and practice as well as art’s place in an increasingly globalized world. Situates contemporary artistic practice within the broader context of visual culture – including film, television, advertising, architecture, and the Internet.

ECON 7260: Urban Economic Systems (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016 

Examines urban economic systems including systematic relationships among cities, as well as those within cities. The portion of the course devoted to inter-metropolitan analysis covers central place theory, the location of economic activity, and inter-metropolitan trade. Intrametropolitan analysis includes urban form and land use, land use controls, and local government systems.

ECON 7261: Urban Economic Development (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

Examines urban economic development processes. Topics include models and techniques for describing and evaluating urban economies; development strategies and tools; commercial, industrial, and housing development; and problems of poverty and housing.

ECON 7270: Economics of Law and Regulation (4 credits)
Spring 2016 : CRN : 35259

Relies on models of welfare economics to analyze the impact of laws, regulation, and deregulation, in terms of both positive and normative aspects. Topics include economic analysis of market failures and government remedies; property, tort, and contract law; and economic and social regulation. Students are encouraged to develop critical skills in analyzing various types of economic policy. Prereq. Knowledge of microeconomics.

ECON 7771: Framework of Industrial Organization (4 credits)
Spring 2016 : CRN : 31185

Sets out the analytical framework of industrial organization economics-the basis and method for evaluating the performance of markets and firms and for prescribing policies for improvement. Topics include size and structure of firms, market concentration, pricing in oligopoly and other markets, entry and entry deterrence strategies, and advertising and product strategies. Each of these topics is examined using a range of tools including microeconomic theory, game theory, and statistical analysis. Prereq. ECON 7710 and ECON 7740, both with a grade of B–.

ENVR 5260: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

Examines geographical information systems (GIS), a way to input, store, analyze, and display spatial data (data with a geographic location). Introduces the major components and applications of this exciting new tool. Consists of two lectures and one laboratory period a week. Laboratory exercises introduce methods of data analysis as well as practical issues of how to manipulate various GIS software packages.

ENVR 5262: GIS Workshop (2 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

Studies the basic techniques of reflection and refraction seismology, gravity, aeromagnetic and heat-flow processes, and the information they provide on the structure, composition, and dynamics of the earth’s interior.

HIST 7217: Modern American Social History (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

Examines recent historical literature on changes in American society over the last hundred years. Possible topics include race, ethnicity, class, gender, migration, demography, deviance, and social policy.

HIST 7311: Grad Seminar in Urban History (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

Examines the history of the modern city, with a focus on America and on Boston, and discusses local history sources and their analysis.

JRNL 5311: Design and Graphics (4 credits)
Spring 2016 : CRN : 36504

Introduces graphic design terminology and principles using Adobe PageMaker, a leading desktop publishing program. Covers how to plan a publication based on audience and budget. Design assignments include newspapers, magazines, brochures, advertisements, and corporate identity programs. Strict attention is paid to deadlines and quality of the printed publication. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing.

LPSC 6313: Economic Analysis for Law, Policy, and Planning
(3 credits*)
Not offered Spring 2016

Designed to familiarize master’s degree students with the essential ideas and methods of microeconomics and their application to a wide range of domestic public policy issues at the national, state, and local level. The role of program and management incentives in influencing behavior and policy outcomes is heavily emphasized. The course focus is to understand the ideas of microeconomic theory and apply them to a range of alternative public policy issues. Offers students an opportunity to develop a clear understanding of essential economic ideas and how the economic perspective can be applied to a wide range of public policy issues.
*Please enroll in the planning module LPSC 8400 associated with this course when you register. 

LPSC 7312: Cities, Sustainability, and Climate Change
(3 credits*)

Spring 2016 : CRN : 36606

Provides an overview of the various aspects of urban sustainability planning. Examines sustainability as an urban planning approach with both ecological and social justice goals. Covers sustainable planning and offers students an opportunity to understand it within the context of smart growth and the new urbanism. Focuses on the two areas in which cities can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions—the built environment and transportation. From there, the course examines planning efforts to reduce demand on water and sewer systems and to create employment in renewable energy and other “clean-tech” occupations. The course ends by placing urban initiatives in the context of state and national policy. *Please enroll in the planning module LPSC 8400 associated with this course when you register.

LPSC 8400: Planning Module in Urban Law and Policy
(1 credit)

This is the add-on module for LSPC 6313 and LPSC 7312. Please make sure that you are enrolled for this additional semester hour.

ME 5645 Environmental Issues in Manufacturing and Product Use
Spring 2016 : CRN : 34922

Explores environmental and economic aspects of different materials used in products throughout the product life cycle. Introduces concepts of industrial ecology, life cycle analysis, and sustainable development. Students work in teams to analyze case studies of specific products fabricated using metals, ceramics, polymers, or paper. These case studies compare cost, energy, and resources used and emissions generated through the mining, refining, manufacture, use, and disposal stages of the product life cycle. Debates issues in legislation (extended product responsibility, recycling mandates, and ecolabeling) and in disposal strategies (landfill, incineration, reuse, and recycling). Discusses difficulties associated with environmental impact assessments and the development of decision analysis tools to weigh the tradeoffs in technical, economic, and environmental performance, and analyzes specific case studies. Prereq. Junior, senior, or graduate standing.

POLS 7314: Urban Government and Politics (3 credits*)
Not offered Spring 2016

Explores issues and problems in urban government, such as legal dependence, government finance and administration, rapid growth of suburban and metropolitan areas, and decline and decay of the central city. *Please enroll in the planning module POLS 6400 associated with this course when you register.

POLS 7315: Urban Development and Politics (3 credits*)
Not offered Spring 2016

Analyzes the creation and implementation of urban development policies and programs. Explores subsidies and taxes, housing, commercial and industrial development, and job creation and training projects in terms of their historical, political, economic, and social dimensions. *Please enroll in the planning module POLS 6400 associated with this course when you register.

POLS 7324: Problems in Metropolitan Policymaking (3 credits*)
Not offered Spring 2016

Examines the broad challenges that confront metropolitan areas-defined as including the center city, its immediate suburbs, and the broader periphery-including economic development, land use, transportation, housing, and the provision of basic services. Considers the array of tools available to policymakers, including planning, tax policy, pooling of services, and zoning. Includes a professional activity related to urban planning. *Please enroll in the planning module POLS 6400 associated with this course when you register.

POLS 7326 International Development Administration and Planning (3 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

Takes a “manager’s eye view” of the formulation, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of development projects in less developed countries. Also focuses on the planning dynamics of host-government, bilateral, and multilateral organizations as they analyze and tackle such problem areas as agriculture, education, health, population, and land reform. Employs simulations and case studies. *Please enroll in the planning module POLS 6400 associated with this course when you register.

POLS 6400: Planning Module in Urban and Regional Policy (1 credit)

This is the add-on module for POLS 7314, POLS 7315,POLS 7324 and POLS 7326. Please make sure that you are enrolled for this additional semester hour.

PPUA 5262 Big Data for Cities-Visual Data Mining Strategies (3 credits*)
Not offered Spring 2016 

Focuses on investigating the city and its spatial, social, and economic dynamics through the lens of data and visual analytics. Utilizes large public datasets to develop knowledge about visual methods for analyzing data and communicating results. Develops a critical understanding of data-structures, collection methodologies, and their inherent biases. *Please enroll in the planning module PPUA 6400 / CRN 14747 associated with this course when you register.

PPUA 7234: Land Use and Urban Growth Policy  (3 credits)*
Not offered Spring 2016

Explores the evolution of land use and urban form in the United States and surveys different types of land-use and urban-growth management tools used by local, regional, and state governments. Examines the environmental, economic, spatial, and social impacts of different patterns of urban growth, including “sprawl” and “smart growth,” and the different philosophies and legal and policy approaches employed to manage those impacts. Also explores how land-use and urban-growth policy interacts with related priorities, including housing, infrastructure, and fiscal policy. Focuses on current and emerging issues and debates in land-use and urban-growth management, such as New Urbanism, livable communities, and transit-oriented development. *Please enroll in the planning module PPUA 6400 / CRN 16941 associated with this course when you register.

PPUA 6201: The 21st Century City (3 credits)*
Not offered Spring 2016

Offers multi-disciplinary examination of the wonders and challenges of urban life, with focus on current dynamics of urban location and prosperity in the context of a global economy. Examines forces that shaped the evolution of cities and metropolitan regions, assesses a range of policy issues confronting metro areas today and the respective roles played by public and private sectors in addressing those challenges, explores global forces that are transforming cities and regions throughout the world, and addresses key questions of urban well-being, civility, and civic engagement. *Please enroll in the planning module PPUA 6400 / CRN 15962 associated with this course when you register.

PPUA 7231: Transportation Policy (3 credits)*
Not offered Spring 2016

Examines the physical, technological, economic, social, cultural, and political underpinnings of transportation policy in the United States. Topics include intra- and interstate transportation, the comparative economics of different modes of transportation, the impacts of federal and state policies on transportation options, and the long-term effects of those choices on metropolitan development, housing, land use, energy and environment. Also involves comparisons with transportation systems in other countries. *Please enroll in the planning module PPUA 6400 associated with this course when you register.

PPUA 7236: Intro to Real Estate Development for Urban Policy Makers (3 Credits)

Not offered Spring 2016

*Introduces the basic skills and knowledge of real estate development used within public-private partnerships to address policy and planning issues. Through a series of problem sets, offers students an opportunity to learn basic real estate finance and computation, including the fundamentals of pro forma modeling. Covers the entire real estate development process, from preliminary market and financial analysis through to construction management and property management using case studies and guest lecturers. Explores how public-private partnerships shape the outcomes of urban redevelopment within specific topics that may include affordable housing provision, brownfield redevelopment, transit-oriented development, sustainable urban development, and others.*Please enroll in the planning module PPUA 6400  associated with this course when you register.

PPUA 7673: Capstone Project in Urban and Regional Policy (3 credits)*
Spring 2016 : CRN 36610

Offers an opportunity for student teams, in partnership with a local, state, or federal agency or nonprofit institution, to assess an urban or regional problem, produce a thorough policy analysis, and present it and recommended solutions to the agency or institution. Course readings focus on materials needed to assess the problem and provide solutions. This is a faculty-guided team project for students completing course work in urban and regional policy studies. *Please enroll in the planning module PPUA 6400/CRN 15960 associated with this course when you register.

*PPUA 6400: Planning Module in Urban Policy (1 credit)

This is the add-on module for PPUA 6201, PPUA 7231, PPUA 767 and PPUA 5262 Please make sure that you are enrolled for this additional semester hour.

SOCL 7256: Contemporary Issues: Globalization and the City (3 credits*)
Spring 2016 : CRN : 36574

Discuss contemporary issues in sociology. Include supervised readings and written reports on special problems. *Please enroll in the planning module SOCL 8400 associated with this course when you register.

 

SOCL 7235: Urban Sociology (3 credits*) Spring 2016 : CRN 36575

Discusses theories of the development of urban life. Compares preindustrial and industrialized urban areas. Presents methods for the study of urban social structure and change, and evaluates contemporary metropolitan action programs. *Please enroll in the planning module SOCL 8400 associated with this course when you register.

SOCL 8400: Planning Module in Urban and Regional Policy (1 credit)
Spring 2016 : CRN 35860

This is the add-on module for SOCL 7256 and SOCL 7235. Please make sure that you are enrolled for this additional semester hour.

SUEN 6210 Implementation and Visualization for Urban Environments I (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016 

This course is an intensive introduction to site analysis and manipulation of earthworks, water and vegetation with a focus on disturbance regimes within waterfront and brownfield zones. Core topics emphasize the ecological services promoted by the urban environment, including: urban soil structure; contouring the urban surface; regional plant communities; storm water, surge and tidal flux management. Development of implementation skills is supported by training in vector, raster and 3D modeling software.

SUEN 6220 Implementation and Visualization for Urban Environments 2 (4 credits)
Spring 2016 : CRN : 34093

Constitutes the second half of a two-part sequence and builds upon material in SUEN 6210. Core topics include an introduction to regional landscape ecology in urbanized watersheds. Focuses on landscape-scale systems and soft infrastructure. Introduces GIS and geo-design software as a lens to learn about and visualize change in regional environments. Offers students an opportunity to advance landscape analysis and visualization skills through further training in vector, raster, and 3D modeling software. Prereq. SUEN 6210.

SUEN 6310 Cities, Nature & Design in Contemporary History and Theory (4 credits)
Not offered Spring 2016

This lecture courses presents an historical overview of evolving cultural, environmental and technological influences on societal attitudes toward the relationship of cities, nature and design.  Core topics include the emergence of critical theories, aesthetic philosophies and design typologies in the modern era of industrialization, and the subsequent impact of information, participation and globalization trends on 21st century designed urban environments.

SUEN 7320: Pro-Seminar: Issues in Designed Urban Environments (4 credits)
Spring 2016 : CRN 35061

Offers an advanced graduate seminar examining the forces shaping designed urban environments in contemporary global culture. A diverse range of material from published design criticism to open source social media engagement provides basis for discussion and written and oral presentations. Course themes determined by the instructor parallel the studio sequence SUEN 7130 and SUEN 7140, although discussion topics are broadly presented to engage graduate students from any background.

SBSY 5200:Sustainable Engineering Systems for Buildings (4 credits)
Spring 2016 CRN 35545

Focuses on basic design and construction of mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) systems in buildings. Covers MEP documentation, plumbing water supply, HVAC systems, electrical power supply and distribution, lighting systems, low-voltage electrical systems, and estimating and planning for these specialty areas. Also addresses sustainable design and construction practices for MEP, including minimization of energy consumption and carbon footprint.

TRANSFER CREDIT

Students entering the two-year and three-year Masters program may apply for transfer credit. The maximum transfer credits allowed by the university on the graduate level is 9. If you request transfer credit, you must supply the following:

  • Course name/number, description, and syllabus
  • Name of course you wish to receive credit for
  • Official transcript

Note that the following criteria must be met:

  • Courses taken must be graduate level courses
  • Course must be 4 credits
  • Student must have received a grade of B or better

Course Waivers

Students in the Three-year Masters only may request course waivers for courses that are similar to previously courses they have taken.  For example, if students were art/architecture history majors as an undergraduate, it is possible that they may have taken a course that is part of the three-year curriculum. Waivers only apply to courses in the first year of the program. Course in the second and third years are not eligible to waived.

To request a waiver:

  • Course name/number, description, and syllabus
  • Transcript with grade indicated
  • Name of course you wish to receive credit for

NOTE: Waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis. It is the responsibility of the student to provide the requested materials for faculty review. No waivers are given for classes after the first year.

M.ARCH/MDES-SUEN Joint Degree Curriculum

Beginning in Fall 2016, students in the one-year M.ARCH program have the option to get a joint degree with the MDES-SUEN program. This option is currently only available to students to are eligible for the one-year M.ARCH.

Students interested in the joint degree will complete the M.Arch in the first year and take a sequence of courses specific to this joint track. Then they will continues their studies for one additional semester to complete the MDES-SUEN degree.

Since the coursework for the joint degree is specifically chosen for this track, students must declare their intention to do the joint degree at the time of application. Choosing this track may have impact on which Grad Research and Design Studio a student is eligible for.

The total credit hours for this track is 54 (vs. 32 for the M.ARCH one-year only) and students completing it will have the accredited architecture degree.