Online IPAL Master of Architecture | School of Architecture | SIU

Southern Illinois University



architectural model

Frequently Asked IPAL Questions

Do I have to take these courses exactly or may I substitute other courses? 

This is the program accredited by the NAAB (National Architecture Accrediting Board) as meeting the Student Performance Criteria. Student Performance Criteria establish the minimum expectations of an architecture graduate in the United States. Only students meeting the admission criteria will be admitted to the program, so there are no variations in this curriculum. 

Will I receive work experience credit? 

The Master of Architecture program in the Graduate School does not offer work experience credit courses. We are able to use work experience to demonstrate that a student meets requirements for taking graduate courses offered in the program, but not able to award credit for work experiences. All students graduating in this program earn a minimum of 51 graduate credits. 

Can I transfer courses from other institutions?  

Yes, in some cases.  The Graduate School lists the requirements for transferring credits from another graduate program in the Graduate Catlog.

Which electives are available through distance education? 

The list of available distance education graduate courses changes each semester and is growing. 

EXAMPLE | One of our most popular graduate electives has been PSAS 480: Designing Outdoor Spaces. This course is offered by a landscape architect teaching in the  SIU’s Plants, Soils, and Agricultural Systems Department within the College of Agricultural Sciences. There is also a distance education option for this course.

We allow any course offered by SIU for three graduate credits to be taken as an elective in the Master of Architecture program. 

Do I need special software to take Distance Education courses? 

No. Everything works through your web browser. SIUC uses Desire2Learn as its learning content management program. We also use Adobe Connect. Both programs work in web browsing software on Windows and Mac computers.  

What are the hardware requirements for taking Distance Education courses? 

There are no special hardware requirements beyond what a normal desktop or laptop computer offers. Naturally, more RAM equals better performance. It is important to have a fast Internet connection. DSL and cable modems offer the best connections. Dial-up connections may not work for all courses. Our teaching software works well on mobile platforms, too. It is good practice to make a back-up plan if you enter the program. Answer this question -- How will I connect with class if my Internet connection is down? Local libraries, community colleges, coffee shops, and many other locations provide free WIFI which can be used in an emergency to gain access to the class. Cellular service data plans also work but be aware that our software requires a lot of bandwidth.  

Are the courses offered in a synchronous or asynchronous manner? 

In synchronous courses, the students are all on their systems at the same time but in different locations. In asynchronous courses, sometimes called on-demand learning, students log into the class as desired. Our online learning platforms allow for both teaching methods. Each faculty member will utilize his or her own preferred instructional method. In general, design studios use a combination of synchronous sessions in Adobe Connect with on-demand course access in Desire2Learn along with monthly face-to-face sessions. Lecture courses and seminars use Desire2Learn as the primary delivery software for the course.  

Are there exams? 

Each faculty member will utilize his or her own preferred instructional method, including methods of assessment used in the courses. Some instructors may choose to use exams as a means of measuring learning outcomes in a course, whereas other instructors may use papers or projects. In graduate education, papers and projects are more commonly used as the means of determining learning outcomes.

Do you still receive the Masters degree if you do not pass the Licensing exam?


Do you need to pass the Registration exam?

No, but you must take all of the divisions to stay in the IPAL program. 

More questions? 

Please email with any questions you would like to ask!