Chair's Message

Now is the time to study architecture. 

An architectural education is meaningful in the 21st century because the process of learning to design involves complex problem solving, critical thinking and visualization – much sought-after skills that can help society address important social, cultural and environmental challenges. 

At its core, architecture is a mix of art, science, social sciences, anthropology, history, theory, engineering, business, poetry, mathematics and philosophy.  In recent years, university leaders around the world have been discussing the importance of interdisciplinary thinking and practice.  Yet when university administrators look around them, they find that their architecture programs are inherently interdisciplinary – and great models for initiatives in other academic units.

Like other disciplines and professions, economic downturns impact the world of architecture, but according to a 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic report, architects will a 7% expansion in the job market between now and 2024.  The 2016 Median salary for an architect is $76,930.  The average graduate with an architecture degree makes $10,400 more per year than the average person with a business degree.

Now is the time to study architecture at UNM. 

At UNM we want to shape future design leaders.  The rigorous design training you can receive at UNM is already helping our graduates take on complex problems that are putting them in leadership positions. UNM architecture alumni have found successful careers as licensed architects, real estate developers, artists, web designers, fabricators, community leaders, set designers, construction management professionals.  Our program has a strong reputation for providing a quality education.  UNM architecture students receive a lot of personal attention due to a low student / teacher ratio.  We offer a NAAB accredited Master of Architecture degree, and a research oriented Master of Science in Architecture.  At the undergraduate level, we have concentrations in Pre-Professional Architecture, Design Studies and in Pre-Professional Landscape Architecture. 

Currently, we are ranked #22 out of 136 graduate architecture programs in the U.S.  The tuition in the architecture program is substantially lower than our peer schools, We are ranked #3 in the U.S. for affordability based on information from the U.S. Department of Education.  Our out-of-state tuition is lower than the in-state tuition in some of our neighboring statesincluding, California and Colorado.  This makes a UNM architecture degree a great value in this era of rising costs in higher education. In addition, non-resident U.S. citizens or legal resident students can convert to receive in-state tuition after 12 months.

At UNM we have faculty with advanced degrees from the top architecture schools in the country. The faculty members have a wide range of backgrounds, interests and experiences.  Some are native New Mexicans who know the region well, and others come from all four corners of the U.S. and from various countries abroad.  It appears we may well be the only architecture department in the country with an equal balance of men and women full time faculty members.  Many of our dedicated faculty members have national reputations in their areas of expertise, including digital fabrication, sustainability, universal design, public interest design, offsite construction, architectural history, urban design, architectural structures, etc. Yet all are focused on design as their primary agenda.  Our students are never bored. They often find their minds stretched in ways that they did not necessarily expect.  Learning to design can be invigorating and exciting.

The architecture program is housed in our iconic building -- George Pearl Hall, designed by internationally renowned New Mexican architect Antoine Predock.  Pearl Hall is located right on historic Route 66.  It provides us with a dynamic 21st century learning environment equipped with generous design studio spaces and natural light in all directions.  From the top floor, you get a fantastic view of the Sandia Mountains to the east, and to the west, the Rio Grande valley, distant hills and mesas.  The building houses the latest design and fabrication tools, including various methods of digital fabrication and other modes of making.  The newest addition to Pearl Hall is a metalworking shop. 

As of the Fall of 2018, we will be inaugurating the Antoine Predock Center for Design and Research.  Recently retired, Antoine has chosen to donate his office compound to the UNM School of Architecture + Planning.  It will be utilized by the Architecture Department for educational purposes, and special events.  Many of his extraordinary design drawings and models will be kept in the buildings, with access available to students.   

Now is the time to study architecture in New Mexico. 

New Mexico is a place of exquisite beauty and stark contrasts: the great houses of Chaco Canyon juxtaposed with the Very Large Array radio telescope; verdant strands of Bosque and farmland along the Rio Grande Valley abruptly shift to arid high desert.  

Albuquerque was recently named the Best Place to Live in the Southwest by Sunset Magazine (February 2018), and one of the hippest places to live by Insider (November 2017). Albuquerque is situated between the Rio Grande State Park and the foothills of the Sandia Mountains Wilderness Area, where one can go skiing in the winter, biking in three seasons and hiking year-round.  The city provides endless opportunities to experience art, music, local food, and natural beauty.  Local resources include the restored Old Town district, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, a world class biological park, a zoo, a science center and museum of natural history, and a museum of art.  Situated on a high plateau (higher elevation than Denver), the city experiences four distinct seasons, and moderate weather. 

Two National Research Laboratories – Sandia and Los Alamos – are close by, offering vast technological and entrepreneurial expertise.

Within striking distance for a day trip or weekend excursion you’ll find Santa Fe, Taos, Taos Ski Valley, Acoma Pueblo, Los Alamos, Abiquiu, mountains and valleys with hiking paths, as well as various national parks, national forests, and a national grassland.  Slightly further afield you’ll find Mesa Verde, Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Las Cruces and the Four Corners area.

There are many reasons to consider applying to the UNM architecture program. We welcome questions via email and in-person visits to our building. 

On behalf of the faculty, staff and students I’d like to welcome you and thank you for your interest in the University of New Mexico Architecture Program.

John Quale

Chair + Professor of Architecture


For questions about Graduate admissions, please contact:

Miquela Ortiz Upston 

For Undergrate admissions, contact:

Angela Pacheco