Thesis Requirements

Thesis Requirements

Thesis students select studio in a lottery selection at the beginning of the Fall semester.  At Rensselaer the fifth-year Bachelor of Architecture degree requires students to design and develop an independent studio project that successfully communicates an awareness of critical issues and questions facing the discipline of architecture, thus serving as a culmination of their five years of study. Led by a studio critic and comprised of two 6-credit studio-based semesters incorporating both research and design work, the Final Project course sequence is designed to support directed research, i.e., the curriculum provides specific instruction to but allows those students more autonomy than in a conventional design studio.

Both research (investigation, documentation, and analysis) and design (imagination, speculation, and innovation) work are expected of every student in both the Fall and Spring semesters. In the Fall semester the emphasis will be on research while the Spring semester will concentrate more on design, development, and production.

Together the two semesters require students to work in a thoughtful yet speculative way, and as appropriate, adapt themselves to new ideas and forms of knowledge.  Additionally, students will be introduced to new design tools, production techniques, and methods of representation. The intention here is to equip students with the necessary tools to develop thoughtful, innovative, and well-resolved architectural proposals.


An original 8 ½” x 11” project book must be presented to the Architecture Library for binding.  The project book must be submitted in a manila envelope with a copy of the title page attached to the envelope.

Mechanical Specifications

In order to properly bind and archive the project book, adhere to the following specifications.

  • Paper – The submitted copy of the project book must be on standard 8 ½” by 11” inch, acid-free archival bond paper. Hammermill and HP both make paper that is acid-free and archival safe and won’t yellow overtime. It must be un-punched.
  • Margins
    • Top = no less than 1/2 “
    • Bottom = no less than 1/2″
    • Outside = no less than 1/2″
    • Inside or Binding Edge = NO LESS THAN 3/4″

These spacing and heading systems are required in order that proper binding can take place.

  • Folding Large Pages – Large drawings should be reduced whenever possible to fit on the standard size page. When this is not feasible, plates larger than 8 1/2″ by 11″ should be folded to leave a binding margin of at least 2″ on the left margin of the plate. The folded outer edges of a plate should fall 1/2″ within all open edges of the thesis; i.e., the final specimen should be approximately 8″ x 10″ including the 2″ binding edge.  These margins are essential so the plate can be readily unfolded after the project book is bound, and so that it will not be cut into pieces when the book is being trimmed by the binder. The same is true for full-bleed pages. If you do not want the full-bleed pages trimmed, please notify the library staff when you turn in your project book.  Large plates, like text, should be produced on acid-free paper to ensure permanence. Double-sided printing is acceptable if your advisor agrees with this format and if there is no bleed through.
  • Supplementary Materials – Supplementary photographs, slides, disks and CD’s can be submitted in clear plastic inserts to permit binding.  Each item should be individually labeled with title, date and author.

Organization of the Project Book

The following elements are required:

  • Title page (must include project title, student’s name, advisor’s name and graduation date)
  • Table of contents (page numbering is highly recommended)
  • Complete citations for all images. All sources of work done by others must be properly cited.
  • Bibliography

Recommended thesis project book organization:
(Consult with your advisor and the SoA to be sure of their requirements for organization.)

  • Acknowledgements
  • Project Statement or Proposition
  • Analysis and Background to the project
  • Project Description/Documentation tied to content of the project
  • Photographs of models & drawings (titled and properly cited)
  • Conclusion Statement

Samples of project books may be found in the Architecture Library

  • B.Arch & M.Arch 1 Project Book Submission Form
  • Electronic B.Arch & M.Arch 1 Project Book Submission Form
  • Library Checklist Pg 1, Pg 2

Library Requirements: Print & Electronic Thesis Book

[Click here] Thesis Binding Requirements

Comments are closed.


Evan Douglis, Professor


School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 8th Street - Greene Bldg.
Troy, NY 12180 - USA

Main Phones

Front Desk: (+1) 518-276-6466
Dean's Office: (+1) 518-276-6460
Undergrad Admissions: (+1) 518-276-8478
Graduate Admissions: (+1) 518-276-6877