I have an undergraduate non-accredited degree in architecture. I wish to study further with specialization in Sustainable Design and Construction. Could you give me some advice on which is a better option - M.Arch or M.S in Sustainable Design. As I understand, M.Arch is a design oriented course culminating in a thesis while M.S is more research focused without thesis. Is it correct? Also what is the advantage of a NAAB accredited degree over a non-NAAB accredited one. I do know that accredited degree is required for getting a license to practise in the US. But is there any other advantage as well. Especially in terms of programs, curriculum, specialization and getting a job?
IMHO, it all comes down to whether or not you wish to become an architect. If so, the decision is simple as you will need the accredited Master of Architecture to pursue licensure. Given that sustainable design is a hot topic, I am sure that you can find a Master of Architecture with a strong emphasis in sustainable design.
The difference in the degrees does not hinge on thesis or not as there are MArch degrees with and without the requirement of a thesis.
If becoming an architect is not an issue, then pursue the MS Sustainable Design. I do not know much about this degree, but again -- do you wish to become an architect?
Truth be told, you could always pursue the sustainable design degree at a later date.