My question is that I want to pursue an M.Arch I program, but is that possible with my background (or lack thereof)? I know that M.Arch I is for people who didn't major in architecture, but unfortunately I have no art classes, physics, or college calculus courses under my belt. I am fully willing to take time off to take the necessary courses and work on a portfolio, but would you recommend this path for me? How much would my lack of architectural background affect my acceptance to a good graduate program, or my chances at getting a good internship and job? Granted I do good on my GRE's and maintain good grades, is architecture something I can succeed in starting from the M.Arch I program?
Thank you for your time and help. My heart is set on pursuing an M.Arch I, but my brain still has a lot of worries over this. Also, I am thinking about Columbia or Parsons as two potential candidates. I know I am aiming high at this point, but I was wondering how selective each school is?
First, I suggest you review the ARCHCareers blog for answers to questions that may be parallel to yours -- http://archcareers.blogspot.
You may certainly pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) as it is designed for individuals like you that have an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than architecture. However, as you recognize you will need first focus on meeting prerequisites like calculus, physics, and freehand drawing (art) courses.
Once you have completed the prerequisites and courses to prepare a portfolio for graduate admission, you would be equal to many other applicants with no architecture background. Most of these programs do not expect any architectural background, rather they are seeking well qualified candidates as determined by academic performance, creativity, and commitment.
One great way to learn more on the process is to contact the schools you are interested in applying as you mention. Even now, visit to discuss their admission process and what you can do to improve your application from their perspective.