Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BArch vs. MArch: Which is Better?

Hello. I am a high school student in British Columbia, Canada who is interested in becoming an architect!

I am at that point in my high school life (I am a senior) where I am contemplating about post-secondary education. I know that I want to become an architect but at this point, I do not have the necessary qualifications to apply for a B.Arch degree (I have not taken any art lessons before so I do not have a portfolio of work). However, I have been thinking about transferring into a B.Arch program in my second or third year of university.

I came across your blog while I was searching the differences between the B.Arch and the M.Arch degrees, and I wanted to ask you your opinion on this matter. For a person like me who has not taken any art classes before and does not have a portfolio, would you suggest transferring into the B.Arch or waiting to do the M.Arch instead? How important is your art ability (really) and your portfolio when it comes to architecture admissions? I read on College Confidential that the M.Arch does not train students as well because the time frame is more condensed and there is simply not enough time. Somebody said on College Confidential that the B.Arch offers more studio and design classes and time for internships (as students can do them over the summer), and gives students a more solid, rigorous, and complete architecture foundation. Is this really true? Would I be missing out on anything if I choose to do the M.Arch instead? What is the key difference between courses in the B.Arch and the M.Arch? I know that the B.Arch is 5 years rather than 3 or 3.5 years for the M.Arch, but what I'm curious to know is if there is a significant difference or even a difference at all between the courses you take. If so, what are the differences? I am looking to get the most complete and rigorous education in architecture, so these questions for me are most important. For the B.Arch degree, I really love the program at Cooper Union because I feel that it really offers a very complete architectural education! For the M.Arch degree, I have looked at some of the most prestigious graduate architecture schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia) but have not really seen anything I love. In my outsider's opinion (which is most likely to be wrong!), it seems as if students in the B.Arch program at Cooper Union learn more than the M.Arch students at schools like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. If you don't mind, I would really like your opinion on this matter as well.

I really hope I am not bombarding you with my questions.

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you!

A - The decision as to whether to pursue the BArch vs. the MArch is a very personal one and based on a number of criteria that you outline below. To help you better understand the different routes to a degree, I have inserted a portion of my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition for you (Chapter 2 - Education of an Architect.

I suggest you compare the BArch against the MArch (4+2) instead of only the Master of Architecture. Neither one is better, they are just different as you are learning. I do not see why you are not eligible for the BArch - not all programs require a portfolio, plus if you transfer, it will still take you five years to complete the degree. Are you considering U.S. institutions?

I hope the text below helps you. Please follow-up with more questions if needed.

Dr. Architecture

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

where is "the text below? "