Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Advice on studying architecture for international students

I have been following your blog hoping to find information on appropriate paths of study and I have a few questions regarding potential options, I would be very grateful for your response.

I am currently considering a career in Architecture and I am looking for courses in both the UK (of which I am a citizen) and the USA. I have  previously undertaken an exchange programme with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as part of my degree and as a result of this would very much like to study in America again. Having graduated with a fine art degree in 2007, I have been working for artists, curators and galleries as well as working with a studio to organise and deliver projects. Whilst all of this has involved aspects of architecture I do not have any formal training in computer aided design/drafting.

I understand that there are three distinct routes involved in qualifying but I am unsure of which one would be ideal for someone like myself who has a degree already, should I be looking to start again as an undergraduate and search for B Arch programmes or would my fine art degree make me eligible for a M Arch programme? Are there also any preliminary courses that could be undertaken on a short term basis in order to become more familiar with the fundamental basics and computer software that in turn would help me in making a transition?

I am researching into various schools that have accredited programmes in architecture and I do not know which course is a realistic possibility as I would want to be able to practice as an architect at the end of study. So, again any advice that you can offer will be incredibly helpful.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.
If your undergraduate degree in fine art is equivalent to a four year degree in the U.S., you would be eligible to apply to the Master of Architecture (3-4 years).  These 3-4 year degrees were developed for those that have an undergraduate degree in another discipline.

You will need to check specific programs as some have prerequisites; these might include calculus, physics, freehand drawing, or history of architecture courses.  What is more important at this point is the development of your portfolio -- as you have a fine art degree, that should not be an issue.  For that reason, there are no specific courses to take except for the prerequisites listed above.

As for searching for accredited programs, visit http://www.naab.org for a list of professional accredited Master of Architecture.  When searching for programs, you need to find those that list an undergraduate degree plus a certain number of credit hours as opposed to a pre-professional degree.

M. Arch (Undergraduate degree + 65 prerequisite credit hours + 54 graduate credit hours)

If your intent is to become licensed in the U.S., it is essential that you gain the accredited Master of Architecture; if you plan to return to the U.K., you would need to contact RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects [http://www.architecture.com/]


Dr. Architecture 

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