Monday, July 25, 2011

BArch vs. MArch

First of all, thank you for giving so much of your time and experience answering questions and maintaining an extremely useful website! It's provided me with so much guidance and information.

I've been browsing many architecture firms' websites, looking their architects' educational backgrounds, and also looking at the educational backgrounds of my own instructors as well as university professors from different schools, and I realized that most have M.Arch degrees with either BS/BA in Architecture or another field. I rarely saw people with BArch's, and the few with BArch's continued on to pursue an MArch.

Am I looking in the wrong places and making the wrong generalizations about the BArch's lack of popularity in the real world? I know there are other careers that architects can pursue, but I'm just more familar with the private and educational sectors that architects can go into.

I'm going to start my 2nd year as a BArch major this fall, but I'm beginning to have doubts about whether it is too limited of a path.

In general, I'm curious where the BArch. people disappear to. Do firms see the BArch as just a Bachelors (like bachelors versus masters), or as a professional degree that is somewhat equivalent to an MArch?

Again, thank you for your help!

I truly find your email/question interesting because I have not seen the BArch through your perspective before.

I cannot say for sure, but up through the late 1960s, the BArch was almost the exclusive professional degree in architecture.  At this point in time, the profession determined that another route - the 4+2, was a viable option to develop.  From the late 1960s and continuing today, architecture programs have been converting from their BArch to the 4+2 MArch.  Along the way, the 4+3 MArch was developed (1980s) where an individual with an undergraduate degree with another discipline could simply pursue the graduate level.

For the longest time, the BArch was still the degree offered at the majority of architecture programs; now, it is the Master of Architecture.

Ultimately, I would suggest you view YOUR degree based on what you wish to accomplish in the profession.

For purposes of licensure, the BArch and MArch are parallel.  Both meet the education standard with jurisdictions to become an architect.  However, many BArch graduates will continue their education to pursue a MArch (post-professional) degree.  This could explain what you see -- If you see an architect with an MArch, it is the 4+2 MArch or someone with a BArch who also obtained the MArch.

I would NOT simply abandon your BArch.  Instead, consider what you wish to do with the degree.  It would allow you to become licensed; in addition, you could always continue your education if desired in architecture or a related discipline.

With that said, you could certainly transfer to a 4+2 MArch route but would need to wait until Fall 2012 to do so.

If possible, try to connect with some of the professionals that you viewed to learn of their career path and their thoughts on the two degrees.

Feel free to contact me again with additional questions.

Dr. Architecture

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