Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pursuing an MArch Degree

Good afternoon Dr. Architecture,
I am interested in applying and pursuing a Master's Degree in Architecture. To provide some background info, I received a BA in Political Science from the University in Delaware in 2008. When I sought a school/program for my Undergrad degree, I essentially narrowed my search down to two potential career in law and one in architecture. I had been accepted to Syracuse's Architecture Program but ultimately decided to go down the pre-law path instead. Since graduating, I have worked in several law firms in DC with varying positions to get a feel for the environment and have decided that it's not for me. Always having had architecture as an interest and passion, I would now like to pursue a Master's Degree in Architecture.
Since I have no concrete professional or educational background (aside from a few art/design classes from college and high school), I am wondering how I should proceed in terms of first, developing a portfolio and second, gaining experience while maintaining a full-time job. Ideally, I'd like to apply for the Fall 2013 semester and would greatly appreciate any suggestions on how to improve my application so that the schools I am interested in know I am serious and have both the interest and talent (hopefully), despite my as-of-yet unrelated background.
Thank you!

Congrats on your desire to pursue a Master of Architecture after your BA in Political Science.

With regards to your portfolio, I suggest you visit to learn how to be design and compile a portfolio.  It is a website by the same name as the book, Portfolio Design, authored by Harold Linton.  If you feel the need to improve your creative work, I suggest you take a course in art / freehand/life drawing at a community college or nearby institution.  Remember, as one with an unrelated degree, programs are not looking for architecture but creative work.

As for gaining experience, I would NOT yet work about that as it relates to work.  I support your interaction with architecture via lectures at area architecture programs.  Read, read, and read -- either architecture books or websites/blogs about the discipline.  Even visit architecture schools to attend lectures, speak with current students and faculty and tour the studios.

If you are still in DC, visit Catholic, Maryland (College Park), Howard University, or VTech (Alexandria, VA).  Also, visit the National Building Museum at Judiciary Square.

To improve your application, be in direct connection with the head of the architecture programs to which you are applying.  Also, prepare for the GRE, review your transcript, and obtain feedback for your portfolio.


1 comment:

dblakely said...

I have a follow-up question and post for the above comment:

I actually have about the same background and I live in the Washington, DC area as well. In addition, I graduated from college in 2008 and I am now planning to return to school for a Masters in Arch in fall 2013. I have one main concern. I am now thinking about changing jobs from the defense industry to a clerical or low level job in architecture to get some general experience. Would you advise doing this? I noted that you recommended attending seminars, lectures and other events, however, you dissuaded the previous poster from pursuing work in architecture right now at entry level. Can you provide a more detailed reason for this? Thanks.