Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interior Design Student contemplating Grad School

An admissions administrator from the University of British Colombia recommended that I read your blog.  I am so glad she did.  I have a few questions for you.

First a little background:  I am about to complete a degree in Interior Design.  While completing my degree, I realized that my passion really is architecture and urban planning and would like to pursue a license in architecture in addition to being a certified interior designer in the future.  I have looked at all of the pathways to becoming licensed and I know that if I can find a firm to take me on, I can begin IDP in about a year.  I am trying my hardest to go that route because I am scared of the financial commitment that graduate school entails.  But, just in case my dream scenario doesn't happen, I am applying to graduate school as a back up plan.

Question #1:  When in a full time graduate program, how realistic is it to be working full or part time?  And do many students double up and do IDP simultaneously?  I know my studio design classes right now take a lot of time and I am only a part time student.

Question #2:  Although my portfolio is good and very well-rounded for an interior design student, I have seen a few fifth year architecture students portfolios and I find them to be somewhat intimidating.  Do I need to streamline my portfolio and beef up my projects to be more architectural?  What are admissions persons looking for?  UBC is a 3.5 year program and they take students from all disciplines, but I would like to apply to some schools in California, as well, and I am worried about my ability to compete.  If you have any advice for interior design students at all, I would be glad to hear it.  

Thank you so very much
Just a side note that my expertise is becoming an architect in the U.S. and not Canada.

Answers to your questions --

#1 It is extremely unrealistic to think you can attend a graduate program in architecture and work at the same time especially to earn IDP.  Graduate studies are very demanding.  Depending on the program, you may be able to work 10-15 hours per week in a firm, but IDP requires a minimum number of hours for six months to be counted.  Of course, there are programs that require a work component with their studies - Boston Architectural College and UCincinnati are two.

#2 As you applying to MArch programs with a degree in interior design, the programs are not expecting architectural work; they are expecting interior design work.  The best source to know what they are seeking is to contact the programs directly and ask what they look for in an applicant's portfolio.  Of course, they do look at the portfolio as an indicator of your work so design it well.  One resource to consider is Portfolio Design by Harold Linton --

Remember, if you wish to pursue becoming a licensed architect, you must have an NAAB/CACB accredited degree.


1 comment:

SiddNaj said...

Hi :)

Okay so the thing is, the university I applied to didn't offer me admission in its B.Arch program (which was my first option) but is ready to take me for its Interior Design program (my second option).
Since a very long time I have wanted to pursue the profession of architecture.So now the question arises-do I take the offer or I don't) But before making that decision, I need to know a few things because of which I'm writing to you
So I have two questions.

1- If I have a 4 year Bachelors Degree in Interior Design and I want to do my Masters in Architecture, the universities will consider me for their masters program in architecture right? I will be eligible for continuing my studies in the field of architecture right? And later on I can practice as an architect(after passing the license exams) ?

2- What degrees (masters) are offered in architecture? Coming from an interior design background (a 4 year Bachelors in Interior Design), what degree options do I have for masters level after which I'll be eligible for a job in a firm as an architect?

I'm really really looking forward to your reply.