Monday, July 29, 2013

BArch vs. MArch

Dear sir
My son has done 2 years in Architecture.
He has now to decide between  4 yrs BS Architecture and 5 yrs B.Arch(NAAB certified).

Please let us know which program has a a better job demand.

In one sense, comparing these two degree is not appropriate because one is accredited (BArch) while the other is not.  It is more appropriate to compare the BArch against the MArch (also accredited which is done after the BS).

To properly determine which is the best degree to pursue, there are many factors to consider - one of which can be the pursuit of employment after the degree.  I will hope that after reading the descriptions below, you can make the best decision.

Thanks and best!

Below are detailed descriptions of the two professional NAAB accredited degrees: 
Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.)
The bachelor of architecture is an undergraduate five-year degree for students coming directly from high school. It is the oldest professional degree offered at the university level in the United States. Some schools, including Drexel University offer the B.Arch., but completing the degree may take more than five years because of work programs required by these schools.

At most schools, enrolled students begin intensive architectural studies in the first semester and continue for the duration of the program. If you are highly confident in your choice of architecture as your academic major, pursuing a B.Arch. may be the ideal choice. If, however, you think you may not ultimately choose architecture, the five-year program is not forgiving, meaning that changing majors is difficult. Slightly more than 50 programs offer the B.Arch.

Recently, some programs offer a NAAB accredited non-baccalaureate Master of Architecture degree; in some cases, these programs transitioned from a B. Arch. to this “new” M. Arch.  While parallel to the B. Arch., these M.Arch. degrees may require an additional summer or semester of study resulting in either five+ or five-and-a-half years.  Some institutions may also provide an undergraduate pre-professional degree after four years.  For more details, contact each institution.

Pre-Professional Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
Sometimes known as a four + two, this path to the accredited degree involves first obtaining a pre-professional architecture bachelor of science (B.S.) degree followed by the professional master of architecture (M.Arch.). Pre-professional degrees are four-year degrees that prepare candidates for pursuing a professional degree. These degrees may have different actual titles—bachelor of science (B.S.) in architecture, bachelor of science in architectural studies (B.S.A.S.), bachelor of arts (B.A.) in architecture, bachelor of environmental design (B.E.D.), bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) or bachelor of architectural studies (B.A.S.).

The amount of architectural coursework in these pre-professional programs may vary from school to school and determines the length of time required to complete further professional architectural studies, the M.Arch. Most pre-professional degrees are within universities that also offer the professional M.Arch. degree; however, others are offered within four-year liberal arts institutions. Your undergraduate degree may dictate the eventual length of your graduate program. Some graduate programs may be three years in length even though you have a pre-professional degree, although you may receive advanced standing or course waivers. Contact each graduate program for more details.

Another viable option for this particular route is to begin your studies at a community college. Often, the first two years of a B.S. degree are predominantly general education courses that can be taken at a community college. It is important, however, to be in touch with the institution at which you plan to continue studies about what courses to take and when to apply. Depending on the institution, it may be worth transferring early rather than receiving an associate’s degree from the community college.

Note that if you graduate with the pre-professional degree, you will not be eligible to become licensed in most states. Therefore, if you desire to be a licensed architect, you should continue your studies and pursue the professional M.Arch. degree program. There are a few states in which you can pursue licensure with a pre-professional undergraduate degree, but you would not be able to obtain the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Certificate (see Chapter 3) necessary for reciprocal licensure.

The professional M.Arch. is a graduate-level degree that typically lasts two years and offers a comprehensive professional education. The combination of the B.S. degree with the M.Arch. offers flexibility, as you can choose to take any number of years off to gain experience between the two degrees. Plus, you may choose to attend a different institution for your graduate studies. Of the institutions offering an accredited degree in architecture, approximately 75 offer the pre-professional architecture degree and accredited M.Arch.

A handful of schools offer an M.Arch. lasting less than two years that follows a pre-professional undergraduate degree. However, these degree programs may be limited to candidates from the same institution. For example, The Catholic University of America (CUA) offers a master of architecture with advanced standing (one and a half years) for select individuals who graduate with the B.S. in architecture from CUA, but those with a B.S. in architecture from other institutions must take two years to complete the master of architecture. At other institutions, the M.Arch. may be less than two years in length because of a switch in the nomenclature of their accredited degree from B.Arch. to M.Arch., but it may require either intersessions or summer sessions.

Finally, a few institutions offering the M.Arch. for individuals with the pre-professional architecture degree will require three years of study; these include most of elite institutions, but candidates may be eligible for some advanced standing.

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