Sunday, April 26, 2009

Change major / Transfer

I am currently a sophomore at a liberal arts college in NY with an intended Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts (concentration in Architecture). The architecture classes offered here are mainly design-based with VectorWorks CAD. I feel unprepared compared to other students in colleges that offer the 5-year BArch program. I feel they would be chosen as interns over me because they learn more about architecture. This makes me doubt my future if I were to have a career in Architecture. Should I change my major? Transfer to another college? I really don't know what to do...

Given that you are NOT in an architecture program, it seems reasonable that students in a BArch would be selected over you for intern positions. However, do not fret.

If your desire is to become an architect, you can transfer, but you may move backwards if you transfer to a BArch. You may consider transferring to a preprofessional BS degree within an architecture program. Another option that I strongly encourage is to complete your degree in Visual Arts and pursue the 3-4 year Master of Architecture degree.

You have to decide which is the best route for you.

Also, visit and to learn more about accredited degree programs.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mathematics in Architecture

I have been reading your blog and have found it to be very informative as I research the possibility of becoming an architect; thank you. I was hoping you could answer a question for me if you have some extra time.

I've been thinking of going back to school to become an architect. I hold a bachelors degree in Mass Communication-Advertising and have art courses under my belt. I've also been working as a freelance graphic designer for the past year. I've always been intrigued by the design of buildings and homes, lighting, and the materials used since I was a child. I drive around town just to look at homes and buildings and look through the architecture books at the bookstore and get excited about the designs and wish I could create them myself. A recent career assessment even suggested architecture as a possible career.

However, my ability in the math department isn't too great and that is why I ended up pursuing an education in advertising. How math intensive is the career of an architect? Is it so much that I may become miserable? I don't doubt my creative ability and I'm willing to work as hard as I need to to be successful. The descriptions of an architect's job that I read are so broad and doesn't help me much. How important is the mathematical ability vs. the artistic eye of an architect in the grand scheme of things?

I'd love to know more before I plunge into pursuing a new career and hope to hear from you soon.

First, I am pleased to hear that the has been informative for you.

As to your question. As you might guess, mathematics is a part of architecture but not the most important part. One could argue that CREATIVITY is most important which you possess.

With that said, please note that some graduate programs in architecture do require candidates to take calculus while others highly recommend it. However, you will never actually use calculus in your professional life. For some, calculus is a way of thinking; this is what is important, not the actual calculus work. You would need to research the graduate programs to determine their prerequisites. Some also require a freehand drawing course and also physics.

The calculus and physics also help in preparing you for the structures courses in a program that do require calculations. In other words, you do need to use mathematics, but it should NOT be a reason to prevent you from becoming an architect.

Architects and architecture students live on either side of the creative/technical side. You will live on the creative side, but you will need to know the technical side to become an architect. Depending on when you graduated, you may wish to take a mathematics course from a local community college to reactivate your knowledge. But, begin to research programs and work on your portfolio for admission.

Websites to view include --


ARCHSchools -

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Biology major wishing to pursue architecture

I will a be a third year student at Eastern Michigan University in the Fall of 2009. Currently I am majoring in Biology, but recently I have decided to pursue a career in architecture. I am totally lost as what I should so and where I should start. There is so much information and different types of architecture degrees and many ways of going about earning them that I don't even know where to begin. I was thinking about changing my major to engineering or maybe major in Computer Aid Design. What I'm basically trying to ask is what is the best route to take. Would it be okay to major in CAD with maybe an art minor and then go on to graduate school and get my MArch or is there a better way of doing this? Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all your help :)

Given that you will be a third year student, I highly suggest you finish your degree in biology and pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for individuals with a degree in a discipline other than architecture. Of course, this assumes that you still have an interest in biology and can complete the degree. At minimum, you should ensure that you have calculus, physics, and a freehand drawing course to best prepare for your graduate studies.

Or you could change majors which may postpone your graduation, but I would not change to CAD. Perhaps, interior design or product design which would be helpful in the concept of DESIGN. A minor in ART would also be helpful, but not CAD.

I would begin the research of possible MArch programs; in fact, visit UMichigan to see architecture firsthand. Talk to students, meet with faculty, etc.

Visit -- -- and -- -- for a list of accredited programs.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Starting a Portfolio?

Hello there. I am a 38 year old male living in Texas (Houston area) and seriously thinking of going back to school for Architecture. I have B.A.'s in Anthropology and English that I acquired in 2003. I have read many of the surrounding schools web sites and am feeling a bit overwhelmed about going forward with trying to get into a program. They talk about projects and a portfolio to submit with my application and I have no experience in this field of any kind. Which way do I turn next?

Graduate programs for individuals with a degree in a unrelated discipline are not expecting to see architecture in your portfolio, but rather wish to see creativity. Many require a drawing course prior to admission or enrollment. Typically, you can a ART course (drawing, figure / life drawing, etc.) Taking the course will generate materials for your portfolio.

You may also wish to purchase Portfolio Design by Harold Linton -- --

Another idea is to take a summer program available by many architecture programs.

Do not worry about your lack of experience in the field. Think about the creativity you have used within your degrees and past work experiences. Also, visit the programs, talk with professors and students about the admission process and how you can best prepare for admission.

I am hesitant to share the following but -- -- has discussion forums where prospective students share their stories.

Finally, a good resource is Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design. Best.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, April 4, 2009

International Architecture Programs

I was curious is you have a list that contains the international Architecture Programs available. I am hoping to achieve my Masters in Europe. Any help would be great. Thanks!

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) publishes a list within their printed Guide to Architecture Schools. To order visit the following:

I also found the following websites that might be helpful.

Dr. Architecture