Saturday, September 26, 2009


Hi Dr. Architecture!

How do I get an internship at a firm? I did email one local firm after mustering up some courage but unfortunately I got turned down. They said they only accept university students. So what do I do?

Many thanks.

Based on your email, I am guessing that you are in high school. Given that you may not have the skills many firms are requiring, obtaining an internship may be difficult. Thus, what is it that you truly want? Money, experience, or exposure to the profession to decide if it is for you.

I will argue that the latter is what you truly want. A firm may not hire your for an internship, but they may be willing to let you shadow for a day or two to better understand a firm and what they do. Be persistent and realize that you are still costing them money even if they do not pay you.

Also, there are other ways to learn about the profession. -- attend a summer program, read architecture books, attend lectures at a nearby program.

Start with obtaining Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design -- there is full chapter of experience and how to gain it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I currently hold an honors bachelors of science in economics and statistics and was interested in pursuing a non-professional 3.5 year masters in architecture from an accredited NAAB school. I was wondering if I will still be able to become a licensed architect with a non-professional degree.

Absolutely! Many architecture programs throughout the country offer a Master of Architecture (typically 3-4 years) for individuals who have an undergraduate degree in another discipline. To become a licensed architect, you must have a professional accredited Master of Architecture, complete IDP, and pass the ARE.

Below are a few resources that may be helpful including the BLOG I maintain to list previously asked questions and my response.

You may also wish to obtain Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design, available from

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Graduate School Feedback

Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide. I am a 2005 graduate with a Pre-Professional Degree in Architecture from an accredited program. Before going on to graduate school, I decided to work on my IDP requirements, get hands-on experience and gain perspective on architecture beyond design. After three years of working in an architecture firm and completing my IDP requirements, I’ve decided to return to school to complete my education to become registered. However, my initial application was rejected because of a weak portfolio and lower GPA.

I’ve been searching for a way to build up my portfolio and GPA. I’ve seen in some other posts where people mention summer programs that you can help build up a grad portfolio. Do you have any experience with these programs or any suggestions on how to build up a portfolio to show the growth from an inexperienced student to an emerging professional for graduate level admissions?


What is a weak portfolio and a lower GPA? To which program did you graduate? To which program(s) did you apply.

Your best source of feedback is the program that did not admit you. As you are done with your degree, it is hard to raise your GPA but you could consider taking architecture graduate level courses as a non-degree student to demonstrate your abilities. Even if you are not near an architecture program, you could take courses in an unrelated discipline. Also, why is your GPA lower? Did you have a bad semester? In what courses were your lower grades?

As to your portfolio, what did you include - academic or professional or both? Most graduate programs would rather see academic work even if you have worked for a few years. Did you go back and polish up your school projects? Consider reviewing portfolios at -- -- and purchase the book Portfolio Design by Harold Linton. Was the portfolio designed?

Also, who wrote your letters of recommendation? What about the GRE?

Again, obtain feedback from the schools to which you applied. Also, contact former professors to gain some insight.

The only summer program that I know of is listed below but it is focused for individuals who do not have a degree in architecture.

William Taylor
Los Angeles Institute Of Architecture And Design
617 W 7th St. Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Wk: (213) 251-4500

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Architect? Degree required?

When I graduate college I want to get a job where I plan out houses and then model them using computer software (CAD). Do I need to be a registered architect to do this? What degree will allow me to do this kind of job?

It depends! If you strictly focus on residential projects, you may not need to be an architect but you would need to check with the local municipalities to determine the limits you would have if you were not an architect.

Regardless of whether or not you actually become an architect, I would still suggest major in architecture during college. Now, you state you want to do houses, but what if laws change or you decide to do larger projects, you may want the flexibility of becoming an architect. Having the degree will allow you flexibility in your future.

Dr. Architecture