Saturday, December 26, 2009

Coming to the U.S.

I appreciate your efforts to guide those who want to become an architect. I am have a M.Architecture, a registered architect and a faculty member here in Iran. It's my pleasure if can get your help determing the best way to continue my practice and academic career in US.

I had worked as a design assistant and architectural programmer in our own firm for 5 years before joining to a larger well-known firm 5 years ago. My spouse is majoring Interior Design in Chicago and we are planning to live and work in US; so that I am considering various options and provisions such as getting professional license, continuing my education in NAAB accredited programs, PhD, etc… .

So considering these facts:

1. I already hold M.Arch and I am interested and talented in both practical and academic areas

2. As far as I heard, it would be difficult for a new-comer architect to adapt profession without getting a professional degree within the US.

3. For teaching in a university, you need to have a PhD in Architecture or a reliable practical record in architectural profession.

As far as I experienced these two are not in separate directions: academy and profession,

But If I apply for a PhD program would it be difficult to find a job in an architecture firm? Will I be considered overqualified for architecture job positions? I am between sixes and sevens in choosing between M.Arch and PhD. Can you help me to choose?


If you desire is to be a licensed architect in the U. S., I suggest you contact NCARB - As you have a professional degree, there is no need to obtain a NAAB accredited degree in the U.S. Instead, you can have your education evaluated by EESA ( against the NCARB Education Standard to meet the education requirement.

In terms of teaching within an accredited program in the U.S., it is not necessary to have a Ph.D. unless you are seeking an Architectural History teaching position. Most programs allow candidates with a Master of Architecture to be considered. Visit the following for possible positions -- --.

As far as having a Ph.D. and applying to a firm, I do not have any great insight, but most firms hire based on skill sets not necessarily on education. I do not think you would be overqualified just because of your degree. However, you would be best to discuss with those in firms who do hiring.

I hope this is helpful! You may certainly email again if you have any additional questions.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Graduate Admissions

I am so confused where to start as I make this transition. Would a B.S. in biology help in any way for admissions into a graduate program for architecture? What do I need to apply and what is the portfolio made up of? How can I prepare a competitive resume in the next year, since I have probably missed the application deadlines for 2010. Do you think I can get into a program such as Princeton?
I would appreciate your advice! Thanks again for your help.

In applying to a graduate Master of Architecture, what is important in possessing an undergraduate degree regardless of the major; thus, your B. S. in Biology is sufficient in applying.

Most graduate programs require the following but check with each program for specific requirements:

Statement of Purpose
2-3 Letters of Recommendation

For what to include in your portfolio, contact each program to which you are applying, but you will want to include creative work - drawing, artwork, painting, etc. Do not worry about if the work is architectural. Consider taking a freehand drawing course at an area community college to build your portfolio. Another source is --.

As for your likely admission to Princeton, you will need to contact them directly. I am not in a position to comment.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Architecture Career

I always wanted to be an architect, since I was 10/12 year old. I recently bought your book "Becoming an Architect", which is helping me a lot. But I still have some concerns about the path that I need to take to become an architect. I hope that I'm not bothering you with so many questions but I hope that you can help me.

I have a bachelor degree in Economics that I was awarded in my country Brazil. Even though I am 41 years old, I really want to pursue this career. I now live in New York City and I'm thinking of applying to The City College of New York. I am just not sure if I should apply for the Bachelor's degree or for the Master degree program. I think I can learn more if I pursue the bachelor's degree, but it will take longer and my classmates would be much younger than me, which could be a little uncomfortable to me. On the other hand, if I pursue for the master's degree, I'm worried that it can be difficult because I have a very different degree (Economics). What's your opinion? Do you think I should start with a Associate degree in Interior Design (2 years) and then go to the Master Architecture (3 years)? Or should I go straight to the Masters degree? If the MArch is the best, should I take freehand drawing (or technical drawing) and math (or physics) classes prior to starting the Master?

Finally, although I'm a legal U.S. resident, do I have to take the TOEFL anyway, as English is not my first language?


Given that you have an undergraduate degree, albeit in Economics, you should consider pursuing the Master of Architecture (3-4 years). These particular degrees are targeted and designed for individuals with degrees in other disciplines. Most of all, simply make sure the degree is accredited by NAAB; this will ensure that you can later obtain licensure.

As for courses prior, consult the architecture program. Many do require freehand drawing in addition to either or both calculus and physics. The freehand drawing course will assist you in creating materials for your portfolio.

As for the TOEFL, again, check with the institution. Most will require candidates to take the TOEFL if their undergraduate degree is from a foreign country.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, December 21, 2009

Degree/Career Path in Architecture

Hi Dr. Architecture,
I have a question about becoming a licence architect. I went online to but I couldn't find any guide or answer about my career path. I'm planning to go back to school and finish my undergraduate program in architecture at Academy of Arts University. The question is what is my path to follow if I have a BFA in Architecture?

First, to become an architect, you need to accomplish three tasks 1) obtain a professional accredited degree in architecture, 2) complete the requirements of Intern Development Program (IDP), and 3) pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE).

As you have a BFA in Architecture, you are eligible to pursue a Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for individuals who have an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than architecture. Resources to review include the following: -- list of accredited programs in the U.S. -- guide to architecture programs with more details than the website listed above.

Dr. Architecture

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Career Switch

I am considering changing my career track from medicine/lab research to architecture. So far, I have my bs in biology and I'm doing a lab research internship for 1-2 years. I was planning on attending medical school thereafter, but I'm still wavering.

I've always wanted to try studying architecture because I love designing,and I'm very good a math ( physics, calculus) and communicating. However, Im not the best artist. Do you think I could still pursue it if I lack this skill right now? Do you think such a radical change is wise at this point? Would it be an easy switch?

I would appreciate your advice.

Given your interest, you should begin to explore the discipline of architecture further. Ask your family and friends if they know an architect that you could meet with to discuss their career. You could possibly shadow the architect to learn firsthand the career of an architect.

As you learn more, you may discover that you do not need to be a perfect artist, but you do need to learn how to communicate your ideas to your clients. Architecture is about being creative and problem-solving. Besides, drawing, etc. are skills that you will learn in an architecture program. Another preparation task is to take a freehand drawing course at an area community college as you will need to submit a portfolio when you apply to graduate programs.

Also, there are a few summer programs for individuals like you to help you transition --

Harvard University - Cambridge, MA

June 14 – July 23, 2010

California at Los Angeles, University of

June 21 – July 30, 2010


LA Institute of Architecture and Design

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Summer Programs

Hi, I am looking for a summer program for my son, who will have just finished 10th grade here in Berlin, Germany. Ideal would be a two to three week residential program in August. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

I am truly not in a position to specifically recommend a program, but does include a list of all of the programs offered at the following website. The list currently provides the summer 2009 program dates but will be updated with the summer 2010 dates by the end of January.

Please note that although the list provides 2009 dates, the website addresses should provide much of the details that you might need to make a selection. Please note that you will find most of the programs during June and July. Very few of them are during August as programs prepare for the new academic year.

Dr. Architecture