Sunday, April 25, 2010

Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition - Critical Review

Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition - Critical Review

With the second edition of his book, Waldrep has created an upgraded and updated beginner's guide to architecture. It proves to be an essential resource for any young student - especially a high-school student - starting down one of the many paths toward a career in the environmental design professions.

Architecture is a challenging career, and a profession that is seeking to redefine itself and find a position of relevancy. Waldrep asks the reader to accept these challenges, and his book will either fuel your passion or frighten you away; inspire you to become an architect or to employ your creativity and interests to pursue another path.

Dr. Architecture

Friday, April 23, 2010

Life of an Architect

Almost by accident, I discovered the following blog:

Life of an Architect

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Engineering or Architecture

I came across your archcareer blog the other day and was hoping you could give me some advice. I am currently undecided between Virginia Tech and Penn State. I have been accepted to the architecture program at Penn State. However, I then was thinking about possibly going to Virginia Tech for engineering and then getting my masters in architecture.

I was thinking of going for mechanical or civil engineering with the ultimate professional goal of being an architect. I was just wondering a few things. If I did go for engineering, would it be smarter from an architecture standpoint to go for civil or mechanical engineering? I was always wondering if it would be worth going for a degree in engineering and then a masters in architecture, as far as job prospects and salaries, or if it would be smarter to just go straight to Penn State and go right into the architecture program? Thank you for your time.


To best decide, you need to determine what you want.

If you want to just pursue architecture, attending the BArch at PSU may be the perfect choice for you, however, if you want the opportunity to pursue both engineering (civil or me) and architecture, VTech may be perfect. Both paths are good choices, but which do you want?

The engineering undergraduate degree with the architecture graduate degree will take you longer (probably 7 or so years) vs. the BArch at PSU will probably 5 years. This impacts cost.

When choosing engineering, choose what you would enjoy the most, but civil engineering is certainly more directly related to architecture, but so is mechanical.

As you are having difficulties, I suggest you do some more research on the career choices prior to making the institution choice.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, April 19, 2010

Selecting a Program

My daughter was visiting a particular institution this past weekend and I think will go there. Her primary reason is that it will save over $100,000 for the five years.

She was impressed with the arch professor who spoke with them, and she visited some of the studios, including his first year studio.

If money were not a factor though, I think she would prefer one of her two other choices.

Do you know anyone who graduated from the particular program in architecture?

Do you have any info on these three programs?

Certainly, money is and should be a primary consideration, but I do not think it should be the only criteria. Obviously, I am not aware of where you live, what other programs that she applied to, etc., but is she confident of the fit with the program she just visited?

Why would she prefer the other two choices? What criteria aside from finances is being considered. Where will she practice after graduation?

Unfortunately, I do not have much information beyond what you probably already know from visiting.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I just came across your blog - i wish i had found it a year or so earlier; perhaps you can help?

when did EESA start accrediting foreign degrees?

when did NCARB stop accepting foreign degrees? - and why? was it protectionism?

why i ask - i am Bartlett educated to RIBA part 2, living & working in New Orleans since 1981

after 2 years IDP my boss encouraged me to sit the licensing exam - all my peers were going through it - it was a fun study group - BUT they had just stopped accepting foreign, (as the Washington NCARB office put it - 'even English') degrees - and i could not proceed (was this 1983 or 4?)

5 or so years of full time practice later i was invited to teach at Tulane - i LOVED teaching and sought to become better qualified - but did not ,and do not, seek a full time tenured position

i continued practice locally - solo and as a part time consultant to several firms - and teach until 1993 when i returned to London for a couple of years (coincident with personal responsibilities) and achieved a Masters degree in Advanced Architectural Studies

i returned to New Orleans, continued my practice and teaching at TUSA

as of 2007 new requirements for my position include licensure and the new administration put me on 'probation' regarding the issue in 2008, stating they were looking for steps toward that end, now the new administration is stating i have had enough time - despite faculty recommendations that the process, thru' registration, will take about 3 years

First, EESA does not accredit foreign degrees, they evaluate foreign academic credentials as they meet the NCARB Education Standard; below is their website and a statement from their website. I am not sure when EESA begin providing this serve on behalf of NCARB, but I think it was about 2003 or so.

EESA assists those individuals who wish to apply for NCARB certification or for registration by an NCARB member board and who do not have a professional degree in architecture from an NAAB-accredited program of study. EESA works with internationally educated applicants and with architects in NCARB’s Broadly Experienced Architects (BEA) program.

Second, NCARB did not stop accepting foreign degrees, instead, they contact with NAAB for the EESA process to evaluate foreign credentials against the NCARB Education Standard. To learn more, visit the NCARB website -

You may also wish to review the BEFA program of NCARB assuming that you have what is listed as the minimum requirements.

NCARB offers an alternative for certification through our Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) Program. At a minimum, this program requires:

  • A professional degree in architecture from an accredited/ validated/officially recognized architecture program
  • An architect credential in a country other than the United States and Canada (NCARB provides certification for architects registered in Canada) that:
  • Has a formal record-keeping method for disciplinary actions for architects; and
  • Provides reasonable reciprocal credentialing opportunities for U.S. architects
  • A minimum of seven years of comprehensive, unlimited practice as a credentialed architect over which the applicant exercised responsible control in the foreign country where the applicant is credentialed
I highly suggest you contact NCARB to learn the process. I hope this helps!

Dr. Architecture

Friday, April 16, 2010

Business student interested in architecture!

I am currently a third year university student studying for my degree in international business. The thing is, I'm started to really learn how much I love architecture...I love reading about it, seeing it in different cities and countries, sketching floor plans and designs...I really enjoy it. The problem is, I will be graduating next year with a degree in international business. Is there any way I could get a head-start on an architectural program after I already have my degree in something else? What about finding a business or marketing job at an architectural firm and seeing where that leads me? I realize that you need to have the proper degree to become certified...but do I have other options?

You are in a perfect place to become an architect. To get you started, I suggest you review the ARCHCareers blog as I have answered many parallel questions.

With your degree in international business, you are eligibel to pursue a professional NAAB accredited Master of Architecture (3-4 years) at any one of a number of institutions (

In the interim, there are summer programs to assist you in preparing materials for your portfolio; it may be possible to secure employment within architecture firm, but the current economy may make that difficult. You need to immerse yourself with the profession. Read architecture, look at architecture, talk architecture, draw architecture.

Before you graduate, seek out possible courses that connect international business and architecture.


Dr. Architecture

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Career Decision.

Hello Dr. Architecture,

First off, I am convinced that you are an architecture angel (an arch angel! haha.) Your posts have been extremely helpful and easy to understand. But...the time has come, where I feel like my situation is too strange to base my decisions off of other people's special circumstances.

I currently attend University of Oregon and I am pursuing a double major in Judaic Studies and Interior Architecture(accredited 5 year program). I am in my second year of college..but technically a first year in the architecture school because I applied & got in as a sophomore. I realized recently that I am able to graduate as a Judaic Studies major next year. This realization left me with two options
1) Continue with my original plan - interior architecture & Judaic studies degree until my IARCH degree is finished in 2013 & graduate as a double major(IARCH & Judaic Studies) & triple minor: business, architecture, art history

2) Graduate with just a bachelor of arts in Judaic Studies and then apply for a M.Arch 3-4yr program at a graduate school. Assuming that I got into a graduate school and did the Grad program for 3 years...I would also be graduating in 2013, but this time...with a Masters degree.

What should I do? Stick with my original plan? Or graduate early as a Judaic Studies major & apply for Grad school? If I graduate early I could have the option to attend a different university - which would be nice to get another perspective. However, what do archiecture firms like better? A B.IARCH and Judaic Studies OR A bachelor of Judaic Studies WITH a Masters of Architecture/IARCH?

Thank you so much!

As to your situation, what you do depends on what your career goals are? Continue with #1 if you wish to graduate with an interior architecture and Judaic Studies degree; this will depend on what your career goals with these degrees. You would NOT be able to pursue licensure as an architect with only the Bachelor of Interior Architecture.

Instead, switch to #2 if you wish to pursue the professional accredited Master of Architecture after receiving your BA in Judaic Studies degree. This route leads you to the necessary degree to become a licensed architect.

Thus, what do you wish to be doing 10-20 years after graduation and which plan will allow you to get there.

Thanks and best wishes with your decision.

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Summer Architecture Programs for Career Change

I have been following your blog,, for some time and feel that it has been an valuable resource in my career search. I graduated a few years ago with a Studio Art degree. Since then I've been kind of drifting through careers trying to find what I am really passionate about. I have been interested in architecture for a long time, but never pursued it academically. I am thinking of going back to school to study for my M.Arch, but I want to do as much research as possible before committing to this change or any specific program. I am currently teaching English in Seoul, South Korea so my access to English-language print material is limited. However your blog and other online resources have been a huge help in researching architecture and various schools.

I had seen a few lists of summer programs that are designed to help high schoolers gravitating towards a career in architecture make up their minds. Is there a similar list of programs that accept or are tailored to post-graduates considering a M.Arch? Does enrollment in one of these programs improve one's chances of acceptance into a graduate program? I have the necessary Calculus and freehand drawing coursework and experience and am working on Physics prerequisites. Is there anything else I should be doing at this stage maximize my chances for admission in fall 2011? I'm moving back to the States in May and I am willing to move anywhere in the country I need to be for a good, thorough summer program. I am excited to have finally found a career path that I am interested in and passionate about. I appreciate any assistance you can give. Thanks!

I am pleased to hear that you find the blog a valuable resource. As for summer programs, I would first start with the list of programs available from -- while many of them are targeted for high school students, I am sure some do or would be willing to accept individuals with a college degree. Below are a few that I do know of that do --



Los Angeles Institute Of Architecture And Design (more than a summer program)

As these programs develop materials for your portfolio, attending would improve your chances for admission. As well, you might be able to solicit a letter of recommendation from the faculty of the program.

In addition, simply become engaged in the profession - read book, online magazines, attend lectures or view online, participate in a summer program or take a drawing/life drawing course. Find a mentor, talk with current students, etc.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ARE Study Resources

I've taken the Building Design & Construction System twice and continue to fail.
My feedback is i have "moderate deficiencies" in Principles/ Code & Regulations/ Project & Practice Management
I've passed the vignettes and other parts of this exam.
Could you please direct me to resources i can study which would allow me to pass these parts?
I would appreciate this greatly.

I am not sure what resources you have already used, but I would suggest you start with NCARB resources available to those taking the ARE.

Another great resource are others taking the exam. Contact your local AIA Chapter to see if they can put in touch with others taking the exam to form study groups. Also, some AIA Chapters host study sessions on the ARE.

ARE Forum - another source.
It is a resource for the learning community on the web with active users comprised of both practitioners in architecture and academics involved in research and teaching. The forum is free.

As a service it is unique; presenting and bringing together both academics and practitioners to further develop ideas, share information, and critique theory through practice.

Discussion occurs through a very active online forum under the watchful eye of resourceful professionals.

Kaplan AEC Education

Dr. Architecture