Sunday, June 27, 2010

Political Science to Architecture

I am about to embark on my 4th and final year as a political science major at the University of Arizona. After much reflection, I am at a crossroads. While I have an interest in political science, I have a passion for construction, design, and architecture. Growing up, I have fond memories of my twin brother and I helping my father navigate through countless construction projects; house renovations, house reconstruction (after a fire) office building improvements and construction. Looking back on all of this, I find myself questioning whether to finish off my political science degree or to try and get into an architecture program. I was wondering if you could send me some information regarding the process and prospect of starting an architectural course of study now, and where it might take me in the future.


As you are very close to graduation, your best approach to becoming an architect is to complete your undergraduate degree and pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) that many institutions offer for those individuals with a degree in another discipline. If you try to transfer to an architecture program, it will actually take you longer.

Of course, you should begin to research architecture programs now -- via two sites -- or --.

As all programs will require a portfolio, you would be encouraged to take an art course (freehand drawing, life drawing) to generate materials for your portfolio.

Also, a great resource is Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition available from As well, I encourage you to review my blog as it includes questions from other individuals.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Architect in the United States

Hello Dr. Architecture,

I came across your very helpful blog while going through all the architectural forums and must be very honest when i say it was very encouraging. I'm in a bit of a predicament and would really benefit from some ideas. I completed my B.Arch in India where I am from in the year 2006. I promptly got into practice with architectural firms and did various kinds of projects . in total I have almost 2-1/2 to 3 years of experience. I came to the U.S.A with my husband last august and would really wish to do some work now. I don't hold a work permit and wouldn't mind a voluntary job.

My situation is that I lost my laptop with all my past work experience in the airport (last august) . It would not be possible for me to show any previous work. Also its been more than a year since I practiced any architectural work .
It would be great if you could tell me what my options could be.

-would be better if i took up a course in architecture - for six months just to brush up my skills, or any other suggestions to courses would be great .

- or if I did voluntary work for architectural firms , if so could you please tell me what I need to read up on, software to be learnt before I could apply for a job.

It would also be nice if you could tell me what I could read to know about architecture in general in the U.S.A
Any suggestions or recommendations from you would be really great. i don't want to give up on this profession for i have worked hard to earn it.

I really appreciate the time spent on reading my long email and would be grateful for your help.

First, you should NOT work as a volunteer; it is not legal from the perspective of the firm. Given that you lost your laptop, you should be spending time to recreate or create work to show potential firms. You could certainly take a course or simply use a competition brief to show your talents.

To become immersed in the discipline, read the following magazines among others -

As for software, review position descriptions for ideas; also, network and connect with other architects in your region via the AIA - American Institute of Architects -

Dr. Architecture