Saturday, October 30, 2010

Architecture to Other Design Disciplines

I have a question about my career choice.

I am a freshmen in college and have recently decided to pursue a major in architecture.
Let's say I do get my degree in architecture, but rather than just design buildings I want to maybe seek a job in industrial design or interior architecture. Would I be able to do that with my degree in architecture or should I just pursue a degree in the subjects directly? ex: Industrial design, interior architecture.

Excellent question!

In my opinion, the education that you gain as an architecture student would be well-suited if you later decided to pursue another design related discipline like industrial design or interior design. More than anything, you learn the design process as an architecture student. How to take a problem statement, generate possible solutions, further develop those solutions and eventually finalize a single solution for presentation. You would do something very parallel in industrial design or interior design. The difference is the scale of the problem and the palette of materials and tools you use to develop your solution. For industrial design, you may be asked to design the next child's toy or household appliance while in architecture you are designing a public library or civic building.

With that said, another approach would be to pursue a straight design degree as an undergraduate and upon graduation decide on your next step; if it is architecture, you can pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for those that do not have an undergraduate degree in architecture. Your option to become an architect has different paths.

Below are some resources --

Finally, a note on interior architecture; this truly is architecture and not a separate discipline like industrial design. Think of a doctor who later specializes in cardiology (heart). An interior architect is an architect who later specializes in interiors.

I hope this helps. Do let me know.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Online Architecture Courses

I am a licensed general contractor and a certified building official (building inspector). I have providing construction management services for the last 12 years in which I also testified as an expert in construction defect litigation cases. My back ground in construction is in building envelope weather and waterproofing 10 years. Now I want to get my Architectural degree but do not have time during the day. Do you have any information regarding online courses you can share with me?

Thank you for your time


First, congrats on your decision to pursue an architecture degree.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to gain an entire architectural degree via online courses. Two institutions have the closest -- Boston Architectural College and Lawrence Technological University. Some other programs may have a few courses online, but it will be almost impossible to gain an architecture degree without taking in-person classes.

To learn more about programs, visit - NAAB - or

Thanks and best!

Dr. Architecture

BArch vs. MArch: Which is Better?

Hello. I am a high school student in British Columbia, Canada who is interested in becoming an architect!

I am at that point in my high school life (I am a senior) where I am contemplating about post-secondary education. I know that I want to become an architect but at this point, I do not have the necessary qualifications to apply for a B.Arch degree (I have not taken any art lessons before so I do not have a portfolio of work). However, I have been thinking about transferring into a B.Arch program in my second or third year of university.

I came across your blog while I was searching the differences between the B.Arch and the M.Arch degrees, and I wanted to ask you your opinion on this matter. For a person like me who has not taken any art classes before and does not have a portfolio, would you suggest transferring into the B.Arch or waiting to do the M.Arch instead? How important is your art ability (really) and your portfolio when it comes to architecture admissions? I read on College Confidential that the M.Arch does not train students as well because the time frame is more condensed and there is simply not enough time. Somebody said on College Confidential that the B.Arch offers more studio and design classes and time for internships (as students can do them over the summer), and gives students a more solid, rigorous, and complete architecture foundation. Is this really true? Would I be missing out on anything if I choose to do the M.Arch instead? What is the key difference between courses in the B.Arch and the M.Arch? I know that the B.Arch is 5 years rather than 3 or 3.5 years for the M.Arch, but what I'm curious to know is if there is a significant difference or even a difference at all between the courses you take. If so, what are the differences? I am looking to get the most complete and rigorous education in architecture, so these questions for me are most important. For the B.Arch degree, I really love the program at Cooper Union because I feel that it really offers a very complete architectural education! For the M.Arch degree, I have looked at some of the most prestigious graduate architecture schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia) but have not really seen anything I love. In my outsider's opinion (which is most likely to be wrong!), it seems as if students in the B.Arch program at Cooper Union learn more than the M.Arch students at schools like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. If you don't mind, I would really like your opinion on this matter as well.

I really hope I am not bombarding you with my questions.

Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you!

A - The decision as to whether to pursue the BArch vs. the MArch is a very personal one and based on a number of criteria that you outline below. To help you better understand the different routes to a degree, I have inserted a portion of my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition for you (Chapter 2 - Education of an Architect.

I suggest you compare the BArch against the MArch (4+2) instead of only the Master of Architecture. Neither one is better, they are just different as you are learning. I do not see why you are not eligible for the BArch - not all programs require a portfolio, plus if you transfer, it will still take you five years to complete the degree. Are you considering U.S. institutions?

I hope the text below helps you. Please follow-up with more questions if needed.

Dr. Architecture

BA in Architectural Studies vs. BS in Architecture

I am an Architecture Pre-major student at Kent State, OH and I am not sure whether I should declare my major as a BA in Architectural Studies or BSc in Architecture. These are the only two Architecture majors that my school offer. I know that the Bsc in Architecture+MArch (4+2 program) at Kent is NAAB accredited but I do not want to necesarily read for my Masters degree at the same school. Since I realize that both the BSc and the BA in Architecture are of Pre-professional level, I would like to know which is a better choice if I am to pursue a MArch at a different school.

Upon review of both programs from the Kent State University website, it is clear that you should pursue the Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree if your intent is to pursue the Master of Architecture at Kent State or any other institution.

You would certainly be eligible to pursue the MArch with the BA in Architectural Studies, but the length of time would be longer (see statement below).

Architectural Studies Program Mission Statement

The program, leading to a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies, is committed to prepare graduates to seek employment in the construction and development industries, develop careers in cultural theory or pursue a three year graduate professional program in architecture, as well as a variety of other professional programs in areas such as landscape architecture, urban planning, law, and business.

Another method to determine the answer to your question is to contact a handful of graduate architecture programs.

Best to you in your decision.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Curious about Architecture

To be honest, I'm not sure what to expect as a response to this email, perhaps some advice I suppose. My name is Ryan Hanson, I'm a Senior Biology student at Brigham Young University-Idaho. You're probably already slightly confused as to why a Senior Biology student is emailing you at all. The truth is, although I'm planning on and preparing for a degree in health care as a physician, I have to admit I've always had an interest in architecture. I guess I doubted my abilities to become a successful architect because I don't consider myself the most creative or artistic person. I do well with science and math and just about anything I truly put my mind towards academically. I feel like I'd enjoy a career as a physician, but I can't help but notice how architectural models and renderings catch my attention every time I see them. I'm intrigued by how buildings look, and how I think they could look better. I love seeing bold, fresh designs and sometimes imagine myself coming up with those designs and seeing them made into real, usable structures.

My dilemma is that I've never had the chance to "test the architectural waters." Now, at age 24, and on the verge of graduating, I wonder if such a dramatic change in direction (from Biology/healthcare to Architecture) would be feasible. Obviously I'm planning on a lot more school to become a doctor, would it be a similar time frame to become an architect at this point? Is the life of an architect very "family-friendly"? And are there possibilities for successful, profitable jobs in Architecture in somewhat rural areas, or is the job market fairly localized to larger cities?

I'd appreciate any advice or insights you have. Thanks for your time and help.

Given that you are about to graduate with a degree in biology, you would be eligible to apply to the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) available at a number of architecture programs. To research programs, visit -- or --.

Once you complete your architecture degree, you would need to complete IDP - Intern Development Program -- Afterwards, you would be eligible to take the ARE - Architect Registration Exam. The degree would be 3-4 years, completing IDP would be from 3-5 years and completing the ARE could be from 1-3 years. I am not sure how that compares to becoming a doctor.

On the surface, you may hear that the life of an architect is not family-friendly, but it is up to you and standing tall to your values. On average, you will certainly work more than 40 hours, but it is not essential.

As for where to practice, it is true that there are more opportunities in urban areas, but you can make it work in more rural areas.

For more details, obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Career in Architecture?

I am an undergraduate freshmen at Purdue University,West Lafayette,IN from India. I came across your blog looking for information on architect and I needed some advice.

At the moment my major is undecided in science and I am thinking of pursuing a career in architect since I have a keen interest in designing. Unfortunately I am running out of time and need to decide my major, since grade 8th i wanted to do architect but was not that sure of it but now I am sure that I want to become an architect.I am more interested in designing houses but do not know which major to choose. If I do landscape architect will I be able to design houses?

I hope you can guide me through this and will be highly obliged.

Your timing is exceptional! If possible, plan to attend the Chicago Architecture + Design College Day on this Saturday, October 16 from 10-3pm on the campus of IIT. You would be able to visit with 35 architecture programs.

As you are freshman, you may wish to consider transferring to a university that offers an architecture program; for a list of programs, visit - -. Otherwise, you can stay at Purdue to pursue a related major and pursue a Master of Architecture at the graduate level.

Also, consider obtaining Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition available from

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Starting IDP and EESA

Hello Dr. Architecture,
I have recently completed BArch (5years) from accredited school of architecture in india now i am thinking to come for internship in USA (I have got offer as intern too). So my question is do I become eligible for registering and starting IDP process as my internship is going on over there and if soo how many years of office experience is needed to be elligible for licensure exam to become licensed architect over there or its necessary to go for MArch degree or so from U.S
university since my B.arch degree is from India?

Any insights you may have would be greatly appreciated

Thank you so much for your valuable time.

Congrats on your recently completed BArch.

To learn more about IDP (Intern Development Program), visit NCARB at; download the IDP Guidelines (see below).

when can I start?
Your “IDP eligibility date” is the date after which you are able to earn IDP experience. Qualifying experience must be earned on or after your IDP eligibility date. Once your IDP eligibility date has been established, it is set for all experience earned on or after that date.
Under the IDP eligibility dates effective 1 October 2010, the earliest eligibility date you can obtain is 1 October 2010. For experience earned prior to 1 October 2010, you must comply with the eligibility dates in effect prior to 1 October 2010.
For experience earned prior to 1 October 2010:
For experience earned prior to 1 October 2010, you must comply with the IDP eligibility dates and documentation outlined in Appendix A.
For experience earned on or after 1 October 2010:
For experience earned on or after 1 October 2010, you can earn IDP experience1 once you have successfully established:
1. Enrollment in a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program. [link to form1] 2. Enrollment in a pre-professional architecture degree program at a school
that offers a NAAB/CACB-accredited degree program. [link to form 2]
3. Employment in work setting A after obtaining a U.S. high school diploma, General Education Degree (GED) equivalent, or comparable foreign degree. [link to form 3]

The overall IDP requirement is 5600 hours which is not quite a full three years if working full-time.

the IDp training requirement
In order to satisfy the IDP training requirement, you must earn 5,600 hours of experience. You earn training hours when you are employed in work settings recognized by your state registration board. Of the 5,600 hours required for completion of IDP, 3,720 hours are considered core minimum hours. Core minimum hours are earned in four training categories that include 16 training areas. The additional 1,880 hours required are considered elective hours.

In terms of your education, you would NOT need to necessarily pursue the Master of Architecture, but you would need to have your education from India evaluated against the NCARB Education Standard via EESA - Education Evaluation Services for Architects --

I hope this all helps!

Dr. Architecture