Sunday, February 27, 2011

Architecture Schools in Canada

I am a recent Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering graduate, and am vigorously pursing a career in architecture, and in particular a M.Arch.  I am a Canadian, and have read your book, Becoming an Architect. I have a few inquires about architecture that I was hoping to get your response to.

1. Your book mentions to assess the importance of the reputation of the school.  I think that it depends on the employers, so my question is, from your experience, how important is the reputation of the school to an architectural firm?  For example, the University of Toronto and University of British Columbia M.Arch programs are the most competitive in Canada. Do architectural firms give more attention to students from competitive schools moreso than others (such as the University of Calgary's which is less competitive) ?

2. Does the CACB also conduct annual Architecture Program Reports that are accessible to the public?

3. Do you have a good resource for the job demand for architects in Canada?  Through, I was able to link up with many sites pointing to American firms, and I see a demand for Building Integration Modelers, Health Care Facilities designers, and Project managers.  I can't seem to find a good resource for Canada.

4. Do you know if there is a resource/program for students to connect with architectural firms (preferably Canadian) to ask career questions & job shadow? 

I look forward to hearing from you!
First, congratulations on your desire to pursue architecture.  Also, I appreciate your reading my book.

1. To truly gain the insight on this question, I would suggest you contact some firms; with that said, I would state that some firms may use the institution from which you graduate as an important criteria at the time of graduation, but after a few years, most will care more about what you can do as evidenced from your portfolio.

2. I do not know for sure, but I would imagine that the architecture programs in Canada are required to submit materials parallel to the APR as part of the accreditation process.  To know for sure, you should contact CACB.

3. I am not sure of the best resources, but did find the following:

4. Unfortunately, I am not fully aware of resources but suggest you contact the following:

The RAIC does have a member directory that might be helpful in contacting architects.  I have found that most architects are willing to help.

Dr. Architecture

Civil Engineering to Architecture

Prof Civil Eng for 6years...wanting to switch it up.

If I want to go to Arch school, Do I....

a) apply as a ''mature student"? if that actually exists
b) apply with my poor undergrad marks
c) forget it because its too long a road.

I will let you determine which of the paths you wish to pursue based on my replies, but I can share that you choices A and B are certainly possible.

Given that you have an undergraduate degree, you are eligible to apply for the Master of Architecture (3-4) years.    Over 50 institutions offer such a degree; it was designed for individuals like you that have a degree in another discipline.  Research architecture programs via or

From my almost 20 years of experience in three different architecture programs, I have known plenty of students who were "mature students" enter to pursue the Master of Architecture.  My favorite was an individual with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering degree in his early 50s that pursued the degree.  Becoming an architect is certainly a long road -- 3-4 years for Master of Architecture, 3-5 years to complete IDP, and 1-3 years to complete the ARE, however, you have plenty of years to still practice architecture.  Remember Philip Johnson did not become an architect until 39 years of age and continued to practice into his 90s when he died.

If your undergraduate performance was less than 3.00 GPA, you may wish to consider taking some courses in architecture as a non-degree student to demonstrate your academic abilities.  Consider also to take a course in freehand drawing for purposes of your portfolio.

Review other questions/answers from the - or consider obtaining my book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

Dr. Architecture

Career Research Interview #2

How did you get into the field of architecture?
For me, it was a drafting course that I took in 9th grade; also, I met an architect that my father knew whom helped me learn about the profession.
If you work at the University of Illinois, what do you do there?
I serve as Assistant Director for the School of Architecture; I help architecture students in all aspects of their college career.
What colleges/universities near Chicago are best for architecture?
I will avoid this question because each of the institutions that have an architecture program are excellent programs.  You must determine what criteria are most important for you and select the BEST program for YOU.
What can I do in high school to get ready for a career in architecture?
Read that portion of Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition, but do a summer program if possible along with taking courses in art and drawing.
What kinds of degrees would you recommend in college to prepare for working in architecture?
You must determine which is best for you.  Both the BArch and MArch are accredited programs you need for licensure but are different.  Which is best for you?
What are some of the pros and cons of working as an architect?
Most architects like most that they are creating spaces for people; there is a sense of accomplishment in designing structures/buildings.

What architects like least is probably the time commitment; being an architect is not typically a 9-5 occupation.  There are often times that you work extra hours.
How long have you been in the field of architecture?
I have been in the profession for approximately 25 years.
What is an average workday like?
Architects do many different tasks during a typical day; depending on where the architect works, they spend time in meetings with clients, colleagues, consultants, etc.  They spend time designing aspects of buildings, solving problems that come up, making presentations.  Some part of the day is spent on the phone, running the business of the firm
For more details, visit
How much time do you spend at work each day?
There are times that architects do spend more than a typical 8 hour day at work, but it is not often.  There will be days that architects may work more 8 hours per day.
What is the average salary for an architect?
Median annual wages of wage-and-salary architects were $70,320 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $53,480 and $91,870. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $41,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $119,220. Those just starting their internships can expect to earn considerably less.

Earnings of partners in established architectural firms may fluctuate because of changing business conditions. Some architects may have difficulty establishing their own practices and may go through a period when their expenses are greater than their income, requiring substantial financial resources.
Quoted from -- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Architects, Except Landscape and Naval, on the Internet at (visited February 21, 2011).
Do most architecture jobs require traveling?
Typically no, but some architects do require travelling if the projects are out-of-state.
Does your career involve anything interesting that other careers do not?
Impacting the lives of people; also, what you design/build can last 50 years or more.
Do you feel good communication skills are necessary in your career? Why?
Absolutely!  Because architects are constantly “selling” their ideas, architects must be able to communicate verbally, graphically, and in writing.
How secure are jobs in the field?
Employment is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. Competition is expected, especially for positions at the most prestigious firms, and opportunities will be best for those architects who are able to distinguish themselves with their creativity.
What do you think is the coolest thing about your field?
This may seem obvious, but what is so cool is that architects have the opportunity to “design” and be creative; you will be able to solve problems.
What is your favorite building of all? Why?
Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright because it is an amazing solution for the problem presented.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Career Research Interview

In the last week, I received a series of questions from 8th graders doing career research projects on architect.  Below is the question from the student my corresponding answer.

Thank you for your response. Here are a couple of questions I would appreciate your insight on.

1. Now that I have done some research, can you please highlight some of the things you do on an average day?

Architects do many different tasks during a typical day; depending on where the architect works, they spend time in meetings with clients, colleagues, consultants, etc.  They spend time designing aspects of buildings, solving problems that come up, making presentations.  Some part of the day is spent on the phone, running the business of the firm

For more details, visit

2. What are the prospective opportunities in this field?

As architect learn to problem solve, the opportunities are endless; obviously, the design buildings, but architects have entered any field that involves design – interiors, furniture, landscape, urban planning, graphic, etc.

Given the strong interest in green design – sustainability, architects are bringing their expertise to this issue as well.

3. I know there are specific classes I need to take, but in your opinion, is there any training/schooling you would specifically advise?

If you wish to become an architect, you will need to pursue and obtain a professional accredited degree in architecture – either the Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture.

As for specific courses, consider taking art or freehand drawing courses.  Take any courses that connect your brain, your eye, and your hand – courses that develop your creativity.

4.What do you like most/least about your career?

Most architects like most that they are creating spaces for people; there is a sense of accomplishment in designing structures/buildings.

What architects like least is probably the time commitment; being an architect is not typically a 9-5 occupation.  There are often times that you work extra hours.

5. What suggestions would you give to someone like me interested in this career?

Explore your environment and ask lots of questions.  To the extent possible, connect with architects to shadow, intern, and learn from them.  Draw! Draw! Draw!

Also, read architecture.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Architect Position Titles

I am on a quest to create job titles at our firm that are in line with what the AIA, NCARB and any other agency “endorse” – this has been A LOT more difficult than I imagined it would be as I cannot find much at all.  

Do you have any resources for this?  Any help is most appreciated.  Thank you - 

I found the following list on the AIA website (see attached) although it is from 2007.

In her book, Architecture: The Story of Practice, Dana Cuff outlines this summary of the Architect's States of Development


Junior Designer
Middle Years
Junior Designer
Job Captain
Senior Designer
Project Architect
I hope this provides you with some useful information.

Definition of Architect Positions
Excerpted from the 2005 AIA Compensation Report: A Survey of U.S. Architecture Firms Revised May 2007

To collect uniform comparative data about compensation at U.S. architecture firms, the AIA Economics and Market Research team defines typical positions in a typical architecture firm as shown below. These descriptions may or may not be descriptive of positions within your firm, and are provided for information only.


Typically an owner or majority shareholder of the firm; may be the founder; titles may include president, chief executive officer, or managing principal/partner.

Principal or partner; titles may include executive or senior vice president.

Recently made a partner or principal of the firm; title may include vice president.

Senior management architect or nonregistered graduate; responsible for major department(s) or functions; reports to a principal or partner.

Licensed architect or nonregistered graduate with more than 10 years of experience; has overall project management responsibility for a variety of projects or project teams, including client contact, scheduling, and budgeting.


Licensed architect or nonregistered graduate with 8-10 years experience; responsible for significant aspects of projects. Responsible for work on minor projects. Selects, evaluates, and implements procedures and techniques used on projects.


Licensed architect or nonregistered graduate with 6-8 years of experience; responsible for daily design or technical development of project.

Recently licensed architect or nonregistered graduate with 3-5 years of experience; responsible for particular parts of a project within parameters set by others.


Unlicensed architecture school graduate in third year of internship; develops design or technical solutions under supervision of an architect.

Unlicensed architecture school graduate in second year of internship.


Unlicensed architecture school graduate in first year of internship.

Responsible for implementation, standards, upgrades, and training of CAD technology.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, February 14, 2011

Too Old for Architecture

I too am in the same boat but I'm a little more involved in my career and am older. I'm 30 and have both a BA in Economics and a MS in Finance/Business. I've been working in the financial markets for 10 years but I am so tired of it and really can't stand my job! I'm not passionate about it. In high school I loved art and architecture. I took art, design and photography classes. I've traveled around the world and have always focused on the art and architecture of different places. My photo albums of my European and South American trips focus on the architecture and design of the places. This is what interests me and makes me happy. But would giving up all this studying and effort of an older career and pursuing an M.Arch I at 30 or 32 (I would graduate at approx. 35 years old) be too old??? 

In my humble opinion, you are never too old to pursue architecture especially if you cannot stand your current position.  Philip Johnson, one of the greatest 20th century architects did not become an architect until he was 39 years old.  He continued to practice until his death in his early 90s.

Although you will be 35 or so when you enter the profession, you will have an additional 30-50 years to practice architecture until you retire.

During my career, I have met plenty of individuals who have begun their architectural careers at a later age.  In particular, I am reminded of one who had a full career in engineering who stopped to pursue architecture while in his 50s.

As a career counselor, I always promote the advise - pursue your passion!  

Dr. Architecture

ARCHCareers - List of Summer Programs

Each year, I compile a list of the summer programs along with websites and dates for posting;
Below is the list for Summer 2011; it is also posted on the following career site: (


contributed by Dr. Architecture

2011 Design Science Lab - Chestnut Hill College - Philadelphia, PA
June 19–27, 2011 (1 week)

AIA Memphis/University of Memphis - Memphis, TN    
June 6 – 18, 2011 (2 weeks)

Architectural Foundation of San Francisco – San Francisco, CA
Contact School for Dates

Arkansas, University of – Fayetteville, AR
Contact School for Dates

Auburn University - Auburn, AL
June 5 – 10; July 17 - 22, 2011 (1 week)

Ball State University - Muncie, IN
July 10 – 22, 2011

Boston Architectural College - Boston, MA           
July 5 – 29, 2011 (4 weeks)

California at Berkeley, University of - Berkeley, CA           
June 20 - August 12, 2011 (8 weeks)

California at Los Angeles, University of - Los Angeles, CA             
June 20 – July 29, 2011 (6 weeks)

California College of The Arts - San Francisco, CA            
June 27 – July 22, 2011 (4 weeks)

California Poly State Univ. – SLO - San Luis Obispo, CA
June 26 - July 22, 2011

Carnegie Mellon University - Pittsburgh, PA
June 25-August 5, 2011 (6 weeks)

Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History – Pittsburgh, PA
July 18 – 29, 2011 (2 weeks) Additional programs available

Catholic University of America – Washington, DC
July 11 - July 29, 2011 (3 weeks)

Center for Architecture - New York, NY
July 5 - 15, 2011 (2 weeks)

Cincinnati, Univ. of - Cincinnati, OH           
July 17 – 23, 2011

Clemson University - Clemson, SC
June 12 – 25, 2011; July 17 – 30, 2011 (2 weeks)

Columbia University - New York, NY
July 5 – August 5, 2011 (5 weeks)

Cornell University - Ithaca, NY            
June 25 – August 6, 2011 (6 weeks)

Cranbrook Summer Art Institute – Bloomfield Hills, MI           
June 27 -- July 15, 2011 (3 weeks)

Drexel University - Philadelphia, PA
June 10 – 23, 2011 (2 weeks)

Florida, University of - Gainesville, FL
June 19 – July 8, 2011 (3 weeks)

Georgia Institute of Technology - Atlanta, GA           
Contact School for Dates

Harvard University - Cambridge, MA           
June 6 – July 15, 2011 (6 weeks)

Houston, University of - Houston, TX
June 13 – July 15, 2011 (5 weeks)

Idaho, University of - Moscow, ID           
Contact School for Dates

Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago, IL
July 18 – 29, 2011 (2 weeks)

Illinois at Chicago, University of - Chicago, IL           
July 5 – 29, 2011 (3 weeks)

Illinois at Urbana Champaign, University of - Champaign, IL
June 12 – June 25; July 10 – 23, 2011 (2 weeks)

Judson University - Elgin, IL           
July 10 – 15, 2011 (1 week)

Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge, LA           
Contact School for Dates

Maryland, University of - College Park, MD
July 10 – 29, 2011 (3 weeks)

Massachusetts Amherst, University of – Amherst, MA           
July 11 – 29, 2011 (3 weeks)

Miami University - Oxford, OH
June 26 – August 5, 2011 (6 weeks)

Miami, University of - Miami, FL
July 10 – 31, 2011 (3 weeks)

Michigan, University of - Ann Arbor, MI
July 18, 2010 – August 8, 2011 (3 weeks)

Mississippi State University - Oxford, MS
June 10 – 17, 2011

National Building Museum - Washington, DC
July 11 – 22; July 25 – August 5; August 8 – 19, 2011 (grades 3-5)

Nebraska-Lincoln, University of - Lincoln, NE
June 12 - June 18, 2011 (1 week)

New Jersey Institute of Technology - Newark, NJ
July 7 – 8; July 10 – 15; July 17 – 22, 2011

Newschool of Architecture - San Diego, CA           
Contact School for dates

New York Institute of Technology - Old Westbury, NY
Contact School for dates

North Carolina at Charlotte, University of - Charlotte, NC
June 12 - June 17, 2011 (1 week)

North Carolina State University - Raliegh, NC
June 19 – 25; July 10 – 15 (day); July 24 – 30, 2011 (1 week)

Notre Dame, University of - South Bend, IN
June 12 – 24, 2011 (2 weeks)

Oklahoma State University – Stillwater, OK
June 8 – 11, 2011 (1 week)

Oregon, University of - Eugene, OR
July 11 – August 5, 2011 (5 weeks)

Parsons The New School For Design – New York, NY
August 1 – 12, 2011

Pennsylvania State University - State College, PA
July 17 – 21 or July 24 – 28, 2011 (1 week)
Pennsylvania, University of – Philadelphia, PA           
July 3 – 30, 2011 (4 weeks)

Pratt Institute - Brooklyn, NY
July 5 – 29, 2011 (4 weeks)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Troy, NY
July 10 – 22, 2011; July 24 - Aug 5, 2011 (2 weeks)

Roger Williams University - Bristol, RI
July 10 – August 6, 2011 (4 weeks)

Savannah College of Arts & Design - Savannah, GA             
June 25 – July 30, 2011 (5 weeks)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago - Chicago, IL
June 27 - July 15; July 18 - 29, 2010 (2 or 3 weeks)

Southern California Institute of ARCitecture – Los Angeles, CA
Contact School for dates

Southern California, University of - Los Angeles, CA
July 3 – 17; July 3 – 30, 2011 (2 or 4 weeks)

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, IL
June 27 – July 1; July 10 – 15; July 17 – 22; July 25 – 29, 2011

Syracuse University - Syracuse, NY
July 5 – August 12, 2011 (6 weeks)

Texas A&M University - College Station, TX
July 10 – 16, 2011 (1 week)

Texas at Austin, University of - Austin, TX
June 13 – July 16, 2011 (5 weeks)

Tennessee, University of - Knoxville, TN
July 10 – 16, 2011 (1 week)

Tulane University - New Orleans, LA
June 13 – July 1, 2011 (3 weeks)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University - Blacksburg, VA
July 27 – July 1, 2011 (1 week)

Washington University - St. Louis, MO
July 10 – July 23, 2011 (2 weeks)

Washington, University of - Seattle, WA
June 20 – August 19, 2011

Weisman Art Museum - Minneapolis, MN
Contact Museum for Dates

Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Univ. of - Milwaukee, WI
August 7 – 13, 2011

updated: February 12, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

From Anthropology to Architecture

I just graduated in May 2010 with a bachelor's degree in anthropology (I also minored in French and studio art), and have recently been thinking more seriously about architecture as a career, specifically in green roof technology/architecture.  I also worked for a very small architectural firm in DC during my senior year of college, although at that point, I wasn't really interested in pursing architecture.  

In fact, I was planning to go to law school, but my decision keeps wavering on that.  I think if I knew a little more precisely what steps I'd have to take to pursue a career in architecture, then it would help me make a final decision.  Given that my bachelor's is completely unrelated to architecture, will it be difficult in terms of grad school?  Will I have to basically start over again and get a bachelor's in architecture or take a bunch of required courses for grad programs (rather than going to grad school directly)?  Because I was able to test out of them in high school, I have no math or hard science credits from college.  Do you think architecture is still a viable option for me at this point?  

Do you also have recommendations for schools or programs that specialize in green roof architecture?  

Thank you so much for your help - I'm so glad I found your blog!

I am pleased as well that you discovered the blog; allow me to encourage you to also obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition, a book on the topic that will answer all of your questions.

Given your undergraduate degree, you may apply directly to the Master of Architecture (3-4 years); this degree is targeted for individuals like you that have a degree in another discipline.  You will NOT have to start over.  Many of these program do have prerequisites - calculus, physics, drawing -- you will simply need to contact programs directly.  Do you have AP credit from high school for mathematics?

Your minor in studio art will be helpful as you will need to submit a portfolio as part of your application.  Again, check with architecture programs as to the requirements for the portfolio.

To research programs, visit NAAB - or has the ability to search based on key words, including sustainability.

Feel free to contact me if you have future questions.

Computer Software

I was recently laid off of my position as an architect after working for the same firm for 23+ years.  The firm I worked for used VersaCAD as the design/drafting software for all our construction drawings.  No one else in the world uses VersaCAD.  I've been researching job opportunities as an architect in other parts of the state, and it is apparent I will need to have training on some other type of CAD software.  My resources are limited, so I'm trying to figure out what additional training to look for.  Do I do AutoCAD, Revit, BIM, or something else? In some ads I've seen SketchUp, 3D Rendering, Projects, and Uniform Drawing System also listed.  I am familiar with Word, Excel, Photoshop, Acrobat Professional; I know my way around both Mac's and PC's, as we have Mac's at home and I used a PC at work.

I would really appreciate some insight into what additional training might give me the best return (job possibilities) for my investment of time and money.  Thank you.

First, I am sorry to hear that you have been recently laid off especially after 23+ years with the same firm.

As you are seeking this additional training as part of a job search, I would continue to research what software is being used by the firms to which you are interested.  Use you network to ask the same question to learn what is best for you to learn.

Understanding that I currently work within an architecture program, I would suggest considering the following but do talk with professionals in the firms:

Adobe Creative Suite Design Standard (InDesign, Photoshop, Premier Pro, Acrobat Pro, etc.)
Autodesk (AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture, Rasterdesign, 3D Max Design

FormZ RenderZone

Clearly, the shift occuring within the professions is from AutoCAD to BIM (Revit).  While you need to know AutoCAD (you know from your years of VersaCAD), you may wish to know learn BIM.  In addition, be sure to know the various presentation type software (Adobe) and 3D modeling/rendering softwares (FormZ, SketchUp, and Rhino).  In other words, you need to learn it all.

Obviously, many softwares make trial versions of their software available, but many have substantial discounts available for students.  I would suggest taking courses through a community college to learn but also to be able to take advantage of these discounts.

Bottom line, connect with the area schools, firms, and even AIA chapters for possible training opportunities.  One idea is to contact firms to determine if they provide training opportunities for you given your circumstances.

Dr. Architecture

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Community College Courses

What classes should a student take from a community college to prepare them for a BA in Architecture?

First, a student should be in consultation with their target architecture program to determine what courses to take as it may differ from institution to institution.  In most cases, you will want to determine what general education courses are required at the target architecture program -- i.e., calculus, physics, English composition, humanities, social sciences, etc. 

Also determine if the community college has any architecture courses that are transferrable to the target architecture program; while the community college may encourage students to take architecture courses, the target architecture program may not do so or even accept the courses as transfer credit.

If the student's schedule allows, a course in freehand drawing or art may be helpful but again, consult with the target architecture program for guidance and advice.

Dr. Architecture

Direct Admission or Review Process

I have been researching Arch programs for my son and I think it is important for students to note that many of the 4 year programs require presenting a portfolio at the end of sophmore year in order to be “picked” to continue.  Univ of Wash, Univ of Utah, Univ of Montana and Univ of Idaho to name a few.

If a student is paying OOS fees, it can be kind of a rude awakening to find out that you not only can not continue in your program but that you may have trouble transferring to another if you have not completed their prereqs.  Students should note when they are making up their lists which schools are “direct entry” ie Univ of Boulder or Phil Univ with no portfolio and which are “direct entry” after portfolio review ie Univ of Maryland and Univ of Mass.

Thank you for keeping your blog.  I just found it and it is very helpful.
Your observation is a very good one; the actual path of the curriculum with subsequent reviews is not always apparent on an architecture program website; during my professional career, I have worked at three different architecture programs -- Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), University of Maryland, and University of Illinois.  Of the three, only the University of Maryland had what was referred to a Review Process in the spring of the student's sophomore year.  During that review, students accepted to the major as incoming freshmen had to meet certain academic GPA requirements and submit a portfolio to be able to continue to studio as a junior.  In my eight (8) years there, students were not allowed to continue, but the percentages were very low and the students knew the expectations upon entry and also during the recruitment process.

At IIT and University of Illinois, a student was admitted from high school (without portfolios) and could continue through to graduation as long as they meet the University's academic standards, usually a 2.00 GPA.

I do remember that as a student at Michigan many years ago, we had to apply to the architecture program after two years in Literature, Sciences and Arts.  I and my classmates were certainly anxious to hear of the decision; fortunately, I was admitted and graduated.

I would love to hear more of your thoughts and flush out a list that you have compiled for a blog post or incorporate in the next edition of Becoming an Architect, 2nd edition.

Dr. Architecture 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

CAD in High School

 I am a Sophomore in high school, and I am already seriously considering architecture as a career. I do have three major questions relating to CAD-related courses.
   I own your book, Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition, which is great resource for me. When explaining what classes you should take, you mention that CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) courses are low-priority compared to art and drawing classes.
  My school offers not only a basic CAD class, but also specialized CAD classes, including Architecture CAD. The Architecture CAD class includes making floor plans by hand and on the Computer and making 3D models. Do you think this class is an exception to your statement about CAD classes, or did you mean to include classes like this? Also, if I take this class, do you think I should include my work in my portfolio?

My school offers a program where if you complete three progressive CAD courses (e.g. CAD-->Advanced CAD-->Architecture CAD), you get a Certificate of Competency. Do you think any universities would be impressed with that or even recognize it?

One last question: My school also offers a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) course. It's like a wood shop class, but with computers to help you make your project. Should I take it, or is it too much like CAD? Should I include my work in my portfolio?

Thanks for taking the time to read my questions. Sorry if any of them are too wordy or hard to understand. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!

Thanks for your question and compliment on Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

To truly answer your question, I suggest you contact some college and universities that offer architecture and gain their insight.  As one who has serves within an architecture program, I can share that most will share that taking art or drawing courses will be more beneficial than the CAD or CAM courses that you are seeking to take at your high school. 

As much as the architecture profession uses computer as a tool, it is still just a tool.  Taking a creative course that connects your brain, eye, and hand will be more helpful.  Given you have two more years of high school, taking the introductory course in CAD would provide an overview, but I do not think it is necessary to take all three courses as you describe.

You may also wish to access SketchUp -- - a free and easy to use software that is different than CAD.  But also, begin to sketch by hand every day. 

If you have more questions, feel free to contact me again between now and your entering the career.

Dr. Architecture 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm interested in becoming an architect and I have done some research and I have found that some universities that offer the option to undergraduates of receiving a Masters in architecture.  Tulane offers it and Kansas offers it however, despite all the searching I have done, I cannot find a list of all the schools with undergraduate M.Arch programs.  Do you know where I could find a list of universities offering it, or do you know which universities offer it?  I have heard it is becoming more and more popular.

To my knowledge, there is no master list of these Master of Architecture (either undergraduate or 5 years), but I have kept this list but it is not certainly all of the programs. 

Please recognize that some are undergraduate meaning that you typically enter directly right from high school or transfer and graduate with a Master of Architecture; others include both an undergraduate and graduate degree but can be completed in 5 or 5 1/2 years.

Continue to explore programs through -- (NAAB)

If you learn of others, let me know.
Master of Architecture – Undergraduate/5 Years
5-1/2 Year Track: The professional degree program consists of a 5-1/2 year track comprising a pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree and then a Master of Architecture degree. When earned sequentially, the degree track results in the accredited professional education.

Established in 1984 at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, the Hammons School of Architecture is an accredited five-year professional degree program which offers a Master of Architecture degree.

A comprehensive five-year plus curriculum leading to an NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture degree.

Track I is designed for students entering from high school or transferring from another undergraduate program. The curriculum is designed so as to be completed within 5 calendar years, but to do so demands sustained concentration and focus.

The School of Architecture offers a five and a half year professional program leading to a Master of Architecture degree, fully accredited by NAAB.

The four-year, pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture provides students with a broad understanding of architecture followed by a one-year Master of Architecture professional degree that prepares students for registration and professional practice as an architect. Wentworth undergraduate students apply for this program in their fourth year of study.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, February 7, 2011

Aspects of Architecture

As I've done a little more research, another questions popped into mind. I am interested in all aspects of architecture - I like the idea of designing buildings, planning cities, planning regional parks, working in the landscape architecture field, designing big structures or little structures, working in construction, understanding all the materials that are used to most effectively create or improve a building. Does a general M.Arch allow you to get involved in any aspect of building field more easily than a more focused degree (Master's of Urban Planning, Master's of Landscape Architecture)? I have this preconceived notion that if I earn a M.Arch I can find my way into any career I like, but if I pursue a Master's in Landscape Architecture I would have a more difficult time finding work outside of the landscape architecture field. Is that accurate or do I have it wrong?
On the surface, I agree with your premise -- that a degree in architecture will allow you to become involved with many aspects of the built environment.  However, be aware of legal constraints of each related discipline, i.e., landscape architecture.  Landscape architecture is a licensed profession -- -- I am certain that an architect would NOT be able to practice as a landscape architect just as a landscape architect could not practice as an architect.  But certainly, an architect could become involved with landscape architecture or purse the necessary credentials to become one if desired.

As you research architecture programs, you may seek out ones that have either joint degrees or offer both degrees to have the option of taking courses in the related disciplines. 

At this point in your research, you may wish to truly discover these other disciplines - planning, landscape, interiors, construction, etc. by visiting professional associations and/or career websites/books.

American Planning Association -
American Society of Landscape Architects -
American Society of Interior Designers -
American Council of Construction Education -

Occupational Outlook Handbook -

Along with my book, Wiley has a whole series -- of Guide to Careers in Design
Becoming an Interior Designer: A Guide to Careers in Design, 2nd Edition
Becoming a Landscape Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design
Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design

Dr. Architecture

Interior Architecture

I have a Bachelor and Master Degree in Architecture from accredited universities in the US and have practiced with architectural firms for over 6 years.  I do not have my architecture license, however, I am interested in starting my own business in Interior Architecture, including custom millwork, kitchen and bath, and other interior construction such as floor and ceiling design.  I know that there are showrooms that specialize in bathroom and kitchen design that do not have licensed architects, so I am guessing this type of work is permissible, but do not know for sure what the extent of the work I can do without a license is. Is there also any exterior work that can be done without a license?  Also what are the limitations on what I can call myself or my business.  For example is "Architectural Designer" legally an acceptable title, or can I say I practice "Architectural Design"? 

Your help would be truly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First, I would ask how close you are to completing licensure as you may encounter clients that would require the services of an architect through your new business.

With that said, my expertise does not include the legal aspects of what type of work an architect can or cannot do so I went to the source - the state department of professional regulation.  You can obtain a list of them from NCARB --

What is listed below is from the State of Illinois Practice Act; if you note, the items A-D states that an architect is NOT needed for the following.  You will need to check with your particular state to see if there may be difference.

The involvement of a licensed architect is not required for the following: (A) The building, remodeling or repairing of any building or other structure outside of the corporate limits of any city or village, where such building or structure is to be, or is used for farm purposes, or for the purposes of outbuildings or auxiliary buildings in connection with such farm premises. (B) The construction, remodeling or repairing of a detached single family residence on a single lot. (C) The construction, remodeling or repairing of a two‑family residence of wood frame construction on a single lot, not more than two stories and basement in height. (D) Interior design services for buildings which do not involve life safety or structural changes.

However, when an ordinance of a unit of local government requires the involvement of a licensed architect for any buildings included in the preceding paragraphs (A) through (D), the requirements of this Act shall apply. All buildings not included in the preceding paragraphs (A) through (D), including multi‑family buildings and buildings previously exempt from the involvement of a licensed architect under those paragraphs but subsequently non‑exempt due to a change in occupancy or use, are subject to the requirements of this Act. Interior alterations which result in life safety or structural changes of the building are subject to the requirements of this Act. (Source: P.A. 96‑610, eff. 8‑24‑09.)

As for your title, again check with your state and I would be very careful; another reason to continue with obtaining your architectural license.  You may wish to consider contacting the following association.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association

As well, consider joining ASID - American Society of Interior Designers -

Dr. Architecture