Thursday, July 28, 2011

BArch vs. MArch - Follow-up!

I have two last questions: With the 4+2 program, do people usually continue on to grad school right after undergrad? I've heard that it is beneficial to first gain experience in the real world through years of internships before acquiring an MArch, but this is just what I've heard (Or is it yet for another path??)

The BArch and MArch are professional programs and accredited for licensing purposes. What does this "professional" part mean, and to employers, is a person with a professional degree (specifically the BArch) with no license on the same plate as a person with a nonaccredited degree (BS Arch for example)? 

Your question on what graduates in the 4+2 program is the million dollar question.  In other words, it is truly up to you as to what is best for you.  Truly, I think that most graduates from a four-year pre-professional BS in Architectural Studies degree will continue their studies in a Master of Architecture upon graduation.  Another question for you is whether you stay at the same institution or pursue graduate studies at a different one.  Personally, I did six years of study consecutively, but I entered a different institution for my graduate studies.

However, some graduates will take time between their degrees to enter the workforce and gain experience in the profession.  They do so to earn monies, determine their next step in their career, or simply take a break from their studies.

Still others will depart from architecture and pursue graduate studies in another discipline (urban planning, landscape, law, to name a few) or seek employment in another field.

As to your other questions -- professional means that the degree program (BArch or MArch) is the degree for which you need to enter the profession.  Lastly, someone with a BArch would have an advantage over someone with the BS Arch (pre-professional) degree because they have the degree necessary for licensure.

Think of it this way; you are an employer that has two employees, one with a BArch and one with a BS Arch.  At one level both employees can do parallel tasks, but the BArch has the professional degree and needs no further education to obtain the license.  The BS Arch candidate does need further education and may depart after a certain length to pursue the MArch. 

This does NOT mean that the BArch is better than the BS Arch.  It is just one more aspect of the degrees to consider.

Monday, July 25, 2011

BArch vs. MArch

First of all, thank you for giving so much of your time and experience answering questions and maintaining an extremely useful website! It's provided me with so much guidance and information.

I've been browsing many architecture firms' websites, looking their architects' educational backgrounds, and also looking at the educational backgrounds of my own instructors as well as university professors from different schools, and I realized that most have M.Arch degrees with either BS/BA in Architecture or another field. I rarely saw people with BArch's, and the few with BArch's continued on to pursue an MArch.

Am I looking in the wrong places and making the wrong generalizations about the BArch's lack of popularity in the real world? I know there are other careers that architects can pursue, but I'm just more familar with the private and educational sectors that architects can go into.

I'm going to start my 2nd year as a BArch major this fall, but I'm beginning to have doubts about whether it is too limited of a path.

In general, I'm curious where the BArch. people disappear to. Do firms see the BArch as just a Bachelors (like bachelors versus masters), or as a professional degree that is somewhat equivalent to an MArch?

Again, thank you for your help!

I truly find your email/question interesting because I have not seen the BArch through your perspective before.

I cannot say for sure, but up through the late 1960s, the BArch was almost the exclusive professional degree in architecture.  At this point in time, the profession determined that another route - the 4+2, was a viable option to develop.  From the late 1960s and continuing today, architecture programs have been converting from their BArch to the 4+2 MArch.  Along the way, the 4+3 MArch was developed (1980s) where an individual with an undergraduate degree with another discipline could simply pursue the graduate level.

For the longest time, the BArch was still the degree offered at the majority of architecture programs; now, it is the Master of Architecture.

Ultimately, I would suggest you view YOUR degree based on what you wish to accomplish in the profession.

For purposes of licensure, the BArch and MArch are parallel.  Both meet the education standard with jurisdictions to become an architect.  However, many BArch graduates will continue their education to pursue a MArch (post-professional) degree.  This could explain what you see -- If you see an architect with an MArch, it is the 4+2 MArch or someone with a BArch who also obtained the MArch.

I would NOT simply abandon your BArch.  Instead, consider what you wish to do with the degree.  It would allow you to become licensed; in addition, you could always continue your education if desired in architecture or a related discipline.

With that said, you could certainly transfer to a 4+2 MArch route but would need to wait until Fall 2012 to do so.

If possible, try to connect with some of the professionals that you viewed to learn of their career path and their thoughts on the two degrees.

Feel free to contact me again with additional questions.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Success by Design

For the past two days, I have been attending and presenting at the AIAS Grassroots Leadership Conference.  I led a series of four workshops under the Career track.

During the conference I connected with Jenn Kennedy, the author of the new book, Success by Design: Revealing Profiles of California Architects.  While I have not yet a chance to fully read the book, I now that I can highly recommend it as it introduces you to 25 successful architects (Barton Myers, Ray Kappe, Art Gensler among them) and discusses how their career path.  Not to mention, the book includes images of their work.  

"this book offers stories of many diverse paths to success for those interested in starting or managing an architecture practice" -- Jenn Kennedy

If your desire is to become an architect, do check it out via her website - ArchitectSuccess.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, July 18, 2011

Portfolio - What is Reasonable?

In May, both received their Master’s in Architecture.  One of them has been interning for a two-person firm (Principal and CAD operator) since January 2010.  He/she has continued to work there after graduation but was not given a full-time position. 

My question is this, how do you design a portfolio of your work to look for full-time positions if the owner will not allow any copies of your work (done at his firm) to be used?  He/she was very careful to remove any personal data from the drawings (regarding the individual the work was being done for, etc) and also included a disclaimer stating the ideas were not his; the work being presented for his portfolio was only the CAD design work, etc. 

This was not acceptable to the Principal.  He explained that no work could leave the premises.  Does this mean that the only work he can use in his portfolio will be from the work he did in college?  That seems a little unrealistic if you’re competing with so many others.  Is this common?

Thanks for your help.  He/she is also trying to get some answers to this question, but I noticed your blog and thought you might be able to give some guidance.

Upon first glance, I was not sure how to address your question, but did find the following Rule in the AIA Code of Ethics -- --

I downloaded the full Code of Ethics and found this Rule that is certainly related to your question.  The issue is whether or not the firm/principal is an AIA member.  If so, you could file a violation; if not, all you could do is appeal to his common sense as stated in this rule.

Rule 5.303 A Member shall not unreasonably withhold permission from a departing employee or partner to take copies of designs, drawings, data, reports, notes, or other materials relating to work performed by the employee or partner that are not confidential.

Commentary: A Member may impose reasonable conditions, such as the payment of copying costs, on the right of departing persons to take copies of their work.

Below is a related rule that your son-in-law appears to be following:
Rule 5.302 Members leaving a firm shall not, without the permission of their employer or partner, take designs, drawings, data, reports, notes, or other materials relating to the firm’s work, whether or not performed by the Member.

I do hope this helps!

Dr. Architecture

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Architecture vs. Journalism

I am a high school senior trying to decide what major to pursue in college. I really enjoy organizing/planning spaces; on the other hand, I love writing. That presents two totally different majors: architecture and journalism. If I were to pursue journalism, would a university allow me to take architecture electives simultaneously? Then, after earning a bachelors in journalism with a few architecture credits, would I be able to pursue a masters in architecture?

Thanks for your help!

First, I would not suggest you necessarily pick one over the other at this point in your life.  To keep your options open, attend a university that has both majors - journalism and architecture.  Assuming that the institution has an architecture minor, you could pursue an undergraduate degree in journalism and a minor in architecture.  Afterwards, you could pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years) for those that have a unrelated degree (journalism).

As well, you could pursue architecture as an undergraduate degree with a possible minor in journalism.  Again, pursue the Master of Architecture (2-3 years) for the professional accredited degree necessary for licensure.

At this point, keep both option open by writing and sketching.  
Here are some resources I found be searching on the two topics in Google.

Master of Arts in Design Criticism

Dr. Architecture

Friday, July 15, 2011

Urban Planning

I am an architecture student as well, but I have an interest in Urban Planning. Do I need to get a different degree to go into that field? 

Much depends on what you wish to do with your interest in Urban Planning.  At first, you could simply take a few courses in the subject assuming your institution offers such courses.

Next, you could certainly pursue a degree in Urban Planning beyond your degree in architecture.  Many institutions offer a joint degree in architecture and urban planning.  Other resources to research are the following:

American Planning Association -

Dr. Architecture