Sunday, November 27, 2011

CV or Resume for Graduate Applications

Could anyone with experience applying to grad school, or experience in an admissions office, help me delineate which of the following would or would not be appropriate to include on my CV?
  • Actual descriptions of the scholarships and awards I've won (without actual dollar amounts, though, right?).  Could this get repetitive? 
  • Work experience that is irrelevant to architecture, i.e. waitressing jobs
  • A list of skills with various programs like CAD, Adobe CS5 Suite, Sketchup, VRay, etc.
  • Academic-related travel experiences -- I could go into detail here, but it would also be mentioned briefly under the "study abroad" category of my education, so I don't know
  • Fluency in a language
  • Descriptions for architecture organizations in which I really don't do much (i.e. AIAS)
I'm only used to making resumes, so I'm not sure what's appropriate for this purely academic situation. 

To determine what is most appropriate, I would consider contacting the actual academic programs to which you plan to apply.

Otherwise, do not get caught up on the differences between a CV and resume.  Simply include a resume that outlines the appropriate information pertinent to applying to a graduate program.

What you list above are all appropriate except for irrelevant work experience.  Of course, I do not think you need to include detailed descriptions of scholarships or architecture organizations.

If desired, have the career center at your school review.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Architecture Portfolio

I am going to apply for the Master of Architecture, I am planning to put the urban design works into my portfolio because my major is Urban Design Studies. I just wonder do the most university want to see the fine art works or architecture and urban design projects in the portfolio?

Congratulations on your intention to apply to a Master of Architecture.

Your best resource to determine what graduate programs wish to see in a portfolio is to contact them directly.  As you will discover, they wish to see creative work -- this can include both fine art works or architecture/urban design projects.

Below are some portfolio requirements from architecture programs as examples.

Another resource is Portfolio Design by Harold Linton -- --

The portfolio is a key element that provides essential evidence as to the applicants ability to be successful in the graduate program. Only evocative and professional portfolios with clear, concise graphics and verbiage that show the best of an applicants work should be submitted. The design and execution of the portfolio is an important indication of an applicant's design ability. Portfolios should conform to the following standards and guidelines.
Applicants to the professional degree, NAAB-accredited MArch., with little or no design background, may consider submitting examples of visual materials such as sketches, constructions, graphics and photographs.
The portfolio is a synopsis of one's creative work. As a visual essay, it tells a story of a person's interests, skills, and development over time. It should include projects that best express one's visual, spatial, and constructional abilities. These projects might include drawings, paintings, sculpture, or photography; graphic, industrial, or interior design; architectural, landscape, or urban design.

Best in your applications.

Transfer Questions

Dr. Architecture, first let me say your blog is very informative. 
Thank you for taking the time to answer questions for those of us who are clueless. I am in need of some advice. I am currently a first semester freshman at a local public research university. I am strongly considering transferring to a different university next fall to study architecture. My problem is that I have absolutely no art or design background, though I do have a strong musical background and am well acquainted with the creative process. 
My grades are excellent (I already have 9 hours worth of credit from dual enrollment classes I took in high school, and I have High A's in all my classes this semester so far. I expect to maintain my 4.0 gpa), but all of my credit hours are just general education. I am very driven, and I know I will do well wherever I go, but I really have no idea If this is a feasible plan, or what to take next semester. I still have some general education classes I could take, but I don't know what sort of classes are necessary to have already taken in order to transfer into an architecture program. 
I guess my question is, what are the steps I need to take in order to make a successful transition into an Architecture program? Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

Thanks for your compliment!

As one who works within a School of Architecture at a Big Ten Research I University, I would not worry too much about your lack of art or design background.  Research the programs to which you wish to transfer but many may not require a portfolio.  Our program is a 4 + 2 which has almost all general education courses (liberal arts) in the first year and one required architecture course.

The best way to determine what to take next semester is to contact the respective programs to which you are applying.  Have you done Calculus and Physics?  Can you take art/freehand drawing courses at your current school?  Are there more general education courses that you can take?

Granted, you may NOT be wish to transfer to a five-year BArch program because you would be behind, but I know of many 4 + 2 MArch programs that would be just fine for you.

To successfully transfer, you need to contact and talk with the architecture programs directly.  Review what they have their first year students (freshmen) take and parallel it.  Talk with an academic advisor in the architecture program and the Office of Admissions. 

Keep in touch.  Best.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Professions in Canada

I am graduated in Nuclear Physics in Iran. But I am  a Canadian citizen. I want to pursue my education in Canada . I am fond of interior design. I really like to design and make the inside of houses and restaurants and offices calmness ,beautiful ,interesting. I have searched for Interior Design as a master program , unfortunately I have not found any things. Is master of Landscape Architecture  suitable for me?  If yes , I do not take any architecture courses , I just make some handicrafts for designing  houses, can I apply for  Master of Landscape Architecture and  Architecture  at Canadian universities ?
And, does it have some smaller courses? I mean, I do not mind to study master of it , if there is any certificates, or courses which take less time ( about 6 months or so) and help me to find a good job.

First, my expertise is in becoming an architect in the U.S., not interior design nor landscape architecture in Canada.  With that said, check the following for CIDA accredited programs in Canada.  One institution, states that they have a Master of Interior Design.
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB
Master of Interior Design (2005, 2011)

Below are accredited landscape architecture programs in Canada.

If you wish to pursue architecture, visit the following.

I would suggest you determine which of the design disciplines you wish to pursue and do so.  Best.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bridging the Gap - New Book

Bridging the Gap: Public-Interest Architectural Internships, an essay collection edited by Professor Georgia Bizios and intern architect Katie Wakeford brings together twenty-two contributors across the United States to address a broad range of considerations regarding public-interest internships.

“Bizios and Wakeford have assembled a timely, convincing, and highly useful collection of essays that demonstrate the power of public service to expand the education of architects through direct community engagement, greatly multiplying the dividends of internship. ‘Bridging the Gap’ enriches the literature on public-interest practice, and establishes the relevance of social equity to our continuing discourse on professional development.”
Professor Daniel S. Friedman
Dean, College of Built Environments, University of Washington

Having just read the above book, I can honestly say that it is a must-read for all architecture students.  It provides a window into the world of public service internships including the Rose Enterprise Fellowship.

Regardless of whether you wish to enter public service, you should still read this collection of essays.  My only hope is that the text helps convince the profession to be more accepting of this type of internship as a requirement for licensure.
Dr. Architecture.

Bridging the Gap

Career Days - Dallas, TX and New York, NY

Between now and the end of the year, I will be speaking/presenting on Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition at two different career days for aspiring architects and the annual AIAS Forum.

If you live in these regions, feel free to attend.

2B an Architect
Dallas, TX
AIAS Dallas - Saturday, November 19

ARCHSchools Confidential
New York, NY
AIA NYC - Tuesday, November 30

AIAS Forum - Saturday, December 31

Volunteering for an Architecture Firm

I'm in grad school for my masters' degree in architecture. As you are probably aware, jobs in architecture, especially in entry level positions, are slim to none. I am pondering about working at a firm as a volunteer to become familar with the workings of an architecture firm. I'm 40 years old(I hope that my age does not make a difference), I do want to become an architect, more than anything. How should I approach an architecture firm to work as a volunteer? 

I have a technical diploma in AutoCAD 2010. In school, I'm currently learning Photoshop CS,Adobe Illustrator and model making, and I'm experienced with Word,Excel,Outlook, Powerpoint and Publisher. If it means anything, I've designed and built furniture for the past 5 years. Any advice you can give me will be greatly valued and appreciated.

I can certainly appreciate that securing a position within architecture is challenging, but I would NOT recommend that you "volunteer" for a firm as a means of gaining experience.  First, it its strictest form, it is against Federal Labor Laws.  If you work for a firm, they are obligated to pay you minimum wage, at least.

Based on what you have shared you have talents to offer a firm and should continue your efforts to secure a paid position.  You may need to cast a wider net of employers including furniture design.  As this point, you want to develop your skills and ideally you wish to work for a firm, but others might benefit from your past experience and skills.

Begin to network with your faculty or alums of your institution to find possible leads. 

As an alternative to volunteering in a firm, consider volunteering for a non-profit or shadow an architect, but please do not work for free.

Best - Dr. Architecture

Monday, November 7, 2011

Architectural Specializations

Dear Dr. Architecture,
I’m a graduate of B.Arch from India. I have a few years of experience working in architectural firms in Hong Kong. I have seen many people’s comment on the net saying they had their advices from Dr. Architecture. I have never known who it was, after only coming across your website and found it was you. The website was very interesting and I personally need some advices from you.
I have completed my professional degree of B. Arch (five years). Although B.Arch and M.Arch are professionally equivalent, the term Bachelors and Masters make people tend to think the B.Arch is lower than the M.Arch. Moreover many large architectural corporate firms job requirements were a Master degree rather than a Bachelor Degree. Even many architects think B.Arch is not as equal to M. Arch.
In India the architecture curriculum is of 5 years to attain B.Arch. Then an M.Arch (2 years) which is considered a Post Graduate-Masters. But many people mistaken it to be M.Arch – Graduate degree. Moreover just a basic M.Arch degree of 2 years is never opted by majority of the students instead they go for Masters in some specialized field. Many people from India after completion of B.Arch go to U.S.A or U.K. for pursuing M.Arch – Graduate degree (which is equivalent already) without this knowledge.
I learned from your website that the B.Arch and M.Arch degree is professionally equivalent. My degree is not recognized by the HKIA (Hong Kong Institute of Architects) although I’m recognized in India by the COA (Council of Architecture, India). I thought of doing a Masters in some specialized field in U.K. or in U.S.A rather than just doing a basic Masters. So I’m looking in for a Post Professional Masters in some specialist field relating to architecture.
It’s confusing for me to take into a specialism because I really don’t know which interests me. I thought working for some time would help me figure out which stream to take but still I’m confused as the work which I normally do in the office is all general planning and design. I wanted to know all the available specialism streams in architecture so that I would know which would interest me.
I hope you could sort out my problem and I truly appreciate any time you have to advise me.
Thank you in advance.

First, the BArch and MArch (from U.S. institutions) are professionally equivalent in the U.S. in terms of accreditation.  This is not necessarily the case with foreign degrees such as yours.

If you desire a post-professional degree, you would be well served to seek a M.S. in Architecture in the United States.  However, if you ever wish to become licensed in the U.S., you may wish to obtain the professional M.Arch.  Another route is the BEFA program through NCARB.

With that said, you question involves specializations.  Unlike perhaps medicine, the list for architectural specializations would infinite long, but the list below is a starting point.  It is from, a database of accredited programs in the U.S. and Canada.  If you desire, you can search programs based on the specializations.

Also, as you have the professional degree from India, you could also pursue a degree in a related discipline such as Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, etc.

Architectural Design
Art and Design
Building Information Modeling
Building Technology/Environmental Systems
Community Design
Computer-Aided Design
Graphic Design
Interior Design/Architecture
International And Regional Architecture
International Development
Landscape Design
Professional Practice
Sacred Spaces
Urban Planning and Design
Dr. Architecture