I'm looking to apply to M.Arch I programs for fall 2013 and since I have little background in architecture, I'm having trouble figuring out what characterizes each program. I've been hearing that some schools focus a lot on design and as the building as a work of art whereas other programs focus more on the relationship between the architect and the urban planner, the building as a part of a larger system, and the architect as less of an artist and more of a community builder and humanitarian. Obviously these divides are not razor sharp and there will be a bit of both at every school, but I've even seen on this forum characterizations of schools as more "design-focused" than others yet I'm still not quite sure what that means.
Can I get some advice about the general characterizations of the more well-known programs? Is it true that east coast schools are more design focused and west coast schools are more focused on community development? Are there any schools that stick out in either of those extremes? Are there schools that are known for their integration of these two focuses? Am I totally making all this up?
Before getting the details of MArch programs, start with the basics by understanding what is required for MArch program with regards to accreditation. In other words, what MUST architecture programs teach (2009 NAAB Conditions) -- http://www.naab.org/accreditation/2009_Conditions.aspx --.
Next begin to research programs via the following --
After learning the minimums, you can begin to research the differences between the programs. You will find programs more design oriented, more technical oriented, but ensure that you are learning all that you need to become an architect.