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Guidance re: M.Arch degree

Dec 3 '12 2 Last Comment
Prometheus
Dec 3, 12 8:48 pm

I'm a working professional looking at studying architecture as a grad student in Fall 2014. I graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a BS in Business Administration, but I have been interested in architecture for a long time and now want to go to grad school to study it.

Professionally I want to focus (at least at this time) on residential and commercial architecture, but that could change as time goes on. Stylistically, I lean more towards neo-modernism and some elements of post-modern architecture.

Now as a non-design major, I realize I am at a disadvantage, but how much so? I have been trying to work on this by working to improve my art skills (sketching, mainly) but also by trying to network with local architects and architecture firms in an effort to create a professional network that will hopefully help me later if I successfully get into (and graduate) from a master's program.

Here's what I'm curious about:

1) Paying for school: I want to keep the loans to a minimum, but I suspect this may be impossible given my low GPA (2.83) and the fact that I'm not a design major. Suggestions?

2) Where to go: Obviously IIT is at the top of my list since I had undergraduate experience with the architecture program (a semester long project) and love the school overall, but I also want to keep my options open. I want schools that have strong alumni networks but which also produce architects that actually get buildings built.

3) What to look for in good architecture programs: All I basically know to look for are "Do I like the feel of this school?" and "Do I like the output of the students and faculty?"...but there has to be better criteria for choosing schools, especially for such a long-term decision.

4) Anyone have examples of successful portfolios from both design- and non-design majors? I have trouble trying to find a solid example to look at/aspire to. ALSO: What is the general consensus on digital renderings in portfolios? If I had to apply tomorrow for school, my digital renderings ala Sketchup are certainly better than my hand sketches (for the time being).

Any and all other suggestions are certainly welcome. I definitely need the help!

 

Ronel ConstantinRonel Constantin
Dec 5, 12 2:43 am

I would suggest that you take calculus and physics before applying. Make sure the school is accredited for the architecture program. For any non design major, a master in artchitecture is three years or 3.5 year.

James KehlJames Kehl
Dec 5, 12 10:11 am

i don't think having calc and physics on your transcript will help you get into schools... they are prerequisites but if you're accepted they give you time to complete them. don't spend your time on that.

IIT sounds like the perfect school for you. Also there is probably a greater chance of acceptance since you are a business alum. I would research University of Cincinnati, Clemson, and Cal Poly. Those are great schools which are reputed to be very practical, yet produce good designers.

Actually, those 2 questions really are the ones you should be asking yourself. Another is, where do I want to practice after graduation? Going to IIT is going to increase your viability in the Chicago / Illinois area, but is not the very best place to go to if you wish to work on the east coast.

Look in the 'applicant commiseration' or 'portfolio results' threads here on archinect for examples

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