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Rank these schools

Feb 5 '13 44 Last Comment
milbesos
Feb 5, 13 6:01 pm

University of Miami (FL)

Tulane

University of Illinois (Champaign)

University of Cincinnati

University of Minnesota

 

ncecchi
Feb 5, 13 6:15 pm

It depends on what you are going for. (What you want to specialize in inside of architecture)

1. Tulane is a great school and my alma mater.

2. U of I @ Champaign - Urbana is the only school I would (in hindsight) consider from that list.

3. Cincinatti

4/5, Florida, Minnesota.

milbesos
Feb 5, 13 6:19 pm

why no interest in Miami? or Cincinnati? Truth is Tulane is likely priced out of consideration, but Miami offered a large scholarship

observant
Feb 5, 13 6:44 pm

University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign (public, very established, but the only one NOT in an urban setting)

University of Cincinnati (public, practical, coop programs)

University of Miami / Tulane (tie) (private, expensive, good, would take Miami to NOLA)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (public, urban, great linkage to practitioner community, but has gotten way "looser" than it used to be in (required) course content)

LITS4FormZ
Feb 5, 13 7:23 pm

University of Cincinnati - You want a job after you graduate right? By far the best on the list. 

University of Minnesota - Have heard nothing but good things about this rising program.

Tulane - Unless you get some serious financial aid I wouldn't even think about enrolling. 

Urbana-Champaign - I can't condone studying architecture in a field. 

Miami - Go to Florida(UF), just not Miami. 

ncecchi
Feb 5, 13 7:28 pm

I totally forgot about financial considerations.

 

The best school is the one you get the full-ride to.

aphorismal
Feb 5, 13 7:55 pm

Cincy has an awesome reputation, and I guess they do really well at placing you in internship too.

observant
Feb 5, 13 9:50 pm

University of Cincinnati - You want a job after you graduate right? By far the best on the list. 

University of Minnesota - Have heard nothing but good things about this rising program.

Tulane - Unless you get some serious financial aid I wouldn't even think about enrolling. 

Urbana-Champaign - I can't condone studying architecture in a field. 

Miami - Go to Florida(UF), just not Miami. 

Agree and disagree.  I looked at UMinn. when applying for M.Arch.3, romanticizing trudging through the snow, drinking some good hot tea, and working on my projects.  At the time, the program was on the quarter system and 2+2, with a significant required core of classes.  I couldn't justify 4 years.  Their current M.Arch. 3 has been stripped down, and has too many electives.  They market it as "cool."  UIUC - true, not a good laboratory for design, but there's a job pipeline into all the best Chicago firms for many of its grads.  In Florida, I would definitely opt for public Univ. of Florida.  Big school, and huddled together with landscape architecture, planning, and building construction.  You can also road-trip to the beach, that is, if you find a FREE day to do so!  Coral Gables might be neat, but good God, it's both expensive to go to U. Miami and to live well in South Florida.

ms. medici
Feb 5, 13 10:42 pm

And Miami has that silly New Urbanist focus.

Spackle
Feb 5, 13 11:36 pm

coming from a planning background and having been forced to drink the kool-aid of Andrews Duanny and his boring wife, I would run the other way from miami...unless you want to specialize in building corky, fake ass suburban communities...

Urbana has a great rep but like LITZ said...it's in farmville USA. Weird. 

Minn...hipsters and hockey make it almost sexy but at the cost of losing your fingers, toes and testicals to frost bite...it's another pass.

tulane does a lot of design builds, which is awesome. really hands on...plus they offer a dual degree in real estate..

Cinci...im supposed to hate this city as I am from Pittsburgh (GO STEELERS!) but it has the strongest reputation out of the bunch and not just regionally. 

sameolddoctor
Feb 6, 13 12:11 am

" The best school is the one you get the full-ride to." Well said.

milbesos
Feb 6, 13 10:20 am

Let me add a few facts just to make your responses more relevant... and by the way, thanks so much for responding and giving opinions, it is much appreciated.

This request actually is for my daughter who is a high school senior. We are from Illnois so UIUC is in-state tuition, Tulane offered no merit money (as of yet), but Miami offered enough money to make it cheaper than UIUC, and it offers a 5 year B Arch, rather than the BS at Illinois, requiring another 2 years of grad school after the 4 year degree. Miami is the only 5 year B Arch other than Tulane, on the list. She also got into Texas but for Architectural Engineering and I think she has decided she really wants to do Architecture, so that one is now a longshot (also expensive as an out of stater). Does this alter any opinions?

l3wis
Feb 6, 13 10:23 am

U Cinci, and maybe U Minn. Both are pragmatic and realistic schools.

UIC is a completely different experience. Much more theoretical and fanciful.

homme_du_jura
Feb 6, 13 11:10 am

" The best school is the one you get the full-ride to."

How true! I'm guilty of having done the precise opposite-I refused a full ride to an average program in a big metropolitan area in order to have the chance to go a top 10 program with a more national reputation. I liked my experience at that schcol, but 10 years into my career, where one went continues to matter less and less, as I work with people who went to more affordable schools all over the country. And I'm still stuck paying off student loans because for my naive and elitist decision.  Unfortunately, the architectural profession is not worth the debt--not by a long shot.  You can have a perfectly fulfilling career by being very careful not to spend too much and accepting that most accredited architecture schools will provide what you need to get there.

milbesos
Feb 6, 13 11:25 am

Those opinions make me think Miami is the pick. It will ultimately be the cheapest route to a license to practice as an architect.

ncecchi
Feb 6, 13 2:38 pm

You should keep in mind that the second-best value in school price may be a proportionally more valuable quality wise than the money you would save. 

Put more clearly, if the second least expensive school is much better than the least expensive, it may be worth looking into. Debt is not just the amount of debt you rack up, but how easy it will be to pay off. 

I had a lesser financial aid package offered from Wash U, which I think is a better school than Tulane, and definitely think it would have been an equivalent if not better investment.

observant
Feb 6, 13 3:19 pm

Nope.  No changes.  In fact, it cements my recommendation.  How does she feel about UIUC?  (Also, within IL, it is a more practical choice than IIT or UIC).  Think of the money you'll save for a BSAS, which she can then put toward the +2 somewhere else, often recommended.  If she wants to work in Chicago, I think homegrown UIUC trumps Cincy.  If she does well at UIUC, then she should go to UMich (+) or even UMinn for the +2.  A UIUC foundation with a UMich +2 is a kick-ass combination.  If she wants a city, and wants to stay in the Midwest, then it would be Cincy and then UMinn.  UMinn is NOT practical.  Check out their curriculum, or have an architect put the curriculum side by side with other curricula.  It is a way different set-up then when I was looking at it.  For that matter, UFl. has changed too, from more nuts and bolts (more tech classes) to more design and theory.  If UT-Austin extended arch. eng. admission to her but NOT architecture, then forget about it.  I think the 5 year or 4+2 argument is moot.  It's only one year.  The combination of a more practical 4 years BSAS with a more design/theory/exploration focused 2 year M.Arch. from a good school, in my mind, is the best way to go. 

milbesos
Feb 6, 13 3:39 pm

So, if I understand correctly, you're saying Illinois (Champaign) is the best option, despite the location.

The advantage of the 5 year is obviously one less year of paying tuition/racking up debt, and (hopefully) one more year gainfully employed paying down debt.

Your primary initial criticism of Miami was cost, but I noted that Miami is actually cheaper per year with the scholarship money, so it is quite a bit cheaper when you add in that you can save a year in school.

I think Minnesota is the least likely choice, mostly due to weather, frankly. She'd go UIUC before Minnesota and actually save a few dollars too, with better Chicago connections.

observant
Feb 6, 13 3:50 pm

If she is given "moolah" to go to Miami, then Miami's fine.  With a handle like "milbesos" ("thousand kisses"), I'm thinking there is some Spanish heritage going on, right?  If she speaks Spanish, all the better, because Miami is a dynamic portal to Latin America.  Will she get this money to U. Miami ALL 5 years?  If so, then, sure, U. Miami.  If the money isn't guaranteed, then UIUC for 4 and somewhere good for 2 more for the M.Arch.  In a way, this takes Cincinnati, Tulane, and UMinn out of the equation for her.  It sounds like you understand that the accredited routes are either 5 year or 4 + 2.  Either way is fine.  The 4 + 2s get some interesting perspectives and different experiences, having seen combos like Wash (Seattle) + UMich, UMich + UVa, etc.

LITS4FormZ
Feb 6, 13 3:54 pm

Wow, please do not turn down in-state tuition...unless you are paying for her education. That changes everything, I don't care what school you are looking into out-of-state, unless she earns a significant aid package, go to  UIUC...I completely retract my previous comment. As mentioned above, IIT and UIC are also great values.

Starting salaries ESPECIALLY IN CHICAGO are extremely low. Paying back debt when you're earning >40k is not fun. 

She'll likely go to grad school...that's when students are faced with the choice of taking on mountains of debt(ivy league) or manageable loans(state schools). Let her go into that choice with her options open. 

milbesos
Feb 6, 13 3:55 pm

Tulane is likely out due to money. UMinn likely out due to weather. Cincy is probably just the least attractive place to go, although I'm wondering if the coop program and overall quality without it being too expensive make it a great option. You are right though, in that it's mostly Miami vs. Illinois. The scholly is for all 5 years, assuming she maintains a 3.0.

Actually, no spanish heritage. I'm just a fan of a song called Mil Besos.

Spackle
Feb 6, 13 5:51 pm

my sis went to miami (BS business) and worked for a architecture and real estate company.  

she had lots of job options after graduating...the market was smokin hot then..still is, especially for latiin markets like someone mentioned. 

However, she bailed after three years and never went back to the field or Miami.

The Miami market is not a great place to start an architecture career from what ive seen, especially for a girl...The men are extremely aggressive and cut throat with each other and have no problem trying to bury a savy young lady in the work place. 

most of the guys i know who went to school there did a BArch and have all left in search of greener pastures...or simply a more "normal" market... chicago, la, nyc, sf...

however I will say this...the education from the school is excellent. the students all rave about it and the experience of going to school in miami..come on..

PARTY in the USA!

observant
Feb 6, 13 6:28 pm

^

I would not call SF a "normal" market.  The worst markets for architects are San Francisco, Seattle, and Boston, even when times are good.  When times are bad, well ...

I had a friend who HAD to live in San Francisco post M.Arch.  His QOL, during internship, was so bad that he bailed, though he loved the experience short-term, and moved back to his lower-cost home state.  I believe he is still in his home state.

I could see what you say about Miami.  While it's very multinational, I could see how a market like Miami would be more competitive, with suave Cubans and Argentinians in the Latin American "power elite" having the inroads to the good commissions.  I could also see how, though subtle, they could have imported some of their chauvinism.  I suppose the new intern could move north to Broward and Palm Beach counties, immediately north of Miami, and it might be better, but I don't know that with certainty.  The slick firms do tend to be in Coral Gables, around the university, if that's what one has to have.

David ColeDavid Cole
Feb 7, 13 3:06 pm

Just a quick plug for Cincinnati (where I'm currently getting my M.Arch.):

Since money is a factor: After your first year at UC and if they meet certain requirements, students are eligible to apply for in-state tuition rates. Very few public universities give you that option.

The co-op program is a huge plus; I recently completed a long co-op at Moore Ruble Yudell in Santa Monica, and my classmates have done co-ops at firms like KPF, Richard Meier, STUDIOS Architecture, UN Studio, Kieran Timberlake, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, and other top firms. The co-op has the side benefit of giving students some income while in school, and giving them a leg up when it comes time to look for a job after school. Many students accept permanent positions with their former co-op employers after graduation. My only caveat about the co-op program would be to make sure you end up at a decent firm where you're actually learning something, and not just making coffee at a local firm that does nothing but grocery store renovations. (If you have any interest in consumer branding and/or retail design, though, Cincinnati is king due to it being headquarters for major companies like Procter & Gamble, Macy's, and Kroger.)

Cincinnati itself, while not without its issues, is working hard to shed its reputation as a stodgy, dysfunctional city, and some exciting things are happening in the central business district and some nearby neighborhoods. It's no New York or Chicago and never will be, but it's certainly a big step up from studying architecture in the middle of a cornfield.

I_wasn't_even_there!
Feb 7, 13 3:43 pm

I did my undergraduate studies at Cincinnati and can say that it is arguably the best school in the country if you are interested in being an architect in the conventional sense.  Coop makes landing a job fairly smooth, the classes are geared towards making students better employees etc.  Cincinnati is an interesting and struggling city that makes design problems all the more weighty.  I actually moved there a year early to get in-state tuition which helped a lot.

By no means would I consider it a program that produces a body of interesting work nor does it attract a large group of passionate students (particularly the undergraduate program.)  However neither of those ingredients are necessary to make money in the building industry. 

David ColeDavid Cole
Feb 7, 13 8:17 pm

^ Agreed. Cincinnati probably isn't the place to go if you're interested in doing bleeding-edge experimental work or being at the forefront of architectural discourse, but an undergrad degree at Cincinnati will give you a strong foundation for doing that stuff at the graduate level at another school if that's your thing.

observant
Feb 7, 13 10:24 pm

I did my undergraduate studies at Cincinnati and can say that it is arguably the best school in the country if you are interested in being an architect in the conventional sense.

I have often heard it is a good school.  As far as those practical schools, throw in Cal Poly SLO, Oklahoma State, and, again, UIUC.  For the comment about going elsewhere after Cincy, she would have to pay out of state rates for the initial 4 years for Cincy, and then go to grad school.  With all the money she'd save at UIUC, she could then go to grad school elsewhere, and could probably find a summer job in Chicago after year 3, maybe even after year 2. 

Cincinnati - the coop program interspersed into the 4 years is unique:

http://daap.uc.edu/content/dam/daap/schools/architecture/docs/BSARCH_curriculum.pdf

Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - the upper part has the requirements over 4 years:

http://www.arch.uiuc.edu/admissions/undergrad/requirements/

For argument's sake, Oklahoma State (2 pages):

http://studentservices.okstate.edu/academics/flowcharts/12-13/ARCH-2012-13.pdf

Cincinnati has followed the trend toward fewer structures courses, having just 1, seen in senior year.  Illinois has 4 in its 4 year program.  Okla. State has 5 in its 5 year program. I believe in 3 to 4 within a BA/BS program.

Janosh
Feb 7, 13 10:40 pm

There is one caveat against B.Arch programs - unless your daughter is absolutely certain that she wants to pursue architecture as a career, the singular focus of a five year professional degree may not serve her well.  For those who think that architecture might be a career for them, an academically rigorous school that offers a 4 year B.S. or B.A. program may be a better fit, and offer her more future options if she doesn't end up pursuing architecture.  

Although I worked with some great Cincinnati kids that were doing co-op when I was an intern (almost ten years ago), my firm's experiences with UC interns have recently been less favorable.  UC offers a good education, but here on the west coast its reputation is diminished by its large size, technical focus and what appear to be less competitive admissions standards.

observant
Feb 7, 13 11:15 pm

@ Janosh:

That is very true.  The 4 yr. BA/BS really tells the student whether he or she wants to continue in architecture, select an allied field of work, or pursue something different altogether.  I had no choice but do the M.Arch. 3, but I would have much rather done 4 + 2 at different schools and sample living in 2 different places.  I've always had the impression the Cal Poly SLO grad was the most employable in the West, and there, technical competence seems to almost override design. 

Dr. Architecture
Feb 8, 13 7:26 am

milbesos - As the Assistant Director at the University of Illinois, may I encourage you and your daughter to visit the program this spring or our Gensler Admitted Open House.

Feel free to contact me

Lee W. Waldrep, Ph.D. - lwaldrep@illinois.edu

Spackle
Feb 8, 13 11:55 am

uh oh! the big dogs came out to play! 

mtt9999
Feb 8, 13 12:15 pm

I'm not sure about this, but although the Co-op may be great for helping with job placement, is it in lieu of a study abroad semester? I graduated from Kansas State University with a BArch 5 year, and during our 4th year we had an option to either study abroad or a semester long internship. I choose overseas and would not trade that for anything. I am a firm believer that studying abroad one semester is far more beneficial for the education of an architect long-run.

This may all be moot however, if at UC they have an abroad semester and a co-op.

What are the study-aborad opportunities at each of these schools, UIC or Miami? Have you talked with your daughter about if and where she would like to study abroad, and what type of study program (how many students? what country? with host family? independent living? as part of a larger group?). This may also be another deciding factor in the school.

milbesos
Feb 8, 13 12:22 pm

Dr. Architecture - we are planning to visit UIUC (or she is anyway) for sure. I will be sure she is in touch with you prior to the visit.

David ColeDavid Cole
Feb 8, 13 2:00 pm

I'm unaware of study abroad options at Cincinnati per se, but my classmates have spent co-op terms in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Tanzania, and other overseas places.

Some degree tracks (maybe not for undergrads) also include an "option semester" in which students may elect to travel abroad, and some elective studios and seminars offer the opportunity for international travel for a specific project.

observant
Feb 8, 13 2:19 pm

milbesos - As the Assistant Director at the University of Illinois, may I encourage you and your daughter to visit the program this spring or our Gensler Admitted Open House.

Spackle, that comment about the big dogs is funny.  Let's all run back into our doghouses.

UIUC is excellent for the first 4 years, because it's very comprehensive.  It has sort of fallen in the graduate program rankings over the years, but is highly respected for their undergraduate B.S.  If you look at their +2, one sees the typical: a studio each term, a pro practice class, a structural capstone, and a theory class ... all else is elective.  One essentially can design that sort of +2 anywhere.  Many who do well at UIUC in undergraduate gain admission to other selective M.Archs. 

Milbesos - with the additional insight about the (probably true) nature of the Miami market and since you are in-state, she should probably go to UIUC and then somewhere else for her Masters, if she chooses to.  At this point, Illiniois licenses architects with 4 year degrees anyway, but keep in mind that not every state does.

Dr. Architecture
Feb 8, 13 4:38 pm

P.S. Effective, December 31, 2013, the state of Illinois will no longer an individual become licensed with only a four year pre-professional degree.  One will now need a professional accredited degree.

Thanks!

observant
Feb 8, 13 5:33 pm

P.S. Effective, December 31, 2013, the state of Illinois will no longer an individual become licensed with only a four year pre-professional degree.  One will now need a professional accredited degree.

Thanks!

Thank YOU.  This is interesting news.  This means the number of states allowing this is dwindling, from what was represented on the NCARB master list.  I started a poorly received thread about continuing to license people with a HS education, and was lambasted by non-graduate and graduate architects alike.  I don't think this was ameliorated by another thread I started where I called for the scrapping of the merciless IDP system and returning to the previous timed internship system, preceded by a degree.  At any rate, since you are one of the "big dogs," I ask that you refrain from commenting. 

EKE
Feb 8, 13 6:57 pm

!. University of Miami, because it has that awesome New Urbanist focus.

 

:)

curtkram
Feb 8, 13 7:10 pm

 I ask that you refrain from commenting.

that's not how public forums work.  he's made the conflict of interest he has with illinois known, so it's not like he's being deceptive or anything.  all in all, the good dr. seems like one of the better posters here.

his input is quite valuable, especially since his real-world experience directly speaks to the question originally asked.  also, his input on idp, internships, and registration is as valuable as anyone's.

i went to uiuc for grad, and i'm not currently affiliated with or employed by the school.  if there are any specific questions it might seem like i would be better able to answer i'll do my best.  the non-urban environment is a thing if that's important.  i seem to recall there were more churches than bars which does not entirely mesh with choices i've made in life.  as is too common, box stores all moved out to the interstate which is a ways away and smaller local shops in the downtown areas were unable to compete.  it was hard to get groceries without a car.  the NCSA is there and, with professor malnar's help, i was able to see some of their stuff so it can be technologically forward in some ways.

observant
Feb 8, 13 9:03 pm

that's not how public forums work.  he's made the conflict of interest he has with illinois known, so it's not like he's being deceptive or anything.  all in all, the good dr. seems like one of the better posters here.

I know.  Since he is in academia, and his affiliation is known, I didn't want to pull him into the Education-Training-Examination diatribe, for which I am the sponsoring "ass hole," if you will.  And I am plugging his, and your, school in this quest for advice.

milbesos
Feb 11, 13 5:33 pm

Cincinnati offered up some scholarship money, too, although  probably not enough to impact the final decision too much (it will still be more expensive than Miami or Illinois).

observant
Feb 11, 13 5:40 pm

UIUC 4 yr BS + M.Arch. 2 yr somewhere else

Miami 5 yr B.Arch.

My 2 cents.

l3wis
Feb 11, 13 5:47 pm

public cinci will be more expensive than private miami? i highly doubt it..

milbesos
Feb 11, 13 6:01 pm

well, jk3hi, it is. Miami is about $15,000 more per year in tuition, but offered more than 15k more than Cincy did, way more, actually.

observant
Feb 11, 13 6:10 pm

A UIUC undergrad will give her more options and a better education.  Their curriculum is more balanced, minus the internship part, which she can still do in summers.  Also, keep in mind that UIUC, overall, is a nationally, if not world renowned school, and Cincy is not.  Forget Cincy.  Additionally, not everyone who embarks in architecture, even a 5 year, ends up doing the traditional thing with it - some work for developers, facility managers, construction companies, and whatnot.  Unless she doesn't want to go to school with a bunch of her HS peers in tow, or wants to really get away from home, the best solution is in your back yard, so to speak.

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