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Nope. All you need is a BArch of MArch from an accredited school from NAAB. There are many schools in the US that do not have an accredited architecture programs, so those degrees are usually called a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (or some similar manifestation). If you get a bachelors from a non-accredited school you need to go into the Professional MArch programs (usually called MArch I). If you already have an accredited Bachelors you can get your license (with work experience and exams) and when you go to grad school you go into a post-professional degree (usually called an MArch II). Hope this answers your questions
My $0.02: If you want to be or work for a starchitect, you pretty much have to go with the ivy leagues. If you want to do your own thing on a smaller scale, work at a small boutique firm, or work for the Genslers and HOK's of the world; it probably doesn't matter. Thom Mayne, Jeanne Gang, and Joshua Prince-Remus all come from Ivy Leagues.
Outside of that, things to consider are schools in the area you want to work (networking) schools that focus on your interests, schools that offer assistance, and above all - which one feels right.
You won't be paying off that Ivy League debt anytime soon in this economy. I believe that this economic depression will leave us seeing less excess in architecture and more of an efficient ingenuity, if you will. Herzog & DeMeuron's museum is a good example. The budget couldn't support the original design of numerous buildings with all different shapes; and while their new solution is simpler, I would call it efficient ingenuity.
If you don't want to get married & have kids for a long time, and you truly want to make architecture your life, the Ivy League is a good call. If you want family & kids, and don't want to work 80 hr weeks on a regular basis doing architecture; you're very wise to consider the question of debt. You're not going to be worth enough more money with an Ivy League diploma to pay off your debt more quickly.
I am in a similar predicament. After thinking for a long time, I am seriously considering the option of not attending graduate school for Architecture. At least not soon. I am heart broken, even at the possibility! But unless there is a drastic change of events, such as, being taken off of the Clemson wait list it will probably be. I can not with a clear conscience, willingly take on close to 100k in debt for one degree. I love architecture. But my undergrad degree was a gift from my parents and after that sacrifice it seems silly to take drown myself in loans that I will probably be paying along with the tuition of my children. Does anyone else feel this way? I guess I am looking for an out. How are you current students dealing with this reality? Is it as bleak as I picture it...It is raining...I could just be being dramatic. ;)
@thinkgreen: Another way to look at it, is that your parents blessed you with a free Bachelors education so that you would be able to get an $100,000 masters if you needed it. Many people cant get their masters because they still owe $50,000+ on their Bachelor's. Honestly, do you really think your parents would be mad or sad if you got a degree from Columbia, Harvard, Yale, or MIT?? Of course not. That would make them especially proud, as if their sacrifice to pay your your bachelor's paid off...
Just to step backwards a little bit: many of the greatest architects in history did not go to architecture school or receive a degree in any discipline. Some never even finished high school. There are also several heavyweight scholars that did not attend post-graduate school but have an excellent body of critical scholarship and hold positions at many fine institutions. I personally find the most traction with those architects and academics that come from outside of pre-determined conduits to be the most fascinating and relevant to my own interets. I also share the view that the rise of specialized and categorically defined subsets in educational institutions of architecture to be problematic for many reasons (maybe another thread is in order).
That being said, the ivies do have TREMENDOUS resources for research and the benefit of a wide applicant pool and prestigious history that ensures a certain pedigree of students. HOWEVER, from personal experience, the academe at the ivies and elsewhere really, can sometimes also be insular, even vacuous enough in some respects that critical thinking which falls outside of defined modalities for learning and in opposition to whatever the prevailing pedagogy is at the respective institution, is left to fizzle and evaporate.
Being a student at an ivy league program offers benefits for scholarly growth unavailable elsewhere, but can also constrain dialogue and order knowledge enough that it becomes smothering. You certainly don't need a degree from an ivy league institution to pursue critical inquiry or develop as a designer but rather the sharpness of your own pen/exacto and mind. Foucault gloriously states that knowledge is not for knowing, knowledge is for cutting—which can cause some problems in any establishment.
If you attend Pratt you could easily be looking at 200k in debt. I have been quoted $77,000 for the first year alone.