UIUC vs. U of Cincinnati


Since graduate school decisions are upon us, I'm wondering: Is Cincinnati's program better than UIUC?

Apr 11, 13 2:40 pm

What are you looking for in the program? Extremely Technical? Extremely Creative?

Apr 11, 13 2:52 pm

Not that you were, WoTARE, but I would caution you, jz712, not to characterize those schools using those words...

UC is not extremely 'technical' and UIUC is not extremely 'creative'... UC's curriculum is more practical and UIUC's is more theoretical.

Apr 11, 13 3:03 pm


first you need to specify which program you want:  the M.Arch. after already having a BA or BS in Architecture or the M.Arch. for someone who has never studied architecture?  That will make a difference.

Apr 11, 13 5:44 pm

jz712,  first you need to define what 'better' means to you. That will be a good start towards answering your question. Grad school has a lot to do with what YOU make of it. It is also very important wether or not one of those two schools have faculty you can connect with.

Good luck.

Apr 11, 13 6:49 pm

skyline, bitches!

Apr 12, 13 12:20 am
Dr. Architecture

Rather than rely on individuals within the forum, have you contacted each of the programs or better yet - visited.  I would argue that neither is better than the other, they are simply different in some ways and similar in others.

Your job is to find which is best for you given what you are seeking.  Make a list of criteria and determine how each program meets your list.


Apr 13, 13 6:08 am

The OP didn't answer which program.

M.Arch. 2 year - it doesn't matter, especially after an undergrad that was strong in tech

M.Arch. 3 (to 4 year) - Cincinnati - they have coops spliced in for the same time spent at UIUC - check to see that the Cincy M.Arch. is also accredited by NAAB - since its B.Arch. is, it probably is as well.

For undergrad:

UIUC for a 4 year, and those who might hit the eject button from arch. and go do something else, and Cincinnati for a 5 year for those who are "more" sure they will be architects.

Absolutely.  The visit is extremely important and these schools are not THAT far apart.

Apr 14, 13 1:02 pm

Cincinnati no longer offers a B.Arch. degree. As with many schools, the undergrad component has been transitioned into a pre-professional degree (a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, in Cincinnati's case) that leads into a NAAB-accredited M.Arch. degree.

Apr 14, 13 1:48 pm


Thank you for the clarification.  Always thought of Cincy for its strong B.Arch.

For graduate work, my comments remain unchanged.

Apr 14, 13 2:39 pm

Thank you all for the replies. I'm sorry my question was really so short and non-descriptive- I was in a time crunch. I did my undergraduate at UIUC and was accepted into UIUC, UIC, UC, UM, and WashU. Due to financial reasons and after having visited WashU and UC, I narrowed the programs down to UC and UIUC. I actually just sent my acceptance in yesterday for the University of Cincinnati. A large part of my decision was the co-op program offered by UC and the practical nature of their program.

For anyone who has attended UC/ is still attending, I'd still like to hear thoughts on the program as a whole and courses to take/ not to take etc. Thank you!

Apr 14, 13 9:55 pm

Congrats on a good choice. Regardless of the merits of each program, it's always a good idea to go someplace different for grad school than where you went for undergrad.

I'm a current M.Arch. student at UC (starting thesis year in the fall), and I have no regrets about my decision to enroll there. Most of the professors I've had are great, and co-op has opened up opportunities that wouldn't be available to me if I had gone to any other program.

The only pieces of advice I can offer offhand are:

1) Do some digging to find elective seminar courses that interest you. Unfortunately, the school doesn't do a very good job of conveying who is teaching what each semester.

2) As for co-op, make an effort to research the firms with openings, find the ones that closely align with your interests, and make them want to hire you. I'd advise against simply going for the biggest starchitects on the list or defaulting to mediocre firms that do nothing but bland bread-and-butter projects.

Feel free to hit me up if you have any specific questions.

Apr 14, 13 11:09 pm

David Cole, were you able to successfully apply for and be granted in-state tuition beginning the second year of the program, or were you already an Ohio resident?



Apr 15, 13 5:17 pm

I moved here from New York in March 2010 after getting laid off from my job in NYC (I'm originally from Cincinnati, although I hadn't lived in the area since childhood), began classes the following September, and was granted in-state residency status in time for the spring quarter of 2011. As I recall, it was a pretty straightforward process. I made sure to get an Ohio driver's license and update my voter registration as soon as I moved here so there'd be no issues with establishing in-state residency.

Apr 15, 13 7:08 pm

Congrats on the final decision - I'm finishing up my first year of the MArch program at UC now.  I did my BSArch here as well - couldn't beat the combination of financial value, co-op, and the quality of the program.

I agree with David about co-op - it's a great opportunity to try out a few different firms where you and the companies can mutually benefit from the work you do.  A lot of the companies UC students usually co-op with have UC alumni working for them, so they really want you to learn and grow as a professional instead of just doing the grunt work.

Also, UC is a big university with several highly ranked colleges, so definitely take advantage of that especially if you think your thesis will be related to other disciplines.  Last semester I took a really interesting public health class at the college of medicine, and there's a new horticulture program within DAAP that offers a lot of courses relevant to architecture students' interests.  Elective seminars within architecture are usually published a few weeks before each semester, and the professors have varied interests so there's typically several good choices.

I'm happy to answer any other questions as well - good luck with the rest of your semester!

Apr 15, 13 9:58 pm

What exactly are the elective seminars like? are they related to elective studios? 

(sorry, I'm another future student who'll be attending UC this year and don't know about the seminars you talked about.)

Apr 16, 13 12:29 am

No problem - seminars and studios usually aren't related, but sometimes professors who teach a seminar one semester may carry that material into a future elective studio.  Seminars are discussion, research, or project based depending on the topic or professor.  There are usually 3-6 seminars per semester (typically fewer in the summer).  The topics are usually emailed out to students before the start of the semester - to give you an idea of the variety, last semester the seminars offered were:

Out of Failure - using digital design and fabrication for emergency shelters

TED talks - discussions about emerging ideas (students also made their own videos)

Architecture and Mobility - relationship between built environment and transportation

Phenomenology - addressed theory in the 20th century

Cincinnati Modernism - research & trips to modern buildings and interiors in the area

Work 2020 - the future of the workplace; students and faculty paired with a local architecture company that specializes in workplace design

Apr 16, 13 12:38 pm

Congrats!! @jk3hl we were not describing each school, we just wanted to know what type of program he was looking for in general.

Apr 22, 13 2:20 pm

Thank you! I understand what you were getting at, though having been a product of UIUC education, I can say that they have a great technical aspect to their program (at least at the undergraduate level). I am interested in practical applications of architecture and learning through doing which is very achievable in the co-op program offered by Cincinnati.

Apr 22, 13 9:20 pm

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