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I have a little over two years left in the Navy and i would like to start pursuing an architecture degree/career. Ive looked into AAU, as they offer an architecture BFA completely online and I'm from the area. Unfortunately, Ive read some disappointing things about this school. Ive also read on some threads here that it would probably be best to take some general education classes while I'm still in the navy, and find a school to attend when i get out.
Does any one have any advice? Remarks on AAU's architecture program?
Regardless of the institution offering it, an architecture BFA will be a waste of four years. It's not a professional degree, and you'll pretty much have to start over when you get into a professional program. To get a license to practice architecture, you need to have a NAAB accredited degree. Those come in a couple of different flavors: Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture (Professional). The former takes 5 years to complete. The latter takes 2-3 years, after you've finished your bachelor's degree and enrolled in the masters program (so, 6-7 years total). The BArch is by far the better way to go unless you want to teach some day.
Even if you never intend to get a license, having only a BFA will put you at a significant disadvantage in the job market.
Choose a different career path. What about naval architecture?
Southern Illinois University, they love the Navy and have branch campuses at sea and on base Naval Submarine Base Groton, CT, Dover Air Force Base, Oceana Naval Air Station, North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego Naval Medical Center, San Diego Naval Station, Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to name a few. They are a small emerging program located in Carbondale, SIUC has a strong veterans and active service member support system. The program is a hands on 4 +2 B arch and Master of Arch in one place and feeds into University of Illinois and Washington university. So give a state school a look we are in the backyard of the senator who gave us the GI Bill Paul Simon.
The student's are much more diverse too so you won't be the only one over 22 or over 30 in your class.
Over and OUT
I have done extensive research on the subject. I just enrolled at LTU, after much thinking and researching the 4 schools (LTU, BAC, SIU and AAU), and I chose this one because of the price. They are all accredited and they all have similar programs, but LTU was also closer to where I live, so the drive was only 6 hours, only four non consecutive weekends. In addition, I'd rather owe 25K than 75K when I'm done.
Check this forum I posted several weeks ago: http://archinect.com/forum/thread/98665928/online-march
Also, check my spreadsheet comparing prices and benefits: http://archinect.com/forum/gallery/98665928/0/online-march#
There are several people with negative comments, but don't pay attention to that. Focus on the positive aspects; you can work, be with your family, and still do school work on your own time. I would do it again. Plus, you can finish all 5 semesters at LTU in 1.5 years, because they have 3 semesters per year, counting Summer.
Hope this helps you.
M Juliana L.
MrSolve, Beware of colleges salivating after your GI Bill benefits; these are often the ones that have schools on different bases for the active duty forces. Some are legitimate, some not. The current GI Bill will cover tuition at any public or private school, so you can go to a very good (read expensive) architectural program and be covered. Don't pee away your hard-earned GI benefits at anything less than a top flight NAAB accredited bachelors program, as gwarton indicated.
Not to be crazy but can you get involved with something involving architecture and/or construction while you are in the Navy? Having never served myself, I don't know how it works, but if you can transfer into a unit that's designing and/or building (buildings, bridges, roads, whatever...) you'd have an amazing set of experiences when you leave in two years.
MrSolve, You might want to consider a degree in a related field such as civil engineering or construction management that are more stable economically. Some schools, such as Virginia Tech, offer all the disciplines so you could transfer between majors as you get more experience if you wish. In addition if you are enlisted separating at the end of your enlistment, and not retiring, you could join the Naval Reserves and have the service send you to Officer Candidate School. Then you could eventually retire from the reserves at a higher rank and qualify for a nice pension when you reach 60.