B.Arch vs. M.Arch?


Hi. I'm new to Archinect but would you please help me out if you don't mind? And if I break a rule, please forgive me.

I'm currently enrolled at UCLA and thinking of majoring in Architectural Studies (it's not B.Arch but Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies) when I become a junior. However, since this program at UCLA is not accredited, if I graduate from UCLA, I'll have to go to graduate school to get a M.Arch to be licensed.

After a lot of search, I've found out that Cornell offers an accredited 5-year architecture program (B.Arch).

So my question is, in architecture world (particularly employment), which is considered better? Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture?

I'm thinking of going to Harvard or Columbia for graduate school if I graduate from UCLA. If I transfer to Cornell, I don't need to go to graduate school.

I'm a student and prospective architect so if I'm wrong, please correct me. And I really appreciate any opinion/advice from who has an experience. Thanks in advance!

Jul 6, 14 11:12 am

So my question is, in architecture world (particularly employment), which is considered better?

There is no employment in the architecture world. I would reconsider architecture as a whole, or at least make sure you are okay being poor and miserable the rest of your life.

I would go into engineering or some STEM program.

Just my .02cents

Jul 6, 14 11:47 am  · 
 ·  3

This guy is being extra


Lets give Mitiumkne a break after only architects know what its really like. Well mr. Mitiumkne if employment is what you have in mind it is terrible like DeTwan said, but it goes in cycles just about every 10 years there is a major layoff event over all. 

Focusing on your other question about which is better? a BArch or MArch?  The Barch is an extensive Professional program that runs 5 years and there is a reason why it is called a professional degree, it is not easy, it is not cheap, but it allows you to sit for your license exams. People in the know respect the 5 year professional degree highly. Unfortunately believe it or not there are employers who do not understand the difference between a bachelors in arch. and a B.Arch. As a result of a lot of higher ups who are actually not architects.  Consequently the M.Arch is looked on as a better thing on a resume though if you speak to any M.arch graduate in the program i went through a B.arch is more intense.

there are other routes to being an architect that will not cost you 200k. Without going on a rant and airing out dirty laundry, The other facet ill relay to the opener of this post is that we know how someone views architects from the outside.  We were there once. Id say after about 6 or 10 years you begin to see ugly business side of Architecture. If you are one those rich kids, or have other options at UCLA which i hear is a great institution I'd explore other routes, and do architecture as a hobby maybe if you like.

good luck my community service for the year is done with this post

Jul 6, 14 12:19 pm  · 

Here is the short and the skinny of it,

A M.Arch is really only necessary if you want to teach. Other than that it is only going to get your resume pushed to the side while looking for jobs. Employers in the architectural field 90% of the time looking for the cheapest person to take on board, and an M.Arch applicant usually tells them, oh this person might not be a blithering idiot and will not work for $14 an hour. Most employers stay away from M.Arch degrees.

You don't even need a degree in most regards, accredit or even tech degree. All architecture firms want now is Revit monkeys. If you really want a DIRECT shot into architecture, just take CC course on Revit and BIM.

Beyond that; a Revit monkey, architecture is a horrible career field. There is no moving up unless you or your family knows rich ppl that want to build, and then most will come to you and want fancy designs at a super low rate only to say they are not ready to build for a couple years.

People (college kids) need to get this idea out of their heads that architecture is some respectful field, it is not and it is about the closest you can get to MODERN DAY SLAVERY.

Seriously kid... stop believing what movies portray... it is FASLE!  

Jul 6, 14 2:07 pm  · 
 ·  2

I didn't read  the other comments but

I graduated from UCLA in architectural studies and

now I am in Columbia.

If you need more insight, please pm/email me but for now I'll answer your questions


So my question is, in architecture world (particularly employment), which is considered better? Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture?

Nope. Keep in mind architecture is very subjective, i.e it is all about the quality of work coming from each individual. The difference is the factors between the two and why one would choose the other. the M.ARCH path actually allows more freedom for a different undergrad field than architecture while the B.ARCH path is strictly all architecture.

what im saying is, you can essentially major in any field in undergrad and then apply for M.ARCH as there is no requirement to have an architectural background. SO, in a scenario where you are still skeptical about the future of architecture, I would suggest going into a field that you like and have a stable future (i.e engineering, finance, any Bachelor of science degree) for an undergrad degree. This is something for you to fall back on. I say this because in this thread people have regrets going into architecture.

However, if you believe you were born to be a stararchitect and live and breath architecture, go for the B.arch. Since you're at UCLA, talk with the students there and see their lifestyles. Our lifestyle is VERY VERY different than those who are not in the program. Our social life is within AVERY and not outside of it. KEEP that in mind.

The other factor is time and money too. Masters (4 undergrad + 3 masters = 7 years) vs. B.ARCH (5 years). but you already have two years under your belt so I don't know how your credits will work if you transfer into Cornell's b.arch program.

Also consider Cal poly San Louis Obispo undergrad program. It is a very good school in the west coast for their undergrad. and plus, they have architectural engineering (structural engineering) to consider as a supplemental asset.


I'm thinking of going to Harvard or Columbia for graduate school if I graduate from UCLA. If I transfer to Cornell, I don't need to go to graduate school.

If youre thinking about an M.arch path and want to go to an IVY league, UCLA undergrad , IMO, produces one of the best undergrads possible (very design focused, which will prepare your grad. portfolio). Most of the people I know who applied got into at least one IVY league.

Jul 6, 14 4:03 pm  · 
1  · 

Just curious what you ended up choosing .. 

But for reference, I graduated from the UCLA Undergrad program as well. I decided to take 2-3 years off to work first before applying to M.Arch Programs (which I think 90% of our class decided to do).

Agree with batman in terms of UCLA undergrad being a great undergrad that sends its students to Ivys. 

Only 3 people applied to schools right after the program - 2 to Sci Arc, 1 to Yale. From what I know, 3 people took a one year gap, and are now at Harvard, U Texas, and U Mich. Contrary to what above posts have stated and what our professors have stated in studio about there being no architecture jobs.. everyone that I know of from our class who didn't go to grad school is working at a design firm (funny enough, most of us now live in the same area, haha). 

In terms of BArcvh vs MARch.. from what I read, you're already a 2nd year which means if you transfer to Cornell, the classes you need might not transfer over. Worst case scenario, you have to spend another 5 years at Cornell to complete BArch. From what I've seen, MArchs are usually better regarded since ya know.. you got that "master" thing going on. 

My only advice if you stay at UCLA is to take advantage of all the resources around you. Although I'm sad that the program was only 2 years, I think it sets you up really well to explore other majors and to come out of it with a double major since you have the first two years to take different classes (ie. real estate classes if you're interested in MRED in the future, or economics if you want to go into developer side blah blah blah). (P.S. computer science majors are doing REALLY well). 

TL;DR UCLA is a great undergrad architecture school that allows you to have a back up (in terms of exploring other majors to fall back onto). But be warned, don't expect to make a ton of money in architecture. 

Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions :)

Oct 2, 14 8:58 pm  · 

I’m a 5th-year student in B.Arch at USC. Our professors said we don’t need a M.Arch degree unless we want to teach. Very few of my classmates decide to go to graduate schools (5 out of 100+, and 3 of the 5 are Chinese international students supported by rich families…)

The 5-year program is VERY intense, and the workload is high enough to let you complete many good projects to put in your portfolio for job applications. I suggest that if you transfer to Cornell (B.Arch), then you don’t need a master degree.

Besides, Many of the graduate projects in arch schools are very theoretical…actually it’s just as theoretical as undergraduate projects. These projects are far away from the real world, so…while a master degree in other majors is beneficial, I doubt what M.Arch can bring to you (if you already have B.Arch). I choose B.Arch simply because this degree allows me to become a licensed architect.

And please remember the architecture job market is not good. You should choose a path that will cost you less time and money.

Oct 4, 14 5:58 am  · 

...alright then keel over right quick while I go and become a Pritzker winner. /cya at the finish line.

Just think, after you become the first billionaire Pritzker prize winner, we'll all be able to say we knew you when you were just a humble poster on Archinect like the rest of us.

Oct 5, 14 9:48 pm  · 

I am going to start college soon and wanted to ask that if I do B.Arch and then M.Arch it would be 7 years total? Also is it beneficial to do M.Arch after B.Arch?

Jul 15, 20 6:17 pm  · 

Usually not 7, though depends on your country and if your B.arch is recognized at wherever you take the Masters. U.S. - don't need M.arch, 5 years or so. Canada - do need a M.Arch, so 6-ish years total. Unsure elsewhere, cheers

1  · 

So in US you only B.Arch and that will count same as M.Arch?


Read ˊ_>ˋ 's comment, two above yours...

TL;DR If it's accredited B.Arch, yes you can work towards becoming an architect but not quite same as M.arch. 


If you have a B.ARCH, it is a professional, accredited degree. After that, you can get a M.ARCH II/Post professional Master's degree. If you have a BS/BA Arch Studies, then you would get a M.ARCH I as your first professional, accredited degree.

1  · 

I did MArch I at Cornell. Another question you need to ask sometimes is if you can get into a program. Even though people say anyone can apply for MArch I, most people (more than 2/3) here already did 4 year BArch (which is not enough for MArch II) for their undergrad. And the rest small portion are pretty much either interior or landscape, with like one or two really talented ones majored in studio arts or industrial design. I have yet to seen someone did music, dance, philosophy, engineering or just anything else in the program. On the other hand, BArch is much easier to get in and is much bigger a program than MArch here. Some kids don't even have a portfolio when they applied, while MArch classmates pretty much knows all the softwares already when school starts. However, I'm not speaking for other schools, maybe they actually give more chances to students with diverse background

Jul 28, 20 7:29 am  · 

Hello everyone, I'm going to give my entrance exam in a year and want to know if its good to opt for a career in architecture. I'm a slightly above-average student with good aptitude, good drawing/sketching skills and good mathematics. Y'all know about architecture jobs and salaries abroad, so please tell me if architecture will be able to fetch me a respectful and nice earning job around he world. I'm from India. Thanks!

Feb 12, 21 1:20 am  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: