Pratt, Parsons or Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture?


I have been accepted to the three year First Professional M.Arch programs at Pratt, Parsons and Bernard (which is part of City College).

Now I have approximately 15 days to decide where to begin my graduate studies for the next three years of my life.

Pratt is around 50k a year, City College is about 12k a year and Parsons is offering me a small scholarship.

Can someone please clarify the pros and cons of attending each of the three schools. With the architecture programs relatively new at City College and Parsons, would this prove to be a disadvantage when looking for a job after my studies?

Mar 30, 11 1:37 pm
"Pratt is around 50k a year"

Run away as far as you can. Don't do that to yourself.

Don't know much of the other schools.

Mar 30, 11 6:05 pm  · 

What do you want out of your education?

Which school fits you best?

How much debt/investment are you willing to take on?

Mar 30, 11 9:52 pm  · 

agree with dcs. but if i were you, i would go to City College. might not have the name like Pratt and Parsons but i heard their programs are good. and 12k? i wish i went there.

Mar 30, 11 11:32 pm  · 

Hi Mattkallstrom,

I am wondering where you ended up going and if you are happy with your choice?

I have been accepted to Spitzer and Parsons and thus have a similar dilemma.

Mar 20, 13 3:00 pm  · 

Hmm Parsons.. is very urban design focus where you even have an opportunity to do design build depending on who the school gets to work with. Since they design from scratch that means, you actually get to negotiate with the department or clients and then build it . Its a nice process to be a part of. 

It also focuses pretty well on the digital frontier and if you want you can always do dual masters (MARCH/ MFA lighting Design). They also give a heavy dose of scholarship

(former parsons student )


Pratt on the other side is very parametric. I don't know if they have design build but they have a very good fabrication base. So all the parametric grasshopper/maya models you make in the computer , they have all the facilities to make it in larger scale. Also the school actually has a real campus which unfortunately parson doesn't have (I don't know if it matters ). The school also provides other facilities and brooklyn in general is much calmer and cheaper than manhattan. Lastly both parsons and pratt have very very distinguished faculty, so which either you choose you won't go wrong.

(got accepted to pratt last year and this year but still waiting on other schools)


Lastly CCNY

Yes its a cheap school, but the facilities are not that great and the undergraduate program is heavily favored vs the graduate program. Its in harlem , which isn't bad but not that awesome either. Don't know much but, I haven't heard much of the school either and since it lives in the shadow of Columbia (15 blocks away) its pretty hard to compete with them.


My 2 cent about the program since I did my undergrad in parsons and got into pratt in masters ( I would say any one of the 2)

Mar 20, 13 10:01 pm  · 

For the record, CCNY's facilities are brand-new, and from I gather, they're supposed to be pretty nice. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss them, especially given the cost difference (if you're already a New York resident). With Brad Horn at the helm of the graduate program, I could see it doing some great stuff, and the dirty little secret I've heard about the NYC architecture programs is that they all pretty much share the same pool of adjunct faculty anyway.

CCNY was among the M.Arch. programs was accepted to, and while I ended up at the University of Cincinnati and have no regrets about my decision to enroll there, I think CCNY would've been a fine choice as well.

Mar 20, 13 11:25 pm  · 

@David Cole, I was accepted to Cincinnati, and would love to hear how you feel about their program. I believe it is 4 years? I know it has a phenomenal reputation, and I love how professional it is- and it seems like it is a place that can really set you up for a great career. I was also accepted to CCNY, but don't know much about their program either (besides having to take physics and calculus this summer). This decision process is intense, and the more information the better! Any of your thoughts are much appreciated!

Mar 21, 13 10:03 am  · 

I assume you're asking about the M.Arch. program? Depending on what kind of undergrad degree you have, the length of the program could be anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 years. This includes co-op semesters, which adds some time to the program but is well worth it, IMO. (Check out the DAAP website for specifics; the university has switched to a semester system since I enrolled, so my information about the typical curriculum track is probably out of date.)

Roughly speaking, the studio sequence is divided into three components: SEC, Research, and Thesis. SEC (Structures / Environment / Construction) is a comprehensive building design studio and parallel seminar class with a strong emphasis on the technical aspects of design. The design usually involves a spa / wellness center on the Cranbrook campus. Research year, as the name would imply, is an elective studio sequence with a strong emphasis on academic research. Thesis involves both written research and a design project. IMO, the research year is the weakest link in the sequence, as the studio experience can be hit-or-miss depending on which faculty you end up with.

The facilities are decent, if you can overlook the fact that they're located in a hideous Peter Eisenman building that is currently undergoing a major re-cladding project. DAAP has the usual assortment of shop facilities, rapid prototyping stuff, computer studios, etc. that you'd expect to find in any architecture school worth its salt. Cincinnati itself is certainly no NYC (I'm originally from Cincinnati, but have spent a good portion of my adult life in NYC), but has some unique traits that make it a great laboratory for urban architecture. It also offers enough stuff to do for those times when you want to break away from studio and have some fun on the town. The cost of living is peanuts compared to NYC, but that's somewhat negated by the necessity to own a car.

The co-op system, of course, is what really distinguishes DAAP from other programs. Students alternate semesters between full-time studies on campus and full-time employment in architecture firms throughout the world. My last co-op was with Moore Ruble Yudell in California, and this summer I'll be joining STUDIOS Architecture in New York. Classmates of mine have spent their co-op terms at firms like Richard Meier's office, KPF, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, UNstudio, Perkins+Will, Kieran Timberlake, and other great firms.  Students often accept offers of permanent employment at their co-op firms upon graduation. My suggestion would be to do careful research and strongly pursue opportunities with firms that match your own interests, rather than just the most glamorous "name" firm on the list or settling for some local corporate firm that only does branch banks and grocery store renovations. If your long-term goal is to practice in NYC, then you might be better off at CCNY. That said, you could also come to DAAP and make a point to do your co-op at NYC firms.

In addition to the money you make on co-op, you also have the option to apply for in-state residency after your first year at UC, which can take a huge bite out of your tuition expenses. Relatively few states give you that option, and it makes DAAP very cost-competitive with its peer schools.

All in all, your time at DAAP will be what you make of it. If you want to be on the bleeding edge of architectural theory, then you'd probably be happier elsewhere. But if you want to be a successful practitioner of architecture, then you could do far worse than DAAP. You'll be given a great deal of leeway to chart your own course and pursue your own interests, and I've found most of the faculty willing to mentor those students who demonstrate passion for what they're doing. 

If you have any more specific questions, feel free to ask.

Mar 21, 13 3:56 pm  · 

Omg I'm in the same position, I'm barely applying and considering CCNY and Parsons (Pratt is way to expensive tbh) for my masters; what did you do?

Aug 13, 15 2:57 pm  · 

pratt is not worth the money. go with one of the others; any money is better than no money.

Aug 14, 15 10:31 am  · 

I would say depending on your focus choose Pratt or Parsons .

Pratt being more parametric while Parsons being design build. And honestly they both round up being the same price yes Parsons gives you scholarship but the location where the school is located the rent doesn't come cheap. I believe 2k for a atrocious looking room so yeah you might be saving on the tuition side but you will be spending far more on housing and eating. Pratt gives less scholarship but the location is far cheaper.


I went to Parsons in my undergrad and through out my junior and senior year took courses in the grad side (its literally one floor difference) and it wasn't that challenging . I shouldn't bad mouth my undergrad but yeah the school isnt that hard.


I did end up going to Pratt for Masters and the teachers are far more connected and the school has a lot to offer if you are into parametric architecture.


In the ends its your call yes CCNY is cheap but the education is also very very mediocre . Most of the students barely end up in decent firms cause the portfolio are so bland..... just saying think before you just go based on money  

Aug 15, 15 8:24 am  · 

Definitely not parsons or pratt. Go to City College. They have a solid and affordable program. At the end of the day, no one will care about your grades or where you went to school. They will care about your portfolio and what you can do for the firm you work for.

Aug 16, 15 9:57 am  · 

"With Brad Horn at the helm..."


Jan 21, 17 7:00 pm  · 

Honestly I would advise you to look into the program and see what fits you. Dont look at the money follow your heart and passion. The money will come later on and you will pay it off. Everyone takes out huge loans but don't be afraid to. You are building your career and not throwing your money into the air. This will benifit you in the long run.

Nov 14, 17 1:59 am  · 


I attended City College right when they transitioned to be The Bernard Ann Spitzer School of Architecture. Let me tell you is such a great school, as many reviewers have said, the faculty was great. We had professors that had different approaches from technical to very conceptual. Brad Horn is part of the faculty, Antonio Furgiuele was there, who actually thought at Pratt, so a lot of the mentioned schools of architecture in NYC share the same staff, most of them came from universities such as MIT, Harvard, Columbia. In terms of the facilities, the building is brand new, and the studio spaces were nice. They also had two programs back in the days. One was an exchange program with either ETSAM or ETSAB, which are schools of architecture of Madrid ans Barcelona (I was lucky enough to go to the Madrid one for the spring semester in my second year). The other program was a summer study abroad.

Finally, for my grad school I went to Columbia University, and I guess what I am trying to say is that if you want a more affordable option, CCNY is a more than great option. In NYC the network of architects is very small, so either one you choose, just make the best out of it! 

Dec 12, 18 3:53 pm  · 


Does anyone know how selective admissions is at the Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, graduate track I (3.5 yr, for non-architecture undergraduates) program?

This is my top choice for grad school, as I’m from NYC and they’re the only public STEM and NAAB accredited school in the state besides UB… graduating with a BA in Environment Design (planning), and a minor in Architecture from UB. I just want to field ideas on how hard admissions will be, I cannot find anything regarding this or acceptance rates or anything related online to the graduate track I program. Very very very curious…

Nov 10, 21 7:42 pm  · 

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