Dalhousie Arch. Students


I want to know more about the BEDS/M.Arch program.

I'll be graduating with a BFA(Architecture)-4 year pre professional degree- in May and thinking of going to Dalhousie for my M.Arch.

I know that I'd need to take a semester or two with the undergrads since Dal doesn't accept students directly into their M.Arch program.

I've heard from the news that they're having faculty shortage and is very underfunded by the university. I'm a bit hesitant to apply because of this.

About the co-op program, where do you guys co-op usually?

How helpful is the school on that?

Can you still graduate without any co-op experiences?

Apr 3, 11 3:37 am

Nobody? wow...

I guess the program really is in a slump... Guess, I should reconsider applying then...

Apr 4, 11 4:01 am

i've heard that Brian McKay-Lyons teaches there...that could be an interesting advantage! He came to my school for a conference, and his projects and thoughts are more than pertinent to a student's development.

Apr 4, 11 11:38 am

Don't see how getting no replies as soon as you wanted = bad school, but I'll play ball.

The architecture program was granted new funding because of faculty shortages. So we're going to be at 95% staffing come May, and 100% come September.

I think I addressed this in another thread, but I don't think you'll be given AP with a BFA (even in architectural studies). A few people here came from BCIT's Architecture program and were not given AP of any sort (though I think they tried). Contact Susanna Morash-Kent in the Dean's office, and she will get everything straight for you (seriously, she's absolutely wonderful).

And yes, BML does teach here. Excellent prof, develops students very well I think. He has quite a bit of pull it seems in roping in good architects for crits and lectures as well. This term we had Barry Sampson, Frank Harmon and Julie Snow. Last year (if I recall correctly) was Vincent James and Rick Joy.

Apr 4, 11 10:18 pm


BFA(Architecture) is a 4 yr pre-professional studies. The website says:

"Most transfer students who have completed a university PRE-PROFESSIONAL architecture degree (BAS, BED, BEnvD, BES, BSc[Arch], BArchSci, etc.) will need to complete one or more senior undergraduate courses at Dalhousie during the winter term to be eligible for graduate admission to the Master of Architecture program in the summer term. For pre-professional graduates, the normal entry date is in early January, preceded by an October 1 application deadline. To avoid delay, download and submit an undergraduate application form, rather than applying online or submitting a graduate application. On page 1 of the application form, indicate "winter" as the start date. For student status, indicate "Special Student." On page 3, for Program selection - Special students, indicate "ARCH" as the field of study. For full submission requirements, see the Undergraduate application page. To enable the admissions committee to assess your previous architecture courses, please submit course outlines or calendar descriptions, together with a comprehensive portfolio of your architectural design work and any other complementary design work."

But, I think you're right. I should check just to be sure. Thanks for the help. BCIT? I thought that's just a diploma, not a pre-professional degree.

Are you a Dal student?

If yes, can you tell me more about the co-op program?

Apr 4, 11 10:31 pm

The BCIT program is a degree in Arch. Technology. From what I've looked into, a BFA isn't a pre-professional degree. Pre-professional is from a registered architecture school, not simply a program with "Architecture" in the title. I could be wrong; like I said, you really need to talk to Susanna in the Dal Arch school. Im curious as to where you are going at the moment; possibly OCAD?

Im in B2 of the program so I really don't have much info on the co-op as I haven't done one yet...

Apr 4, 11 10:36 pm

I go to Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Yes it is. Most people who apply for grad school to Harvard/MIT from our school always get AP. I thought that NAAB has a reciprocity with CACB.

Hmm... I might need to look into this more then. I might be wrong.


Apr 4, 11 10:42 pm

Interesting. It may be completely legitimate; I really have no idea. Theres a very good chance I am wrong. Many people come to the BEDS program with a BFA background and are not given AP. I know that Canadian BFA - "Architecture" programs are not considered the same as a B. Arch Studies (but only OCAD and maybe one or two others even offer it; its much less common here). Maybe the Mass Arts & Design one is. Again, ask Susanna.

Apr 4, 11 11:11 pm
spaceman spiff

Regarding co-op, i'm now a decade removed from the program, but the placements during my time were a mix of self-initiative, long standing relationships with certain offices, solicited postings by the co-op office, and referrals from students who are coming back from a co-op term. The co-op office does a pretty good job of consolidating job leads each term so that people have the opportunity to apply for a range of stuff, but that was a different economy back then. Not sure how it is currently.

I'd say that on the whole, people got the level of experience they wanted from it. Usually a good range of positions with top notch Canadian firms for those wanting to stay in Canada, ranging from GG award winners to corporate. Many of these tend to be long standing relationships where the office will take someone every rotation so as to have a co-op student in their office all year long. Starchitect jobs for those who pursued it, mostly in NY/Boston and Europe with a few in California. Many have gone on to long successful postings with a few of them.

Local jobs in Halifax are available for those from the region, or who aren't as flexible in moving around, or even if you need to make up a class or two. You'll also find that alumni will actively seek out co-op students from the school for their offices.

Can't say that I can recall anyone ever complaining about their co-op experience. It's a great time to travel and try out new offices if you have the freedom to. As for pay, I'd say most of the jobs paid decently and up, including at some starchitect firms. But of course, there are some that are old school and you need to decide for yourself whether that's worth it. Almost without exception, they are upfront about this when you apply.

Personally, I ended up working at a foreign firm that I grew up reading about and respecting, but hadn't ever considered applying for. But he came as a guest speaker one year and offered a position. I applied and off I went.

Can't speak to your question about underfunding per se, but I do think that Dal may be suffering by comparison to a couple of other schools due to vastly increased private funding there. There's a couple of programs that in years past were lost in the shuffle of a larger university while Dal was formerly part of a smaller tech university that had architecture as one of its primary programs. The co-op program definitely gave it an identity and its students a good grounding for professional practice when they finished school. For many years, all I heard from practitioners, was that they'd only hire from TUNS (former name for Dal architecture) or Waterloo.

One other thing, look into the Ghost conference happening this year. Can't find the more detailed article on it that I saw a few weeks back. I like the crux of it, about getting back to building well and less talk. Might be for you, might not. And I agree, Mackay Lyons is a great guy to learn from. Doesn't always click with all personality types, but he definitely knows what he's doing.

Apr 5, 11 7:27 am

Thanks spiff, that was much more eloquent than I could put it. Its funny you mention that about the practitions and co-op; when I took one of our guest lecturers to dinner last term we got to talking about co-ops and how she had a history of hiring students from Dal for co-op terms and other short-term work. She said the exact same thing, that she would only hire students from Waterloo or Dal because of the co-op offered at only those two schools. Found that kind of interesting.

The Ghost Lab this summer is going to be quite exciting. Keynote speakers are Kenneth Frampton, Glen Murcutt and Juhani Pallasmaa, and its taking place just outside Halifax. When our Dean saw the lineup and what the whole thing was about, she offered to shuffle around deadlines in the summer term for all classes just so that we would be more encouraged to go, and it seems like literally every student in the building is going, as well as all the faculty and staff. They've subsidized part of the cost of attendance and even organized a group of buses to take people there and back each night. Its a great time to be a Dal Arch student, I must say...

Apr 5, 11 8:10 am


AP credit often has a lot to do with how much the design goals of the studio (or whichever course you're trying to get credit for) align with those of the school you're applying to. The procession of courses and how they build upon each other is/should be a well-orchestrated relationship in a Masters program, and if your courses don't line up they may be hesitant to give you AP status. As an applicant its your responsibility to show them that you meet these criteria. Every program goes about things differently, so contact Dalhousie if you have any questions.

If the question revolves around your degree, it may be beneficial to include with your application packet some sort of formal letter from MassArt verifying the NCARB accreditation of the BFA. I have no clue on the details of your school's setup (which is sad as I work across the street and should know these things) but its my understanding that a BFA isn't the typical 4-year degree in US architecture schools.

I visited Dalhousie briefly while attending a lecture there while participating in Ghost Lab a couple years back. Having no real knowledge of the program I spent a little time walking around the studios and talking to students - at the end of it I was pretty impressed by the facilities and the attitude for what at glance appeared to be primarily a 'regional' school. Oddly enough I saw a lot of parallels with my alma mater/employer located on the other side of Huntington Ave from you.

And as everyone else has said, Brain MacKay-Lyons is a fantastic instructor and a very down-to-earth guy in general.

Apr 5, 11 9:11 am

qwerty, just apply and see what Dalhousie says about placement. If your portfolio is strong and they see a potential M.Arch candidate, they will reach out to you. Otherwise you will be like other arch-undergrads with a make-up year (or more) in the B.ED program.

Apr 5, 11 12:47 pm


I'd love to do that, sadly their applying policy is not flexible.

Their website says that they want students who apply with pre-professional degree to start on January for a senior BEDS studio and start the real M.Arch courses in the fall.

Then, if you don't have any architecture degree, they want you to start in the summer.

It runs on tri-semester. That's why it's so confusing. I've emailed the department awhile ago, but I haven't got any replies yet.

Apr 6, 11 3:44 pm


Hey Ben, I've been following a few threads re: Dalhousie School of Architecture and wanted to follow up with you about the program a bit more, as I am a recent grad of the BCIT Architecture Science Degree program (and it sounds like you are familiar with the program). I have spoken with Susanna on a few occassions about the application procedure for tech. degree's, but if you happen to know any former BCIT grads now in the BEDS or M.Arch, would you kindly pass on their contact info so I can reach them and inquire about their application history, it would be very helpful.

I really appreciate any help you can offer.



Jul 30, 11 6:44 am

I can try, but I need your email to get in touch...

Jul 30, 11 2:39 pm


Aug 1, 11 3:18 am

Hello everyone, I'm currently seriously looking into going to Dalhousie's BEDS program (I'd be put into the B1 semester because I've already completed 2 years of undergraduate studies elsewhere). But I was wondering; how recognisable is a BEDS degree from Dalhousie to other Architecture universities? I've been doing my research and honestly Dalhousie looks fantastic (and the fact that Brain MacKay-Lyons is an alumni is insane - honestly the whole list of alumni is incredible). However, I just wanted to know what my chances of getting an M.Arch degree elsewhere (like in Carleton, or U of T for example) would be. 

May 23, 19 6:06 am
Non Sequitur

Your chances for a March elsewhere are as good as the portfolio you’ll develop while in undergrad... especially if you’re aiming for Carleton or, gaaasp, UofT.

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