School choice for MArch II in the USA


Hello! I would appreciate some thought on my roster of the schools to apply to for graduate studies. I did my homework and gathered lots of information about these schools, but I think I need more info about them since I'm not from the USA and I am starting to arrange my admission documents. And I am not quite sure about the difference between  and professional and post-professional degree. I already have a professional degree from my country (it's not accredited in the USA and Europe).

After I get a master degree I want to have an international practice and work in architectural firms around the world. In a long-term perspective I am going to run my own studio in my home country, so I don't need to get licensed in the US. And I am not interested in teaching.

What do I want from a graduate program:

  • Future opportunities = Prestige (internationally recognizable) + Connections + Placement (?)
  • $$$ (since I'll be more likely to get a loan).
  • Studio-based curriculum, working closely with teachers and peers (I am not sure if I am ready to perform an independent research and get most of it)
  • Balance between abstract experimentation and real life (I didn't get much opportunities to experiment in my undergrad school, but after school I want to be well-prepared for an actual architectural practice
  • Practicing architects in a faculty
  • Location in a big vibrant city OR travelling opportunities
  • Inter-disciplinary approach
  • Broad curriculum choices (part of a big uni)

My list: (divided into 3 parts - highest priority, realistic and solid backup)

  1. MIT - SMArchS in architectural design (my dream school in any way possible)
  2. Harvard GSD - MArch II (ivies here for the prestige... I know it is hard, but I'll give it a shot)
  3. Columbia U GSAAP MS.AAD
  4. Yale - MArch II
  5. UCLA - MArch II : SUPRASTUDIO (my second dream school after MIT but not very recognizable outside of the US)
  6. Cornell - MArch II (solid program and a name...)
  7. Rice - Option 2 OR Option 3 : Present Future (I like student projects a lot)
  8. Wash U in St Louis - MArch (have a friend that studies there - I like their solid program and travelling opportunities)
  9. UC Berkeley - MArch: Studio One OR Option 2 OR Master of Science
  10. Princeton - MArch 3 years professional OR MArch 2 years post-proffesional (choosing)
  11. PennDesign
  12. UICIU
  13. UTSOA
  14. University of Michigan

14 schools to apply is already a lot... Not counting some European schools I will also apply to (AA, Delft and some others). Maybe with your help I could cross over some of them? Thank you!

Aug 20, 14 10:36 am
Non Sequitur

Take the cheapest option.

Aug 20, 14 11:02 am

Obviously, I will take the cheapest offer when I get any, but now I want to set up admission strategy and fix on my school list. And I will apply for the financial aid and some grants, so I can't determine which option will appear to be cheaper than the others...

Aug 20, 14 11:40 am
The Great Northern

Cooper Union. 

10 or fewer students accepted each year, studio based, and despite recent tuition issues with the school the program is still relatively inexpensive for an MArch II. Also, Diana Agrest.

Aug 20, 14 1:20 pm

I've heard that Cooper program is more into arts. Is that right? I've finished an undergrad program based on the beaux-art tradition and now I would like a stronger emphasis on technology or advanced social studies. And by the way, people here write that Cooper undergraduate program is strong, but they write very little about it's MArch II program...
Anyway, thank you for recommendation. I'll look into this this school's program more.

Aug 20, 14 6:36 pm

Why do people bother posting these threads?  There are so many of them out there that a simple search would bring up days worth of reading. 

If you want the TL;DR:

  1. Harvard 
  2. MIT
  3. Yale
  4. Columbia
  5. Cornell
  6. UPenn
  7. Princeton


  1. UCLA
  2. U Mich
  3. UC Berkeley 
  4. Sometimes Cinci for good technical grounded education
Aug 20, 14 7:39 pm

@SpatialSojourner, thank you!
"a simple search would bring up days worth of reading" Actually, that's the reason. Even after I've spent a lot of time reading the forum many things remain obscure... And non-US citizens usually don't have much sources of information except for the Internet. That's why any piece of advice is really helpful!

Aug 20, 14 8:44 pm

Columbia is a really shitty ivy league, they have a high acceptance, no standards, bad studio spaces, everyone makes their way through no matter how bad their work is.... the benefits are New York, but even the connections are weak now at Columbia...

Aug 20, 14 10:19 pm

Thanks a lot! I assume that you're quite right. I've read some more about Columbia and so it seems that this school has more cons than pros + no financial aid for international students, I've totally overlooked that at first. I'll cross over Columbia and focus on Cornell instead.

Aug 21, 14 4:59 am

hi I'm also an international student and I am going to apply grad schools this year. Why you are not considering about sci-arc? they are crazy about material and technology. But I am also pretty confused about which program to choose. I was thinking about AA in London, in US berkley, sci-arc, yale, cooper union,usc.. . I'm interested in parametric design and I also want to study in a school where I can get a connections to find job after finishing the school. I also plan to open my own company one day which I think studying at the right place in graduate school will help me to get there. I also want to stay the place that I go and maybe be a part time lecturer at the university.

Sep 12, 14 5:29 am

Hi, Curvedarc!
As far as I know, SCI-Arc is mainly focused on computational analysis/design and parametrics. I am not particularly interested in these, so I crossed over this school.
If that's what interests you, you should probably apply to sci-arc) Also, I've read here on Archinect that PennDesign is rather focused on parametric design and maybe also Taubman and USC.
Why don't you consider IAAC in Barcelona? They are a very young program, but with already strong reputation and specialization in parametric design and fabrication technologies.

Sep 12, 14 5:50 am

I'm an international student and my list of schools or M.Arch II is: (in no particular order)

1. Yale

2. UC Berkeley (Studio One)


4. UMichigan

No idea what my chances are =/ 

Sent my app in for SCI-ARC and Berkeley. 

Any pointers? I'm into Parametric Design.

Dec 15, 14 2:32 pm

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