M.Arch from UO , UIC or ASU ?



I recently graduated from India with a B.Arch degree. My interest lies in sustainable design but i also want to choose a city where there are plenty of job opportunities. 

1- University of Oregon - has one of  the best sustainable programs in the country. But reading other posts on this forum, I got the feeling that there are very few architecture studios and job opportunities in the area. 

2 - Arizona State University - also has a strong sustainable program. But i am not very sure what the job scenario is for an ASU graduate after the degree. 

3 - University of Illinois, Chicago - doesn't have a sustainable program, but since it is located in downtown Chicago, there are plethora of design firms to apply. Also I read somewhere that some global companies prefer UIC graduates. 

I'm looking for information from recent graduates or current students from either of these three universities on the design studios, real-life project exposure during the program, internship opportunities and job prospects after graduation. Any information regarding this will be very useful to help me make an informed decision. 


Nov 3, 16 1:10 am

UO - This is the best school on your list and it is known for its sustainable design focus. This university overall is highly regarded. 

ASU- Its known for their sustainable design but doesn't hit any ranking list that im aware of. If your looking into moving to AZ take a look at University of Arizona as well. Both schools are pretty good but i have a soft spot for UofA. 

UIC- This school is all about theory. and yes these graduates do end up at pretty nice firms doing some awesome designs. Im from chciago and considered attending the M.arch program here. A lot of neat things to get involved in. Many students last year were part of the architectural biannual. On the down side this school is kinda beat up and the winters in chicago get depressing. but go CUBS.


Over all i woundt worry about going to one school or another because of job placement. Do what you want to focus on. If you go to UO and find that you are more interested in design OR go to UIC and find out that theory design isnt your thing, then you will have a hard time going through the program. 

Side note: location does play a big part of it. I went to both UofA and UIUC for my undergrad and the beautiful weather in arizona helped alot when pulling all nighters. 

Nov 3, 16 10:30 am  · 

I graduated from ASU and got a minor in sustainability. From my experience, they are really starting to put resources into the School of Sustainability (helps promote their image as the "No.1 university for innovation"). In my opinion, the school is very flexible in letting you study what interests you, as they love to consider themselves as avant-garde and sustainability is already a pretty broad concept. The classes correlate well with architecture and it was easy to relate course material to studio projects. As far as the architecture program, they have some pretty solid faculty running the place and sufficient opportunities for networking. Plenty of professors run their own firms or have good industry connections. School events, lectures, and juries generally have a good showing of notable local names. I took a building systems class that focused almost entirely on passive and sustainable design, and one of the studios had a significant emphasis on sustainable design (we were provided with some cool software programs to help evaluate our projects). Side note: the design school is in desperate need of an update. Studio spaces are rough and there are very few areas for presentation; I've done more than one major review in a hallway.

As far as employment, the job market is pretty decent in Phoenix right now. Recall it's a huge metropolitan area and firms are incredibly diverse. Despite the recent recession, there is a still a significant amount of development occurring and people are hiring. As far as finding a job, ASU doesn't do much more than bring the professionals around. It's up to you to be involved, network, and make connections to find employment, otherwise you'll be searching job posting websites on your own. Best of luck in your decision. 

Nov 4, 16 4:11 pm  · 

@Driko  and @cemoore thank you so much for your detailed reviews. This will definitely help make my decision easier.  

Nov 5, 16 7:49 am  · 

Since i'm an international student, finding a job is as important as choosing the right program because I do want a quicker return of investment. Even if I work for 10 years in India i wont be able to break even the investment. I am very inclined to UO myself since the program is one of the best in the country. But what are the placements records of graduates after their course ?

Thank you for taking out your time and clearing my doubt. Appreciate it. 

Nov 5, 16 8:09 am  · 
You should ask the schools about their placement rate, and also know that school is what you make of it. You're picking between 3 good schools. If you're good, it doesn't matter if you went to UO or Balkins School of Architecture.

Don't go to the second one.
Nov 5, 16 8:35 am  · 
1  · 

@Driko, wondering what you mean by UIC being "beat up"? I am considering this for M Arch program as well. SIU is also on my list.

Mar 16, 21 10:42 am  · 

Two questions: I am about to finish up my BA in History of art and architecture from UCSB my emphasis was on architecture and environment.  I am looking at M ARCH programs and was just contacted by ASU which now has an online program.  Any input on the program would be appreciated

I live in Los Angeles and UCLA is not only affordable but close to my house.  I am a non traditional student ( read old) who returned to school after raising a family.  My under grad transfer applications were rejected twice.  Clearly I am not making a positive impression.  I did the summer studio and did well, I liked how balanced the program was equal parts theory, history and technology so my attraction to the program is not just because it’s here and it’s cheap.  What can I do to polish myself up to get my foot in the door?  

Info on me, I left the industrial design program at RISD more than 30 years ago after being put on academic probation for crappy grads.  After our don was placed with us I did not go back,, raised a whole gang of kids while working part time for Contractors, a kitchen design studio and a neighbor who die residential remodels.  Because my credits were so ancient I had to start over as a fifty-something with the intention to transfer into an architecture program. Unfortunately the schools I could afford did not admit me and the fabulous schools that DID admit me were not only far from home, they were too expensive.  UCSB not only admitted me but gave me significant scholarships.  I completed what should have taken two years in one year with a 3.76 GPA.  I will study Scandinavian design and urbanism in Sweden this fall.

  Being away from my husband and kids has been hard and taking on a ton of debt at my age is not prudent so ASU and UCLA seem like good options.  Any scoop on ASU online and tips for making a successful application to UCLA would be appreciated.

Thanks for reading my novel

Jul 21, 22 9:07 am  · 

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