Columbia VS IAAC (Graduate Program)



I am trying to way the pros and cons and any input would be greatly appreciated!

The Pros and Cons of each:

Columbia Pros:

  • Ivy League (Great Reputation and great connections)

Columbia Cons:

  • Expensive Tuition and everyday expenses (Rent..etc)

IAAC Pros:

  • Great Facilities (3d printing, labs..etc)
  • Cheaper

IAAC Cons:

  • Not accredited
Mar 23, 17 11:05 am

I tended to lean more toward the cheaper schools for less debt after graduation, but do you plan on getting licensed as an architect in the US after school? If so I'd go for Columbia. I'm sure you can get a job with an un-accredited degree but I'd prefer to keep my options open with an accredited degree. I guess it depends on your end game. 

Mar 23, 17 11:24 am

I've been working for a few years with next to no expenses, so money is not an issue.

But I have cofounded a start up in Beirut, where I live. I am tempted by the whole "ivy league" thing, but I think IAAC is more practical and hands on.

I don't really have an end game, but I doubt I'll work in the US.


Good reasoning - IAAC is great particularly for innovation and start up -Lad there (who is on Archinect) has a practice BAD which has done projects in Beruit if I recall. - he is brilliant


Thank you Ted for your reply!


I've also been admitted to both these universities and would love to hear your thoughts.

Mar 25, 17 7:09 am

It's decision day! Any more thoughts would be appreciated. :)

Apr 14, 17 2:15 pm

A friend who entered for 2 years program, decided to quit IAAC after a year and take a one year degree because of the low student profile(about softwares), they are doing group works in courses, not individual, I think it causes problems. So, it depends to your approach, my friend is individual kind of person. In GSAPP, you work individual and choose a studio by your interests(theory or parametric).

Besides, in IAAC you dont choose your research subject (in the first year), they choose it for you, like it or not. Still, their education is quite intensive and you learn a lot about parametrics and softwares like processing and grasshopper. GSAPP is crowded of ideas and students but, IAAC is less people sharing the same interests. So, it is up to you.

Apr 15, 17 2:38 pm

Innovation and creativity is built upon collaboration so group projects are by far the way to go if you wish a stimulated, creative multi-discipline environment verses being working as a sole artist. AA, Bartlett non-professional degrees such as DRL and B-Pro work in the same manor.


I definitely agree about collaboration, I believe the design process is a discussion. The more input there is the richer the project.

Anyway, I'm sure there will be room for collaboration in Columbia, I'm heading there in a couple of weeks!

May 9, 17 3:20 pm

hey zigmondi!!

I have applied to the same course in Columbia as well and was wondering if you could share your portfolio! Im a bit nervous about the whole waiting process so wanted to see how an accepted portfolio looks.

Also are you liking the course??

Jan 14, 19 2:38 pm

Hi Sharktank101,

Of course I can share my portfolio but only through email as I do not have it online.

I graduated last year in May and it was a fantastic experience. If you have any specific questions I would love to help.

A couple of things to keep in mind. First, being a post professional degree, the AAD is a masters that no one really needs. In other words it doesn't help in getting a license or anything. Also, after I graduated, the director for the AAD was changed from Enrique Walker to Andres Jaque. Traditionally, the director gives a very important course (metropolis) that dictates the program for all AAD students thereafter, so please be aware of this change in ideology. In my opinion the program shifted away from a deeply rooted theoretical education of architecture history and its advancements to today to a more future oriented, experimental, and political one.

That being said, you will have a choice from a very broad range of 18 studios, so you can always customise to what you want to get out of the program.

Jan 16, 19 6:44 am

Hey Zigmondi,

I got accepted into MS AAD program at Columbia as well! So excited!! Could you tell me a little bit more about your experience there? And what I need to be prepared for!

Mar 14, 19 5:52 am

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