Canadian M.Arch Schools: Carleton?


I've been accepted into Carleton's 3 year M.Arch program beginning in Fall 2017. I like a lot about their architecture program and its opportunities for students, particularity the DSAs and the architectural conservation option. They also offered me a good funding package. I am about 90% sold on going there in the fall.  

However, I know that Carleton is known as one of the more artsy architecture schools, which I am a bit apprehensive about as I am coming from a B.Sc degree (ie non design background). I am also uncertain about Carleton's reputation with respect to to other architecture schools in Canada. Is it well known or well respected? I don't really know much about Carleton as a whole, let alone their architecture program.

I was also accepted to UBC's M.Arch program, which is ranked very highly in the world- if not at least well known. I know that rankings aren't everything, but the fact that UBC, U of T, etc rank so highly while Carleton doesn't show up makes me a bit nervous. 

I guess any other information about Carleton would be helpful for me. As I said, I'm pretty much sold on going there in the fall, so it would be nice to know what to expect. Thanks!

Mar 27, 17 2:18 am

I have no insight knowledge about the program. Though i have visited Carelton university and Azerial school of Architecture and i really loved the place. The university area is beautiful and a stream of Rideau Canal passes through the campus.I really like Ottawa because of its history and architecture (P.S. I am not a fan of Modern Architecture)

As i have also applied for the same i did some research. The comments i have received is Carelton M.arch program is bit Hypothetical like designing in concept stage and its more of theory.

Bdw when did you get you carelton acceptance ?

Also as far as i know UBC is far far better than carelton. I will say don't miss the opportunity if you are getting in UBC. Even the weather there is so much better and UBC is a renowned university. Though I cant comment much upon architectural Program there but it must be better than carelton

Mar 27, 17 2:43 am
Non Sequitur
Good comments above. I know carleton's program and faculty well and I believe their MArch is above UBC, slightly. The main reasons being that they have a very well respected digital lab (CIMS) and a Ph.D. Path. Unlike UBC, Carleton had a real architecture undergrad too small plenty of options for TAs and interaction with studio critiques.

With that said, BC and Vancouver are very nice compared to cold and sleepy Ottawa but Your portfolio will always go farther than the reputation of the school. UofT is only highly regarded by its students and those who see Toronto as the only city in Canada.
Mar 27, 17 6:27 am
Thank you for your comments smileandshine and Non Sequitur. I'm not so much concerned with the location of the university as I am with the actual architecture program. I've talked with some architects where I am from and they seem to agree that Carleton is a better option.

I received an offer from Carleton on March 7th.

Thanks again for your thoughts!
Mar 28, 17 1:44 pm

Hello dvwdrff, I know this forum has been there a while ago. However, would you mind telling me if you have an arch background during undergrad? I am asking as I do not have an arch background and wonder if I should take their Studio First option before the semester starts. Thank you!

Nov 14, 17 1:50 pm

hello guys, please tell me if it’s possible to get admitte for MArch as I having BTech mechanical in undergraduat.


Jun 25, 18 10:44 am

I know a few people that went there... heard nothing but good things

Jun 25, 18 12:30 pm

I graduated with a M.Arch from Carleton. Great school, good instructors, attracts good visiting lecturers, your degree can be largely self-directed if desired, building and campus are great, and Ottawa offers a great quality of living without being to crazy so you can focus on your studies (MTL is only 2 hours away if you need a bigger city for the weekend). I had no problem getting a good job after school and the firm I currently work for has several Carleton grads even though it is located halfway across the country (good reputation). 

Jun 28, 18 7:31 pm

Hello again, thank you for the new comments since I last answered. I had forgotten about this post but I figured that I would comment about my experiences so far at Carleton, which is where I chose to attend. 

I have been at Carleton for two full years, and I am starting my third and final year of the M.Arch. As I alluded to above, I was in the M.Arch1 program which is a 3 year professional M.Arch designed for those without a previous degree in architecture. Overall, I am very happy with my decision to attend Carleton! The school aligns well with my personal and professional interests, and I have had many great opportunities during my time here. There is generous funding for the M.Arch program, including a fully funded trip for those in M.Arch1. The faculty that I have worked with have been very supportive in both studio and lecture classes, and there seems to be a lot of cross-disciplinary research. Among other benefits, there is also a great studio culture at Carleton which has been really impactful in my experience here. 

When I made this post, I was concerned about Carleton’s ‘reputation’, but I have come to realize that global rankings are often arbitrary and rely on false metrics- especially for architecture programs. It is far more important to attend a university where you learn how to design critically and competently. From my experiences thus far, I know that I am receiving that at Carleton. 

Sep 28, 19 11:59 pm
LianneSn, I’m sorry that I didn’t reply sooner! I am not sure if your question is still pressing, but I will answer for those who may be looking at this forum in the future. I think the Studio First program at Carleton is really beneficial, especially if you do not have any academic or professional experience in a design field (as was my case). It gives you a sense of what architecture school will be like and helps you start to put together a portfolio of relevant work. I know that it would have really helped me had I had the opportunity to take it.
Sep 29, 19 12:14 am

Waterloo is far superior than Carleton in my opinion 

Sep 29, 19 9:32 am
Non Sequitur

Loo is far better than Carleton. It’s not even a close competition.


Unless you are aiming to work for specialized boutique firms that only hire "prestigious" graduates, school ranking doesn't matter at all. The main deciding factors to getting jobs are your portfolio, skills, and attitude. If a school is funding you for majority of your education experience, you will be ahead of your peers with student debt and loans when you graduate. Financial health is something you shouldn't take lightly as it provides flexibility and negotiating power when you're in the job market. ie. you won't have to be desperate for a job and will have the luxury to seek out the right opportunity for you.

In all honesty, I work with many talented UBC grads, and they don't think much of the school either. Anecdotal but take that as you will.

Sep 30, 19 3:11 pm

Hello, thank you so much to all the comments, it surely helped my research on which universities to apply. I wanted to know if anyone could help me on the response time for an application at Carleton? I have recently applied for  3 years M.Arch1 program at Carleton university. It's been over a month from the time I have applied and there has been no change in the status or update in the students portal (Status - Preliminary review required). Any suggestions / comments are appreciated. 

Thank you for your time in advance, hope I hear from someone.

Feb 28, 20 1:39 am
Non Sequitur

March is typical for early admin but normally it’s April-may for most. Contact the school if you want to know their exact timeline.

Thank you Non Seuitur, I did write an email addressing the same to the university. They responded also, saying typically the decision would be announced ​by March end and second round would be out by May. However I read some comments in online forums about how people had to wait for a year to hear back from the university, so was wondering how to go about it. Anyways thanks a ton for you time, really appreciate it.

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