Have to decide: UVA vs. UCLA vs. Middlebury


I got accepted into these three schools and would like some advice. I know UVA starts its B.S./B.A. Arch program on the first year vs UCLA on the third year (where it's maybe hard to get in from letters and science?). Middlebury also has an architectural studies course. Any thoughts on which school is best to then apply for an M.Arch I program afterwards?

Should I play it safe and go directly to the UVA school of architecture / choose an arch major in Middlebury, or go to UCLA and then apply to the Arch and Urban design school on sophmore year?

I'd also like to learn about the Middlebury arch program.



Apr 21, 17 1:23 am

Hello MS, 

Although I did not go to UVA's undergraduate program, I did for my M.ARCH. During my time there, I was a graduate TA for the architectural courses that you would take your first year. The first semester you take a course called Lessons in Making. The course calls for a lot of drawing, you do not have to be great at drawing. You're graded on improvement and effort. By the end of the semester, you will design a small pavilion. The course is basically giving the foundation for architectural drafting and sketching. The second semester will be your first studio. The projects vary in scale and are abstract thinking (design thinking). By the end of that semester, you would end with a group project to build a life size "living pod" made out of recycled materials. As far as the rest of your education there, there are a ton of professors from diverse backgrounds and have worked at some great firms around the world. There are some great connections to make. The projects vary in scale your last two years, from urban scale to building scale. You get to choose from 4-6 studios each fall semester. A couple studios are vertical studios, which allows you to take studios at the graduate level with graduate students. Also, UVA has an externship program where they place 170 of their students at architecture firms around the United States, with top firms like BIG, Morphosis, Studio Gang, SHoP Architects, HOK, etc, but also local popular firms in major cities. There has been some change in administration so things may change, before the Chair of the Architecture was Ed Ford, the focus was urban scale, but now its more grounded in the practical realm. But my favorite thing about the education I received from UVA, is that you can really create your own path because the variety of classes and scales in projects. I find myself really comfortable doing urban design down to a wall detail. 

Good luck with your decision. 

Apr 21, 17 3:05 pm

For an undergraduate education I'd highly recommend Middlebury - it's name will carry more weight during the M. Arch admissions process and, in my opinion, will provide you with a more comprehensiveness education with easy, personal access to educators - something that's much harder to find at a large state school. 

UCLA second, UVA last. All three are great schools, though. 

Apr 21, 17 5:15 pm

If you go to Middlebury, you're only pursuing a degree in Architectural Studies. When looking in to M. Arch programs, your masters will take at least one additional year. Now, if that's what you want that is up to you. Now, there are some master's programs that are great 3 year programs. In summary, definitely look at your education as a whole. I would also think about the context around the school. What can you learn from living in LA, Charlottesville, or Middlebury? Where can you literally apply what you will learn to where you live, and see your environment as a laboratory to test theories. Also, where are there job opportunities in these cities, if you wanted to intern during the summers or part-time, or even stay in that city after you graduate. Anyway, it's not only about the education, but your entire view on architecture is shaped by your surroundings. That is just my perspective though, my design methodologies have been shaped by the environments I have lived in, worked in, and studied. 

Apr 26, 17 10:52 am

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