Bachelors Type and Relevance to Employers


I'm Canadian, looking at all these different flavours of Bachelors degrees, and am scratching my head a bit. Ryerson offers a Bachelors in "Architectural Science", Carleton offers a Bachelors in "Architectural Studies", and U of T offers a Bachelors of Arts despite billing their program as "Architectural Studies".

I know U of T's program offers demonstrably less than its competitors, what with it not being accredited, but I'm really curious if an employer on the other end pays much mind to these seemingly trivial titles. I know what Ryerson is trying to imply is that their education is a bit more technically oriented, but will having a degree from Ryerson really qualify me for a more technically oriented job, or will my work be able to speak for itself? Will having a Bachelor of Arts from U of T, despite having a masters from likely a different institution, sour my employability?

A little background on why I'm asking this question... I have finished an Arch. Tech program at Sheridan college, and am looking to get some further credentials. The crux of my dilemma is that I am missing a high school Physics credit, which I must get before applying to Ryerson/Carleton/Waterloo. The chances of this happening in time are getting thinner by the day, and I'm side-eyeing U of T as a legitimate option. I figure an extra year in a Masters program is more worth my time than chasing a credit and missing the window.

I would hope that my very technically oriented education with Sheridan would supplement the highly impractical stuff they teach you at U of T, and my end body of work would be able to rival a student at Ryerson or Waterloo. But I'm worried that my potential employers wouldn't be able to look past the fact that I took the "long" root 3 year masters. Do hirers get caught up in this kind of stuff, or am I way overthinking it?

Jan 3, 18 3:19 pm
Non Sequitur

Canadian architect here. You'll be happy to know you're not as lost or overthinking it as you might believe.  

To simplify things, both Carleton, RYU and UofT undergrad programs are the same as there is no longer an accredited architecture degree in Canada (old B.Arch).  They can call them whatever they want, hence the confusion.  You are however correct that UofT is garbage compared to the more technical RYU.  In comparison, Carleton's undergrad offers a good mix of both technical and abstract teaching since it's always been one of the more artistic architecture undergrad schools.

What are you looking to do? Becoming a licensed architect requires a M.Arch (or long RAIC path) and as far as I know, none of the accredited graduate programs will accept a technical college diploma. So, with this in mind, I would strongly recommend avoiding the UofT route and work on getting into either RYU or Carleton once you figure out highschool credits. In the end, it's the work you produce and the skills you develop that matter... not the name on your degree but don't give yourself a handicap by starting with an unnecessary bachelor of arts.

Did I miss something?

Jan 3, 18 3:38 pm

Hi Non Sequitur, 

Yes, unfortunately I realized a little too late that my technical diploma wouldn't launch me very far if I wanted to be a full licensed architect. Hopefully that diploma will be a value add in the future, but I'm not counting on it. But yes, I am aiming for an M.Arch and full licensed architect. 

 Maybe I've been misinformed then. I've heard that if I took UofT's program I would then have to take an extra year in any master's program I got into because UofT is unaccredited. Is this not the case?

 I've heard the bad rumors about UofT, but I've also heard some positivity given their recent investment into their program. Could you elaborate on your experience with UofT grads or the program itself?

 I completely recognize that you are correct in that I would be better off attending RYU or Carleton. However, can you play devil's advocate to an overly impassioned plea? Feel free to rip this all to shreds - it would only help motivate me to strive harder for RYU or Carleton. 

 My theory is that Carleton and Ryerson put out far better results because the barrier for their programs is quite high. I put myself in the shoes of someone coming out of high school with good grades but no particular passion, and naturally UofT is the one to gravitate towards. As we all know, Architecture requires a very specific type of person, and I think they probably don't have much love for it, but they continue onward simply so they can say they finished. That's the part where people pick up these UofT grads and find them to be very sub-par compared to those who had to target Ryerson's program and work hard to put everything together for it.

 Now, I recognize that it may be the height of foolishness to think that I am not one of those people given that I am stumbling on those same entry requirements. But I would like to think that my experience in Architecture thus far, looking at the often perceived "lows" of the profession in project management, contracts, building codes, and estimates, validates me as someone who loves the craft holistically. I would also like to think that whatever high-minded concepts they throw at me will be able to be filtered through my understanding of the technical nature of building construction. And I would also hope that I would be able to thrive so long as I get a reasonable sustenance in an education about architectural context and ideation.

Non Sequitur

I see now. As per your description, you are correct that those with a UofT undergrad require an additional year in any master program. This is because the under is far enough removed that it’s equivalent to any under grad degree. Completing an undergrad at Carleton, McGill, Loo, for example, allows the students to take the shorter 2y path because they do not need that extra year to teach applicants the basics.

Non Sequitur

As for employee quality, it really depends on the student. Good students will exist even in the worst of programs so all hope is not lost, however, the crux of design education is the studio and inter-peer relationships / critiques. And bottom programs don’t necesarily attract high quality folks to discuss concepts at 2am. Before jumping into a 4 + 3 year program, have you considered the RAIC syllabus? I don’t often recommend it because it’s long and mostly self-guided, but you’re likely to benefit from it instead of spending $100k on school and losing on 7 years of full time income.


I completely agree about the peer group thing. Gestating good ideas is really hard without someone to bounce things off of.

I haven't taken a good look at the RAIC syllabus. I've heard that it's an extremely long process, and judging by my slow progress with these high school credits the self study part might be tough.

I have an opportunity to be funded for the bachelors, and that's kind of on the line too if I miss this year's application - hence why I'm so anxious about this.

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