M.Arch II - Thesis or no thesis? (GSAPP vs. Cornell vs. Cooper Union)


I have a B.Arch degree and was recently admitted to Columbia GSAPP (MS.AAD), Cornell (MS.AAD, formerly M.Arch II) and Cooper Union (M.Arch II).

My main reason for applying to post-professional programs was to specialize in a specific subject that lends itself to independent research. Of the three programs, only Cooper Union has a guaranteed thesis semester. Cornell requires you to apply and be selected after your second semester, and GSAPP is just three consecutive option studios (no thesis).

Columbia is most in line with my interests in terms of pedagogy, student work, and faculty, but my main concern is that I would leave with a couple new projects for my portfolio but no opportunity to specialize/continue on in academia. Cooper seems ideal for the exploration I want to do (NYC is where I would want to do the research, so Ithaca is less appealing), but seems to be a bit more disorganized since the grad program is very small and the school is undergrad focused.

In short - is it worth passing up the "dream school" for more academic freedom?

I've talked to multiple people who went through MS.AAD at GSAPP, but have less info about the others. Anyone familiar with these three schools/programs able to weigh in?

Mar 8, 18 5:20 pm

Check at Cornell about how much time you would/could spend in the New York program. That may help the decision.

Mar 8, 18 7:12 pm

Why don't you take the money you're going to pay these schools and just finance your own independent research? You could even hire an assistant or two.

Mar 8, 18 9:17 pm

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