USC vs. Berkeley CED vs. WashU?



I have been recently accepted to WashU's and USC two-year M'Arch program (still waiting on Berkeley).

I am having a hard time making a decision because they're all great schools. From what I know USC alumni include renowned architects like Gehry and overall I see more advantages when it comes to connections, since USC is in LA I think it would be easier for me to find more connections. Any opinions on the program of this school?

What about WashU? I know this is a great school as well, but sometimes I think their more known for their undergraduate education, although i know they're program is currently ranked #10 by DesignIntelligence, I worry that by finding myself in St. Louis, I will have a hard time finding jobs in cities like NY, LA, SF etc. Any thoughts on this?

Finally, Berkeley CED program has me confused, and although I did a bunch of research on Environmental Design, I'm still confused as to what exactly is Berkeley's main focus, even in its M'Arch program. I've been reading in several blogs that its undergraduate program is overrated, and some professors I talked to told me that Berkeley, while it has a top architecture program, faculty pay little time in teaching digital software and rendering programs, like places such as Pratt (for instance) do it.

Personally, knowing all the main digital tools is important for me so I have my doubts on Berkeley, but again I think that out of all the three of them, Berkeley has the highest reputation internationally...

I know my thoughts are not based on actual facts, and I'm sorry if I offend anyone that might've graduated from these schools, but I would really like some help in clarifying my thoughts, as grad school is an important decision for me. Thanks!

*Also, what is the average age of grad students for these grad schools? 

Mar 12, 18 2:00 am

You could easily find out the average age by searching. No, I'm not going to search for you.

You could have easily found out Berkeley's main focus by going to their open house and online Q&As BEFORE you applied.

We aren't going to do your homework for you bud. Much less your homework that is now LATE.

Mar 12, 18 4:46 am

People in LA think the rest of the country besides NY is a bunch of cow farms. So if you get a degree in Washington prepare for endless questions of “is there much up there?, is their program any good? I’m really mostly familiar with SLO, did you guys design farms?”

Mar 12, 18 10:09 am
Stew Dent

What kind of pedagogues do you prefer? Those schools have very different methods/attitudes towards how and what they teach. (I am assuming you mean WASHU in St. Louis, not the state?). It will be easier to land that job if you are in the city as a student. Firms like Woods Bagots, for example, tend to only seek out local interviews for candidates in San Francisco. However, many students from WASHU have ended up in LA / NYC/ SF, so it's not the end all be all to go to those coastal Universities.

Honestly, if I were you, I would go for Berkeley. The prestige of the name has outlasted the other schools on your list. The school is bound to be more diverse student population, which means your education will be that much richer. Some schools have more homogeneous student / teacher populations as you get farther away from the coast. Was a bummer in my experience.

Mar 11, 19 8:39 pm
Berkeley undergrad alumni here (but I had most of the graduate professors since you can take the grad courses as an undergrad) and going into the USC 2nd year M.arch program most likely. I made an account for this thread so hopefully something is use.

I am from the Los Angeles area and I have friends who finished the WashU program.

All three are somewhat different from each other.

UC Berkeley is the most prestigious if you are looking to work out of the country. The professors for the studios really vary which gives it a range of style. Andrew Atwood’s is normally in charge of core and his style is very GSD formlike. The next few studios you get to pick who you would like. Some professors are more into urbanplacemaking and some are really into 3d printing. It does lack a lot of technical skills and you are expected to teach yourself for the most part. You get the opportunity to take the other graduate courses like urban design and landscape. There is some focus on sustainability but nothing too crazy. In terms of connections, most work in the Bay Area or abroad. If you are doing an internship, most likely with a professor. Also, there a high possibility you can TA (called GSI) if you need the funds. The program is on two floors.
Most of the professors have tenure for the graduate program.

USC program is better for connections if you are looking to work in Los Angeles. The program also lacks a style but they encourage students to do internships. Though I think the undergrad students are much stronger than my friends who did only M.Arch (other undergrad). Also note that Los Angeles as a city has way more competition since you have competing schools within miles of each other.

Washington is the most technical out of the three. The programs come out more commercial/corporate friendly. I know my friends don’t have trouble to find work afterward.

Also in terms of age, from the multiple campus visits I done over the years. UC berkeley March is around 23-28ish with the American citizens around 25-28 and international at 23-25.

USC is more 21-26. There is also a lot of morechinese internationals

I only been to Washington once it was roughly 25ish.

Honestly, I wouldn’t do any of those programs if your main concern is learning digital tools.
Mar 12, 19 8:28 pm

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