UBC MEL - High Performance Buildings or M.arch


Hello fellow Archinect members,

To give some background to my prior experience and education I am a graduate of Architectural Technology and will soon have a BA in Building Science. I have always had an interest in Architecture and Engineering and have been successful so far in landing good student positions throughout my education (mainly Construction, Drafting & Project Management).  

My dilemma now is that with the education that I have so far I am unable to apply to many of the M.arch programs in my Canada since I don't have a Degree from an accredited architecture program. The universities that I am able to attend from what I have found are UBC, U of T and Carleton. These programs are all well regarded (with the exception of U of T from some posts I have read here) but they are also highly competitive since they have an open undergrad policy.

My question to you all is whether it would be worth it to spend the $28,000 on the 12 month MEL - High performance building program at UBC? This would give me good experience in Consulting / PM and I would consider the RAIC Syllabus later on if I really want to become a licenced architect and have plenty of real world experience. Or should I take the M.arch route and spend 3 years in school focusing mainly on studio?

I will be taking a few years off school to gain full time work experience so I have time to consider my options but I wanted to get some early feedback from the community.

Thank you all in advance for your advice.

Jul 12, 18 2:15 pm
Non Sequitur

If you want to practice as an architect, the best and quickest route, in Canada, is through an M.Arch.  Don't bother with the RAIC syllabus since you'll be dragged along distance learning design studios at a snail's pace for years.  Take the M.arch and then you can start accumulating experience hours... just remember that hours worked prior to your professional degree (March) cannot be counted for as part of your min 3700hr requirements.

Just note that a M.arch, even in the 3y options, is not just more studio.  You'll get all the prof-practice courses as well as the opportunity to push your own interests through a final thesis.

Jul 12, 18 2:46 pm

Thanks for the quick reply Non-Sequitur,

I considered contacting you directly with this post as you always give good advice to fellow Canadian arch students here. I also enjoy your roasts to the incompetent lol..

I think you`re right I just needed to hear it from someone else as well. I cant imagine not being an architect one day and should pursue the shortest path to achieving that goal.

Thanks again for the advice.

Non Sequitur

No problem. There are not that many Canadian active achinectors here these days... but feel free to drop me a PM and I can try to answer some questions. I know many people who are real positive on the syllabus path... and even I am a psuedo syllabus mentor (although I've yet to sign the paperwork), but I find it's not worth the time and potential loss of real income to go back to square one. Plus, very few people actually make it out of it equal to the M.arch crowd. Depending on your interests (and willingness to relocate), both UBC and Carleton M.arch are well rounded for those entering the 3y path.


Very true I have found that as well while I've been scrolling through the forum. I`m just at the end of my work day but I will likely reach out to you later on through PM. Just to address this comment though, I felt that it would be that case that graduating through the syllabus program would be viewed as ``lesser than``. Even is work experience seems to be more relevant in some cases. I currently live in Ottawa and love it here so I am familiar with Carleton as most of my friends attend or have graduated from there. My only concern with It is the perception of it in Ottawa seems to be that its too design focused. This may not be an issue since I have a very technical background though. UBC Is also just so enticing since I can get a change of scenery and it has more name brand recognition.    

Non Sequitur

No worries. I'm in Ottawa as well so there could be some slim chance we've crossed paths before.

Non Sequitur

As for the syllabus being seen as a lesser path, that's because it's done at one's own pace, and part-time, and without the presence of a studio of peers to constantly bounce ideas around. My main problem with it is say you go through all it's hoops and finally pass, you are only eligible to write the ExACs... you don't have a professional degree to claim. With that said, the quality of the work and your efficiency in an office setting are what will set you apart once you have that license and unlike our friends down south in Trumpganistan, the name on your degree is not as important.

There are only 10 (or is it eleven?) M.arch schools in Canada so most offices will have seen their share of graduates to know each program's strengths.

just john

Hello @Non Sequitur Among Calgary/ Dalhousie/ Carleton, which do you think offers better 2 year MArch program. I am an international student holding a 5 year BArch degree..

just john

Do you think an accredited Masters degree will make it easier to get into the Canadian job market or will a PGDip in Architectural Technology from an SPP college like Centennial will do?

Non Sequitur

John, those letters mean fuck all to me, so probably won’t mean anything to an employer. If you want to eventually become an architect, you need an accredited M.Arch in Canada (or equivalent). Carleton is likely the better option for international students given that it’s in the capital. Calgary and Dal are much smaller places, not to mention but also 1000s of kilometers apart.

just john

Thanks for the quick reply NS

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