No prior experience, applying to M.Arch



I am going to graduate with my Bachelors in Sociology by May '19. I got into an Architecture program last year but got out of it due to me trying to graduate with my Bachelors. My advisor told me to go back after my Bachelors and do get my Masters in Arch. I did take one intro to Arch. class! It was not a studio it was just a history based class. I have a 3.2 going into my Sr. year of college. I am starting to apply to colleges soon. ANY ADVICE WOULD BE HELPFUL!! 

Jul 12, 18 11:58 pm
Non Sequitur's comment has been hidden
Non Sequitur

Zebra, your location matters here as not all places have the same reqs. 

Jul 13, 18 6:50 am
Non Sequitur

And with that, my initial assumptions grow even stronger. Nice hole you’ve dug yourself.


Many masters of architecture programs require three years for those students who have not had a prior experience in architecture from a undergraduate degree. The first year of masters school is essentially the  four years of undergrad combined into one year. Do you have any prior design or creative work that you used before that could be useful in a portfolio? I know for getting into my own program all they wanted to know were my intentions in design and my process. Same as they expect for undergrads. Your gpa isn't low but it's lower than automatically being considered so you want to try to make your portfolio the best you can. Don't get too focused on making it specifically architecture work because you really wouldn't have anything like that since you are just starting out. Have a really clear understanding of why you want to study architecture and what made you change your path to it. Maybe relating your current focus in sociology or a class you took to architecture would make you unique! good luck 

Jul 13, 18 3:28 pm

Thank you for your feedback! I am bringing my GPA up I am not graduating with a 3.2 but yes I do have some prior experience. I did advanced art all of high school. I have not taken an art class in 4 yrs though. I do know how to use adobe photoshop some but need to master it. I am currently trying to get allowed into a 2D class that I feel will really benefit me! I have faith in my artistic abilities just not exactly sure where to start for my portfolio but I know it will eventually come to me! Thank you so much again!


Yes I think that having the art background really will help for you. Find ways of representation and clarity in layout ect. these are always good indications of a students ability to learn how to present design ideas clearly. So like if you did a graphite drawing of a city view, include a relevant photo or photo series that could use your photoshop skills to create a layout. This might be from different angles and why you chose to draw it b&w vs color say maybe its because the geometry of the buildings were more important visually. Whatever it is, This kind of thing is important when discussing visual arts work in terms of design for arch school. Rather than simply saying heres a chair I designed. It just makes more of a conversation.


I don't get it, you already got into an architecture program last year, while still graduating sociology, and now you ask for help how to get into architecture? I'm confused, didn't you just quit architecture? You apparently know how to get into architecture because you did last year, or am I wrong?

Jul 14, 18 3:55 pm

Maybe the OP changed his/her major late and then decided to change back in order to just graduate on time. ??


Ah okay, but still confused.


​I got into an undergrad program for Arch. right before last year and then opted out because I was not wasting my hrs to sit in a 4yr program as a Jr. when I could graduate with my minor and then go back for Masters and save time. Now I have to send a portfolio and I'm just simply asking for advice! Hope this helps with the confusion!


Makes sense now :)


Good for you @zebraskater4! 

Sociology is a field that dovetails well with design. I encourage you to reach out to your local AIA chapter for any opportunity to do some short term shadowing at a firm, and to reach out to any designers you might know who critique your portfolio as you submit your applications. 

You don't have to know about something in order to learn about it--and I'd say, you're welcome to join us. I just finished an M. Arch, without a 4 year degree in architecture or substantial experience as a building designer, and did I die? No. Very much still alive! There's no one way to do architecture, your way of entering will be as unique as the designs that your special intuitions lead to. 

What's more, sometimes undergrads who study only architecture miss out on important life skills, habits of mind, and intellectual range that  experiences outside design can contribute to. Your soc background will sometimes place you at an advantage, (understanding context of a site, engaging broad ideas about equity in the built environment, connecting with people to build trusting and supportive teams). And you'll rely heavily on your cohort to develop your blindspots too--

Mastering photoshop, revit, a chopsaw, (or any tool) seem lovely and fun goals! Rest assured that many skillsets will continue to be important--but probably not as important as your ability to judge which one to use when. Something here about flexibility, understanding the limitations of each tool, something else here about the difference between information and meaning-- 

Another important resource might be NCARB/RIBA; I encourage you to imagine into what you'll be doing when you finish your M. Arch! 

cheering for you!


Jul 16, 18 2:35 pm

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