graduate school applications and courses


Hi, I am from India and am planning to apply for an Urban design course in the US and other countries. A lot of colleges offer graduate programs that are 3 terms long or just about a year and a half long. Do Architecture firms and Corporate firms consider these courses while recruiting? Please let me know. What kind of credibility do these courses have for an aspirant who wants to work in US etc?

Sep 17, 18 9:11 am

Most Master of Urban Design programs in the US are 1.5 to 2 years long - so the lengths of the programs you're describing aren't going to be viewed negatively.  The general reputation of the program is far more important.  But, I'm confused by your question about architecture firms, as most architecture firms don't typically hire urban designers at all.  There are some firms that offer both architecture and planning, so it's not impossible, but for the most part if your goal is to work in an architecture firm then you would be looking at NAAB-accredited Master of Architecture degrees (typically 2.5 to 3.5 years long for a first-professional degree).  With a Master of Urban Design you'd be more likely to apply for positions with planning consultant firms, municipalities, or state or federal government - not architecture firms.

Sep 17, 18 11:07 am

Thank you. 

So whatever course I pick, and whatever be the duration, as long as it's NAAB accredited it won't be view negatively?

Sep 17, 18 2:10 pm

If it's an NAAB-accredited first-professional M.Arch degree, it will fulfill the education requirement for architect licensing in all US states.  Some states allow licensing without an accredited degree, but that can make reciprocity difficult in other states.  

As I said above, the reputation depends on the particular university and program.  There are over 100 NAAB-accredited M.Arch programs in the US - some with better reputations than others.  Whether there's any real focus on the reputation/ranking of the school from which you graduated varies from firm to firm.  At one extreme are firms that do not care at all, and at the other are firms that care a lot about getting grads from top-ranked universities with name-recognition, mainly because of the perceived value of those peoples' resumes in the firm's marketing materials.  There are also lots of employers who tend to hire heavily from the program that they themselves attended, and/or from the programs most local to the firm.

The only NAAB-accredited programs that may in-and-of-themselves terribly hurt your hiring chances are those from for-profit schools. For-profit universities have such a bad reputation in the US that many hiring consultants recommend that employers not consider their grads, and that job candidates not even list those degrees on their resumes.  There are very few for-profit universities offering accredited M.Archs, so that should almost be a non-issue.

Sep 17, 18 2:35 pm

Oh great. I'll be careful picking colleges. 

 Also what does non-professional course mean? Is it a diploma?

Sep 19, 18 4:45 am

Non-professional degree = can't use that degree to become a licensed architect.  


The only NAAB-accredited undergrad degree in architecture offered in the US is the B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture). It's usually 5 years. It's considered a professional degree because it satisfies the education component of the licensing requirements in all US states. All other undergrad architecture majors (BA, BS, AB, BFA, etc.) are considered "pre-professional" or "non-professional" undergrad degrees.

Someone without a B.Arch generally needs to get a "first professional M.Arch" in order to satisfy the licensing requirements in most states, (which is usually a 2.5 to 3.5 year program, depending on the school, though in some schools it's possible to get some advanced standing or credit for core courses, if you have an undergrad architecture major and a strong portfolio.) Some states have alternative routes to licensing that don't require a professional degree, though they usually require additional experience to become eligible to sit for the licensing exams (4 to 9 years of experience for someone without an NAAB degree, as opposed to 2-3 years of experience for someone with an NAAB degree).

Someone who already has a B.Arch and wishes to pursue additional education in architecture will usually attend what's called a "second professional M.Arch" or "post-professional M.Arch" program, which is typically shorter (1 to 2 years), but is not NAAB-accredited.  It's important to understand that difference, as international students sometimes manage to get accepted to post-pro M.Arch programs on the basis of their undergrad education, but then discover they can't get licensed in some US states because neither their undergrad foreign degree nor their M.Arch are NAAB-accredited or deemed equivalent.


Right. Thank you very much. You have been  helpful.

Sep 19, 18 2:03 pm

Hi, can you help me out with the pros and cons of selecting either a courses based program or thesis based program? I'm looking at various masters programs in Architecture and I'm a bit confused. 

Sep 28, 18 3:30 am

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