M.arch in Canada and question regarding decisions


Hi all,

I am student currently in thesis year of a Bachelor of Design program in Canada. I have recently applied to Canadian M.arch schools and received offers from UofT, Carleton, Calgary and Manitoba, but rejected from UBC.

My question is, if anyone is familiar with the industry, which school should I be considering more intensively if the factor of location is not a factor? I believe that U of T is more prestigious internationally, but many have told me that the M.arch program in Carleton seem increasingly superior.

Also, I have the thought of taking a break year which allows me to take the GRE exam and apply to American universities. Does anybody have any insights on anything related to that?


Mar 15, 19 4:56 pm
Non Sequitur

neither school is prestigious by any metric. UofT is only reknown because of its location and mass variety of otherwise good programs, but not specifically its architecture program. 

Consider the faculty’s interest and location and for fucks sake, don’t go and pay US tuition when school is already so heavily subsidized in Canada. I mean, you’re not signing up for a 25y mortgage at only $10k per year. 

Honestly, I’d look at Carleton. I have close ties with many past faculty and students there and there is good computational research done at March and PhD levels. 

My cents. 

Mar 15, 19 5:31 pm  · 

Another few cents:

. UofT - Brigitte Shim teaches at UofT. UofT also has an amazing lecture series and a new building. 

. Carleton - I've heard from past students it's more theory-based.

. Calgary - New and exciting things are happening there!

. Manitoba - I had a friend who graduated from there and said a few years ago all the really great faculty left and went to teach at Ivy League schools.

The most prestigious school in Canada is Waterloo and it is recognized internationally by starchitect firms as well. However, in my experience the people who graduate from Waterloo have very successful professional lives and poor personal lives. 

To echo Non Sequitur's comments, determine what your interests are and look into the faculty's work to determine a good fit.

Hope this helps!

Mar 15, 19 6:53 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

I have a loo degree and a great personal life. Am I the exception? Perhaps. The rest of your points are decent tho. 8-)


Thanks! Just speaking from my personal experience. Glad you are the exception.

Mar 16, 19 11:49 am  · 

If you're looking to work in Canada after graduation, no employer is going to care which school you went to, unless you're specifically looking to tap into the local alumni. We don't have Ivy League schools in Canada so it's not really a thing. 

As others have said, find the faculty that interests you most, and go for it. 

Mar 16, 19 12:08 pm  · 

First of, Congratz on getting accepted! I don't know what is up with UBC, I know 6 people (Canadians) who applied to UBC, all got rejected. These people have amazing GPA and amazing portfolios and also received other similar offers as you. AND THAN!! One of my friend from USA (An interior design graduate) was admitted into the M.Arch (Fall 2019) at UBC... is it because of the GRE, even though it is optional to submit? or are the international fees simply just more attractive to UBC? who knows... 

Anyways, I completely agree with Non Sequitur, considering USA schools is crazy when lookin at the tuition fees... for example U of T M.Arch is about 12k CAD while Parson's M.Arch is well over 50k USD for Canadians... even with a scholarship (Half tuition paid, offer a friend of mine received which is declined), that is nuts!!!! Never mortgage your education, especially when you are paying yourself. That said, look at the program curriculums and see what interests, every university has a focus... see which aligns with your interests. Personally, I love UBC's program, seems perfect fit for me... but they will not accept me  : (…..

Mar 19, 19 3:44 pm  · 

From UBC SALA - and from my impression, they really try to construct a balanced class. Especially because its a small program - the non-design background MArch stream really has a diverse demographic of students with a broad range of interests represented (not just allied design fields). 

For the Advanced Placement MArch stream, you really need to demonstrate a critical eye rather than show a design aesthetic. The portfolios that I've seen of my friends are very exploratory and are often more about the idea than the representation (while representation still being important)

The reason for this is because the introductory year for non-design students at SALA really levels the playing field between AP and non-AP students by the 2nd year, and they sometimes see incoming AP's failing to keep up with non-AP students that have a year of UBC education under their belt. 

Mar 21, 19 2:41 pm  · 

Cross post from another thread:

UofC is great if you are into computational and parametric design. The workshop is great and have plenty of machines (CNC, 3D printers, plaster printers, wood shop etc.) to build your models from. However, the faculty is a bit lacking in terms of "prestige". If your main goal is to get a job after graduation, it doesn't really matter what school you attend. What matters the most in general is relevant work experience, drafting software skills (e.g. AutoCAD, Revit, Vectorworks etc.), personality, and adaptability. The job market (as of right now) in Calgary and Alberta in general is not that good - keep that in mind.

Apr 18, 19 5:54 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Are you here just to plug uni calgary? Regardless, few Canadian architects actively float here, so refreshing if you’re one of them. 8-)


No - not really. Recently fresh out of school but I have my gripes with the educational experience but I prefer to share an unbiased and objective perspective. 


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