Help with fixing the education program in my university



I am an architecture student, 2nd year, in UACEG, Bulgaria. UACEG started ~80 years ago and currently the program we are using has barely changed from back then. A small group of us has decided to step up and bring some change to the system however it is pretty hard to find info on what elite architecture universities around the world are doing.

Major issue we identified is the waste of time and motivation. This happens due to the fact that our semester's duration is 16 weeks. During those weeks we have 2-4 design disciplines typically its once a week for each subject for around 3-4 hours. During those hours we are consulting our projects with the assistants. Thats 21 people who have to consult their project for those 3-4 hours. Then you fix whatever you have to and you wait for the next week. This has been a huge waste of time for us and with the time wasted our motivation started fading. Then there comes the other problem of the 4 projects going on at the same time. That becomes a kind of a big issue when you have such gaps between corrections as it feels like everything resets every week and you are getting messed up in all the subject.

We are thinking that such projects would be easily doable in 2-4 weeks time if hours are concentrated and we get to work more with our teachers.

I'd like to ask you, fellow colleagues from around the Globe, what is it like in the university you are attending? What is the program like? How long do you study a semester in weeks and how are the projects distributed? 

May 17, 19 11:57 am

In the program where I teach: the semesters are 12 to 15 weeks long (it depends on if you count the reading and exam weeks, and it varies a little by season).  The architecture curriculum revolves around studio, which typically meets 3 days per week for 4 to 6 hours each day - exactly how long depends on the level/year, as the credits are tied to class hours per semester, and upper level studios are for higher numbers of credits.  Some days are pin-ups or formal critiques.  Some days involve site visits or field trips. Sometimes part of the class time is for a lecture or presentation of some sort.  Most of the rest are desk critss, similar to what you describe:  critics and assistants make the rounds of students - though our studios rarely have more than 14 students each.  When a student isn't directly discussing their project with their critic they're generally expected to be working on their project, though they can come and go freely.  The rest of the courses tend to be somewhat less time-consuming, so their assignments (whether projects, textbook problems, or papers) tend to take less focus.  Most students have one studio per semester, with one project at a time, and take 3 or 4 other courses at the same time.  Usually the studios in the lower years have several projects per semester - some can last as little as a week and there could be anywhere from 3 to 8 projects per semester.  In upper years there is usually only one, or sometimes 2 studio projects per semester.

May 17, 19 12:10 pm

Thank you for response! This is really close concept to the one we will be trying to implement... Mind if I ask where you teach?


I teach in a private university in a northeastern US state.

I think one of the biggest issues you'd face in trying to change your current program is that it sounds as though your faculty only teach about 25% to 33% as many hours as studio critics teach here.  If you go to your administration and suggest that they make that change you'd probably be asked right away how you plan to fund it.  Are you proposing a tuition hike?  Or cutting the faculty by at least half?  Or much shorter semesters?  Also I have no idea what the minimums for accreditation are in your country, but you'd need to familiarize yourself with that if you're going to have any hope of being taken seriously.  Here there are all sorts of rules about how long semesters need to be, how many faculty of which levels and qualifications, how many hours of class time, etc.


What I was talking about is just rearranging the schedule so things don't stretch in such a long span but are compressed in a more intense course over a month or so.​ Thank you very much for your time and the help with the topic. Wish you everything best :)

Dr. Architecture

I would suggest you research Substantial Equivalency with NAAB; download the Conditions as listed on this page -- it will outline what programs need to have for equivalency to NAAB accreditation.

May 31, 19 11:30 am

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