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undergrad: UC Berkeley or Cal Poly Slo [SOS, HELP]

kmskt

UC Berkeley: unaccredited bachelors, would have to pursue M.Arch, access to other cultures/majors/experiences

Cal Poly Slo: B.Arch, CAED is x2 the size of Berkeley CED, not as globally recognized, sheltered college town

I'm a California senior who has the misfortune of choosing a college while all my schools are shut down. A thorough education is important to me with a good range of study, but I know I want to pursue architecture and I would like to be as technically prepared as I can be. 

Is a M.Arch worth the extra cost? Are Berkeley undergrads somewhat ignored? If earning a bachelors from Berkeley, could/should I study for the masters from Berkeley as well?

Thank you! I losing my mind trying to decide.

 
Mar 30, 20 9:25 pm
JawkneeMusic

If you care about Labs Slo is not the school for you you'll do materials testing that's it but if your set on school you should look into cuesta college in slo because you can learn trades there too

Mar 30, 20 9:32 pm  · 
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JawkneeMusic

It was actually recommended to me that you take Materials and methods at cuesta but maybe not

Mar 30, 20 9:32 pm  · 
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kmskt

are/were you an arch student at SLO?

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JawkneeMusic

i took structures 1; though you won't take it unless ae, there are higher paradigms of stress/strain such as analysis which make structures 1-3 obsolete

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JawkneeMusic

i would compare facilities BUT in five years you could perhaps fit in all eng classes plus maybe the more important one: computer finite element modeling.

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kmskt

this is so helpful, thank you! by the way, is it true that the different CAED majors get to work together and collaborate to learn the industry process while studying? Cal Poly keeps promoting the connections between the different areas and I wondered how honest this was

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betonbrut

SLO didn't have a graduate degree when I was there... but I believe they do now... So you can get your 5 year professional degree and then stay for another year or 4 quarters to get a Masters. I am about 20 years removed from SLO, but it was a fantastic education at a very reasonable price.

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kmskt

thank you for the insight! do you remain in contact with other cal poly alums?

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betonbrut

Yes and no... I know what my friends are up to, but don't belong to or follow any broader alum groups. I was there from 1999-2004 for what that is worth.

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Archlandia

this is something that you’ll need to do personal research on for sure, and it depends on what you want to be doing when you’re done with school. If I were in your position, I would go Berkeley in a heartbeat though.

Mar 30, 20 11:51 pm  · 
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kmskt

thank you for the feedback! as a reference, what difference do you see between a berkeley m.arch grad and a cal poly b.arch grad? just from your own opinion, like the different direction these programs would lead an architect towards

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Archlandia

Most that I have worked with that did their B.arch at SLO are technically inept but had a very poor design sense. And Berkeley undergrads typically get into top grad schools. If you specifically want to be a designer or teach, I would go for Berkeley. Otherwise, SLO is a great school for just going to work in the field.

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kmskt

thank you for this opinion! I’m definitely aiming to do design for significant projects, not just to be guaranteed a spot in the field

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Archlandia

I'm not sure what your argument is @betonbrut "Each year, DesignIntelligence (DI) conducts a survey of America’s top architecture schools, ranking undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of practitioners who hire graduates of those programs." It says right in the methodology exactly what I'm talking about. And like I said, I'm not basing my experience of graduates off of some list, these are my friends and were my colleagues

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Archlandia

Here's a response to consider "AlexanderChristoforidisOctober 2, 2019 I take the Design Intelligence Survey every year as a firm principal. I also meet faculty from schools across the U.S. at NCARB Licensing Advisor Summits and other academic events. However, it is still very difficult to base my survey answers on anything rational. The survey asks me to rank among over 100 schools. Which survey taker really knows the quality of even 10 of those programs. Perhaps architects who do accreditation visits? Like many of my colleagues who are asked to take the DI survey, I have received e-mails from my alma matter near the time that the survey appears encouraging me to "remember them" this started around 2008 or 2009. Many schools probably go on campaigns to help them boost their rankings. I noticed one school went from totally unranked to the number one position in one year. Really? So much of a school's ability to do what they do is influenced by these rankings because it is the only ranking system we have to figure out something nobody will truly know. I suggest that we come up with a better system - perhaps one based on a scoring system derived from accreditation visits. For now in order to have something objective in DI's rankings they should make ARE pass rates one of the categories we look at. Although we do not want to see schools "teaching to the test" it could at least be just one of the many aspects of a schools' quality that we can truly compare head to head. Just food for thought...."

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kmskt

thank you for this response to the survey! it has been a slight bother to keep seeing Cal Poly listed as a highly admired program and yet hear from people in forums/in person how the Berkeley program offers more enrichment...... I want to make a living salary but at the same time I don't want to underestimate myself and undermine all the work I've done in school because it would result in a safer path to employment

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Archlandia

Don't get me wrong,they're both fine schools and you could probably make a great career out of either one. but you'll also have trouble teaching with a B.Arch only. I don't know about private schools but public schools usually require a masters degree to teach. This also shows up on RFQ and resume and etc.. just throwing all the info out there

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muji-pen

if your undergrad is accredited you can get a masters thats further specialized, like historic preservation, planning, computation, management, etc.. instead of having 2 architecture degrees. 

It'll actually make you broader, a few liberal art undergrad courses won't. 

just making a case for cal poly, its a solid school

But it's also berkeley haha so i get the tough choice! good luck! 

Mar 31, 20 12:43 pm  · 
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kmskt

thank you for this info! could you maybe list some pros and cons of getting a bachelors of the arts in architecture? just from your perspective

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Stasis

Cal grad here.  You can still get a CA license without going for a MArch. I graduated 13 years ago, so I cannot tell what Berkeley is like now.. When i was there, Cal wanted to be Columbia of the West and pushed really hard on digital designs using Maya and Mel/Python script...  As for working in the professional field, i don't think i have ever been overlooked by graduates from other schools.  In SF Bay Area, you will compete with people from everywhere, but being a Cal grad sometimes have advantage in getting hired by other cal grads.. 

Mar 31, 20 6:35 pm  · 
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kmskt

thank you for the reply! was the program fairly balanced in teaching technical skills with design and theory or did you find it leaned towards a single direction? also, do you still keep in touch with classmates from Cal, specifically in the industry?

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Stasis

I think Berkeley's more leaning onto the design and theoretical side. Once again, I graduated 13 years ago, so things may be different now. However, lot of majors in Berkeley are typically very academic oriented.. If I offer an insight, you will get ample chance to gain technical skills once you get into the field, unless you choose to teach. My classmates went really broad directions. Some went to great grad schools like GSD then became professors somewhere. My friend went to Yale Arch/MBA program, then became a venture capitalist. Some chose to work and became directors/associate principal level. One got into tech startup and became rich. I didn't become as successful as some of peers and work as a PM... I think you'll be fine with eith er schools. I see plenty of folks from both schools in this area.

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Double Function

I'm a pretty recent SLO grad. Both are good schools, I would say just try to find out as much as possible about the curricula, student life, and the faculty and see if one speaks more to you. I don't think the distinction between B.Arch and M.Arch is that huge since both are accredited. There is also the path of B.Arch to an M.Arch II (or anything else) from another institution. 

I will say that I think the stereotype of SLO as a kind of technical/industry pipeline school is pretty outdated. For better or worse, I think the student work will be pretty comparable between the two.. Here are some instagram feeds to compare: 

https://www.instagram.com/addp...

https://www.instagram.com/calp...

https://www.instagram.com/berkeleyarchitecture/

Mar 31, 20 7:42 pm  · 
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kmskt

thank you for the links! I've heard that the B.Arch at Cal Poly is pretty rigorous and arch-heavy, do the students sometimes feel burnt out or overwhelmed by all the architecture work? not just in terms of sheer energy, but in passion too, like feeling over saturated in architecture (weird question, sorry about it!)

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Double Function

Architecture school can definitely be overwhelming, but I think that's pretty universal. It's a huge demand on your time, especially at the beginning before you have the skills to work quickly. Personally, I found it all so exciting that I never felt mentally burned out, but it was very demanding. I suppose a good thing about Cal Poly is that it's such a large program that once you start choosing your own professors in the second year, you can

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Double Function

-- sorry, the comment system here is so bad -- you can tailor your own experience. There were definitely easier or harder paths to take. And eventually the strange thing you will find in school is that the pressure is really just self-imposed :)

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soham86

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Arizona State University, University at Buffalo and University of Arizona.


Which one these grad schools should i pick up for Master of Architecture program? And which one of these is preferred considering all aspects.. job opportunities, Do we land up in good jobs early, payscale, how good is the course and curriculum, location and overall ranking?

Apr 8, 20 12:38 am  · 
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kmskt

hello! if you want to ask for advice about your own school decision, you can post your own question on the broader forum. this is not a general architecture school post, but is specific to the undergrad programs at Berkeley and Cal Poly

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code

I work in the Bay area, and many of my co-workers are from Cal and Cal Poly, almost 50/50

Cal grads become designers

Cal Poly = production


Apr 8, 20 5:58 pm  · 
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kmskt

are the Cal grads from the graduate program or the undergrad program? i've been hearing that the difference is pretty substantial between the two

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code

all BA grads, they start out doing sketchup for the lead designers, then over a 3 year time span, 1/2 go into production. 

Apr 8, 20 7:21 pm  · 
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kmskt

this may seem like a very ignorant question, but what is "production" in architecture? i can guess the meaning... but could you help explain?

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autofireunit

I will say Berkeley. It is just a better undergraduate school to my knowledge. I feel it is important to be exposed to other things in undergrad. Also based on my own observation, Berkeley graduates get into very good grad schools.

Apr 8, 20 9:16 pm  · 
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kmskt

thank you for the perspective!

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