USC or Cal Poly Pomona? MArch 1 program


Hi everyone,

I just got two offers from USC and Cal Poly Pomona. The program I applied for is MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE:FIRST-PROFESSIONAL. My undergraduate degree is Business Administration. I'm from a low income family. Although USC gives me $10,000 scholarship every year, I still need to borrow $150,000 totally. Should I borrow that much debts for USC? If it's a lot easier to get a job as a USC student, I would like to invest. For Cal Poly Pomona, the tuition is only $7000 per year. It's the most affordable program for me. However, I'm not sure if students from Cal Poly Pomona have same opportunities as the USC students. I may move to a different country in the future but mostly I'll stay in LA. Is the MArch program 1 from Cal Poly Pomona well known as the USC MArch Program countrywide and/or worldwide? I'm a fan of Elon Musk. Besides making money for living and raising children, I hope I might work on some meaningful design for human future one day. I really appreciate for your advice.

Apr 10, 20 2:23 pm

Thanks for the post!

We'd be better able to help you if there was a specific question you had about the programs. In regards to your question on whether or not you should borrow money for your education, it'll really be up to you, everyone has their own philosophy on student loans. 

If your end goal is to be a licensed architect, both of these schools can set you on a path since they are NAAB accredited degrees. Do you want to study in Sourthern California? There is also Sci-Arc and Woodbury to consider as well. Both NAAB accredited schools relatively in the same area as CalPoly Pomona and USC.

Apr 10, 20 3:32 pm  · 

I've been working as an architect for over 20 years and now run my own practice.  To be honest, it matters more what you do after your education.  I've hired aces and duds from known and lesser known programs alike.  It all depends on the motivation of that particular person.  It would be negligent for me to recommend that you go 150k into debt, especially for an architectural education as it would be malpractice for me to pay any more for a USC graduate and a CPP graduate.  In my experience, these are very similar programs with a similar 5 year design studio core and professional electives. In fact, many instructors commute and teach at both institutions as well as UCLA, Sci Arc and Woodbury.  However, it you're into Pac-12 football, then maybe USC is the right choice for you.  

Apr 12, 20 1:52 pm  · 
atelier nobody

Go to Pomona.

1. Speaking as a S.Cal. architect, I can tell you that you will be just as employable - the only difference might be if you were hoping to work for a starchitect.

2. No architecture degree is worth going that deep in debt.

Apr 13, 20 12:52 pm  · 

$150K is way too much debt.

Being a low-income student at a rich kids college like USC is also something I would approach with caution.

Apr 13, 20 1:14 pm  · 

$150K in debt and making only $45-$55K is going to be hard. You better LOVE architecture to want to go through this financial burden. I like to remind people that with USC you are paying for the legendary Trojan Family and the USC Architectural Guild that can easily get all of your jobs in SoCal if you put in the effort to network with peers and Board Members. You are also paying for top notch, ivy educated professors and prominent LA architects to teach studio. You would also be able to cross register at the business and planning/policy schools, both are top 10 in the nation. As someone who came from a low socioeconomic background as well, I experienced the magic of USC and never have regretted pulling the loans for it. But if you want a vocational training in architecture, Pomona it is. USC prepares you to be a critical, visionary thinker, best for that Design Director position or senior management.


I've had co-workers from both schools. Cal Poly is the best bang for the buck. $150,000. that's a huge ball and chain, and you won't be able to afford to work at small firm, unless you want to be a broke person all the time like I was and having to moonlight at other firms all over San Francisco

Jul 23, 20 5:00 pm  · 

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