M.Arch Graduates/Students with Non-Design Backgrounds- How was your experience?


I'll be applying for M.Arch programs next year with a liberal arts background. I've done most of my design work outside of class, using InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop as primary tools. I'm working on refining my drawing skills at the moment. I'm also working on designing small pieces of furniture (might not look too cool, but I'll make sure to document the process) just to add some hands-on work to my portfolio. I've read a ton of threads on how to prep a portfolio without any strict design background, so I'm not too worried about it, but I really want to hear from those who have recently completed their M.Arch without any design background or those still in school.

Tell me about your non-design background, and what made you want to pursue Architecture.  What school did you end up attending? How was/is the workload? Did you find it difficult to "catch up"? Were people/professors in your program generally accepting of your non-design background? 

Also, did any of you work while going to school? Is it doable?

While I'm definitely excited and determined to learn, but sometimes I find myself looking at portfolios from those with Arch backgrounds and I feel intimidated. I like to remind myself that I will be going to school to learn the craft. Did any of you feel this way? Any insight would be helpful. I'd love to hear about your experiences. 

I'll be applying to schools based in Los Angeles: USC, UCLA, SCI-Arc, Cal Poly Pomona (not really LA but still). Any recent grads from these schools? What's the ~vibe~? I'd love to hear your take.

May 6, 20 9:31 pm

Well in general the workload was obscene. Most "elite" architecture schools still subscribe to the idea that students are supposed to sleep maybe a max of 4 hours a day. The result is you get accustomed to working for free, which is what is expected after you graduate. 

May 13, 20 4:36 pm  · 

More than likely you'll  have to enroll in 3 year Masters of Architecture program. The 1st year will be grueling since you're  essentially trying to catch up and get used to the work load.

May 13, 20 8:03 pm  · 

make the best of whichever program you go to, it'll go by fast. aside from school, you may develop second thoughts about the profession, explore your options.

May 16, 20 4:44 pm  · 

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