RISD vs Syracuse B.Arch


I got accepted to RISD's and Syracuse's B.Arch programs and have been trying to decide. I like RISD because of the Providence area, close distance to Boston, and the integration of clubs with Brown. Overall, I like Syracuse's student work and visualization more but have not seen much from RISD. On the other hand, Syracuse is one of the largest party schools and there have been many incidences of crime in the area. Some additional insight on the architecture programs, experience at both schools, etc. would be appreciated.

Jun 19, 20 12:38 am

Can't speak for RISD, except that we had a few students who transferred in their 2nd years from RISD to SU.

I did attend SU's B.Arch program, and I can say that it's very competitive. You'll be expected to produce work at a consistently rapid pace. It's a well-rounded program, putting adequate attention on building systems and structures, but it is very much a theory-history-design studio program (which is a good thing for students to have under their belt). Studio classes for your first four years meet three times a week for four hours each, and you'll be expected to fulfill general electives (in other departments at the university) as well as what are called "professional electives", which are Arch-specific classes geared towards specialized education in a sector of the broader field (e.g. Introduction to Historic Preservation, etc.). Your fifth year is almost entirely devoted to your thesis, which for most students will end up being design focused around some socio-political argument of your choosing.

Some of the huge benefits of SU:
- Study abroad program (3rd / 4th year, one or two semesters in London, Florence, or NYC)
- "Visiting Critic Studios" in which innovative architects from around the world come and teach a studio semester for fourth year students
- Comprehensive Studio, which is a semester for 4th year students that encompasses comprehensive building design, specs, code analysis, etc. into the design course
- Professional Practice Course, for 5th year students, which is very comprehensive, and taught by the (not sure if still, but was at the time I went) AIA New York President, and will prepare you very well for your PcM, PjM and CE exams later in your career.

SU was the "No. 1 Party School" during one of the semesters I was there. It didn't impact my studies at all, nor most of the kids in the Arch. program. The crime rate is not extremely high at SU, but a lot of the kids will say that because a good portion of them are sheltered upper-middle-class white kids who haven't encountered poverty in their lives, and there is a significant population of the city that lives fairly below the national average (mostly in South Syracuse; I lived there for two years, and I never was in a dangerous situation FWIW).

Jun 19, 20 10:47 am  · 

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