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Thoughts on Rice for MArch I

Luques

Hello all - I was pretty much set on going to GSD until I attended the Rice MArch admitted student sessions.  My initial reasons for not favoring Rice were the location (apologies Houstonites & Texans), which is not where I want to land post-grad school, the tiny program size (8-12 incoming MArch option 1), and perception that it is not so well known.  However, I was favorably impressed with the students, the camaraderie that seems to exist among students and with faculty, and available funding for travel/Paris option, etc.  Another take-away is the Rice will be much less of a grind than GSD.  Unfortunately GSD day isn't until next week - really late in the game!

Would love to hear from anyone in the professional world or anyone who has graduated from Rice about their experience as a Rice grad!

As an aside, my top choice had been MIT - perfect combo of size, location, rep - but I didn't get in, damn them.  

 
Mar 31, 21 11:57 am
thisisnotmyname

How much aid were you offered?  Which will be less cost to attend?

Mar 31, 21 12:22 pm  · 
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fedorac0re

I'm following...

Mar 31, 21 12:45 pm  · 
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Luques

@thisisnotmyname the bottom line cost is close enough that it is not a factor in my decision.  My question is not about the finances and I know the mantra about not graduating with debt due to low salaries in the field Really just want to hear about Rice (in contrast to GSD but really as a program in and of itself).  thanks ...


Mar 31, 21 6:04 pm  · 
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Wood Guy

It's been 25 years since I graduated so I don't usually comment on questions like this, but at that time, a lot of my undergrad classmates went to Rice for grad school. My school (Tufts) didn't have an accredited architecture program but it was a pretty intense 4-year program, almost a double degree of structural engineering and art/arch history. Because Tufts graduates often went to Rice, they knew it was a good program and students could get their MArch in 2 years instead of the usual 3. Of the classmates I've sort-of kept in touch with, only one is a practicing architect and he was smart enough to succeed anywhere, but generally I've always heard good things about Rice. If you like MIT's location, you might consider Tufts--we had a lot of valedictorian-types who didn't get into Brown, MIT or Harvard. It was my stretch school but in retrospect I wish I had applied to MIT. 

Mar 31, 21 6:24 pm  · 
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Luques

Thanks for your thoughts Wood Guy.  Tufts doesn't have masters of architecture - I'm quite familiar with the school as family members attend now and in past.

I'm a bit surprised at the lack of reactions to my Rice question (as compared to threads on other schools) and wondering if that's some indication of a general lack of familiarity or perhaps enthusiam for this program?

Apr 3, 21 10:48 am  · 
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Wood Guy

Yeah Tufts would only work if you wanted to do a 6-year program, 4 at Tufts and 2 at Rice, assuming that combo hasn't changed. You'd get a much broader education than just doing an MArch and you'd get to experience the Boston area but that may not be what's important to you. As for lack of comments, this forum gets inundated with student questions and as you mentioned the program is small. Architecters aren't afraid of saying they think something sucks if it sucks, so it's likely not for lack of enthusiasm.

Apr 3, 21 10:56 am  · 
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PeachyArchitect

Hi! I will be starting the M.Arch Option 1 at Rice in the fall. Im not really in a place to talk about the program as I havent actually taken any classes yet, but you can DM me if you want to talk about what made me chose Rice! 

Apr 3, 21 3:45 pm  · 
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archinine
Rice grad isn’t as well known as the undergrad but definitely a good program with decent name recognition. You’ll find the recognition begins to fade the further away you land, eg on the coasts less people are familiar with Rice. The grad program has a lot of overlap with the undergrad, as in grad students and undergrads literally in the same classes, which kind of speaks to the inherent nature of the grad program riding off undergrad coattails.

Really depends on what you’re looking for in the long run, at GSD your Alma mater will be recognized globally and your class size and potential (lifelong) network will be much larger. At rice you will start as a big fish in a small pond, Rice kids can do anything in Houston just by dropping the name, but if you don’t plan to stay there you may find your post grad options will not take you as far as quickly. Not that it can’t be done but tbh if money is not a factor, going with Harvard seems like a no brainer.

Be sure to factor cost of living though, Houston is dirt cheap for a palatial apartment whereas Boston/Cambridge will cost you a fortune for a shoebox with borderline unusable public transit.

The GSD program is extremely challenging but personally I would want that for studying years, anything after is going to be easier for you. GSD also flat out has better resources, computers, plotters, fab lab etc. If I recall the rice building is 24/7 and GSD kicks you out at midnight. At the time it seemed annoying, looking back that’s honestly probably better. It’s not that rice is a cake walk nor run down, there’s just not as many people nor forward thinking pedagogy + related resources there to challenge you.

The core (tenured) faculty at Rice have been at their current posts for longer than most of the students have been alive. A quick look at the site and it seems few have budged since I was there 15 years ago. The program itself is a bit dated/traditional, but hey maybe that’s your thing. Check out Allen Bianci for an idea of most of the look that comes out of that school. Rice is known to make waves and innovate in the life sciences, engineering and occasional tech fields, but architecture not so much.

Also to note, again this was over a decade ago but I doubt it’s changed much considering the faculty haven’t either, if you aren’t a straight cis white (passing) male, most of the (straight cis white male tenured) faculty will be less than encouraging. Not overtly hostile, but certainly not going out of their way to be helpful.

One of the key reasons Rice (arch) consistently lands high on rankings year after year, is their built in preceptorship program which is a year long guaranteed internship program, so (under)grads leave with a full year of full time work under their belt from a solid/occasional starchitect firm and are thus extremely hirable. Such a program is NOT part of the grad program. That said I know a few alum from the grad program who work right alongside the GSD kids at the typical landing spots - SOM, Perkins Will etc. Rice grad is oft a safety school for ivy applicants, so bear that in mind too.

Lmk any other specific questions and I’ll try to answer them.
Apr 4, 21 2:41 pm  · 
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Luques

@archinine Thanks very much for the super useful info!

Apr 7, 21 2:50 pm  · 
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Luques

@archinine the rest of my reply didn't post!

Apr 7, 21 7:10 pm  · 
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Luques

geez, same thing again, I give up - just do want to ask: did you go to Rice for your BArch? You seem to be quite familiar with both programs! Thank you again .

Apr 7, 21 7:20 pm  · 
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MTTS

Go to GSD. In architecture GSD, GSAPP, MIT, Yale and Princeton and to a lesser extent Cornell will carry you to pretty much any firm or teaching job you want. Rice is great if you stay in Huston but outside, the connections the GSD offers will make it worth your while. Don't think you will have to work noticeably less at Rice, both the GSD and Rice are rigorous programs. The one true loss of the GSD is that it has a lot of people and you can get lost in the crowd a bit. Don't get me wrong, Rice is an amazing school and you can get to similar places with a degree from either school, but Harvard will give you all the flexibility you want in and out of the country. So it's less a matter of the quality of education, but more about the schools connection when I say go to Harvard. I'm in a similar place where I'm choosing between Yale that has given me great funding and Rice that is offering me a nearly debt free education, however people I know in positions of education and certain firms that are difficult to get into have been reminding me that Yale's connections have more to offer me in the short and long run, it will be the same for you. Best of luck! 

Apr 9, 21 8:15 am  · 
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archinine
I did an unrelated major at Rice and took a lot of classes in the architecture department. As many as I could without switching majors. I considered staying for grad there but decided I’d outgrown both the school and the city. I also considered switching to the b.arch program after my freshman year but decided 2 degrees in 7 years was better than 1 B.Arch in as much time and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made honestly.
Apr 11, 21 1:46 pm  · 
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