SCI-arc or Syracuse B.Arch



I am currently debating between Sci-arc and syracuse for a B.Arch undergrad degree

I like Sci-arc's style and the computing side of architecture,

however I can take more electives at Syracuse. As a more 'foundamental' course in style, it will build a solid grounding which I can then go on to do the 'sci-arc stuff' in grad school.

and they also have really good leavers destinations to Ivy league schools.

(i hope my wording hasn't offended anyone

Apr 7, 21 3:22 am

My advice is to go for a more foundational/traditional undergraduate education. You will need time to develop your own design preferences, skills and styles. And you might find yourself changing your desired architectural style during your entire B.Arch education.

With that said, Sci-Arc and a very distinct and niche pedagogy. And if you're absolutely sure that's what you want out of your undergrad, then go for it. 

Choosing Sci-Arc for a graduate degree is also a good idea.

Hope this helps and congrats on getting into Sci-Arc and Syracuse!

Apr 7, 21 4:59 am  · 

Hello, thank you for replying me. I hear what you say about a foundational undergrad. Recently I became more aware of this because I cannot be sure of my style/path with little professional knowledge. As mentioned by ivanmillya, I have more opportunities to broaden my horizon at syracuse so the outcome is clear. Thanks.

Apr 17, 21 1:43 am  · 
1  · 

​Glad you've made your decision! Just like what ivanmillya said, Syracuse has a very heavy focus on theory and design​. I did my undergrad in Washington University in St. Louis which has a great interdisciplinary program with emphasis on theory and design too. One of the best courses I've taken was an advance architectural theory class. From the contextual questions of meaning and memory to the examination of post-structuralism, cultural theory and identity politics - including race, gender and ethnicity - the course uses primary textual sources to illuminate drawings, buildings, and ideas that define seminal moments in architectural history. We had to compile all our writing into a book at the end of the semester. Classes like this will really broaden your understanding and scope of architecture while developing your design thinking. I highly recommend taking a few comprehensive theory classes during your undergrad. And with that, I wish you all the best in your undergraduate experience at Syracuse!

Apr 17, 21 3:15 am  · 

I believe both Syracuse and Sci-Arc have B.Arch programs which means you won't have to get a masters in order to be on the path to licensure (if that's your goal). I graduated from SU in 2018, and got licensed the end of last year.

Syracuse has a very heavy focus on theory and design, which I think is critical in your architectural education. You'll have the opportunity (if you take it) to get deep into architectural history and theory while doing 12 hours of studio courses every week. The B.Arch thesis lasts the entire 5th year, during which you'll be expected to create and defend an argument about architecture, which for most people, culminates in a design project.

Furthermore, Syracuse's professional courses are top quality. When I was there, the Pro-Prac course was taught by Kirk Narburgh (who was the AIA NY president at the time), and was extremely helpful for three of the ARE 5.0 exams. Many of the "professional electives" were very helpful towards development of your practice interests later (I took a couple of courses that were specifically on historic preservation). The structures and systems courses (which were required for the first 3-4 years) were taught by professionals who had high esteem in their fields and were excellent at teaching and practice.

Finally the study-abroad options, while limited for arch. students (choose between Florence, London, or NYC for up to 2 semesters), were deliberate and fruitful. I studied in Italy for a semester, and the head at the time was Richard Rosa, who is still one of the most thoughtful designers that I've come into contact with today.

The downsides for SU are mainly the money (which Sci-Arc shares as well, so YMMV), and that there is very little hand-holding. You learn from Year 1 how to manage your own time to get the very heavy course loads done, or you struggle a lot the entire way through. So be prepared for that.

Sci-Arc is also really neat, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to speak too much about their program or curriculum.

Apr 7, 21 9:18 am  · 


Apr 17, 21 1:17 am  · 

thank you so much for your reply, it was really in-depth and helpful. It is fascinating to hear about the electives you took. I also take an interest in historic preservation, as I currently take history of art in school. I plan to take a wide range of courses, Architecture is an interdisciplinary subject that needs a lot of thinking and learning outside the subject area. It is becoming clear that Syracuse is my destination. Sci-arc attracts me with its faculty staff and visiting lecturers, but having heard your experience, I think the opportunity is equally abundant at Syracuse. Equally, the study abroad options are very attractive. Florence can offer a lot of history and it would benefit me a lot if I am still interested in conservation by then. Again, thank you for your reply.

Apr 17, 21 1:39 am  · 
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@monali1 I am so glad you picked Syracuse over SCI-arc. Please try to explore as many non-architecture-related classes as possible. I would even suggest you get a dural degree or a minor in CS, HCI, Statistics, UX/UI design , or just anything else but architecture. Architect is one of the worst compensated jobs in the 21st century. Please read my earlier thread here:

Jun 10, 21 3:54 am  · 

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