M.Arch Necessity

Ted Le

Hello everybody,

As far as architecture goes, I'm very young, a junior in high school, and I'm already looking into applying to colleges for architecture. I had some questions I was hoping more experienced architects could answer for me.

For context, the college list I've started compiling are all B.Arch programs, but in my research, I found that some of the best colleges have M.Arch programs and a BFA.

I was curious about the pros and cons of pursuing a B.Arch then M.Arch; a BFA then M.Arch, or just a B.Arch. I was also curious about opinions on the D.Arch program at U.H Manoa.

Thank you so much for your help and patience

Jan 14, 22 5:22 pm

Which degree program you pursue should depend on what you want to do once you graduate. NAAB-accredited degrees (typically B.Arch or M.Arch) aren't necessary to become licensed in all jurisdictions, but they are part of the main path to licensure in all jurisdictions (look up NCARB for more information on paths to licensure if you haven't already). B.Arch is nice because it usually means one less year of school, and potentially cheaper tuition because you're an undergrad rather than a graduate student for at least part of your schooling. Of course, one school's tuition that offers a B.Arch (like a private university) might ultimately be more expensive than tuition at another school (like a public university) that offers a M.Arch, so it's not as simple as saying more time in school is more expensive. Scholarships and other financial aids will also differ between schools.

My advice, try to figure out where you want your degree to lead you to career-wise, and work back from there. Do you want to be a licensed architect, or just study the material and do something related? Where do you want to live and does that jurisdiction require a NAAB-accredited degree for licensure? Do you want the freedom to move around as needed and achieve reciprocity elsewhere? If you can start to understand and answer those questions it will probably help you understand the potential limitations, as well as help figure out what schools might be a good fit for you, as well as help us understand how we can help answer your other questions.

Personally, I did a 4+2 seamless M.Arch program at a public university in my home state. I didn't like the idea of the extra time in school, but I was able to afford the cheaper tuition in state even though I was in school for longer, than I would have if I moved out of state to attend a school with a B.Arch program. It's not the best university out there for architecture, but my degree program is well-respected in the region, and it's served me well. 

Jan 14, 22 7:03 pm  · 

I second all EA's comments.

My perspective: it's an either/or decision you need to make. Either you get a BArch or you get an MArch. If the latter, get your BA in a field outside of architecture. Avoid spending your undergraduate and graduate studies on architecture at all costs. So many of my classmates in grad school also had BAs in Architecture or some kind of non-accredited architecture degree, and they were absolutely exhausted (if not slightly jaded). Skilled and experienced, yes, but no one needs to be in architecture school for seven years. 

I decided to get an MArch and got my BA in Anthropology, knowing  from the outset that my goal was to practice architecture. I couldn't be happier with my decisions! A career in architecture is a long game, so it can feel strange getting your first "real" architecture job at 28. On the other hand, architecture is interdisciplinary, and all the skills and knowledge I developed studying anthropology have paid off tenfold. 

If you're committed to architecture, rest assured that you need not be laser focused on "Architecture" to be successful. 

Jan 14, 22 7:46 pm  · 

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