Yale v.s. Cornell MArch, which held in higher regard?


Hi all!

I got into the MArch I program at Yale and Cornell. I am getting conflicting information online and from my friends about which program is more prestigious. I am sure both programs are well designed and will provide me with different skills. However, prestige is important to me, though I understand that most people would disagree with this as a decision-making factor. Putting aside the argument of whether ranking matters or not, just purely for understanding the general consensus, which program is more well known and held in higher regard in the architecture field? Thank you so much for your input. 

Apr 2, 24 3:42 pm
Non Sequitur

Neither and prestige is worth absolutely fuck-all.  Take the cheapest accredited degree and do not go into tens (or hundreds even!) of thousands in debt for a glorified art degree.

Apr 2, 24 3:43 pm  · 
2  · 

The prestige of your degree isn't worth much in most situations. 

Yale will MAY provide you with better networking opportunities if you do good work. 

Think about it this way.  

  • Your average cost for these schools is around $175k.  That will translate into a $2,200(ish) a month loan payment for 15 - 20 years.
  •  The starting salary for an architectural intern is $44k (up to $75k in in large metros like NYC).  
  • If you assume that 30% of your income will go to housing (more in large metro areas)
  • You're not going to make that much more with prestigious degree (maybe 10%).

Do the math.  

As long as the degree is accredited it will be a decent program.  I would recommend looking at the accreditation scores of the programs you're interested in attending.  Just because a school is prestigious doesn't mean it's architectural program has a high accreditation score.  

Good luck!  

Apr 2, 24 4:00 pm  · 

The newest school consideration just dropped: Who will be culled first in the coming apocalypse?  

Apr 2, 24 4:12 pm  · 
Immigrant Developer

Yale all the way

Apr 2, 24 5:31 pm  · 
3  ·  1

In my experience, I have known Yale to be the more famous name of the two. I have also encountered numerous Yale M.Arch grads holding powerful jobs at snobby firms and fancy arch schools.

Apr 2, 24 5:36 pm  · 
1  · 

I've encountered numerous Yale M.Arch grads holding non powerful jobs making less than or equal to me. I've encountered numerous non Yale M.Arch grads holding powerful jobs.

I guess it's all who you know.  ;)  

Apr 2, 24 6:48 pm  · 
1  · 

FWIW, the bloke running Herzog & deMeuron's North American office went to a state school. And he's overseeing tons of Ivy grads.

Apr 2, 24 7:39 pm  · 
1  · 

I fully agree! I've just seen more Yalies than Cornellians around. The benefits (or even the necessity) of an Ivy arch degree towards success in the field are highly debatable.

Apr 2, 24 7:43 pm  · 

i actually have never worked with any yale grads. plenty gsd and gsapp, and i've been the supervisor for several cornell grads. generally , all were good - the gsd ones more confident though. it's not going to be decisive in any part of your career - try to find faculty you admire and let that guide your decision.

Apr 5, 24 10:54 am  · 
2  · 

Ivy leagues aren't worth it. Your best education will be in practice and determined self-learning.

Apr 5, 24 10:06 am  · 

If the cost is similar or you are rich and money is not a consideration. Yale definitely wins out.

Apr 5, 24 10:32 am  · 
5  ·  1

you know, I went to Harvard so I'm not really sure I should answer this question.... 

ok, being serious - from a 30 year vantage point, if you're asking whose name is more recognized, it's Yale. 100%. Cornell is a great school but just doesn't carry the same name value. 

but all the points above about it being less where you come from than what you do completely trump which school you graduated from. both will open certain kinds of doors and provide certain kinds of networks (in architecture and outside). the money question is very real and the points and if you're not paying your way through, I'd second trying to find somewhere much less expensive and then hustle your ass off. 

Apr 5, 24 12:32 pm  · 
2  · 

I'm genuinely curious, why is prestige more important than other factors for you?

Apr 5, 24 1:21 pm  · 

Answered below!

Apr 5, 24 3:35 pm  · 

Thank you for all the great feedbacks! And thanks especially to those who gave me an answer in turns of which name is more recognized. Both offered me a good amount of scholarship, and Yale offered me an almost no tuition scholarship. So I’m pretty certain I’m going to Yale, but since Cornell offered a good amount too I wanna see if it would be worth it to consider going there based on if their name is more recognized.

 Now to answer the question of why I care about prestige so much. My answer is going to be unpopular and it may not have the depth you seek haha:

1. I came from Asia. Prestige means everything there, though in this case both uni are Ivy League so it may matter less. Now the schools’ prestige in Asian won’t effect how much I do or learn from the education, but it can provide me opportunities. In my undergraduate degree, I went to RISD, which is commonly known as the “Harvard of art schools” especially in China. So I was able to leverage that and simply put out a commercial that says “ online art lessons from a student at RISD” to gather many many Chinese students. I was able to earn $10k a month simply by attaching the school name to my online art classes. So though what I gain in terms of skills and knowledge from these names may not matter much, but branding is everything. And schools that built their brands, allow their students to utilize these brands if they want to. 

2. Less nuanced: I’m someone who already work hard, and do well in very diverse sets of environments. I kind of learn to love my profs and their perspectives. So I know I’m gonna fit in at most of the schools that accepted me. Therefore let me consider prestige for a second there.

3. Prestige is of course not all I’m considering but for this post I wanna focus on this question to get focused answers.

Apr 5, 24 2:43 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

so prestige is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to confuse/impress those who don't know any better. Fun.

Apr 5, 24 3:05 pm  · 
1  ·  1

Honesty appreciated, and I'm glad to hear you're confident you'll be able to do well and learn from others regardless. That's the goal, IMO, and I hope you have a good experience. You're not wrong about the economies around branding. I think I'd prefer a colleague with clear eyes than one who actually equates prestige with quality.

Apr 5, 24 3:25 pm  · 
1  · 

As a Yale alumni (with a relative from Cornell Architecture), Yale carries more weight, especially in NYC where the weight will matter.

But more to the point, Yale will negotiate. There is always more money there. Tell them you want to go, but Cornell is offering you tuition scholarship. They might match it. They don't always. I had a classmate that leveraged Michigan against Yale though and won. Money from Cornell would carry weight.

Also, Cornell is more known for their B.Arch undergrad program. Their M.Arch is lesser prestigious. 

If you happened to want to work in NYC, the Yale degree has a better chance of getting you a higher salary. Outide of NYC maybe not as much. 

Apr 5, 24 7:25 pm  · 
3  · 

Thank you for the input! This is really helpful! I'm negotiating following your suggestion. And yes, there seem to be a good amount of fellowships and award options at Yale, too. I hope to utilize their large funding for projects while there! Thx

Apr 6, 24 8:15 pm  · 

we had an employee that did the same with Yale/Princeton. Yale didn't come all the way up to Princeton's but they did come up some.

Apr 7, 24 12:34 pm  · 
1  · 

^ BTW by no tuition I meant full tuition lmao

Apr 5, 24 5:05 pm  · 

Congrats on getting in though that's very impressive!

Apr 5, 24 6:13 pm  · 
1  · 

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