Architecture Education Questions Please Help!!


Well, someone can correct me if I'm wrong about this, but generally there are 3 types of M.Arch programs...something like a 1 yr M. Arch if you already have a B. Arch, a 2 year M Arch if you have a 4 yr pre-professional arch bachelors, and a 3 or 3 1/2 yr M. Arch for those with a non-architecture bachelors degrees.  Not all schools offer the same types, my school just offers the 2 yr and 3.5 year, which I think are the most common. 

I can't speak to doing a B. Arch followed by an M. Arch as I just have a BS Arch Studies.  I'm sure some B. Arch folks will be around to ask.

Aug 3, 11 2:14 am

As far as I understand, and with typical program lengths..


B.Arch  ->  M.Arch II     (5 + 1.5 yr)

BS Arch  ->  M.Arch I  ->  M.Arch II      (4 + 2 + 1.5 yr)

BS/BA Non-Arch  ->  M.Arch I  ->  M.Arch II      (4 + 3 + 1.5 yr)


I'm looking into the possibility of an M.Arch II eventually, and its interesting to realize that my M.Arch is really just a compressed variation of the B.Arch.



Aug 3, 11 2:52 am

There is no reason to obtain a second M.Arch degree if you already have an M.Arch degree. M.Arch II degrees are for people who already have a professional B.Arch and want to further their education and obtain a masters degree. M. Arch II's are about one's own intellectual pursuits and have nothing to do with NAAB /accreditation.

That being said, it wouldn't all together surprise me if in our professions overwhelming lack of business common sense, people started trying to one up their competition by being able to state: "You should hire me because I've got a DOUBLE masters of architecture degree." .....sorry kid, we're only looking for candidates with a TRIPLE masters of architecture degree (and can do revit and put together a set of CD's unsupervised..... this is a temporary contract position that might lead to full time employment).

Aug 3, 11 10:08 am

Hi, i'm the person that first posted this question.

Thank you so much for your help, but I don't think all of you understood my question. I want to earn a BA degree in another subject and then earn an accredited B.Arch degree and then earn an accredited M.Arch degree. Does it make sense? Does one degree look better than another? I really love architecture and learning and I wouldn't mind spending all this time learning about and studying architecture and I wouldn't mind spending all this time on education although I do have another question. If I were to earn an accredited B.Arch and an accredited M.Arch would I learn and be doing the same things that I did in the B.Arch? And also, if I wanted to specialize in working with historic/older buildings would an M.Arch be more specialized in that? Again, thank you for your help! It is greatly appreciated. I am sure that your help today will be able to help me in becoming a great architect. Again, thank you.

Aug 3, 11 12:22 pm

You can earn a BA degree and go straight into an M.Arch (provided you have a good artistic/design portfolio) - alternatively you can earn a B.Arch and do a post-professional (non-accredited) Masters in a more specialized field of architectural design if you're so inclined. 

B.Arch = M.Arch for all intents and purposes. There is absolutely no need to do an accredited B.Arch AND an accredited M.Arch

Aug 3, 11 12:35 pm

Hi, person with questions again.

On the NAAB website under some schools it says to enter an M.Arch program you either have to have a BA or BS degree in an unrelated topic or have a non accredited pre-professional degree in architecture. If on the NAAB website the school only says M.Arch (3 years) does it have requirements? Also, on the website if it only says the track you can take is to enter that school is to earn a BA or BS degree can you earn a pre-professional degree and still enter that school? Again, thank you. Your answers to my questions are helping paint a clearer picture for me about architecture education.

Aug 3, 11 12:48 pm

If on the NAAB website the school only says M.Arch (3 years) does it have requirements?

Most probably yes. You almost always need a Bachelor's degree to apply for a Master's (3 years). It could be a BA, BS, B. Architectural Studies.. w/e, the degree is relatively unimportant. 

Also, on the website if it only says the track you can take is to enter that school is to earn a BA or BS degree can you earn a pre-professional degree and still enter that school?

Most likely yes. A Bachelors in Architectural Studies is pre-professional. Again, ANY type of Bachelor's degree will suffice. 

Think of it this way: M.Arch (3-years) = comprehensive / M.Arch II (2-years) = advanced, anything after that is post-professional (non-accredited)

Aug 3, 11 2:33 pm

I don't know if there are any schools that would let you enroll in their first professional degree M.Arch program if you already have a B.Arch....

These are the paths in education to one day become a licensed architect:

Bachelor of Architecture:

5 year degree, accredited - you technically don't need any additional schooling to become a licensed architect, if you do go back it will be because you want to earn another degree. This can be an Master of Architect II degree, or a degree in any other field of your choosing.

Bachelor of Art in Architecture / Bachelor of Science in Architecture / Bachelor of Environmental Design:

These are 4 year PRE-professional degrees, meaning they are unaccredited. The will however,  with most schools (but not all), allow you an advanced placement in a first professional Master of Architecture I degree, effectively cutting the Masters program from 3 years to 2. Schools such as Yale don't allow you to skip a year but will allow you to waive certain classes you took as an undergrad, thereby giving you more electives.

Master of Architecture I:

This is a first professional degree for people who either have no architecturally related education or who have a pre professional degree in architecture. The degree can take 2 to 3.5 years to complete depending on your undergrad degree and the school you are attending.

Master of Architecture II:

This is an entirely optional POST professional degree for people with a Bachelor of Architecture degree who want more education, generally to beef up on their theory and design, some people who pursue this degree are already licensed architects. Depending on the school, it can be between a 1 and 2 year program. If interested, instead of this degree you also have the option of pursuing something like a Master of Environmental Design or Doctor of Design or any other specialized related degree.


***There are also very few programs that will allow you to do six consecutive years right after high school and graduate with an Masters of Architecture as the first degree you achieve, but those aren't schools I would recommend attending if you have options.


Aug 3, 11 2:39 pm

Thank you for all of your continued responses to my questions, although I still have questions (and probably will for some time) I don't know if anyone can answer this question. If any Bachelors degree qualifies you to earn an M.Arch why are there different tracks such as: undergraduate degree + [certain amount of time/credits] or pre-professional + [certain amount of time/credits]. If for example I wanted to apply to Columbia University's M.Arch Program and if I already had earned a pre-professional degree can I still enter the program and be eligible to take the ARE even though on the NAAB website it says you have to have another unrelated undergraduate bachelors degree for the Columbia program? Also I know a BA, BS, & Bachelor in Architectural studies are considered pre-professional. Is the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture considered to be a pre-professional degree that can be used towards an M.Arch degree? Again thank you for your help. If I have any more questions I will certainly ask them on this website. It isa great useful tool, and everyone has been very helpful.

Aug 3, 11 2:46 pm

Hi again! I just wanted to clarify something from my last question. According to the NAAB Columbia University (which is where I would really like to earn my M.Arch) will only allow you to enter and be eligible to take the ARE if you have already earned some other undergradute degree, it does not say anyting about entering the program if you already have a pre-professional degree. Can I still enter this program and other similar ones if it only says you can enter with an "undergraduate" not a "pre-professional" even if have a pre-professional. I would think they would rather accept people into the program who already have a degree in architecture. As I have ended all of my comments and questions, thank you.

Aug 3, 11 2:54 pm

In most cases, undergraduate = pre-professional architecture. Schools will treat them similarly, and yes you should have an advantage if you take a pre-professional architecture degree first. Again, BFA, BA, BS, B.ES, B.A.S. - as mentioned before, they're all included. ANY Bachelor's degree will let you apply to an M.Arch. Hell, you can have another Masters, lets say an MBA, and apply for an M.Arch. Basically, anything works! Just have a good portfolio!

Pre-professional is basically any architecture Bachelor's degree that does not enable you to get registered.

Aug 3, 11 3:13 pm

Also, the only limitation to taking the ARE's is having a professional degree.. this can be a B.Arch or an M.Arch. That's the only requirement. You can get into Columbia M.Arch with any Bachelor's degree (including pre-professional! - you should forget that word - it's confusing you - just think of it as another undergraduate degree!), and you can take the ARE's after you graduate.

Aug 3, 11 3:21 pm

Thank you so much for your help! I have for at least 5 years knew that I wanted to be an Architect. I never really knew how to go about completing the education section of the path to becoming an architect. With your help I know know. Again thank you for your help!

Aug 3, 11 4:47 pm

Hi again!

I have more questions about architecture degrees.

Is theres a difference between a 5 year B.Arch and a 4 year BS/BA/BFA in Architecture?

If not why are they different degrees and not just one?

Why is the B.Arch accredited and the others aren't?

Aug 6, 11 1:31 pm

the b.arch is a "professional degree," meaning that you will qualify to take the ARE (after you fulfill your IDP requirements) with that degree... with the others you will have to continue on to get an m.arch before you can become a registered architect...


Aug 6, 11 2:10 pm

Thank you for your answer but other than that are there any other differences, does the 5th year really make a difference?

Aug 6, 11 2:13 pm

I'll explain it more properly. Or look at University of Oregon department of Architecture.

Here is how it goes>

Bachelors of Architecture (B.Arch = Professional degree) - all that is required to get licenced. This has to be a first Bachelor's degree. This degree is always at least 5 years. A professional degree is usually at least 1 year longer then a non-professional (or pre-professional) degree. A professional associates is usually 3 years long (none currently exists for Architecture but may exist for other professions) vs. 2 years. A professional bachelor's degree is 5 years.

There is a Master's of Architecture -> M.Arch Option I (known as a POST-PROFESSIONAL degree and usually lasts 1 year. This degree requires that you have obtained a Bachelors of Architecture degree.

If you have a Pre-Professional degree in Architecture (which comes in two flavors -> Bachelors of Arts (B.A. NOT B.Arch.) in Architecture or Bachelors of Science (B.S. in Architecture). Both are 4 years. They just differ in the general education requirement.

If you have either a B.A or B.S in Architecture ( a 4 year program ) then you must take the Masters of Architecture ( M.Arch) Option II which is usually 2 years long in order to get licensed (after also completing IDP [structured internship program] and the passing the ARE & state exams - of course) because you would already have a bachelor's degree which disqualifies you from entering as the B.Arch degree. The Masters of Architecture Option II is a Professional degree not Post-professional.

If you have a Bachelors of Art or Science in any field not in Architecture then you will need to take Masters of Architecture Option III which is 3+ years long. Usually 3 years + 1 term or semester. This is a professional degree for those wanting to switch career paths but already has a bachelors degree because they no longer qualify for B.Arch because they already have a Bachelor's degree.

Since you are in high school, I would simply seek a B.Arch degree if you are serious about Architecture but do your homework, ask questions about the profession, study the portfolios and be prepared to work your butt off. Be prepared for tough employement time. Do bear in mind that most don't end up getting licensed as an Architect but may enter a variety of fields.

Suggestion: Don't EVER procrastinate. Get the habit out of your system if you have the habit. Don't gain the habit if you don't currently. The first two years, they customarily slam it on you with ridiculous schedules for those who don't already know how to deal with the stuff and has a learning curve. Why? They want to weed out those who apply to the program but are on the fence really. They generally only want 10-20% of the students that apply and get accepted because they want to get them the 80% to change majors because there isn't that many jobs out there.

The competition for jobs right now in this economy is aggressive because there isn't that many projects because alot of people had either the money pulled or are now denied loans because the biggest number of projects are customarily homes but banks have darn near cease funding homes which had dwindled 90% of the home projects to something like 10% or what it used to be before 2008. Homes used to take up 80% of the projects built. Now it only amounts to a shell of itself. Currently government funded public buildings and hospitals are the majority of projects. Even then, it has been reduced to half of the amount it was before 2008.

Most other projects only amount to 10% of the remaining projects. You can visualize how much of a ghost-town it became in such few years.

So in essence, it is tough. However, if you are lucky and when you complete a 5 year degree, the job market may start to get better if things get better. If you are 14 as your alias implies then you have a couple of years or so to decide and also have a few years to see how the economy goes. If it does get better - even if small because if it is small then it could be good for you. If it is big growth, you might be a little late to the hiring.  If it get worse, then you obviously know the answer for jobs in U.S. If it gets proportionally worse over the next three years as it was from 2008 to now, then you may want to consider some other country to move to. Lets hope it gets better.

The biggest thing about architecture field is that it is inextricably linked to people getting loans.

There is alot of things to think about and prepare yourself.

However, the job market is pretty bad for everyone but really so in jobs that are linked to bank lending and people having money.

I'm not going to tell you some sugar-coated b.s. about how great it is. I'm not going to lead you on a primrose path. It sucks right now. Job prospect is pretty sucky at the moment. I can't say for sure in 2-3 years but it would be hard to tell how things would be in 5-7 years or so. That would be really hard to tell. Don't make any yes or no decision right now. I will tell you that job pay may not be the greatest in the world compared to other occupations so if you are mostly interested in making big pay then it probably isn't something you should look into this field for. Sure, we are interested in getting paid and get paid better then flipping burgers at McDonald's but surely don't expect to be making millions of dollars or billions like Bill Gates. You have to be a business owner to potentially get that kind of money and would have to be engaged in commodoties that are produced in the 100s of Millions world-wide kind of stuff. Architecture just isn't that way by nature. It is conceivable for a firm principal to make a few million dollars but not likely billions of dollars on architectural work.



Aug 6, 11 3:12 pm

Thank you for taking the time to post that very in depth and long comment. You had mentioned about the BA and BS degrees, what about a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture (BFA)? I really love architecture and am really passionate about it, and I think it is the right career choice for me. I have thought this for over 4 years. Again, Thank you.

Aug 6, 11 3:48 pm

Bachelors of Fine Arts is basically a Bachelors of Arts degree. Architecture and Fine Arts are two different degrees However, essentially all the major classes is architecture subject and studio classes besides a little architectural history, it will probably be treated as a pre-professional degree like BA or BS in Architecture.If so then it will be a Masters Option II be required to be taken. If the degree is mostly fine arts with a minor in Architecture then you will need to take a Masters of Architecture Option III (or basically the 3+ years course for non-architecture majors.

If the program happens to be NAAB accredited degree, it would be the fastest route.

If you haven't done so - look here:

Check the schools' websites and also talk with them.

If I were you, I would pursue a Bachelor's of Architecture (ie. 5 year professional degree in Architecture). After that, you can decide about the Masters of architecture and such. It all depends on where you want to go. You do have to bear in mind that you also need to pay off your college debts when you finish college.

Passionate and too bullheaded to quit... good.  :-)

State colleges / universities would be generally more affordable but if you select one, it would be good to select one that has a good program that is a good fit. Get a list of your top 5 to 10 picks. Then you can rank them and your portfolios to them and hopefully your one of your top 5 accepts you.

Alot of them have a portfolio submission requirement.


Aug 6, 11 4:15 pm

Diversify.  A BArch + MArch is way overkill, will cost you too much and is just way too much education for an architect (now, if you have wealthy parents, everything changes).

"Passionate and too bullheaded to quit..." that's what most were...then they get out into the real world and reality doesn't really work like that.

Go get a BArch, then an MBA.  Or BArch + Business degree than MSRED/MArch

Aug 7, 11 8:33 am

My goal is to earn a pre-professional BA/BS/BFA in Architecture from Cornell University, and a Professional M.Arch (I believe it is an M.Arch II) from Columbia University. I know that these are selective schools, this is my goal, although I can go to other schools of course, this is where I would really want to go.

Aug 7, 11 12:45 pm

I would think a B.Arch (5 year) and then an M.Arch (M.Arch II) would look better than a BA/BS/BFA in Architecture (4 year) and then an M.Arch (M.Arch I) How much of a difference does the one additional year make?

Aug 7, 11 12:48 pm

What makes the addition of a 5th year in a 4 year Pre-Professional degree make it a Professional B.Arch that is accredited?

Aug 7, 11 12:51 pm

Does Columbia University offer a Master of Architecture (accreditted) that is open to Pre-Professional degree students?

Aug 7, 11 4:25 pm


You are misunderstanding something.

If you get a B.Arch (5 yr.) - PROFESSIONAL DEGREE then you can pursue a M.Arch I ( 1 yr. POST-PROFESSIONAL degree. Post-professional in this context means an architecture degree obtained after a professional degree or you can pursue a Doctorate of Architecture which is a post-professional degree.

Let me put it simply to you, most architects really don't care if you have a Masters or doctorates. That doesn't guarantee you a higher starting position. When you start work, you start as a 1 year IDP Intern type job position. The pay is customarily around $15/hr.

Unless you want to be an architecture school professor, you will want to get through licensure as fast as possible because it will be a long haul.

Columbia University's M.Arch is generally equivalent to University of Oregon's Masters of Architecture Option III. However, Columbia University may very well conduct it in a matter of 3 modes of options by terms of how much you have to take (ie. your starting position.).

So if you have no architectural background, it maybe treated as 3+ years. Where as if you have a 4-year B.A, B.S. or B.FA pre-professional degree, you might ( NO GUARANTEE as I don't know for sure - talk with the school ) get an advance placement positioning where you would be taking around 2 years worth of the curriculum while if you have a Professional Architecture, then it could possibly be treated as a post-professional 1 year M.Arch because you already would have the Professional degree status but you would be at such an advanced placement that you would only need to take 1 year.

You should talk with the school. I am kinds of shooting from the hip based on what I see from the website after a quick brief look. I can not guarantee what or if they'll admit you. Generally, the school has to be NAAB accredited for each option. So if a school and its program is only accredited for a 3 year option, they might not be allowed to offer a 2 years option without that program undergoing NAAB accreditation. NAAB is pretty strict about these things.

Going to Cornell and getting a B.Arch is already going to have some weight given that Cornell is a highly respected school with a well respected Architecture program.

Cornell is an Ivy League University.

If you go for all out Masters then go through the B.Arch and follow it with the 1-yr. M.Arch Post-Professional or finish with a Ph.D. in Architecture. Provide you have the funding and admitted.

Besides, you don't have to do it all at once. You can take the B.Arch. Get working. You may possibly get the M.Arch and then work a little while. Pay off debts and then work on the Ph.D. If you get a job working with the University and pay for classes while also working as an IDP intern and also getting paid and pay off any student loans that may likely occur. If you are lucky, you get scholarships and such to reduce loans.



Aug 7, 11 7:22 pm

In any case, if you get the B.Arch (5 year PROFESSIONAL) degree then at least have the Educational requirement for licensure taken care of. The other two requirements is IDP internship and passing the ARE. I would recommend you get the B.Arch and IDP taken care of before dealing with ARE. You would have to at some point decide which state will be your state of initial license. This might not be the state you are from or the state of the college/university that you go to. It may vary. If you meet NCARB standards for having a B.Arch and completing IDP then you should be ready to take ARE and at that time just before you start taking ARE, you can decide which state will be your state of initial license.

It generally should be the state in which you are residing at the time of initial license or a neighboring state where it is closer to you to travel when it comes to any state specific exams. Sometimes it is closer to go to another state for initial licensure. however, what is important is ease of reciprocity.

This way, you can essentially travel where the work is. In other words, having the ability to be somewhat mobile and go where the work is would be important in the long run.

Ultimately, you will be working and getting paid.


Aug 7, 11 7:39 pm

As I have in every post, I would like to thank everyone for their help, although RickB-OR for answering some questions that I had worried about and that had  not yet gotten answers to. I was unsure if the Columbia M.Arch would be considered accredited for the length of time I would be going there, I believe it says that their M.Arch is 3 years. Thank you for your suggestion about earning a B.Arch first. That way I can earn a B.Arch and earn my accredited degree and then focus on IDP and taking the ARE and then try to get into the Columbia M.Arch as additional/supplemental education and that way I can already have my accredited degree. So based on what you know, could I earn a post-professional M.Arch dual degree M.Arch and Master of Science in Historic Preservation that would probably take 2 years from Columbia University. Just so you know the reasons why I really want to go to Columbia are because I have family members who have went, love the beautiful historic campus, it is ranked very well, and it has such prestige and importance as one of the best universities in the world.

Aug 7, 11 9:04 pm

So, it seems you have the financial backing to go where you want.  That's great.

I'd still go for their MArch/MSRED (that's a dual masters in arch and real estate development).

Aug 7, 11 9:28 pm

Kylec14, if you officially enroll in an M.Arch as a post-professional degree ( you can do that a Cornell but you should talk to Columbia U to verify). As for dual enrollment, that could perhaps be possible if the M.S. in HP (Historic Preservation) after you enroll. Dual enrollment maybe possible but you could seek the M.S. in HP after you complete the M.Arch as a seconf M.Arch. Do bear in mind class load.

Something to talk to Columbia Univ. to verify the options. At University of Oregon, that could be done. I can't verify for Columbia with any precise answers or Cornell. Each school has their own policies, rules, etc. let alone any NAAB nuances.

trace brings a good point but I would not ignore historic preservation because there are lots of existing buildings and many that are historic or will become historic buildings over time. There will be a need for people with those skills and that will allow you a niche with Architects that deals with historic buildings.

As the economy is rough, and when money starts to trickle back into people's hands, people will probably be looking at restoring, fixing up and rehabilitating existing buildings. Considering it is a reasonably 'sustainable' practice as any new building (even the greenest) has embodied energy. There is generally less embodied energy to retore and rehabilitate an existing building because you would be continuing the use of already existing materials. Most "new" material can be recycled material. So, historic preservation, restoration and rehabilittion in a "sustainable" / "green" manner will be key to today and tomorrow's practices with existing / historic buildings.

Bank lending will be rough for new construction for decades. This is a permanent change and banks will be tougher then they were prior to 2008 in lending and it will probably never ever return to those days for decades. We are talking about our children to grandchildren's generation.

This is a permanent shift.

One could seek real estate development but do bear in mind that there are already alot of people getting into the real estate stuff but I worry that banks won't be interested in housing tract development when there is already enough houses in the U.S. stock that is more then there are American citizens.


Aug 7, 11 10:31 pm

Again, thank you. I am going to send an email to Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation's Admissions Office tomorrow and see what they have to say about all of this. I looked a little further into their website and I found out that they do offer a form of post-professional education, they offer a M.S. in Advanced Architectural Design. Now that I have gotten help from everyone on this great website I think that I will earn a pre-professional and then a professional M.Arch. Thank you for your help. I will ask more questions if they come to me and I will post when Columbia responds to my email. Again, thank you.

Aug 7, 11 11:19 pm


It really doesn't matter much in the professional world. If you have a professional B.Arch and get a post-professional M.Arch or M.S. in Advanced Architectural Design or if you get a professional M.Arch.

Those additional degrees beyond/other than a B.Arch or M.Arch (professional) are best suited in giving you specialize skills that makes you different then the others. Something that you can use to market yourself to potential employers. Like the Historic Preservation degree or the MS.RED or business administration or anything else that gives you a distinction.


Aug 7, 11 11:49 pm

As someone with a Bachelor in Arch (non professional) and a MArch, I can assure you that the masters degree will merely be "fun" and "practice".  I learned, for sure, but I could have done anything with my 4 year degree (with the bs exception of licensure..).


My ONLY regret as far as education goes was turning down Columbia for UCLA.  Money was a concern for me and even with their generous offer, it was still prohibitive.  BUT had I known about the MArch/MSRED I would have gladly paid the tuition.  That, looking back, would have been a priceless education that is taking me many years to learn in the real world.

Just think about keeping the future flexible.  I thought I only wanted to design, didn't care about this or that, when I was younger.  Life changes.  Thankfully, I do have some business education and have been fortunate enough to learn from others, but a solid foundation, while still getting a MArch, would have been something very substantial.

Good luck. 

Aug 8, 11 12:13 am

Thank you for your wisdom trace. It is very appreciated.

Whenever I think that I don't have any more questions, I think of another!

Is a major in Architecture from a general arts & sciences college considered a pre-professional degree? Within architecture schools they don't usually talk about "majors" like they do in arts & sciences colleges, I want to make sure that a major in architecture is just as much work and the same information as in a pre-professsional and a professional B.Arch.

Aug 8, 11 10:14 am


Cornell for example is somewhat a design oriented program.

Architecture by nature is both an Art and a Science. Virtually all the programs encompass both Art and Science as it is applied to architecture. Almost always the first few studios is a bit more adstract and about design.

If you want to know that it is a professional then you simply look at the NAAB website to see if the school is listed and then look at the school's website on the Architecture degree program. They almost always tell you that if it is professional or pre-professional. It is generally safe to say that if the program is 5 year B.Arch then it is professional. No degree may be listed as B.Arch unless it is NAAB accredited.

Sometimes Architecture School is used to refer any school or university that offers architecture programs. Mostly NAAB accredited programs. This "architecture school" can be a Department of a larger university or a dedicated college that deals solely to Architectural programs like Boston Architectural College.

Within the Architecture department, it is not common to talk about majoring in B.Arch and minoring in something else but you could in theory or have a dual enrollment.

In those programs, your major is probably assumed so it needs not be talked about as much as it maybe talked about in a general ed class. In schools dedicated to Architecture like B.Arch, it is pretty well assumed what you are majoring in..

It really doesn't matter if it is from an "arts & science" college or a technical college or most any other college. All the NAAB accredited programs entails common learning aspects but they also vary on the delivery and what the emphasis is based on the school and the instructor. A technical school like Lawrence Technical University would be more science/technical oriented in the nature of their emphasis.

No one school is exactly alike another BUT the basic components are governed and approved by NAAB for the critical areas they seek.


Aug 8, 11 11:37 am

Thank you. I wanted to make sure that it wasn't like an Introduction to Architecture or something and it isn't enough to be considered pre-professional and then I need to do a pre-professional and then a masters. When I thought of a B.Arch professional or pre-professional I thought of that and nothing else, that is all you would learn. When I thought of a major in architecture I thought a little architecture as a major, a minor in something else, and a liberal arts core curriculum. Also, one question has still not been answered. What makes an undergraduate program in architecture (B .Arch/B.S./B.A./B.F.A.) accredited? It seems that one year makes all the difference.

Aug 8, 11 11:49 am

Only a B.Arch is considered "professional" at the bachelor's level. It is 5 years long minimum.

A 4 year B.A, B.S. or B.FA are 4 years long. NAAB established certain conditions and curriculum requirements that requires so many credits in the Architecture major. Then there is the general education requirements which are required. There is a general education accreditation which would allow for the programs to transfer and articulate to other schools and things like financial aid. That is a different type of accreditation. NAAB does a program accreditation for determining if the program meets the professional education standard and that students get an education in the Architecture in all the areas that they want and that students will have the ability and understanding as outlined in the Conditions for Accreditation document.

Since there is generally 2 years worth of required general education and the required major subject and studio courses of the Architecture program basically makes it take 5 years.

Professional M.Arch (2 yr.) essentially is continuing on with the additional subject and studio courses you did not take and a Master's degree does not have general ed requirement because that is done because of the pre-professional degree of architecture which will still have the general education requirement BUT not as much subject / studio courses as a professional B.Arch and may also have more extra-credit classes in other areas and will usually requires a 2 year M.Arch curriculum to make sure you have all the required studio and subject courses.

Those with a B.A or B.S. degree in a non-architecture field would be evaluated as only having the 2 years of general education and then must complete the remaining 3 years worth of studio and subject courses. So it is basically a 3 year curriculum at the standard 14-17 credits a term (or roughly 15 credits). You can take longer than that by taking 12 credits.

Generally, it is sort of "one year makes all the difference".

Here is how you could get a major in architecture because almost always you'll have a liberal arts core curriculum which is usually around 2 years worth and maybe spread out over your 5 year degree. Then you have your subject and studio requirements and sme required electives. The electives are required to be taken to get the degree but you can fill those electives with approved courses.  Depending on the school, you may have a fairly open policy on the electives so if your classes required of a minor is among the approved courses for the electives, you can fill those up and any additional classes for the minor before you "graduate". You could very well complete the Architecture degree before you file for graduation. In other words, lets say you took a B.Arch and a minor in historic preservation and completed the requirements of the B.Arch at the end of year 5 and finished the minor in historic preservation in year 6 among other classes of interest. Then you have file for graduation at spring term/semester of year 6 (of the academic year - of course).

The liberal arts core curriculum is PART of the B.Arch program as well as almost all Bachelor's degree.


Aug 8, 11 12:38 pm

Ok thank you. I wan't sure if I would have liberal arts core curriculum requirements if the program was within a school of architecture whithin a larger university. So if I were to earn a pre-professional degree and then a masters it wouldn't make a difference if I earned the pre-professional in a school of architecture or a school/college of arts & sciences. And thank you for clearing up about how the programs are accredited.

Aug 8, 11 12:45 pm

It appears that RickB-OR either went to the University of Oregon, teaches at the University of Oregon or is interested in the University of Oregon. Let me just say that I am sure that Oregon has a great architecture program, in fact I have heard great things about the architecture program and the university as a whole, although unfortunately it is very unlikely that I would go there. I was born, raised, and intend on living and being educated in the Northeast, it is my area. This is the area that I feel most comfortable in. I am sure that Oregon was the right program for you. I must say that the University or Oregon must be very informative because of all of the very detailed and long answers that you have given to my questions.Thank you.

Aug 8, 11 12:51 pm

Cornell for example is an Ivy League university that does more than just architecture. Often in Universities, the 'school of architecture" is really a type of department but they label it as a "school" for distinction between individual departments within a school.

In corporations, the "school of architecture" would be called a "division" and the departments within are simply called "divisions". The school of architecture would really be a "division" of the University. The colloquial term is "school of ______________________" or "College of ___________" while they are all part of the whole University. However, Boston Architectural College is a private "university/college" that is dedicated to architecture but even then, there are some general education requirements because they still want Architects to have some well-rounded education. NAAB still expects those general education/liberal arts courses. It is just part of going to college/universities. It isn't all architectural drawing.

Basically, if the pre-professional degree is a 4 years architecture program (B.A., B.S. or B.FA.) then it will probably be treated the same as any other 4 year architecture degree. Private universities such as Ivy league do have subtle terminology variation to public universities plus east coast may vary on the prefered term compared to Oregon where I am at. Like said, it really doesn't matter so much. A school of arts and science may often be art centric emphasis and how the professors emphasize but always the case.

Some universities/state colleges/private universities or colleges may delegate the whole school being its own department or it maybe aggregate of several other programs.

At the University of Oregon, it is under the label of "School of Architecture and Allied Arts" while there is the "Department of Architecture" within the "School of Architecture and Allied Arts" which is all part of the University of Oregon which is only one of the Oregon University System universities. (Oregon's state colleges/university system).

What department or "School" the university places the program is irrelevent. It might be indicative to the level of Art or Science emphasis but from what I heard about Cornell and I believe Columbia University are somewhat balanced.


Aug 8, 11 1:15 pm

Although it is not really about education I will ask it on this thread anyway.

I am also a little confused about the IDP.

From what I know the IDP is the experiece portion of the path to licensure. You work in an architecture firm get experience in what it is like to work as an architect and you have to record what you do and it counts toward experience. That is all I really know. Can someone enlighten me about the IDP. From what it looked like on the NCARB website it appears that you can do your IDP during your accredited degree or after you have earned your accredited degree, and not before. Is this true? Can you pick any firm, be hired and do your IDP there? How does it all work?

Aug 8, 11 3:25 pm

I don't know if I reached the limit of posts on this thread or if people aren't answering because they think that you've already reached the point or that there are too many posts and you think that your opinion doesn't count (it does). Anyway I am putting the latest question in a new thread titled Questions About IDP. If there is still space left on this thread, by all means keep posting your comments about architeture education!

Aug 8, 11 9:43 pm

Fairly recently, they allow a person to start IDP right from moment of enrollment or high school graduation. In the past, it used to be during or after completing your 3rd year of an B.Arch. or completed a B.A/B.S. in Architecture. Many firms may still only hire people if they have completed a degree or is on their 3rd or 4th year of a B.Arch. or when you complete a B.A. or B.S. in Architecture. Since most firms want people already with the knowledge and skills equivalent of someone who has completed at least a 4 year Bachelor's degree program because they don't really want to invest alot of time teaching you how to use a CAD program or about the trivial parts of Structural Design. They want people already with some knowledge. They mostly allowed that for some of us who has gained through years of experience or other education avenues that basic knowledge. For example a building designer (not a licensed architect) with several years of experience designing homes and light commercial who has delayed taking a B.Arch. may have obtained some of the knowledge and experience through other means besides through schooling to be able to start from enrollment. Some like myself doesn't have a B.Arch degree but know how to design houses and light commercial buildings. Therefore, I don't have to wait. However, you will need to gain this knowledge. I have been self-learning along with some classes in CAD and historic preservation for nearly a decade and been practicing as a building designer for the last 5 years in Oregon. Just because it is permitted to start IDP when you start enrollment, I would caution you starting IDP without learning getting some of the education taken care of. Especially if you want to have a good job record without being layed off in a week's time. Some firms maybe willing to be more of a teaching environment but many are so busy that they don't have time to teach you how to do things that most other IDP interns / entry-level interns would already know.

In IDP, you are permitted to work in a number of "Work Settings" with limitations on some of the Work Settings other than under an Architect. IDP is separate from your education and once you begin IDP, you continue working and getting the IDP training hours until you completed them. There is some opportunities to get IDP credit while not employed.

Firms may employ interns for limited duration and lay them off. As the saying goes. Last one hired is first one layed off. This will often happen and you may have those occurances throughout your path to licensure. Just one of the lovely frustrations of life so be aware of it. Just do your best and trod on.

When it comes to you posting your new thread, we'll be willing to help you.

I would recommend that you get through the first 2 years of your architectural program before starting IDP so you can have time to focus on the program and acclamating to the work load of the class and get through the "pressure test". This way, you gain some knowledge and skills and getting an idea of how CAD systems work competently enough and drafting and all the other stuff to a level necessary.

You also will get to know the area and some of the professors.

In the meantime, it is okay to get as much info about IDP as you can and an understanding of it. I recommend that you report your IDP Training hours, every 3 months of full-time IDP training. 4 months for part-time of (15-20 Hrs a week)

This way, you don't loose too many hours.



Aug 8, 11 11:42 pm

I always seem to have more questions. Well, that is one of the wonders of the human mind that we have the ability to think complex thoughts and to question things. Anyway, I have another question. When I earn my pre-professional degree in Architecture can I double major with Architecture and something else? Would that be too much work? Is that something that is done?

Aug 11, 11 11:38 pm

You can double-major. You can get a second bachelor's degree in a non-architecture field if you like in sequential order.

The issue will be cost and class work-load that you have to decide for yourself. I personally would not recommend at the same time. Some people have done it.

Just bear in mind that degrees noted with the word "First" as in "first professional degree", it usually means the degree must be your first bachelor's or master's degree. In other words, no prior Bachelor's or Master's was obtained. Concurrency... maybe.

Due bear in mind that you still have to pay for the tuition and you may only have so much coverage. Then bear in mind that your entry level income will be around $30K a year for full-time work.

There are some rough history that some has had with some employers (architectural firms) where they basically got jacked over and never got paid for many hours of work.

Be mindful of these matters. You don't want to be screwed with way too much debt.


Aug 12, 11 2:20 am

In my uni double was not possible. We already had 2-3 extra courses per term than normal undergrads and no time at all for those after dealing with studio. architecture school tends to require focus. Do IDP whenever you can. You need employer to sign off and that is about it. if they are hiring you am sure they know what they are in for so don't worry about the lack of experience thing. If they are the type to be surprised by your lack of skills they probably didn't make it through the recession. Most likely in this climate you will find getting a job the hardest part. The rest is just paperwork.

Aug 12, 11 7:45 pm

If I wanted to, could I turn an accredited first-professional Bachelor of Architecture degree into an unaccredited pre-professional Architecture degree? I do not want to earn a professional Bachelor of Architecture because I want to earn a pre-professional degree and then an accredited first-professional Master of Architecture degree.

Aug 15, 11 9:44 pm

Why would it matter, Kylec14?

A professional Masters has the same weight as a Bachelors of Architecture in most of the firms.

As to answer your question, that is usually possible as a person may switch majors. A school that offers a pre-professional Bachelors and a professional Bachelors often has the same curriculum for the first 4 years. If you continue on to a professional B.Arch in that same school, you may continue on for another year and get a B.Arch and then a 1 year Post-Professional M.Arch or you can do 2 yrs first professional M.Arch which would have the exact same classes. The numbers maybe re-numbered but it really is the same class. The reality is that you are going to be treated in job field pretty much the same.

The bottom line issue is why prolong your status of completing an NAAB degree. In the end, it really doesn't matter as long as you get your NAAB accredited professional degree. I would avoid procrastinating it too much.


Aug 16, 11 12:17 pm

I had wanted to (and still want to) earn a BA degree in Historic Preservation, then earn a pre-professional degree in architecture, and then earn a professional accredited Master of Architecture dual degree with MS in Historic Preservation. Does it make sense t earn a BA in Historic Preservation first. I intend on earning at a school that I can get into, that way it won't be a problem if I don't get into a school that I really want to go to that offers dual degrees with MArch and Historic Preservation. Or should I go directly into a pre-professional architecture program out of high school and concentrate in Historic Preservation during the pre-professional or professional architecture degrees and hope that I get into a school that offers MArch Historic Preservation dual degrees. I really wanted to earn a BA in Historic Preservation, then a pre-professional degree, then earn a professional Master of Architecture MS in Historic Preservation dual degree. I want to earn all of these degrees and I want to learn as much as I can, but I am worried that it will all take to much time. What should I do?

Aug 17, 11 12:07 am

Often, you can get a BA in Historic Preservation and then take a 3 year Professional Masters of Architecture. You do realize that the 3 years Masters of Architecture would basically entail taking the same studio and subject classes as in a Professional B.Arch minus the general liberal arts core curriculum education stuff which you would already have with the B.A. (which all Bachelor degrees have). You would just be focusing on the Architecture Major. If you take a pre-professional B.A. in architecture and then take the M.Arch - it would still be about 3-4 years. So, it really doesn't matter.

Here is are some options:

Pre-Professional B.A or B.S. in Architecture then 2 Yr. M.Arch (Professional) / M.S, in Historic Preservation. This should be about 8-9 years to complete.


B.A. Historic Preservation then M.Arch (3-year Professional) / M.S. Historic Preservation dual degree. That should take 9 to 10 years. The latter would have more emphasis in Historic Preservation but you still get all the necessary studio/training because bare in mind that you'll have another 5-10 years of practical training of those skills in IDP and a life-type of developing your Architectural knowledge and skills and professional practice when licensed.

Another option may be:

5-year Professional B.Arch then 1 yr. M.Arch (Post-Professional) / M.S. Historic Preservation.  This would be probably 7-8 years long.

The latter would get your NAAB degree out of the way and then you can focus on Post-Professional M.Arch (with perhaps subject studies in Sustainable Design practices) and the M.S. in Historic Preservation.

This way, YOU can be readibly employable by many Architectural firms WHILE you are working on the M.Arch / M.S. in Historic Preservation and be working on your IDP.

So by the time you finish, you might be ready to start taking the ARE exams.

Hopelly be licensed in 10 years. That is what I am trying to get you on that path so you would be licensed by then. It gets difficult to do all this as you get physically older.


Aug 17, 11 4:18 am

I am considering bypassing the Pre-professional degree and just earning the BA in Historic Preservation and then earning a professional accredited Master of Archhitecture (which at Columbia University is 3 years, 4 with the dual degree) My only concern is that I won't get enough education. With a B.Arch (which I really would prefer not earning) is 5 years. What would I not learn or do in a 3 year M.Arch program (4 years with a dual degree)? Time is a concern for me but I still want to learn as much as I can.

Aug 17, 11 12:32 pm

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