Columbia vs. Parsons vs. Pratt

i need input on what archinect ppl think. im want to do a masters post grad at one of these...if i get accepted in any. does anybody know which is best cost friendly (i know they are all expensive too) and where i can find some statistics on the student body, faculty, and teaching curriculum/style?

i went to many forums only found parsons... please help.. thanks!

Jul 7, 05 5:24 pm

go to their websites? call each and ask to speak to faculty or students.

Jul 7, 05 5:37 pm

i have seen the sites, just wanted to know if anybody knew info off hand

Jul 7, 05 5:53 pm

Good luck I am sure someone on here has some information.

Jul 7, 05 6:22 pm

i like how you list the websites instead of the actual name of the school. that's really cool.

Jul 7, 05 9:43 pm

I worked for a kool guy who went to Pratt, or was it Cooper Union? Anyway, this jerk never recycled & smoked cigarettes. Plus he wasn't a good Christian. Actually, now, he lives in a Jersey suburb. Anyway, he designed a lot of stuff painted red. I guess they do that in Boston. Oh yeah, he really dug that Architect from Finland. What was his name? Goldberg, or something.

Jul 7, 05 9:50 pm

i think parson's is a three year program, so you'd be paying a butt load of money for tuition compared to a one or two year program. i stayed away from parson's cuz i couldn't afford and tolerate being in school 1 year more than others. it's a good school if you can afford it and want to extend your study. . .

Jul 7, 05 11:09 pm

you want expensive, try columbia at $30,000+ a year for three years. and this is after going to wash u in st. louis for $30,000+ a year for four years undergrad arch.

Jul 7, 05 11:26 pm

Seriously, why not check out being a resident of your state, or another state, then applying to a great state school. If you're good enough to get into Pratt, Columbia, or Yale, or... Then maybe you're good enought to get into Berkeley, or whoever else is in vogue these days (Go Jackets...OK, maybe a bit on the wishful thinking side). you'll probably enjoy it as much & have some dough left over for some In-N-Out Burgers. either way, you're gonna make less than $40K/yr (if you're lucky) when you graduatem, no matter where you go to skool.

Jul 7, 05 11:33 pm

Dang, that Karen's hot!! Or is she fat? Fat + Hot = Fot

Jul 7, 05 11:34 pm

ha. this thread is so worthless, and that last post was one of the best non sequiturs ever.

Jul 8, 05 9:43 am

no offense joed, u are no help at all and very disrespectful.

Jul 8, 05 11:42 am

if i didn't have a question i wouldn't be asking. if u didn't go to one of those schools then u dont have to post. u can read cant you?

Jul 8, 05 11:43 am

okay. a little bit of legwork on this one should reveal a lot.
what do you want from your grad school?

columbia - well known, well respected, kinda image driven, very much about having "star"architects as professors, breeding ground for future-educators. if you don't want any of this, columbia will not be a good place for you. it is very competitive and it is easy to get lost if you aren't a go-getter

pratt - program is being re-built currently. they are moving in a more columbia direction, lots of young faculty, mostly columbia grads. still developing its sensibility, you would be taking a chance on it, but it could be a good experience.

parsons - to tell you the truth, i work right next to it and didn't even realize they had a grad program...huh, kinda tells you something. they aren't very respected as a school. but they are expensive? go figure.

Jul 8, 05 12:07 pm

thank you for your help

Jul 8, 05 12:19 pm

i have been told by a past professor/friend who owns a small firm in mid-town Manhattan, that when he interviews the best portfolios... hands down are Parsons Students

Jul 8, 05 2:19 pm

did you hear anything on other schools that had hands up? and what is the firm called?

Jul 8, 05 4:28 pm

i wasn't saying that the question was worthless, i was saying that the thread, ie, the actual comments that had been posted up to that point, was worthless, because a lot of meaningless crap had been posted for no apparent reason.

and yes, i can read. reading is a prerequisite for writing. and i said in my post (not incredibly explicitly, i suppose, but i thought it was obvious enough) that i go to columbia and wash u. so... there you go. columbia rocks the house, but you have to be pretty self-motivated, as it's not only incredibly difficult but also threatens to really fuck up the way you look at architecture if you can't manage to keep your head above water. that statement was intentionally ambiguous because i don't feel like writing/reading anymore.

Jul 8, 05 5:57 pm

One thing to bear in mind is that there is a high degree of overlap in studio instructors between Columbia and Pratt (less so with the history and theory guys). For instance, Andrea Kahn, who ran the MSUD program at Columbia, teaches at both schools. If it were up to me and other factors being equal, I'd go to Columbia. You do have to be self-motivated, but the program is very well thought of, there is a strong foundation in digital design, the post-graduate programs (AAD/MSUD) mean that you will have a chance to bump shoulder with an eclectic bunch of design students, beyond your usual first-degree crowd, Avery Hall is lovely from the oustide, there is good food in Morningside Heights, etc etc.

Jul 8, 05 11:33 pm

my apologies joed i read ur statement as sarcasm. so you DO go to columbia! anyways and u did the 3 yr prgm. yes i am very self motivated. and i work the 24/7 shift all the time, minoring in comp engineering too..(back up plan) anyways, if i want to study at columbia, i will apply for the AAD because i will already have a 5 yr degr B.arch..

joed, did you get financial aid... are they as generous as they say in the books? i read some college guide thing and they said the financial was pretty nice... but pratt was giving out only 30% fina, or grants to students... thanks man, all the input is helpful.

Jul 9, 05 12:59 am

i think i got like $5k in grants last year, but i'm paying for most of it with loans :\ i wouldn't call columbia (or any ivy league school, for that matter) 'generous' when it comes to financial aid.

Jul 10, 05 9:32 am

Parsons does have a shorter program for people with B.Archs - well actually it's the same program, they just usually enter directly into 2nd year.
Parsons has had an M.Arch since the early 1990s. It's a very small program - in the early years there were classes with as few as 3 to 5 people! These days the classes are much larger than that. The lack of a reputation is partly due to the fact that there have been so few graduates of the program in total - there aren't a lot of people out there representing the school. It's a very strong program though - one that also shares many faculty with the nearby Ivies. There have been at least two Parsons M.Arch grads that have taught at Columbia - so the education certainly can be comparable. Parsons takes in students from a wider spectrum of academic backgrounds though, so the level of classmates' abilities/experiences can vary widely. Financial aid is pretty sparse, though better for US citizens than for the international students that make up about half of the school's student body.

Jul 10, 05 9:33 pm

thanks for this information. really needed something like this


so if you end up goign to one of those schools, on an architects salary, does this mean you will spend the rest of your life paying off student loans?? Not sure if grads from those schools can command bigger salries anyhow...have a friend at parsons now and she just got an intership making $10/hr in manhattan....

Jul 11, 05 2:35 am

i have had one previous summer of intern experience, and this summer i am making $18/hr. in manhattan. i'll be going into my third year of columbia this fall. i have a friend who is a couple of years older than me with a couple of years experience who is also going into his third year at columbia this fall who is currently making in the low $20's/hr.

i'm convinced that salary is based on talent as exhibited in one's portfolio before anything else. there are certainly times when good ol' alma mater can help you out with a connection, but, really, if you present yourself accurately in your portfolio and your interviews, you will hopefully get paid commensurately with your skill level. i think that i've gotten technical and design skills at columbia that i wouldn't have been able to get any many, if any, other places.

Jul 11, 05 9:42 am

Salary really is not related at all to the level of 'talent' in one's portflio. That is totally subjective and at offices, they are looking to see if you can get what they need completed. That's what we were looking for in our office. No interns design, they do our busy work.

Jul 11, 05 10:22 am


ur firm sounds lame then....

Jul 11, 05 12:27 pm

columbia rocks the gas ball. with that said, the facilities suck, the cpus you're given to work on are surprisingly average (but they have all the software you could ever need on them, well almost all), and you're as likely to end up with a mental breakdown as you are to end up with a diploma. the two best things though are the faculty and your peers, both of which are brilliant. i woudln't say the entire faculty focus is on starchitects, though that's a valid argument - f.i, rem's supposedly leaving harvard to come to columbia - there's also a lot of really amazing academics that teach studio. a pretty good mix.
my two cents.

Jul 11, 05 12:29 pm

joed, where did you work in manhattan? at a corporate or larger firm like HOK? sounds like good pay, i get onlye 10/hr as a summer intern doing massing models and cad stuff.

raji, where is ur firm? more commerical, residential?

heterarchy, well if i get accepted to columbia, then im going there, but most likely i know i wont be accepted. its such a tough school, i think i'll go to a firm first and think about it later..i love to study/ learn but the thing thats making me change my mind is the cost of the place. tuition, fees...sigh

Jul 11, 05 1:19 pm

when i said portfolio i didn't specifically mean your ability to design (though that is obviously important), i meant more your ability to create and present graphics with the tools that you are supposedly familiar with. how else can you show a potential employer what caliber work you do? i guess if you have a lot of experience already you can show drawing sets from other jobs (which would still, i think, fall under the banner of 'portfolio'), but i don't think that's what we're talking about here. i think you're just feeling disagreeable today raji.

Jul 11, 05 5:37 pm

oh, and, i work at a large corporate firm. this is the second one that i have worked at, and this one is 100% better than the first one, so don't think that all large firms are evil. you get steady, honest pay for the hours you work, plus benefits, vacation, WEEKENDS!!... plus most of the projects i've worked on so far are actually pretty interesting. surely not as critical as office da or as politically irritating as koolhaus, but fun nonetheless.

Jul 11, 05 5:39 pm

yeah, all of the school's you're looking at in this thread are expensive, and nyc is really expensive for studends in and of itself. but as much as i love columbia, i don't know that much about the other two schools, they may be just as good for all i know. i do know (as has been mentioned above) that a lot of the same great faculty teach at several of the schools you're looking at.

mmmmm... vacations.. weekends... tasty.

Jul 12, 05 10:45 am

thanks heterarchy

joed, what firm are u currently working at?

Jul 12, 05 1:16 pm

This is all I have to say:

Jul 13, 05 1:42 am

i dont get it...

Jul 13, 05 1:24 pm

i think raji is saying either go/dont go to columbia because of mark wigley (pictured), who is the dean of columbia (i think)

Jul 13, 05 8:38 pm

oh thanks...mark huH? :|

Jul 14, 05 1:20 pm

raji... whatever man

Jul 14, 05 1:21 pm

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