No architecture experience: Need cheap MArch I, preferably in Europe


I have always been an avid amateur architect, and for many reasons, did not study anything related to architecture. I´ve found several MArch I programs in the USA for people like me, who have totally unrelated Bachelor´s degrees. I have two questions I hope you can help with:

1. Are there any similar programs in Europe, where it would be much cheaper to go to school (I speak German and Spanish fluently)? Or are there any scholarships I would be eligible for in the USA/Canada? I am open to go anywhere in the world.

2. How do I go about creating a portfolio for my application if the only artistic skill I have is drawing sketches and photography?

Thanks in advance to anyone who may help!

Jan 29, 13 11:43 am

The European educational system is VERY different.  Actually, I think that there is minimal general ed., especially in the southern European countries where they relied on HS to take up that slack, so you will spend 4 years studying architecture in their initial degree program and they don't have all the layers (BA/BS, BArch, MArch) we do.  They scratch their heads at these "concepts."  The programs are extremely crowded and job opportunities in the southern countries are poor.

I found my school choices in a book called "Architecture Schools in North America," which I don't even know if it's still published.  It listed the schools, their programs, their faculties, their curricula, admissions stats, and enough information to identify the philosophy of the architecture school.

Jan 29, 13 3:00 pm

Try Delft University in Delft, Netherlands. (Not to be confused with the newly reformed 'Berlage').

Or...  Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland

Jan 30, 13 11:02 am
Dima Srouji

Check out Kingston University and London Met University. Both great programs and reasonable prices. 

Jan 30, 13 9:30 pm

To the 2 posters above, do these programs accommodate unrelated degrees?  Different places in Europe view this kind of endeavor differently.

Jan 30, 13 9:55 pm
Dima Srouji

Good question..I don't think they do, since the course is only a year long. Sorry, I didn't realize @ekrone1378 has an unrelated BA. 

Jan 31, 13 3:53 pm


In southern Europe, when I explained the concept of unrelated degree + M.Arch. 3 being available in the U.S. and Canada, they looked at me with disbelief.

Jan 31, 13 4:13 pm

I'm not sure. You will have to look on their website or call. Should only take 5min. to find out. I bet Delft does - but if not they may be able to direct you to a few that will. Best of luck!

Jan 31, 13 4:22 pm

delft wont take ya without an undergrad in arch. i looked into last yurr. even visited. 

Jan 31, 13 4:28 pm

As a rule, european schools view the education of an architect very differently. With anything but a bsc in Architecture, you'll be having a hard time. Just getting the TU Berlin to accept my north american undergrad degree (despite the name "bachelor in environmental design", a 4 year pre-prof architecture degree) was a challenge. A challenge that required the services of a lawyer, a wasted semester, and consistent threats from the foreign office to kick me out of the country if I couldn't secure a university place soon.

Basically a nasty battle, but ultimately worth it because I got to a) stay in the city I love and now call home b) attend a good school c)pay no tuition (the same education in USA, UK, even Canada would be $$$)

But keep in mind, what I went through was a  bureaucratic battle over recognizing my (oddly named) foreign degree. If I had been educated in anything other than architecture or urban design, it would have been a total non-starter. Seriously, they would have simply laughed in my face.

Your probably one and only chance in Germany would be the Technical University of Brandenburg in Cottbus.

They seem far more open than the typical German university, but even their website says you need a degree from a related field. I met a student who had a sociology degree who was studying there though, so it's not impossible. It's worth noting however that his bachelor thesis was heavily centred on architecture.

Jan 31, 13 6:31 pm

I was really surprised by what I was able to glean about architectural education in Europe, specifically in Italy.

I was surprised to see/hear the following:

- a student at the University of Florence showed me his portfolio.  It was all about "process," and did not look finished, unlike most of the ones I've seen in North America.  I asked him if his format was the norm.  He said that it was.  If I see a well executed portfolio, the notion that a lot of mental horsepower went into it is understood and need not clutter the portfolio.

- I met a student in the latter part of the 4 yr. portion of my school, when I was in grad school.  He had begun his studies in one of Italy's major universities, and architectural departments.  He told me he hit a "bump," when he met up with a docent who taught one of his studios.  In this case, a docent sounds like an adjunct or graduate assistant, but not a full professor.  On the other hand, in the states, it looked like he was progressing toward the completion of his 4 year degree in architecture.

After seeing this compare/contrast with our educational system, I can't help but think our model is more egalitarian and pro-student.  Most students who pull out of architecture do so because they have difficulties which they identify on their own or because they lose interest in it as a calling, even though they in fact have a talent for it.

Jan 31, 13 9:53 pm

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