2013 M.Arch Applicants, Commiserate Here!


Perhaps it is too early to begin this thread, but I received my first letter yesterday, so I imagine there are others out there with nowhere to vent & commiserate.

I applied to the following:

Yale MED (history and theory research)

GSD MDesS II (history and theory)

McGill MArch II (history and theory)

Cooper Union MArch II

I received an acceptance letter from McGill. No word about financial help, scholarships, endowment money, etc. I imagine it is too early for them to have that information. How does this typically work?

Anyone out there that has received any letters (good or bad for MArch?

Feb 7, 13 11:32 am

I haven't received any letters because I did a M.Arch.3.  The Canadian schools weren't even on my radar screen, and both UBC and Toronto had a M.Arch.3.  McGill is an excellent school in every field of study and, of those locations, I would take Montreal to NYC, Boston, or New Haven.

Why does everyone say GSD as if it's too good to be called Harvard GSD?  Argh.

Congrats on the McGill acceptance!

Feb 7, 13 12:06 pm

agreed on the GSD comment.  i cant stand it!

Feb 7, 13 12:40 pm

I went to GSD - it's easier to say.

What the hell is an M.Arch 3?

Feb 7, 13 6:32 pm


The very same thing that some people call an M.Arch. 1, as others like Yale do.  It's the 3+ M.Arch. ... you know, the variety which seems to be the biggest class at (Hah-vahd) GSD.  I'm not the only one to use M.Arch. 3, as many schools label it that, and the students follow.  I can guarantee you that 3/4 of architects out there don't know what GSD means.  I deduced it because (1) I knew that was the formal name appended after Harvard, and (2) only Harvard would be so arrogant to label themselves that way.

Feb 8, 13 2:57 pm

YSOA, SOA, SARUP, AA, CCA .... etc  the GSD is not the only school out there that abbreviates the name of their school with in the college. Actually, most do!

Feb 8, 13 3:23 pm

received first acceptance M.Arch I letter today... Tulane

Feb 8, 13 4:02 pm

wow congrats!

Feb 8, 13 5:12 pm

YSOA, SOA, SARUP, AA, CCA .... etc  the GSD is not the only school out there that abbreviates the name of their school with in the college. Actually, most do!

True, they all do, within the university setting, or within a region.  That ONE school only uses an acronym, not preceded by the university name, is SO "let them eat cake."

Feb 8, 13 5:27 pm

I got an admit from NC State M.Arch program .. How good is the university? Waiting to hear from SCI-ARC, Caly Poly Pomona, University of Michigan , Arizona state University , University of Southern California and University of Berkley..

Feb 9, 13 12:28 am


What state are you in?  If they are all out of state to you, I'd go with University of Michigan over the others on that list, provided they admit you.

Feb 9, 13 1:17 am

I am in California ...I like the program at Michigan but the tuition is too high and I just received a mail from them that they are further increasing it by 10,000$ . 

Feb 9, 13 2:10 am

I'm sorry to hear that.  Michigan is a destination school in every field, located in a state that's not doing well economically.  Not only that, because they know people don't stay in the state, residency reclassification is not easy to obtain.

Is this 3 year or 2 year?  Do you already have a BA/BS?  From a loose program or a tight one?

Feb 9, 13 2:19 am

I have done my bachelors in architecture from India ..I have applied for the 2 year masters program at all the universities. 

What is a tight or loose program?

Feb 9, 13 2:53 am

Tight - fairly thorough structures, environmental technology, and building assembly sequence of courses

Loose - less of these courses are required, and whether you take them as electives is up to you

Also, where do you want to live when you finish?

Feb 9, 13 3:31 am
Abhinav Sunil

hey  nisha123, mtt9999


I thought that u would get results only by march-april; Isn't it too early to receive admit  ?!?

Even I have applied at NC State and McGill -anxiously waiting for the result. I am from India. I have applied for the MArch course.

Feb 10, 13 1:21 pm

hey observant,

thanks for explaining . I would definitely prefer California. 

Feb 10, 13 5:50 pm

hey archinitin,

I got the admit for spring but i deferred it for fall

Feb 10, 13 6:13 pm

Nisha, in this order:

UC Berkeley - only if your undergraduate was technically strong; recognized everywhere, but many of its grads are found in the Bay Area, from architecture and any of its colleges

Cal Poly Pomona - practical school, with many of it grads in SoCal

USC - private, but very much a "union card" for someone who wants to live in SoCal

Sci-Arc - private, I didn't apply there, nor would I have - don't get me started

Note:  If none of these accept you, and I hope one does, I believe that Ariz. State is a respectable program, in a metro area that now holds 4 million, but is scorching hot in the summers.

Feb 10, 13 6:37 pm

Thanks for the input...Just waiting for the admits now.Hope to get one of these.

Feb 11, 13 2:26 am
Abhinav Sunil

Hey nisha123,

Thanks for letting me know.

& observant - thanks for the nice insight knowledge!

Feb 11, 13 2:41 am

I think most schools will be sending out letters and emails in the beginning of March. Some are beginning to sent out MArch I acceptance letters, however, I think the application deadline is later for most MArch II programs, so the letters will come later. A good rule of thumb may be 2 months from the application deadline you should start anticipating word.

@ architintin

Have you checked for McGill on Minerva. They have been putting some updates there regarding admittance. Good luck!

Feb 11, 13 12:26 pm

@observant What is your issue with SCI-Arc? I thought it was generally regarded as a top school in California?

Feb 11, 13 7:52 pm


Raised on the West Coast, I saw the practical people go to (a) Cal Poly SLO, (b) USC, and (c) Cal Poly Pomona.  I saw the idealists and theorists go to (a) Berkeley and (b) UCLA (then graduate only).  I saw the star-chasers and name droppers go to Sci-Arc.  They make the coffee table magazines.  But check out Arch. Record's 2012 rankings.  Sci-Arc show up in one category, but look at Deans' Choices for Top 5 B.Arch. and Top 5 M.Arch. In the top 5 B.Arch., you will see Cal Poly SLO, along with the usual others.  In the top 5 M.Arch., you will see U.Mich. and the usual East Coast/Ivy others.

When I thought of M.Arch., I called up Sci-Arc to ask for information.  I was told they had an information session that people could attend.  The woman I was speaking to then added in a sappy, star-struck voice "And if you're lucky, you might even get to meet Ray Kappe, the school's founder."  I wanted to throw up.  She made it sound like a privilege.  And I'm going to drop major money for a private institute that isn't even a full-fledged university?  Please. When you go to an information session for a school, no one should have to consider themselves LUCKY to speak to the school's dean or director.  Also, feel free to check out their curriculum for M.Arch. 3.5 year via the links on the top right - not the kind of curriculum I would want.  Just because you might graduate from here, and brush elbows with stars, doesn't mean you will become one.

Feb 11, 13 8:35 pm
ms. medici

Also, this was pretty telling:

Feb 12, 13 12:28 am

I remember one cover of either Arch Record or Architecture featuring the work of some SoCal firm, either one of the majors or a spin-off, with probable roots to Sci-Arc, IIR, either through education or teaching duties, which looked like Skylab AFTER it crashed into the Australian Outback on 7-11-79.  I was looking at this stuff with disbelief.  Sculpture?  Yes.  Architecture?  No.  They have moved several times from the warehouse in which they originated in Santa Monica CA.  It's like they push the envelope for all the wrong reasons and publicity.  They, and possibly architects from other SoCal schools who were Sci-Arc wowed, have planted numerous eyesores into the SoCal built environment.  But, for them to be arrogant ... and expensive too?

Feb 12, 13 1:15 am
Abhinav Sunil

hi mtt9999

Thanks for the information - really helpful. I do check McGill on Minerva regularly, the current status says -my application is ready for review so I guess I will have to wait a lot more. It's really great that you started this post, this post really relieves the waiting blues.

Feb 12, 13 8:14 am
Abhinav Sunil

How do the M.Arch program at Carleton University, University of Manitoba, University of Calgary and Ryerson University compare among themselves in terms of rating and academics. Which University is the best among them.

Feb 12, 13 8:15 am

I am not that familiar with Canadian universities which teach architecture besides McGill, Toronto, and UBC.

Can you get a ranking of Canadian programs?  In the U.S., we love to rank everything.  I can only say that Calgary is a wonderful city and that Banff and the beautiful Canadian Rockies are fairly close, to its west, but do not know about the university and its offerings.

Feb 12, 13 1:37 pm

Applied only to YSOA.

Received early admissions notice on February 5th. It was noted that this was an accelerated admissions sent out tp a small group only.

Good luck everybody!

Feb 12, 13 2:46 pm

YSOA - M.Arch II

Feb 12, 13 2:49 pm

That is freaking great!!! So I presume you are definitely going to go to YSOA because it is the only school you applied to?? Did they include the aid package with this letter? Again congrats. I am really starting to get anxious - their MED program is pretty much my dream!

Feb 12, 13 5:53 pm
Abhinav Sunil

wow congrats @rafidlf, thats great !!

Thanks observant.

Feb 12, 13 9:17 pm

thank you. It said that I will receive the financial aid package mid-late March.

@mtt9999, how do you compare their MED program to your other choices?

Feb 13, 13 9:58 am

Yale MED program has three major advantages over their similar counterparts at other universities (I also applied to Harvard & McGill Research based Master's).

1) YSOA MED is a 2-year program rather than 1-year (3 semesters). In my opinion this is crucial to having enough time to build a foundation for a life's work, or continuation to PhD, rather than an almost superficial exploration into your research topic in 1 year. There is, however, a major downside to a 2-year research program over a 1-year: MONEY. It will cost almost twice as much - which can definitely hurt...

2) Similar to #1, YSOA MED is an immediate immersion into your research topic. Students are expected to have already built a foundation for their research topic, and written about it, so that they can immediately get into their proposal. This is different from most other programs where the first 1-2 semesters consists of a series of seminars that help the student decide upon, or narrow down, their research topic.

3) YSOA MED encourages the full gamut of design theories. Very few of the MED students have similar topics, and most of them focus on entirely different topics. This was important to me because I am proposing to study a topic that not many Master's programs are interested in. Most programs focus on only three topics: urban design, computer design, sustainability...

Although there are slight variations in the research-based degrees at the various architecture schools, most are only 1-year, final semester only thesis, and limited topic range.

Harvard MDesS is 1-year, the thesis however can begin immediately upon admission, and they encourage a wide range of topics (such as my interest in archetypal cosmology)

McGill is 1-year, no thesis, but they also encourage a wide range of topics... and Perez-Gomez heads the department.

Out of the 30 or so schools I looked at, these three seem to me to have the strongest research-based degrees. For what I am trying to do, YSOA MED clearly stands out in their true commitment to a depth of research. Hence why they are my #1 choice.

Feb 13, 13 1:24 pm

Got an early acceptance notice today from YSOA March I (with no financial info) - do most schools accept a few students early? 

Feb 13, 13 3:26 pm


Feb 13, 13 5:58 pm

Damn. Guess I didn't make it in the early rounds at YSOA.

Feb 13, 13 6:16 pm


I got an early acceptance letter from Yale M.arch a few days ago as well, no financial aid either. I hope getting priority admission might help us get good financial aid... my resources are very limited. Any thoughts or opinions on choosing Yale? Is it your top choice? I don't think I'll be able to visit the school before having to make my decision so i'd like to hear others' thoughts.

Feb 13, 13 11:15 pm

@rafidlf  @quiquesp  @calamist


Are you all architecture major at undergraduate?

Feb 13, 13 11:38 pm

civil engineering (but I hated it)

Feb 14, 13 1:30 am

Talk to the financial aid people - Yale has good financial aid. PM me if you have more questions about the school.

Feb 14, 13 1:47 am

@quiquesp: my top choice is actually MIT, but Yale is a close second - I know their programs are pretty different, but it amounts to whether I decide to pursue research in computation (MIT) or a traditional rigorous arch education.

@candive: I'm coming straight out of undergrad as an applied math major (and I loved it) @snail: thanks, I think I will contact their finaid early, as it's a huge determining factor for me as well
Feb 14, 13 1:51 pm

@snail: the letter I received noted that the financial aid info is not available due to the fact that the accelerated notice was made so early and that they will make that info available in April. Pls share if they are able to assist you prematurely though.

Feb 14, 13 3:48 pm

Congrats on those acceptances!! Did you get those notifications via mail or via email?

Feb 14, 13 8:41 pm

I received an email from Rice saying they want an interview next week, any ideas what questions do they usually ask?

I did hear good things about Rice's architectural program but I've never been to the states, so how good its reputation really is, especially in comparison with the ivy ones? (i applied to MArch I)

thanks guys

Feb 16, 13 3:07 am

I also applied to Rice M.Arch I (3 year, w no prior arch. degree), but I haven't received such an email. Does that mean I'm probably rejected?

Feb 16, 13 1:59 pm

Maher. I also applied to Rice and haven't received interview email. Lets wait another week. Usually the interview is not set up for everyone. We will know the result probably at late Feb or early March.
Interview is not for everyone. But if you have one, it means you probably have 50% get accepted.

Feb 16, 13 2:51 pm

@tinson; I guess that might be the case. But for PhD programs i know that if you're not invited for an interview, you're definitely out. I don't know if that's the case for Masters. And I actually don't recall any of the programs I've applied to talking about interviews..

Feb 16, 13 4:01 pm

As far as I known, if u are a international student whose Toefl score is not qualified/good, there may be an interview.
Or other reasons such as portfolio questions, background check,etc.

That means interview is not necessary for being accepted. But as what I said, if you get the email for interview, it means you have a good chance to be accepted.

Feb 16, 13 5:41 pm

I also applied to Rice M.Arch I (3 year, w no prior arch. degree), but I haven't received such an email. Does that mean I'm probably rejected?

I wouldn't read anything into it.  I was wait-listed at Rice, the only private school I applied to, but did not clear the list.  If you are far away, they can't expect you to interview, unless it's a phone interview.  Also, that entering 3 year class was meant to hold 15 to 20 people, unless things have changed.  I'm sure people who apply to Ivy League schools also apply to Rice, so their applicant pool is probably talented.

Feb 17, 13 10:50 am

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