USC (M.Arch +2) or Syracuse (M.Arch.1)?


Hi everybody,

Like some people in this forum who have been admitted to M.Arch program at USC and Syracuse this year, I will have to make a hard decision where I will go this fall. Therefore, I sincerely need more info from you, especially students/alumni of these schools. The last topic I found about this was almost 2 years ago and I believe there have been some changes. A new thread on this with updated info may be useful not only for me but also for future applicants.

Here are what I have been offered:

USC : 18k/year, 2-year program (M.Arch +2)

Syracuse: 15k for first year only+one semester advanced standing; 3-year long program (M.Arch1)

Actually, I'm leaning toward Syracuse. The program at Syracuse fits better with my desire, a balance between theory, history and practice while USC seems to focus much on the computational aspects. Besides, coming from an asian country, I prefer the east coast where I can experience a more "european" atmosphere. In terms of this, Syracuse looks more suitable than Los Angeles. (Please don't take me wrong on this, I just want to experience an atmosphere/lifestyle that is different from what I've been in for my whole life back home)

However, USC's program is much shorter and cheaper....

Please share your advices and opinions.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Mar 12, 13 6:23 am

Hi guys, any ideas?

Mar 13, 13 5:55 am
New ARch

I don't agree with the things you've said about Syracuse... I don't know much about the program ...the only thing I know that Syracuse isn't like Europe at all...sorry haven't heard good things about the city.. you should search more about it... it is just located in NY state, not NYC! The only good city in NY is NYC...I'm saying that, because many international students like me don't know the fact. They think that the whole state is like NYC....

As far as I know, the best cities in US are LA (and all the cities in CA), NYC, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Austin, ....

I'm saying if the city is important to you, choose USC...if it isn't so I guess Syracuse is better, based on what you said.. I don't like Fabrication, and computational architecture either!

Mar 13, 13 6:51 am

Hi New ARch,

How's it going with your documents with USC? Is everything OK now?

Maybe you misunderstand what I mean by "european". I'm not talking about the city but the people. Maybe I should have used "western". I'm an internation student too, from asia, and one of my goal in pursuing graduate studies in the US is to experience the western culture/mindset/lifestyle/..etc..

Besides, I've heard a current student at USC say, in the "2013 Commiserate" thread, that 90% of USC's M.Arch students are from China, that's a bit shocking for me. Without any disrespect, I think that that percentage seriously diminishes the necessary diversity of a school. I'm waiting for some feedback from the school visit of another guy in that thread to hear whether it's accurate or not.

Actually I did some further research about USC's program and feel that it's not totally about computational architecture. They're strong at focusing on the urban context and its elements. I also navigated around people from USC in this forum and saw that their M.Arch works are actually not just about computational designs. Maybe I've been biased by hearing people commenting here about the school as too "computational".

About Syracuse, you're totally correct. It's just a small and quite isolated city, and it's not NYC. Undoubtedly there are more things for an architectural student to see in LA than in Syracuse, without having to go hundreds of miles away... And most importantly, the weather is much nicer, which means we'll have more time to go around to see things.

And 3 years are much longer and more costly than 2 years, let alone these paperworks like proofs for courses waives and scholarships reapplication every year. USC said in their letter that the 18k grant is "automatically evaluated for renewal", that's a nice assurance!

With all these factors, at this point, I'm leaning back to USC.

Thank you for that website, it's very very helpful! I didn't imagined that so many people is complaining about racial discrimination and weather in Syracuse like that...

How are about you, have you reached a decision yet?

Mar 13, 13 10:01 am
New ARch

Hi :)

sorry for the misunderstanding. 

good to hear the USC program isn't just computational architecture. I think all of the schools must have a gallery that shows students work. It is hard for us to decide when we're outside of the US. 

I asked USC about financial aid, they say they are unable to offer me any kind of scholarship. I cannot attend USC unless I get at least half tuition waiver!

So far, I've been admitted to UIC, IIT, USC, Temple, WUSLTL, UNCC....

Have to wait to hear back from 4 more schools, and also financial aid from the last two.

if I didn't have to think about financial matters, IIT and WUSTL definitely were my first choices! Love Chicago

Now I just have to wait ........

Did you choose USC finally??? 

The worst thing is I chose schools with the highest tuition, I don't know why!!!!

I didn't notice to the tuition.. it is absurd but I thought the tuition of all the schools is high! on  that time I was thinking about getting scholarship. There are so many good schools with lower tuition, like Clemson, or UFL...

Mar 14, 13 5:15 am

The same thing happened with me! Somehow tuition and fees was the section that I've seriously neglected when choosing schools, I even didn't know that public schools are less expensive than private schools. But I'm lucky enough that USC offered a scholarship that makes their tuition affordable. If Berkeley says no, then I'm going to USC this fall.

Actually USC has a publication about their student works. I received it in my admission package. Though it's quite outdated (year 08-09!), it provided decent info about what's they're doing there. Don't know why they don't post them online.

You've got into WUSTL! That's great! That was one of my dream schools too, but they rejected me, so sad... I've read somewhere on their web that they received hundreds of millions of dollars recently, so I guess they're in very good financial status! You will get $$$, I believe so!

Good luck to you!

Mar 14, 13 6:56 am
New ARch

Thank you. I searched Architecture school of USC on Facebook!... there were a few pics of some events. It seems that it has a pretty cozy community. I hope you'll have a great time there.

Actually I got in M.Arch 3... so it's a little long. I wasn't so happy about will increases the cost, on the other hand I think I will get a better education when the program is long..I hope that I get a scholarship. I REALLY like the school... there were a lot of amazing student works on their website......Since I got BA. in architecture...and I don't know if I could get it. In comparison with students with no background in arch... I have a better chance, but What if they compare me with the students whom got in 2 year program....

Waiting is really frustrating...

Mar 15, 13 6:53 am

I went to the school yesterday and asked for a more recent student workbook. 

still deciding between USC and GSAPP, but leaning towards GSAPP more...

Mar 17, 13 5:58 am

Hi batman,

How was your impression about the school's graduate programs and the workbook? Is it like what sensation said in the commiserate thread? You said you're still deciding between USC and GSAPP but did not delete USC from your mind instantly. So I guess you have some positive remarks?

Though I have already accepted their offer, I'm still curious to know that.

Mar 17, 13 6:22 am

hi, I am B.Tech (I.T.) student and i am aiming for USC M.Arch3+. I ll be applying for fall 2014. As you some of you have got into USC m.arch program i wanted a feedback. I hope if anyone of you could post it here. I am also aiming for ASU, IIT , UT Austin (these have a lower tuition comparatively except IIT ). waiting for response! 

Oct 5, 13 4:05 am

Also want to know the exact tuition at USC. The site shows it is around $44,000! Is it that MUCH!?

Oct 5, 13 4:18 am

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