UCLA: check, Columbia GSAPP: check. I'm torn. help!


So, here it is - got accepted to Columbia's MSAAD program and UCLA's Suprastudio. Just received an email from my first choice (MIT's SMArchS) declining admission, so I have 2/3. Which brings me to you guys, which one do you think should it be? 

here's how I see it:


- theoretical program, very research/innovation based 
- Located in New York
- gave me a 15000 scholarship (not much compared to the overall cost = $70K or so)
- travel abroad during last quarter 
- get to move away from home at last and see if I'm any good on my own :P


- Drastically cheaper than Columbia (under $40K out the door)
- Very young program, taught by Greg Lynn, Frank Gehry, and Thom Mayne
- Small classes (15 people per instructor)
- Very experimental, this year is the first time the three are teaching SUPRASTUDIO together in an off-campus location.
- very hi-tech program: comes with access to everything from CNC machines to KUKA robots, and is very robotics/prototyping/scripting based
- close to home (I live in Orange County, CA), which means I won't have to sell my car.

SO, there it is. If I missed some pros or maybe Con's, PLEASE holler. I would love to hear any opinion/advise. Also, for those of you who HAVE attended either of these, what are you doing now? how did this degree influence you as a professional? 

Much obliged,


Mar 15, 13 8:16 pm
I'm in the same boat, but heavily leaning towards UCLA over Columbia because of tuition. I think Suprastudio is an exciting and growing program, and has been my #1 choice for most of the reasons you mentioned. I'm also a native of SoCal and won't have to sell my car.
Mar 15, 13 8:52 pm

cheaper is better. Also, ask yourself where you want to work after graduation. California or NYC?

Mar 15, 13 9:00 pm

i guess it comes down to working with big names vs. dabbling in the experimental and unknown. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Additionally - I can't quite figure out what Columbia's MSAAD is about. It seems to be structured like a typical grad program - you take 2 different studios of your choice during the year, and  do a project in the end. meanwhile UCLA this year consists of 4 smaller projects over the course of 2 semesters+summer. Since both options are still on the plate, I'm trying to figure out what it is I would want from Columbia's MSAAD. Those of you that got in and going, or better yet, already went and graduated - what are your reasons for picking Columbia? is it names? if so - who? is it a specific classes / concentration that you didn't find elsewhere? 

Mar 18, 13 5:13 pm

tough choice

If you want a well known professor - you're not guaranteed a starchitect in MsAAD, whereas in Suprastudio you are.  A lot of people choose MsAAD for the nCertainties studio ran by Francois Roche and Ezio Blasetti that uses python scripting for Rhino and explores some strange and interesting animalistic and robotic concepts.  You also have Bernard Tschumi and Steven Holl teaching studio at Columbia, along with optional classes ran by people from SHOP, but the studios are lottery based... but what do I know... I did Urban Design...

Mar 20, 13 5:59 pm

I appreciate the feedback you guys!

Also, Ara, thanks this is particularly helpful, because i have had Zero luck finding out who is teaching studio for MSAAD this year. their website isn't exactly intuitive in that regard...


Apr 1, 13 3:45 pm

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