I was just accepted to SCI-Arc into the M.Arch 1 program, and have heard a lot of mixed reviews about it.  What I am interested in is sustainable design and the adaptive reuse of old and historical buildings.  I know SCI-Arc allows a little bit of flexibility and seems to advertise an environment of creative freedom, but does anyone have any advice on heading in the direction I'm interested in at this school?

I was also accepted to SAIC, waitlisted at the University of Washington, Seattle, and I've yet to hear from Pratt.

Thanks so much for any help you can give.

Mar 26, 13 9:02 pm

i'm wondering why you even applied to sciarc in teh first place if you're interested in sustainable design/adaptive reuse of old buildings?  are you prepared to learn coding, mel, zbrush etc? sure they're flexible but you might stick out like a sore thumb and not learn nearly as much in what you're interested  xD

Mar 26, 13 9:59 pm



I was accepted to Sci Arc and Pratt... and I hate to break it to you but yes Sci arc or Pratt is more of the digital school where you learn more programs and less about adaptive reuse or historical buildings. You could look through their student work I highly doubt they even care about adaptive reuse.


But as they you never know until you try, who knows you might actually like the way sci arc  or pratt works.

Mar 26, 13 10:20 pm

I'm interested in the same things and was just accepted to SCI-Arc for M.Arch 1, too! I'm waiting to hear back from Dalhousie (Halifax, Canada), too. If we both end up going to SCI-Arc, you'll have at least a classmate with similar passion for redesign and the environment :) 

Mar 26, 13 10:28 pm

Well I might be your classmate to if you guys decide for Sci Arc, which I hope you guys do cause trust me you won't regret it .


Sci Arc does boast the biggest fabrication lab in the whole USA for an architecture school. If you can imagine it then you can build it there. Regarding your passions you can push you projects in that manner when you are in studio depending on what the problem is. 


Hope to see you guys in LA

Mar 26, 13 10:41 pm

Feels good to know I'm on the same boat with other people. Right now I'm trying to decide between WUSTL and Sci-Arc (I KNOW those are two completely different programs no need to mention). Financial aid is crucial for me, Wustl is giving me 20k per year whereas I've yet to hear back from Sci-Arc. I'll be visiting Wustl next week, and I visited Sci-Arc over my spring break few weeks ago. In fact, I'll go ahead and share some of my reflections since this is the right thread to do so;


First of all no one should base their decision on what they read on archinect - yes, opinions are good to hear but make up your own mind, it's your life . 

Sci-Arc is definitely not like any other school I've seen. After spending few hours in the building, I can see the reasoning behind people romanticizing about it. In my own humble opinion, what I've seen there was a very dynamic atmosphere -and I don't mean people running around- creatively, it is a very engaging place, easily draws you in from the second you step in (and this is partially because the school literally has "no walls") you become a part of the experience that is Sci-arc even if you're just a visitor. I was pessimistic before about the whole concept, but  now I can see how the purist and idealistic view of architecture is celebrated and also amplified through the unique, somewhat chaotic, yet progressive community created there. And everyone I talked to (students) seem to love it. I guess there is more of an "office" feel (in a good way) rather than a traditional school feel to the campus and whole concept, an office where hierarchical boundaries are sort of blurred and there is constant motion. 

Please note that I'm exclusively not commenting on issues such as the curriculum, philosophy, or employability of the Sci Arc grads. 

After all, yes there are a myriad factors. But like it or not, Sci Arc is a unique place (take that pejoratively if you will). Point is would one feel comfortable stepping into an environment like that, or going to a more traditional school rooted strongly in the history. That's kind of the process I'm going through right now. Oh and how much it'll all cost - a minor detail yeah.

Whatever, I'll go to Wustl next week and I'm sure I'll like it there too. People on these threads keep saying things like "think about your life in the future", "think about who you want to be, where you want to be in 15 years, if you'll have kids or not".. The thing is , I've never planned more than 4 years ahead of my life - and that mystery of not knowing how you want your entire life to be keeps living exciting for me (I have friends who already planned everything till they ll have grandsons and retire) . And you know what, speaking from experience, nothing really ends up being 100% like what you planned. NOTHING. Life is full of surprises and opportunities, that keep it worth living. Call me whatever you want but these are my thoughts. Extrapolating from this point of view, I -although two of my choices lead to almost entirely different paths (and one would think making such a decision would be easy)- don't know which one is the better choice. You could also argue that there isn't a better choice, but there are simply choices. But I'll sort everything out in the next 3 weeks anyway. 

Architecture education is what you make of it wherever you go - that's what I'd like to believe.

Mar 27, 13 12:16 am

Thanks for the input everyone, and @j.maher I hope you're right - I love the idea that it will be what you make of it. 

I originally applied to SCI-Arc because I heard it was a good school, and I currently live in the Los Angeles area so the transition isn't quite the life change that the others would be. 

I just heard back from Pratt today and got in there as well.  I like the idea to going to an art school, I just don't want to be totally unemployable doing what I'm really interested in as far as reuse goes when I graduate.  It's good to hear there are others in the same boat. 

As far as being prepared about the graphics goes, I am and understand the value there, I just don't want that to be all I'm good at.  Does anyone know about the employability of SCI-Arc grads doing work that's not entirely computer design based?  I want to be a part of the whole process, not just behind the computer.

At this point I think I'm between Pratt and SCI-Arc.  I know Pratt does have courses in historical preservation and sustainability.

Mar 27, 13 5:30 pm

Im in the same position, I was accepted into the M.Arch 1 program in Syracuse University, and Sci-Arc, and still waiting on UCLA and Parsons.

What do you guys think of the different programs? I understand Sci-Arc is very design oriented and liberal, however as stated before, I don't want to come out as a paper architect or as an architect just skillful with rendering programs. Architecture is much greater than that. Ive read a lot of extremest opinions recently, and I don't know what to think anymore.

Sci-Arc has been rated 6th in the nation for graduate studies and what not, however, how reliable are these stats? And honestly what are the employment rates of Sci-Arc grads, and if employed are they simply graphic designers in that sense or are they appreciated as architects? 

On another note should how would you compare Sci-Arc with Syracuse or Parsons?


Mar 27, 13 5:53 pm

Got into SCI-ARC MArch 2. Least it's cut down a year of expenses. I think it's a great school for pushing the boundaries and having the guts to start your own practice. I'm considering sci-arc over uc berk and cca.

Mar 27, 13 5:56 pm

"Sarci-tect" you've already completed your MArch 1 and you're already an architect, so technically completing a MArch 2 at Sci-Arc would be interesting, knowing that you already have a base from another school. Therefore, Sci-Arc would expand your creativity.

However, Im graduating as a landscape architect, and frankly I do not want to go into an architecture program that strictly focuses on unrealistic and unpractical designs, rather than problem solving and true technicalities of architecture. Would Sci-Arc be a good school for me over Syracuse or Parsons?

Am I mistaken? 

Mar 27, 13 6:04 pm

Hmm, actually I studied a bachelor of design majoring in Interior architecture- so technically no, I am not an architect but I shared similar courses with the arch program. Sci-Arc MArch 1 first year definitely looks into structures WILL learn how to turn those crazy designs into reality. 

Mar 27, 13 6:09 pm

Hi everyone,

Congrats on ur acceptance to SCI-ARC program.I applied for M.Arch (2 year) program. I am wait listed . Does anyone have an idea what chance do i have of clearing the wait list.

I really like SCI-ARC and the location is great...

Mar 27, 13 9:24 pm



I actually graduated from Parsons in my undergrad from architecture, so I could tell you everything about it. If you are worried about location stick to Sci Arc or Parsons since they both are in an urban environment which really helps when designing or taking a break from studio.

Regarding parsons .. its a very good school at least my undergrad was awesome, yes it is very artsy and uses nyc as a general hub for designs. They do design build every year from scratch as negotiating with clients to designing and then building all funded through school and who ever the client is

The school is fairly into parametric design but not heavily emphasized, and it has a really good mix of great faculty but then again if you generally end up in any of the top nyc colleges (Pratt , Columbia ,Cooper or Parsons) you are going to have a lot of the same faculty. Hmmm yeah if you have any questions feel free to ask about parsons. 

I am personally going to Sci Arc. but parsons is great I just don't want to be stuck in the same school thats all . I had a choice of that 

Mar 27, 13 11:50 pm

@tomahawks619; you sound like you're mind is very clear about your decision, would you actually care to elaborate on why you personally want to attend sci arc? id love to hear your insight

Mar 28, 13 12:29 am


Thanks for your reply. After completing your undergrad at Parsons do you feel adequately satisfied as a graduating architect? In your opinion if you were in my position, would you still go to Parsons over Sci-Arc, or what?

I understand that Sci-Arc's philosphy is strongly linked to design and parametrics, however, in reality I suppose thats the most important thing for a freshly graduating architect, as all the other technical aspects of architecture are learnt through experience, no? And in the end it all depends on oneself, in directing himself as an architect. For example, if I want to design a spaceship looking building at Sci-Arc, thats my choice, and I should be aware that such a project would not be implemented in reality. So rather than being too radical in my designs I would be humble yet daring, trying to find creative solutions for specific situations. Am I mistaken?

P.S. I am currently a graduating Landscape Architect. 


Mar 28, 13 7:54 am

Hey guys 

Parsons undergraduate architecture is a 4 year BS. in Architectural studies, so basically I am coming with an Architecture background into the program. I am not qualified but I understand the basic stuffs. 

Well one thing I know regardless of what school you attend sci arc , penn or even (insert any unknown architecture school) , you are going to be taught the basic ideas which is needed to pass the ARE (architecture licensing), but each school has its own methodology to teach that stuff. Every school has to maintain that else they loose accreditation.

I know you guys are worried that will you learn how to make a real building, the answer is yes, that means yes you will learn how to make construction documents and site grading, structures and etc.

But they will be taught in a very different manner in sci arc's case in a very digital manner. Regarding parsons , I know we used to make large scale mockups in groups for construction . The school had a very artistic way of teaching stuffs since its an art school, and they were very detail oriented when it came to materials and colors since the building shares the floor with interior design and fine arts. In the end if you guys are going for parsons its not a bad choice, I personally loved it there. The studios are very nice but recently the program did get quite bigger so its being split into 2 buildings.


I am personally moving to Sci Arc, cause its always nice to have a different approach and environment, cause after a while you start understanding what each teacher wants and you start producing work just to satisfy your teachers. So its always nice to start fresh and get a different perspective. Its just my philosophy, I am not suggesting it .


@j.maher and @naderdaou what other schools did you get in if you don't mind me asking ?

Mar 28, 13 8:44 am


I also got accepted to Syracuse University, I understand they have a good program, however, the location is an issue. I'm still waiting on UCLA to answer back as well.

I'm just wondering what do other universities such as Syracuse and what not focus on differently than Sci-Arc. I know Sci-Arc is very digital and parametrics oriented, but do other universities such as Syracuse have other benefits in their teaching methods? Like these universities are very different in their approaches, but what are their pros and cons in that sense?

Mar 28, 13 8:59 am

Hi everyone! I also got in the M.Arch II program. I visited and applied to UC Berkeley and CCA but SCI-Arc's environment is amazing, easiest decision ever! I went there during thesis presentations and the work exhibited was of great quality (unlike the quick impression I had in UCLA). I love the fact that it is just one building and not a huge campus.

@sarci-tect are still considering or have you decided to go to SCI-Arc?
@nisha123 I hope you get in! Good luck!

I'm an international student. Which areas do you recommend for living in LA? Is having a car indispensable?

Mar 28, 13 10:56 am

@tomahawks - currently considern sciarc, wustl, uiuc

Mar 28, 13 2:45 pm


I am thinking of living in downtown close to the school. The sci arc student login has a lot of threads with postings for apartments. Regarding having a car... it is sort of necessary but but you could still live with out if you have a bike. Cause everything in downtown is sort of accessible without a car if you have a bike (which I am planning on getting hopefully).

Little tokyo is pretty safe and nice I heard.



Hmm I know good amount about syracuse cause my friends are there right now attending it . Hmm its good school but this is what they said "The undergrads are highly favored than the grad students. The grad students are like the bastard child". Regardless of all that the school is very very theoretical. As in hmmm a lot of reading and ideologies. It also heavily relies on what you want to make out of it since every semester is taught by teachers who have such varied styles. As in one semester you are making box projects and the very next semester you are making parametric models.

So the bottom line is its more about what you want to make unlike sci arc where they tend to push you towards a digital paradigm . Also if locations matter, syracuse is sort of  hmm... not lively place but then again when you are in architecture school you barely get time to do anything other than study.


@naderdaou and J.maher 

I hope you guys do choose sci arc but yeah that's all I know about syracuse from what I heard from my friends. Hope it helps, they have an open house coming soon I believe for accepted students 

Mar 29, 13 12:50 am

Hi All!

Just want to say I really appreciate everyone's comments thus far. They have all been very helpful.

I have been accepted to the SCI-Arch M.Arch II program as well as UCLA with advanced standing. Therefore, both programs will only be two years. I am having a very hard time deciding between the schools and any advice people could offer would be great!

Also, I will be in LA visiting UCLA for their open house and SCI-Arch this weekend if anyone else will be there! 

Mar 29, 13 12:19 pm


how did you manage to get advanced standing at UCLA? I always thought they didn't offer AP... anyways, I will be in LA for UCLA and SCI-Arc this weekend as well

Mar 29, 13 12:23 pm


Well I would really like to go but the reality of showing 50k up front in about 2 months is not possible. Was relying on a bunch of loans and scholarships which is futile and won't work out in time. Can I ask how you are funding youself? Taking a loan/family/ scholarships? It's going to cost 120k for 2 years and that really freaks me out :(. I may defer for a year and go next year, but as of now, unless some guardian angel comes down with 3 wishes I will be declining. BAH. 

Mar 29, 13 3:00 pm

@sarci-tect Yeah that freaks me out as well, but it's such a great opportunity I don't want to reject it. I'm still figuring out how to pay for it, trying some scholarships in my country and I'll need a loan anyways (probably a student loan and a regular loan backed up by my family, its a lot of money, so I'm guessing a student loan will not be enough). I also got acepted in Milan for a one-year program, which was significantly less expensive, but SCI-Arc is my favorite.

Mar 29, 13 7:14 pm

Just out of curiosity did anybody get the scholarship info ? 

Mar 30, 13 1:23 pm

^^ The office of financial aid sent me an email. They're just asking me to get loans for everything, which is a turn off for me since I've already got scholarship $$ from other places

Mar 30, 13 2:15 pm

^^ Did you fill out your fafsa already cause all I got was to fill out a fafsa and before that was my acceptance letter 

Mar 30, 13 11:12 pm

historical preservation / adaptive re-use is dead. Tear that shit down and build 4 over 2 says the Chinaman

Mar 31, 13 10:31 pm

^ i'd think with almost every architecture student doing the same grasshopper/coding architectral graphic crap, a background in historical preservation/adaptive re-use would make one highly employable.

Mar 31, 13 10:43 pm

^ perhaps even an easier way to be considered for the Pritzker.  think Zumthor and Wang Shu ;P

Mar 31, 13 10:44 pm

did you guys finish your pre requisite for Sci Arc? Is there any way possible to waive it since I took all the classes which deals with cal and physics.


Sci Arc hasn't answered my mails. Is there any current Sci Arc Student who could shed some light on the pre requisites. Is it possible have them waived or not?

Apr 2, 13 5:03 pm

@tomahawk; yes i did fill out the FAFSA. I was expecting some money at least so i was disappointed... i gues they dont't give any need based scholarship at all.


As for cal. and physics, I believe the acceptance letter mentions them as if you did fulfill them you can simply prove it and waive it. Which is still weird why they'd want me to go through that since they have all my transcripts and Ive taken multiple cal. and phy classes because im an engineer

I don't know if its possible to waive the Making+Meaning though. I've already done the intro to Arch thing at GSAPP 2 years ago, I'll ask them if that could stand in for the M+M prequisite

Apr 3, 13 8:59 pm


I took structures and building tech, which are the classes dealing with physics and cal so I asked them to waive it for me :S hopefully they do.

Regarding money yeah I am facing the same problem regardless I will be heading there over july for M+M , its not fullingfilling the requirement its more like you get to know your class mates and a heads start on the programs which the school uses (Grasshopper, Maya and Rhino I believe).


Hopefully see you there would be your classmate.

Apr 3, 13 11:40 pm

How do yu guys plan on funding your education? The loan amounts scare me :/

Apr 4, 13 3:21 am

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