2013 Admissions: Canadian Schools?


Hey --

noticed there's a massive thread for prospective students but I don't see anyone talking about Canadian schools. Not sure how many Canadians are on the forum but figured I'd check in. Anyone heard back yet? I'm waiting on Calgary and Manitoba as a non-arch background student. A quick glance at gradcafe tells me some people are getting admitted or waitlisted, but I wonder if Manitoba is sending out the M.Arch decisions now and the AMP1 decisions later (at least I hope so). Anyone else?

Mar 27, 13 11:20 am
Abhinav Sunil

I just got my acceptance from University of Calgary through e-mail, for their 2year Masters course.

Calgary applicants.......All the best guys!

Mar 27, 13 12:04 pm

I applied to Dalhousie, Carleton, and Mcgill...just got an acceptance email from Dal yesterday, haven't heard from the others yet.

A co-worker of mine is also waiting on Calgary, they'll probably be coming out soon.

I went to Manitoba for undergrad (env. design), so I don't know what the application process is like for AMP (was called PMQ in my day), but in my opinion the AMP students make the best M.Arch students! Good luck to you!

Mar 28, 13 12:30 am
Abhinav Sunil

@oswald  @gual

How do you rate University of Calgary in terms of- employment opportunity, location, academic interests. It will be great to know an insider' opinion about U of C ( hear from people who have done their bachelors from canada).

I have applied to University of Manitoba as well. How does U of M and U of C stand against each other.

Mar 28, 13 9:05 am

I'd like to hear some thoughts on the same thing, architintin. I've been able to tease out a decent amount of info on the other schools but Calgary remains a bit of an enigma.

In general Calgary is (was?) considered a sprawling "boom town" -- lots of jobs, lots of suburbs. But that's just what I hear.

Mar 28, 13 12:11 pm

I can't say much about Calgary, never been there.

I do know Manitoba, been living here in Winnipeg pretty much all my life. Its a good school, but the biggest knock against it is the location, way out in suburbia. If you do end up going there I highly recommend living close to the centre of the city, the osborne-corydon area is ideal for students.

There's a small, but tight-knit design/arts community here that seems to be gaining a bit of steam recently. Definitely opportunities for students to branch out with local firms and get connected in the community. Lots of former students I know are starting their own "design" firms, doing small projects, installations, that sort of thing.

Having said that, the job market after graduation here is quite competitive from what I can tell. There are a handful of large firms and maybe a few dozen smaller ones, but overall it seems there are far more grads than there are jobs...but that's probably the story everywhere.



Mar 28, 13 12:12 pm

I have an acceptance letter from Queen's University - Kingston, for their 2year Masters course- Urban and regional planning.

Have also been wait-listed at waterloo and waiting for the decisions from Uof T and McGill.

All the best guys!

Mar 28, 13 12:38 pm
El Tejon

What's Dalhousie's program like?

Mar 28, 13 1:12 pm
Abhinav Sunil

Guys I got this from an old blog....Must be like 7 yrs old now ....still there are few points which I feel would be helpfull for us Canadian applicants...So I am pasting it here;


From the blog:

I applied only to canadian schools 5 years ago, got accepted to u of t, ubc, dalhousie, and
calgary... Those are the four canadian schools that you can go to out of a non architecture
college degree. There's also McGill in Montreal, Waterloo, and Carlton in Ottawa, plus the two
french speaking universities in quebec. So alot of this info is 5 years old (or somewhat second
hand from people I know) so I'm not 100% sure if things are still the same... So here's my 2
cents on the Canadian Architecture schools (there aren't that many of them), sorry if I ramble:
1. McGilll and Waterloo are great schools with good faculty but Waterloo takes people straight
out of highschool (or at least you have to start from scratch at the bachelors) and is a really long
program‐‐ I think 7 years to get the M.Arch because every other term I think you are on work
term... So you come away with a ton of varied experience in practice when you get out.
Waterloo seems to be the school with the great studio / practical experience combo... I do
know some really good architects came out of there... McGill I believe requires you to go
through the bachelors first before you can enter the M.Arch as well. I think McGill has some
connection to GSD... and exchange? not sure... At McGill you go to school in the middle of one
of the coolest cities, downtown Montreal (the best nightlife in canada... even better than
toronto) If you go to Waterloo you live in... Waterloo, Ontario.......
2. UBC: I ended up choosing UBC because of the faculty and the city (exciting work being done
in vancouver, its a growing city, cultural diversity and growth, the olympics coming,
environmentally conscious, great city, and in the pacific northwest generally has some cool
architecture emerging... it's progressive, sustainable, cool...) I'm glad I went there, it's not too
large, not too small, they have great dedicated professors there in various areas of expertise...
It's not so big that you will know everybody in the school, profs are approachable and leaders in
their fields... Studio profs Patricia Patkau, Oliver Lang, some really cool and creative younger
architects, great critics, a world leader in sustainable architecture in Ray Cole... And they are
generally very dedicated profs who you can talk to, not just "drop in" profs... Also, plenty of
interdisciplinary seminar opportunities, studies abroad, design build type studios, a varied
emphasis on theory... they have okay facilities... modernist building dedicated to architecture,
nice model shop has a cnc milling machine in it... UBC is about 30 minutes from downtown
vancouver, a nice campus but not integrated with the downtown, instead it's off in its own
peninsula surrounded on the east by a forest, and beaches, water, amazing views of
mountains... huge trees... gardens... the famous "clothing optional" wreck beach with hippies,
older crowd, students, and smelt fishermen hangin out... go to ubc to go to school in a beautiful
park... and in a city that's an urban park... (but has the culture, art scene, etc.) a vibrant
downtown, you can hit a variety of beaches in the summer, get a lift pass for a bit over seasonal
$200 for grouse mountain and go snowboarding all the time in the winter... (you can see the
mountain right up there from downtown... winter olympics coming 2010 which means some
more cool architecture comin down the pipe, alot of growth) Density done right! Anyway, that's
my sell, I'm biased...
3. U of T is a great school, the program is structured very similar to UBC I think, they tend to
offer more $$ incentives, they are larger than UBC, they get alot of great visiting or adjunct
profs who are top practicing architects from metropolitan toronto... I might have gone there
except that when I applied the M.Arch was brand new and not yet accredited (it is of course
accredited now)... They had just switched over from the 5 year B.Arch... I went to U of T for
undergrad (non‐arch) and I wanted a change of scenery. U of T also has the most expensive
tuition... I think it was about $4000+ CDN for two semesters when I applied, where UBC was
$1800 CDN when I applied... The tuition is related to the province and size of the program... Not
necessarily the quality of profs or the resources... I think both UBC and UofT are comparable
schools, I know people from both... UofT's architecture school is in an old retrofitted building
that used to be the campus infirmary I believe, but they seem to have invested in turning it
around to be pretty nice... An interesting "glass box" art gallery embedded in the old facade...
designed by Kohn Schnier Architects... Toronto is a great city, as far as the campus goes, U fo T
is really cool, like McGill its in the heart of a great downtown... Walking distance to urban life,
bars, restaurants, chinatown, etc... Museums, high profile starchitecture buildings in Toronto...
On campus stuff by Morphosis/Stephen Teeple, Libeskind, nearby Alsop, Gehry coming I
think?... older Mies stuff, Calitrava, other cool Canadian stuff, etc.... So the city itself definitely
has some urban architectural inspirations to it... Toronto has more edge than Vancouver... Both
Toronto and Vancouver are multicultural cities... Vancouver is inspiring because of nature, but
its more laid back and people are more mellow, the weather is mild year round, but you get
textured clouds and rain in the winter (pacific nw)... Toronto feels like a metropolis, it's colder
in the winter, more humid in the summer... It's sister city to Chicago (maybe not as midwestern
feeling as chicago).
4. Dalhousie: A good school as well... Similar to Waterloo I think in that they both have
structured work terms, Dalhousie used to be called TUNS (Technical University of Nova Scotia)...
I think Dal is also more expensive (similar to UofT?‐‐I could be wrong) Don't know too much
else, when I applied it was 4 years to get the M.Arch, a 2 year B. Environmental Design + 2 year
M.Arch after at least 2 years of a college degree I seem to recall... Don't know much about their
profs, Bryan McKay Lyons is the cool regional modern architect prof, supposed to be a great
studio prof as well... The Pat Patkau of the East Coast Canadian school? I know of some good
architects that graduated from there... They have a great university press (TUNS Press) that
puts out some nice architecture stuff...
6. Calgary: the smallest M.Arch. program in Canada I believe‐‐ I seem to remember there are
only a handful of new students each year‐‐ which means that you will get alot of personal
attention, probably work very tightly with your colleagues, they are selective about which
students they take, its not easy to get in... It could be interesting to work in such a small
program, you'd probably really feel like it's a real graduate environment rather than
professional school... They have an interest in sustainable issues too I believe. Don't know too
much else... They seemed much more personable when I applied, they were the one place that
actually called me after to follow up on their letter.
7. Carlton: The "fine arty / crafty" Canadian architecture school... Back then they had the 5 year
B.Arch I think... Alot of this is second hand, and may be old info but: They're sort of cutting edge
cool I think which I think means you either come out "supercool", or less employable... But the
beginning starts with some rendering with graphite, arty techniques, people welding stuff,
building stuff out of resin... It's the cooper union of Canada... albeit maybe not quite THAT cool
like it sounds... Hani Rashid and some other interesting people graduated from there... They
used to be the host to this legendary annual archi‐party and sold tickets to all the other
architecture schools in canada... people from all over would go... They would completely
transform the spaces of their building, do crazy stuff to it... But it got out of hand, they sold way
too many tickets, the party eventually got banned...
8. Laval and Montreal: The two french speaking schools, which I don't know much about other
than both are good schools if you speak french... they win alot of student competitions and
awards in canada... some of the coolest avant garde firms in canada are french canadian ones
out of quebec / montreal...
9. Last but not forgotten, RYERSON: the most often forgotten canadian architecture school,
because they are not an accredited architecture program, just a 4 year undergrad B.Tech...
Which basically means if you choose Ryerson for undergrad, you have to go to U of T, UBC,
Calgary, or Dalhousie (or to an American University) to get your M.Arch afterwards... The
students coming out of Ryerson seem strong, at least the ones that I know who went to UBC...
Its bigger, less personable, but there are good adjunct profs from Toronto practice, its a newer
architecture building and facility than U of T (maybe not as unusual, but big and shiny and nice),
also in the heart of downtown Toronto. U of T and UBC have also recently started unaccredited
four year bachelors programs at their schools... These programs, like Ryerson would allow you
get advanced credit so the M.Arch takes less time... 2.5 years or so...
10. University of Manitoba: I've visited this school... a long time ago, it was the only
architecture school in western canada before UBC and Calgary came along... They have an
m.arch. program, a very nice modernist building there... They've got this interesting central pod
space with moving wood wall partitions that shift around for crits / exhibitions... a nice central
courtyard like a little glass box where the smokers step to out of studio, the studios look out
onto the courtyard, in the winter it's all snowy and has a nice glow... I like that building... A
really nice modernist building... They also have an interior design school in the same building...
U of M used to be very well respected in Canada (back in the day), alot of the faculty were from
an early IIT and the other leading American schools, so I think it developed as a sort of a
Modernist school in that tradition I think... The Patkaus and some other good architects came
out of there... Nowadays I think things have changed quite a bit... They have this new "CAST
building" which is like a little conrete and steel workshop box... Center for Architectural
Structures and Technology I think which is basically a research facility... In the winter, U of M is

Mar 28, 13 3:18 pm
Abhinav Sunil

Anything from UofT or McGill ?

Mar 28, 13 3:27 pm

Haha, that's funny, someone sent me that same blog a couple weeks ago...maybe its time someone wrote an updated review of Canadian arch. schools.

Dal has told me that as a transfer student (undergrad degree from U of M) I need to take 4 courses in the winter term before starting my Masters...but their co-op program may be enough of a plus to outweigh the extra term...still not sure.

Anybody have any thoughts on the programs at Carleton/Mcgill/Dal?

Mar 28, 13 3:41 pm
Abhinav Sunil

Hey Manitoba's result is available online!

I got rejected !

Mar 28, 13 3:52 pm

Got into Calgary. How did you check your result online?


I also applied to Dal, I wonder if it's worth the extra year vs. doing it in 3 years in Calgary.


Thanks for bringing out that old blog post. I have to say though, it's 1) old and 2) just one guy who doesn't actually seem to know too much about half the schools.

Mar 28, 13 3:56 pm

Figured I'd bump this up to the first page, also looking for thoughts especially regarding Calgary vs Dal. Seems like with Calgary might not get enough work experience by the end of the degree (or should I even worry about that?)

Mar 30, 13 2:16 pm

Dal is a great program, I would recommend it. 

Mar 30, 13 7:39 pm
Abhinav Sunil


How is University of Calgary ? U of C remains a mystery. As an international students I am  relying completely on the internet(which might actually be bogus). More than the city- Interested in knowing about the M.Arch program there. If anybody could help it would be greatly appreciated.

Mar 30, 13 11:10 pm
El Tejon

@1234567890 - I take it you attended Dal's program? What, in particular, do you think it offers over other schools?

Mar 31, 13 1:13 pm

I'm wondering why do some schools like McGill require only one year to complete a masters while some other schools require two or three years?  Is this something approved by the accreditation board?  Like do they choose which school can have a one year masters and which schools need 3 years?  In the end, a one year or a three year program will both allow you to go get your architecture license.  Why don't some schools make it one year also, while leave 3 years as optional since I assume some students will need more time to finish their thesis?

Mar 31, 13 6:23 pm

the "one-year" master's at mcgill is thesis-less, but there is also one with thesis, and it's two years. 

Mar 31, 13 7:07 pm


I did the foundation year MA.rch at University of Calgary as part of my undergrad. I think it is a pretty great program. The teachers are really supportive and most have their own practice (this comes in handy for job opportunities over the summer). They really emphasize sustainability and have a good balance between theory/ practical. The school really tries to foster an interdisciplinary approach to the curriculum. There is also a great exchange program that you can take advantage of in your last year to either Barcelona or Australia. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'm more than happy to help. 


I applied to UBC, UofC and UofT for my masters, I got accepted to UBC and UofC and have yet to hear back from UofT. For me, if i continue my masters in Calgary it will be 2 years as opposed to the 3.5 in Van or Toronto. But i am more inclined to choose those over Calgary just to get a change of scenery and for a new beginning in a new city. 

Apr 1, 13 2:19 am
Abhinav Sunil


Thanks a million for that reply. I really owe you. I have been trying for long time now, to get first hand information from a student of UofC, finally I got some review. Really excited by your reply and happy to hear good reviews about the college;

You have strengthened my reasons/beliefs to head for UofC; Now I can confidently go ahead with the decision.

All the best with UofT. Do let us know once you have finalized your decision.Once again thanks a lot.

Apr 1, 13 11:38 am

Hey Neogi, I was wondering if you knew anything about the following (I realize you may not but maybe you've heard stuff):

- Does the school have much reach beyond the region? I guess by this I mean, do the grad students manage to get internships outside of the area much? Do they often go on to work outside of Canada or on the East coast?

- Speaking of internships, what does the typical student do for that? I'd imagine coming from a non-arch background that I might not find anything after the foundation year, which leaves me with only one summer to possibly gain work experience before graduating.

- Does the education seem to give a broad base in design or is it very focused on arch? I ask this because I see projects from schools like Dal where they're building lamps, they're building chairs, they're building... stuff. I haven't really seen what students _do_ at UofC, is there much fabrication going on? Is it computer-y? How much is hands-on?

I know I'm asking some kinda broad stuff, and some maybe you don't have the answers for, but if you have any insight that would be appreciated. I guess what it comes down to is I don't have any formal arch/design background and I wonder if the 3-year program is enough exposure to really help me develop by the time I graduate from it.

Apr 1, 13 12:41 pm

Oh, and last but not least: how's life in Calgary? Of course school is going to be really intense, but is there an art scene? Music scene? Opportunities to meet weird people in weird bars?

Apr 1, 13 12:44 pm


From what I have seen, it is more plausible for a grad to get their internship in Calgary, only because of the networks you will build through your professors. That being said there are students who excelled and have gained employment in LA. 

That depends on your luck, I was fortunate enough to find work via one of my profs, and some others did as well, but some did not. But speaking specifically in terms of work experience it is no comparison to say Dal, but that doesn't necessarily hinder you when it comes time to find a real internship post grad. Dal offers a more hands on approach from what i have herd that many residential oriented firms prefer Dal graduates. 

See UofC likes to be very balanced, they have some studio projects that are very much based on design and then some that very much architecture. And they also balance out the computery with fabrication. For example, you will probably have to fabricate your grasshopper project. We've done chairs/ lamps fabrication aswell, but it really depends on who you have as your studio profs. The shop is pretty great, we've got 3 laser cutters! 

Alright so the foundation year is hard, Im not going to lie especially for non arch- background kids, such as myself. Lots of late nights and the school doesnt really hold your hand through it. As in they don't necessarily teach you everything about a software (they try but a lot of us found that we either learned from youtube or other students either in studio or from second/ third year). We used to say it was like learning to swim by jumping into the deep end. And in my opinion i think the 3 year program is enough, if your really passionate about the field you spend your free time immersing your self in the realm of design anyways.

Alright so this is where there is a slight downfall, life in Calgary, lets face it in your foundation year your barely going to have one outside of studio aha. But seriously, art scene? Music scene? as a calgarian myself I am not try to bash it but, there isn't a whole lot, in comparison to Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto. There are concerts and art shows that happen. The night life is decent, few pretty great bars on 17th ave or Stephen ave. The EVDS faculty does have lectures where they bring in noted architects in the field. And with the east village revitalization in progress i think that is starting to give downtown Calgary more life. 

Hope that sort of gave you somewhat of an insight about the EVDS program. Let me know if you have any other questions. Also it would be beneficial to contact Jennifer and perhaps get a tour of the studios/ building and just see the city for yourself before making your decision if you can. 

Apr 1, 13 1:24 pm

Thanks a bunch. It helps to get a candid student breakdown of the program, I appreciate it.

Apr 1, 13 1:32 pm

@ architintin

How are you managing your finances- the tuition fees and living cost. Are funding it all on your own or planning to take up loan?

Also how much do you think will be the living cost annually?

Apr 3, 13 3:52 am

That's a good point ublade, maybe Neogi has a rough idea of what reasonable living expenses, rent, etc are in Calgary?

Apr 3, 13 11:24 am
Abhinav Sunil


I will be taking an educational loan to fund my education. I think the annual living cost would be around 15,000 CAD, but may be we can even manage with 12,000(with lot of sacrifices though).

Apr 3, 13 11:26 am

u of toronto is the way to go

Apr 6, 13 7:56 am
Abhinav Sunil

Anybody heard anything from McGill ? Why are they taking so much time to come out with the results !!

Canadian schools -If we are not selected they don't even bother informing us---- they don't update websites nor do they send you email .(You keep waiting for the results - untill eternity)  :(

Apr 6, 13 11:49 am

Is anyone here going to the University of Toronto this fall?

Apr 7, 13 4:58 pm

@ Architinitin & @Trffl

i was also accpeted at U of C and am still awaiting the decisions from mcgill and ryerson March ( yes!!!!! i applied to Ryerson) . For now , i think i am okay with th Evds program. I am attending the 2 -yrs MARCH and intend to make the most of the program while there. From past experiences, I think your personal ability matters more than where you graduated from when it comes to employment. Your design projects while at the school can be taken to any level as long as you are willing to make the effort.

Hope to see you guys at Calgary come fall.......

Thanks @Neogi for the insight on your time at Evds.


Apr 8, 13 10:33 am
Abhinav Sunil


Congrats....Great to know that! I didn't get the hard copy letter yet. The program is highly praised by everyone I asked an opinion for . I will also be joining the 2yr Program. Which country are you from? I am from India. I will most certainly be joining the UofC.

All the best with Mcgill and Ryerson

Apr 8, 13 10:46 am

thanks man.

Apr 8, 13 12:50 pm

Checked my Mcgill application status online, still says "Ready for Review"

Carleton status says "Under review by faculty of graduate studies", so at least that's something.

Waiting! Gotta love it.

Apr 8, 13 1:10 pm
Abhinav Sunil

damn it! Canada is  so slow with results!

Apr 8, 13 1:14 pm

Anyone here going to UBC? 

Apr 8, 13 1:29 pm

@ neogi : mind if i could get some insights on programs and design packages i should be familiar with prior to my masters @ U of C?? I have an arch background and am already proficient with Archicad 16, 3dmax , Corel, Photoshop. Does the school specify particular design software??/ e.g Revit as against Archicad , BIM issues?? etc. Awaiting your response.


Thanks for the help so far.

Apr 8, 13 4:37 pm


They are pretty flexible with what software you use, as long as you are proficiently able to communicate your intentions. That being said most  students use Rhino, shetchup, adobe creative suite(so photoshop, illustrator, indesign), autocad and v-ray/  3ds max. It really is personal preference, and since you already have experience, I think you should be able to stick to software your familiar with. Depending on the prof you might need to pick up maya for animations or Thea for lighting renders. 

Apr 8, 13 7:15 pm


thanks a mill. good luck with UBC

Apr 8, 13 9:20 pm
Abhinav Sunil

I called up McGill....they say that the results will be out in two weeks time..STILL..CRAP so much waiting..! And they wont be sending emails...will just update on their website (minerva). The saddest part is that this 'website update' they will do only for those lucky few selected. Others -FORGET ABOUT IT !!


Apr 10, 13 1:48 pm

Wow, that sucks. Especially for those who have to let other schools know by April 15...Good luck all

Apr 10, 13 4:05 pm

Just checked my Mcgill results online: "Refused - Ltd. Space Available"

Good luck everyone!

Apr 15, 13 4:28 pm

Carleton first round was emailed out today

Apr 15, 13 6:41 pm


Have u received your hard copy letter from U oc C??

Apr 16, 13 9:20 am
Abhinav Sunil


Nope, Haven't received it yet ! Did they communicate with you after accepting the offer ? They told me they will let me know of the further proceedings soon.

Apr 16, 13 9:47 am

yeah. They said they already sent out the letters via post since April first. Its way past 12 working days since then and i am yet to receive my own letter. I already reported the delay to them and they said i should get back to them if i dont receive it by the end of today. have you accepted via email??

Apr 16, 13 10:11 am
Abhinav Sunil

Yeah I have accepted the offer via web and email.

Apr 16, 13 10:17 am

Alright. I am pretty excited about attending. been going. Wish i could identify with more prospective students on Archinect. Would really be great to share updates with each other. could be very helpful.

Apr 16, 13 10:21 am

@ architintin


UBC prospective students already have a thread on here. Its a great way of finding out more about the school, faculty, studio culture and probably identify with current students as a way of preparing for life at evds. It generally helps us know what to expect. I think if we have about a dozen prospective students, we should start a thread. What are your thoughts on this.?

Apr 16, 13 10:30 am
Abhinav Sunil


Absolutely -Yes!!

I also have the same views. I hesitated on starting a separate tread as in total there are limited no of applicants for Canadian Universities who are active in architect, besides there are more people here in this thread who have first hand information about the university and the place-and they are not prospective students of UofC.

But may be after sometime, we must- certainly(definitely) start a new thread for UofC which if not beneficial for us at least would be beneficial for the future students.

~I think in a weeks time we should start a thread.

Apr 16, 13 11:10 am

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