Fall 2013 Columbia GSAPP NY/Paris: The Shape of Two Cities Program


Hey all,

Considering attending Columbia's year long NY/Paris program between my B.Arch and M.Arch degree but I am having trouble finding any current feedback on the program... any past, current or perspective students out there who may be able to give me some more insight on what I can expect? More specifically:

- typical class size and educational backgrounds of peers?

- depth of integration with other GSAPP students/programs?

- how it influenced your decision on graduate school programs and if it was obviously advantageous in opening doors to other Ivy M.Arch programs?

- suggestions on where to look for sublet apartments for the Fall term?

I greatly appreciate any and all opinions.  I am really just looking to find more of a personal perspective on the experience then what I may find on the GSAPP website and in the information booklet. Any others out there who are attending the program in the fall?

Thanks in advance!!

May 8, 13 4:25 pm

- studios were 10-12 people, I'd say. More people than I expected had an "architectural studies" background or something similar. I did not. It was fine.

-hardly at all. Studios are completely separate, your TAs are MArch Students. Lectures are with the rest of gsapp but I felt like I didn't interact with anyone outside of my program at all. You will have the option to take some electives with MArch students, but it will be a lot on your plate.

-I chose to take a few years off from grad school after NY/P, but it seemed as if my classmates were wildly successful in getting in to/attending prestigious grad schools after their year at Columbia.

-If you don't live in NYC already, use a broker. 

May 23, 13 12:43 pm

Hey there,

Just finished doing the both semesters of it.

1st semester we have around 50 people divided into sections. 10-13 person in a class.

The class size dropped to half when we reached Paris.

I want to say that 10% of the class has an architectural background. There were a few architectural studies students as well. I have a BFA in animation. Very different.


The first and second semesters are very different from each other.  What I liked about first semester was that you were able to visual studies in the GSAPP program, so I at least got an idea of what their supplemental classes were like, though the core classes and studio are separated from the actual M.Arch studios.

If I had to do the first semester again, I would have taken at least two visual study courses and dropped one of the NY/P classes. You just need to make sure you have minimum class requirements to be a full time student. I think this would have made the workload more manageable and I would have had more opportunities to take classes with the actual degree students. 

I think one assumption about the program is that taking the program will help you get into an Ivy League. I think it helps a lot in terms of giving you the assignments to make a portfolio, but a lot of my peers and I didn't get into all the competitive schools we applied to. Some didn't get into Columbia. I think a lot of factors are involved where in general grad school is just getting more competitive, and many people are doing what they can to prepare for applications.

On a positive note, I did get into schools that I got rejected from before I did NY/P, and both semesters have helped me prepare better for getting back into school. Also, the feedback and advice I received after I got my acceptances were invaluable.


Sorry for grammar. Will fix typos later. 

May 30, 13 11:04 am

Thank you both for your input! 

@melivola how is the Paris program different from the NY term? For someone with an architectural background like myself would you suggest taking the Paris term or is it rather redundant? 

Jun 3, 13 3:59 pm

The NY term was much more difficult in terms of workload than the Paris term. In Paris, you actually had time to see the city, and there were many planned field trips around Paris and to other cities. This year we went to Nantes and Nancy, and for spring break we had a class trip to Switzerland where we toured most of the country and saw Zumthor's work in person. So I would say that the NY portion is more focused on work and portfolios (there are portfolio reviews and help sessions towards the end of the semester to help people who are applying to schools get their stuff together), while the Paris portion is more about enjoying the abroad experience. This doesn't mean that you can't challenge yourself with the work in Paris; after all, what you get out of any program is what you put into it. There were a few students who got to do internships with the critics during the Paris semester so I would say that could be a good use of your time if you want to push yourself and get more experience.

Jun 3, 13 4:57 pm

Hello guys,

For those of you interested in architecture programs, take a look.

Jul 20, 13 9:03 am

hi guys, I’m anxiously awaiting my decision from Columbia on the NY/P program. 

Do you feel as if it was very competitive to get into? Are there a lot of people applying for the program?  

Dec 6, 18 11:47 am

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