Architecture school on semesters or quarters?


For people in school or who went to school and remember it with fondness (yeah, right), which system did you like and what did you experience?  Sometimes, looking over a curriculum on quarters looks like there is so much more there when there often isn't.

The only area in which this might change the game is in the design studios.  You might get to do more different projects, but in a shorter time - 10 weeks instead of 14 weeks.  So, I'm thinking probably 1 studio project if on quarters, with some brief precedent work, or 2 studio projects or 1 big studio project with extensive precedent work if on semesters.  Is this about right?

Any Cal Poly SLO or Oregon grads ... or UMinn, Ohio State or Georgia Tech grads when they were still using quarters?  What was the "quantity" of design done if on quarters?  What do people think?  

Jun 11, 13 12:20 pm

I did both.  And, yes, it's a big difference.  It changes the game in every course, not just studio.  If you don't start Week 2 running at full speed, you're in trouble --whether it's design, reading, writing, whichever.

The huge upside: you get to take a lot more courses, and get a much wider range of material than in a semester system.

Jun 11, 13 1:35 pm


How much difference was there in the number of projects assigned in a studio during a term under each system?

I definitely prefer semesters, by leaps and bounds.  The trend has been to convert from quarters to semesters.  That both the UC and CSU systems in Calif. continue to have major campuses on different calendars, and which mess up transferring, is just insane.

Yes, I could see that one could "sample" more under quarters.  However, under semesters, topics could also be combined.

Jun 11, 13 1:39 pm

In quarter system (grad school), 2-3 projects, ranging from a week to a month in duration.

In my opinion, while an interesting topic, it's about the lowest-ranking consideration one should use when comparing programs.  If the school and faculty are good, and you work your ass off, you'll be fine either way.

Jun 11, 13 1:45 pm

I'm a graduate of Oregon, so I never got to experience the semester system. Citizen is correct though. It's not really something that detracts or adds to a program. All the professors structure the studios appropriately and I felt like I had some good content at the end of 10 weeks. Plus, at Oregon, your "terminal" (thesis) studio is spread over 2 quarters, plus you usually have a prep course you take the term before hand. So your final project is pretty much on par with semester based programs

Jun 11, 13 2:48 pm

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