Grad School Suggestions?


Since I want to be an architect one day, I decided to pursue a bachelor's degree in Civil (Structural) Engineering before I go for grad school.

I am going to graduate soon (GPA >3.5, above average GRE score) and I would like apply for a graduate architecture program for non-architecture major students.

I am looking for a school that is more rational and practical instead of conceptual and idealistic. (I value practicality in design.) The reputation of the architecture school is of moderate to high importance to me.

Would anyone make suggestion(s) on which school(s) might suit me?

I am considering UF, Cornell, and Berkeley. (Any comments about these schools?)

(Let's forget the money for now.)


Aug 22, 13 3:40 pm

For Ivy, Yale and Cornell, both offer a wide variety of directions, with very good networks.

Berkley is also a great school with great connections and is well respected in industry.

I don't know much about UF, but it is a large school and probably lines up with typical state schools, I don't know what kind of network they offer, but they certainly don't carry the recognition that Cornell and Berkley do.

Aug 22, 13 7:37 pm

Thank you Median! Do you know any other schools that are respected but perhaps less competitive? I would like to apply to a mid-range school as well.

Aug 23, 13 1:13 pm

I saw this yesterday.  Well, for one thing, we have someone here who is realistic and for whom this is not a stretch.  Your undergraduate works very well with the M.Arch.

So I see three schools.  First, of the Ivy League, why only Cornell?  Cornell is a great school, but so are the other Ivy League M.Arch. programs  I have a problem with all those semesters up front (4) with 18 credit loads, after looking at their curriculum.  All Ivy Leagues have strong alumni ties.

Berkeley is a more theoretical masters program.  It's not the kind of curriculum I would like, and I had the same criteria, that of being practical, when I was looking.  I would only recommend Berkeley as a +2 to someone who went to a broad based, comprehensive 4 year architecture program beforehand.  Back in the day when you got a live person, I called Berkeley to get their application materials for their 3 year program.  The phone conversation, which I can remember as if it was yesterday, was legendary.  It was one of three with schools with whom the phone conversations are hard to forget!

Of the more "conventional" schools, you're looking at UF.  You can't knock UF.  I'm thinking you're in state and it's economically attractive. It's a good program, though this is what I've noticed - it was doable in 3.5 years when I was looking and they've stretched it to 4, with a low cr. hour load in several semesters, it won't have the alumni clout of an Ivy League school, and their structures sequence has been dialed back a bit which, as a non-engineer, doesn't please me.  Also, check to see if you can integrate M.Arch. with a Bldg. Const. emphasis, which is under the same roof.  In the Southeast, it is a very good program.  In Florida, it is the best program.

A couple of suggestions:

- you might want to consider Univ. of Michigan because they now use 3 years and a summer session before.  The program is very well rounded and asks that you take electives across all areas.  They are Ivy quality.  Since they're a good engineering school, check to see if you can get a MSCE at the same time.  They offer a joint MBA.  Your undergrad is so strong, that you may not need these joint degree options. In my humble opinion, I think they have the best M.Arch. 3+ at this point in time across various criteria.

- you might want to consider Univ. of Illinois (Urbana, not Chicago) for many of the same reasons listed for Michigan, except that it is slightly longer.  Again, if you want the opportunity to take more structures and CE courses, and even a MSCE, they have that too.  It could be a comfortable mindset for you.

- along with Florida, I might add Georgia Tech in that region (it went from 4 years - 2+2 on quarters - back in the day, to 3 years and a summer before, just like Michigan) ... and along with Berkeley, I might add Univ. of Wash., which is more practical than Berkeley but still somewhat theoretical and with a regional focus in architecture for those who want that.

You're planning on being a licensed architect, right?  Also, your possession of a BSCE will allow you to get your PE and SE without additional graduate schooling in engineering, right?

Aug 23, 13 1:35 pm

Observant, thank you so much for your detailed reply! I appreciate it greatly.

About why Cornell: I am trying to obtain my BSCE (with additional Honors College curriculum) within 3 years and my university's architecture's program does not offer Architecture History I and II year round with more than one section each time. From the Cornell admission site, I did not see Architecture History is a requirement while it is required in many other Ivies. Some Ivies require a studio as well. I do not think I have time to squeeze all these in my full load of CE courses.

The 18 hour load does look scary. I hope my engineering schooling will pull me through.

My second plan (if no love from any MARCH schools this time) is to intern in my fourth year, do a minor in math (just 2 more courses), and take the two history courses & studio. I would have more time for my portfolio. Then, I may have more options in the Ivies. (Not Yale, for Zaha Hadid)

My third plan is just go ahead and finish my MSCE in my senior year and prepare for application at the same time. I am just concerned if I would become too engineering oriented in my thinking (which could limit my architecture design).

About Berkeley: Thank you for the insight and advice! I will rethink about Berkeley. I wish the MARCH programs can write their mission more clearly (theoretical vs. practical). Without an architectural background, I find it difficult to glance at faculty's work to tell the main direction of the program.

About UF: Yes, I reside in the Sunshine state. UF is my safety school so I will apply anyway. Thank you for pointing out the Building Construction part. I just saw that on their website and I will definitely consider that.

About your suggestions: I will definitely look into Michigan, Illinois (Urbana), and Georgia Tech. (How come I forgot about Georgia Tech!) U of W is kind of on my list because (1) not history courses required, (2) I used to live there and (3) I really love the Sea-Tac regional feel. (But the fact that you mentioned it is somewhat theoretical is a drawback.)

Yes, I plan to become a licensed architect in US and work in China. (So the name and ranking of the school is very important.)

I can only take the PE after I pass the FE and work several years. I do not think graduate school is required. (However, a MSCE is helpful to find a job.) Given the time and energy required (plus I don't really want to be an engineer), I do not think I want to get a PE anytime soon. Nevertheless, I will take the FE exam for my personal enrichment.

Aug 23, 13 4:50 pm

As a recent graduate of Michigan, I am not sure I would call it "rational and practical." Perhaps more-so than some others I will admit, but it is open ended enough that you can  forge your own path through the program if you are careful. It is a solid program though, and they love their 3 year students.

Aug 23, 13 6:27 pm

Whether UFl does a dual M.Arch - M. Bldg Const is unknown to me.  I just know they have a great building construction school.  That wouldn't be a MSCE, though.

I think Univ. of Illinois (Urbana) offers that dual degree combination, though.

I think you can make Univ. of Wash. more practical through the electives you pick.

As a recent graduate of Michigan, I am not sure I would call it "rational and practical." Perhaps more-so than some others I will admit, but it is open ended enough that you can  forge your own path through the program if you are careful. It is a solid program though, and they love their 3 year students.

It seems pluralistic and now even cutting edge.  It's always been good.  They were just more bread and butter years ago and made a concerted effort to leapfrog.  It used to be 7 semesters, with a really traditional comprehensive curriculum, and with a December exit.

Aug 23, 13 6:54 pm

That seems like a fair perspective.

Aug 23, 13 10:18 pm

hey lulugao ,its nice to see one more civil engineering graduate interested in architecture ,i would love to know which courses are u taking in your maths minor,hey observant  i m applying to upenn,gtech,utaustin,texas a&m.,i want to  know whether  utaustin and texas a&m.are techincal school or art savvy ?

idid my BE in civil engineering 09-13 from India ans is interested in applying only to school which are technically strong.

Aug 24, 13 1:14 am

Hey kadam, they're both somewhat balanced, with A&M being only slightly more practical, but UT-Austin being also comprehensive as well as the state flagship, thus a better school.

Aug 24, 13 10:56 am

thanks ,actually their website has very less information about what is going in the school

Aug 24, 13 11:30 am

I agree 100%.

Websites are rarely sufficient to determine the personality of and fit with a school.

The only thing you can see really see is the tilt of the curriculum, when put alongside others.

For really understanding a school, one needs to talk to current students, talk to alumni, talk to practitioners, and visit the school.  SOMETIMES, a conversation on the telephone with a person or two at a school will tell you if it's a no-go, and can save you a trip.  If they make it sound like it's a privilege to go to school there and/or sound cavalier, they are likely to be more fucked than most people.  *sorry for the candor ... meh, not really*

Aug 24, 13 11:46 am


I took Cal I, II, II, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, and a proof class. If I want to get my minor, I still have to take Vector Calculus and a Maple class. I wish you good luck with getting accepted!

Aug 24, 13 1:44 pm


Thank you for the advice on how to understand a school. UW and Georgia Tech will be on my list. I just looked at Michigan's prerequisite which requires history and studio.

I am concerned that without taking these classes, my chances are low in getting into good MARCH programs.

Aug 24, 13 1:49 pm


Not so.  Scroll down to the 3 year pre-requisites.

Required:  calculus (4 cr.) and physics w/ lab (4 cr.)

The others are recommended.  You should be taking some creative courses to build a portfolio for all schools anyway.

Aug 24, 13 3:18 pm

^ I was going to say....

Aug 24, 13 3:34 pm

hey lulugao mathematics is not included in your normal engineering track?i don't much about engineering in us,here in india we have 8 semesters,each semester has 6 subjects  and  we had 5 sub in mathematics .can i contact u via mail ,to know more about your minors syllabus,i m too  interested in mathematics and would love to take some extra classes during my m.arch

thanking you

Aug 25, 13 4:20 am


Congratulations on recently graduating from U of M. Were you a 2 year or 3 year student at UMich?  If 3 year, in what subject was your undergraduate degree?

Aug 25, 13 11:49 pm

Thanks. 2 year. I was a B.S. Arch from another school in the state, LTU.

Aug 26, 13 1:15 am

Hi there...

I new to this forum. Just saw this thread and am posting my question.

.I hold a 5 yr B.Arch from India, with about 5 years of experience and some volunteering work (drafting) in US. My GPA is low, say around 2.5.The positives I feel about me is the work experience that would show up in my portfolio and the strong recommendations.

I just recently took GRE and got a score of 301. I am interested in getting into an M.Arch 2 program I am applying to U of Kansas, Iowa State University, U of Cincinnati, U of Minnesota. Does anybody know what are my chances of getting into any of these Universities and would also like to hear suggestions for other universities too?


Thank you in advance.

Aug 26, 13 10:28 am


Your portfolio would have to be very strong and your statement of purpose and recommendations would also have to be strong:

My personal ordering would be:  Kansas, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Iowa State.  If you're coming from India, bring warm clothes.

Aug 26, 13 12:12 pm


Thanks a lot for the response.

Since I currently live in Minnesota, I would be really happy if I get admitted to the U of Minn. But I was wondering why nobody is talking about U of Minn in this forum. How do you rate this University? 

Aug 26, 13 12:45 pm

I heard the proverb of "go to grad school in or near a city where you want to practice." Excellent advice. So my question is do you like NYC or San Fran more? I lean west coast, myself.

Aug 26, 13 1:08 pm

Thanks a lot for the response.

Since I currently live in Minnesota, I would be really happy if I get admitted to the U of Minn. But I was wondering why nobody is talking about U of Minn in this forum. How do you rate this University?

Here's the thing.  You already have a B.Arch. so you can adapt to a self-styled curriculum fairly well and make it want you want it to be.  I was applying without an architecture background.  Their program was a 4 year (2 + 2 set up) and on quarters, with a lot of comprehensive content, but it was too long for me.   Now the 3 year (6 semester) program seems too avant garde for my taste.  For a 2 year, I'm sure it's fine.  Had it been 3 or 3.5 years back then, I would have considered it.  It is very much a ful-fledged university and a dynamic school.  The reason why they're not talking about it here is because people here only talk about 10 to 15 schools, and that's not one of them.

I heard the proverb of "go to grad school in or near a city where you want to practice." Excellent advice.

I agree with you 100%.  Sometimes a "B" school in the immediate area is better than an "A" school far away.  So, for example, if you want to practice in DEN or the Rockies, there is nothing wrong with going to CU-Denver's M.Arch. program rather than having to explain to employers that VaTech is a really good school, for example.

Aug 26, 13 1:22 pm

Thanks, that helped a lot.

It was nice to have someone to guide you through.

Thanks again.

Aug 26, 13 1:37 pm

Here I am again with another question.

Considering my GPA (2.5) and GRE score (301), I want to include some safety schools too where I would be accepted for M.Arch 2 program.

Does anybody have any suggestions for me? Please.... 

Sep 2, 13 9:54 am

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: