Grad School suggestions please.



I'm currently in University of Toronto in Canada. I'm majoring in Visual Studies and Art History programs. Visual Studies is basically practicing different fields of arts in practical way, so there are all studio classes. And 2013-2014 season will be my last year of undergraduate study.

After I graduate university, I have a strong desire to study in field of ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN for my future career, so I want to ask whether if I can study in master program of architectural design without having architecture undergraduate background. Or is there other way I can study architecture design without starting over from undergraduate 

Also, I studied German while in school, so it will be appreciated if you guys can suggest schools in Germany, if possible. 

Also, I've been consistently making and studying my portfolio for grad school.

Every suggestions will be grateful and thankful. Please 


Aug 26, 13 12:51 pm

I don't know about Germany, but most US schools that offer MArch degrees have routes for those with undergrad degrees in different fields. Normally the degree is a year or so longer, but it's not as bad as doing the whole four year undergrad.

Aug 27, 13 11:18 am

Ok, so you're in Canada.  Various provinces in Canada offer the M.Arch. to those who studied something else ... anything else.  Because general education requirements have been met, it can be formatted as a graduate degree where architectural courses comprise the entire curriculum and it takes 3 to 3.5 years.

Your very own school, Univ. or Toronto, has that program.  It is also available at UBC.  For some reason, it is not available in Quebec, which is a shame, because McGill is both a great university and a good architecture school and Laval, in Quebec City, looks like a wonderful campus, albeit Francophone.  Anther choice is Calgary.  I'm not sure how and if Dalhousie, Manitoba, and Waterloo do this program.

The M.Arch. 3+ is widely available in the U.S., but why spend the money if you don't have to?  I have no knowledge of German schools.

Your choice of a major is very compatible with the M.Arch. degree and it is wise of you to start thinking about assembling a portfolio at this time.  If accountants, botanists, and chemists can get in and make it through, it sounds like your chances of success would be high.

Aug 27, 13 12:13 pm

Thank you @natematt and @observant!

I'm also researching schools in US and Canada but I have this concern and also looking for chance to use German that I learned (I have great passion to experience Germany). Also US schools are too expensive for my finance to take care :( So this is why I'm so desperate to learn from Germany. I also believe that Germany has great education in a lot of fields that includes architecture. 

Is there any chance if  I can study architecture in Germany?

Aug 27, 13 12:38 pm

Yes, there's a chance.  I suppose you can study anywhere in Europe.  You have to find if they have a program that accommodates a Canadian baccalaureate that's not in architecture, similar to the M.Arch., or back up into their equivalent of a bachelor's degree.  I don't recommend being educated in Germany if you intend to practice in Canada, or if you could get into the U.S. to work.  Why don't you find a school that does a semester exchange with a German or Swiss school of architecture instead?  Just as an example, Cal Poly SLO has a big exchange deal with Copenhagen.  My parents are from Europe, I go over a lot, and there's no way I'd want to be schooled there.  No way.  Live there on a trust fund or retire there?  Yes, but wishful thinking.

Aug 27, 13 2:19 pm

@observant thank you very much for such a help!

Can I ask another question then?

Before having chance to study architecture in Master program, I know that I have to prepare portfolio. Is there anything that I have to learn or know before getting into the program? such as AutoCAD. 

I'm in great concern because I haven't learned anything that is practical in architecture. I've been in studio classes but only in arts, so I'm curious about how should I prepare portfolio.

I once again thank you so much for your interest to person like me who is very new to architecture

Aug 28, 13 12:56 am


I would concentrate on art and design courses which create a tangible product.  You then have to put these into a portfolio which looks well crafted and for which the software has improved.  That software would NOT be AutoCAD.  That is largely a production tool once in an architectural office.  Since you are at Univ. of Toronto, I would contact or visit the a-school, asking to see portfolios for the 3.5 year program.  Sometimes, some are still hanging around.  Ask them what software was employed to produce them.  We have seen some nice ones on here, which commingle the work with text explaining what they've done (sometimes too much text).  Things have changed so rapidly.  My portfolio was done by hand!  I used pencil, ink, pastel, markers, and prismacolor, for example, and then inserted it into a portfolio holder with sleeves.  The text was usually brief, and on a preceding page.  Today, my portfolio would look dated and low-tech.  So, the substance precedes the form here.  Make sure your portfolio pieces are inherently good, and then determine which software package most people with non-architecture backgrounds are using to assemble it by asking.  And if UofT doesn't give you the answers you need, call Waterloo, UBC, and Calgary and ask them, too.  You are bound to get the answer you need.  But I think holding the non-arch portfolios in your hand, or at least seeing them, will give you the best idea. (Don't look at portfolios from 4 year BA/BS Arch. because you are not expected to have that type of portfolio for the longer M.Arch.)

Aug 28, 13 12:19 pm

^ a lot of schools are switching to digital submissions only.

Aug 28, 13 1:28 pm


Right, I know.  The portfolio pieces, in whichever medium, need to be digitized, and those are the portfolios we see here asking for feedback.  However, whether the overall presentation can be bolstered by having text or other effects/backgrounds on the page, rather than being stand-alone, is something more easily accomplished with some software packages, from what I've seen in some of the slick portfolios.  I, too, have NO clue as to what schools are seeing in 3+ year portfolios in terms of content, media, and software.  It has to be all over the board.

I think the digitizing makes it so much less cumbersome for the schools.  I've walked into one to visit and saw the tall stack!

Aug 28, 13 1:47 pm

Hi adamcho,

i would suggest you studying architectural design. I am an architect and I have mastered in Germany. I think Germany has the most international students - lots of internationals while I was mastering architecture; I think Germany has some of the best teachers about Architecture Design. I would recommend you University of Stuttgart; it is not that expensive and it is the best in Germany. Also TUM is good but Stuttgart's is the best, the city makes it perfect to study and I would recommend you stuttgart;

Also, You have to check all the universities before you decide -

I hope I helped you making a decision.

Oct 19, 13 8:45 am

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