Is it worth to study for a 5 year BA Architecture (NAAB accredited degree)?

Bilal Ozdemir


I'm currently a college student that will transfer to NAAB accredited architecture school within 2 years hopefully, but planning for my career in the future, I have made my mind up to become a licensed architect in another country (my country--Turkey). I am curios whether the 5 year BA Arc degree is a basic undergraduate degree for foreign students  or is it just a step to become registered architect in U.S going through the IDP process and the ARE exams. I have searched that mostly countries like UK, Norway, Australia etc. architecture is 5 year degree being a 3+2 year master degree in order to become license. However, in my country architecture is a 4 year degree and you can become a licensed architect. I think that if I'm going to become registered in an another country why should I go through the U.S requirements, going to for an extra year. I'm basically asking if there is an architecture degree that will be enough to get me registered somewhere else, like a 4 year architecture degree. Or is this, BA Arch 5 year degree the only way to get an architecture degree in U.S. I know it's confusing a lot but I will be glad if anyone can help me out or give me any ideas. Thank you!! 

Nov 16, 13 1:26 am

There are pre-professional degrees that take 4 years (BA's BS's, etc) But you should check with your country what the requirements are to be licenced, ie: what exact requirements your education has to fulfil, (because I doubt a 4 year pre-professional program will fulfil everything), then compare it to the program curriculum. Also, just straight out ask whatever organisation it is that licences architects in your country if a specific program fulfils their requirements.

Nov 16, 13 9:30 am

If you want to become a registered architect in the US you need to finish the 5 year BArch program. There are 4 year programs in the US such as Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology or Bachelor of Arts etc. If you will definitely practice in Turkey then you can get one of those 4 year degrees. However, I want to mention that 5 year programs are more design intensive and in Turkey employers care more about your design skills than your construction drawings, it is the opposite in the US. If you know how a building goes together that will give you an advantage in the US but in Turkey you will have to woo the employers with superb 3D rendering skills, bkz: göz boyama.

I also want to say that your foreign degree probably won't impress employers in Turkey. I got my degree in the US and when I went back to Turkey it almost felt like a disadvantage. Why? Because the works I made felt foreign to Turkish employers, some of them mentioned how being used to the US imperial units would cause a problem for me! Also a lot of employers like hiring people from certain universities because they themselves graduated from those schools. If you study in the US you'll have no Turkish network. You'll have no access to alumni. You'll see things like "only apply if you're from ITU". If you're going to work in Turkey you really don't have to study abroad. Of course this depends on the field but in architecture, sometimes getting a foreign degree makes the matters worse.

Nov 18, 13 9:53 am

I love these questions... is it worth doing this or that... 

It boils down to two things: 1) personal will and 2) practicality

By personal will, I mean that you have to do your own reading in terms of why someone would want to get a 5 year B.Arch in the first place... which also then relates to Practicality in terms of weather or not the licensing process is the same in Turkey as the United States... 

I think that if your long term goal is to work within Europe or Turkey, get a degree that allows you to get a license via RIBA... RIBA is recognized in most (if not all) European countries and in Asia as well... That being said, transfer to a European School... the licensing process is faster as well. You get a license right out of school after completing a Master's Program. 

Nov 18, 13 10:36 am

There is a lot to consider when thinking about becoming an Architect.  Not only the education, but afterwards when you are an intern and then a licensed Architect.  The profession is very demanding and we are very underpaid.

Here is a book that was written by an Architect and would be very good reading for you before you make a decision:

Good Luck in your decision.

Nov 19, 13 4:39 pm

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