Graduate Programs (Yale/Columbia/Cornell/MIT)


Hi All,

I am currently in the process of selecting a grad school to attend this fall. Miraculously I've been accepted for the M.Arch 1 program at Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and MIT, and am having a difficult time making a decision between these finalists. Still waiting to hear back on financial assistance, but in the mean time do any of you - maybe past students, current students, or prospective students - have any insight you might be able to offer on one or more of these schools? What was it like to live there, what did you like about the program, what did you dislike, etc. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated! I just wanted to get some insiders' opinions on these schools. 



Mar 17, 14 11:25 pm

What amount of aid has each program offered?  Also, did you get into GSD?  I know that, among M.Arch cross-admits, Yale will "match" GSD's aid packages.

Mar 17, 14 11:39 pm


Still waiting to hear back! And unfortunately no, didn't make the cut for GSD. But that is helpful to know!

Mar 17, 14 11:45 pm

Wait on the aid and then post when you know.  It's a pretty crucial factor.  At the end of the day, your experiences at each institution will differ but I think that they will open the same doors if you make the most of your experience at any of these institutions.

These are all great, but very different programs-- Yale at one end of the spectrum with its focus on a "classical" education with a focus on traditional architectural drawing and the Building program, GSAPP on the other end with its focus on digital work.  MIT seems like an intimate, awesome program although I know of a few people who hated it.  They have Media Lab alongside them which I've heard does interesting work.  Cornell is also a smaller, but from what I can tell, very strong albeit younger M.Arch I program.  Try to visit all of them and keep an open mind until you have aid packages on the table.  

And do not be afraid to negotiate price!  This is your life and your future.  Use your aid packages to leverage more aid from each program (but realize that Yale will be less willing to budge if you use your Cornell offer as leverage, and so on and so forth).  Avoid paralyzing debt.

Good luck!

Mar 17, 14 11:57 pm

Would kill for one of those schools.

Mar 18, 14 12:29 am
C. Watts

Will you be visiting the schools?  

Mar 18, 14 9:52 am

I am in a similar situation! Does anyone know if Yale or GSD will match aid from MIT? I got a full ride at aid info yet from Yale and got none from GSD as far as I know (this is merit aid not need based). Any insight into the specifics of how to leverage would be very helpful ie: do i call up the dean of these programs? and when? before/after open house?? 

I am interested in environmental design, so am leaning towards yale bc i also got into the joint degree with the school of forestry and environmental studies, but feel like I could pursue environmental design more easily within the arc school alone at MIT or GSD. any insights would be really helpful!

Mar 18, 14 11:21 am

Go to MIT if it's free.  I would contact Yale and GSD admissions and explain the situation, that you're eager to attend the institutions, that finances are a major consideration and that you're leaning toward MIT for that reason, and see whether they'll match.  The worst they can say is no.  In the end, free is free, and an MIT degree ain't too shabby.

Mar 18, 14 11:52 am

Thanks everyone! I am making visits soon. I am especially curious about MIT... Can't find much information on the program in the forums.

Mar 18, 14 12:18 pm

I second SeriousQuestion, go to MIT. Although I am no expert on American Schools I heard many good things about that particular school. 

I do know this much, there are three types of ppl that go to Ivy schools. People that pay nothing, ppl that pay half and ppl that pay full. When you apply to jobs make sure to put on your CV the full scholarship. It is known in academia about the three types and even if you do go a more reputable school such as GSD with no scholarship it actually will look worse than getting a full ride at MIT. 

Mar 18, 14 5:14 pm

Visit both schools, trust your intuition, and go with the one you feel best suits you.


There's a reason both schools are prestigious and very different. The studio cultures are worlds apart as is the curriculum. To base a choice on prestige is a bit shallow. In the case of MIT's merit based scholarship, it will change come the second year when non architecture background students also qualify.  

Mar 18, 14 5:55 pm


That is totally false.

Mar 18, 14 6:23 pm



Mar 18, 14 6:31 pm

@spqr- me too I hope I am wrong....however heard that from two very reputable sources.

Mar 18, 14 6:43 pm


Wonder where you get that info from. I rarely saw ppl who mention their scholarship unless if it is fellowship, award and/or dean's list. 

As far as I know, I also never saw such HR person cares about how much money the candidate had earned from the school.

Mar 18, 14 7:03 pm

Is anyone else considering Yale vs. Columbia, from a curriculum standpoint? Is it true that Yale is much more traditional?

Mar 18, 14 9:21 pm
C. Watts

A girl from my undergrad is there right now and she does a lot of grasshopper scripting / physical models / digital work and beautiful drawings.  Maybe some aspects of the program are more "traditional", but the work I've seen coming from the school looks great.  What does "traditional" even mean.  They do physical models by hand and 3D printing as well. 

Mar 18, 14 9:29 pm

You should check out Columbia's visual studies part of the curriculum and more  from their downloadable app.

I think they offer a plethora of courses that suits the digital age in architecture. 

Mar 18, 14 9:41 pm

with respect to the "traditional" aspects of yale -- i should have been more specific.  i meant the first-year curriculum.  obviously you can do scripting, they have a good fabrication lab, etc.  but they are big on drawing and building in the first year.

Mar 19, 14 9:28 am

@gambler, I'm deciding between Columbia and MIT. I've basically already chosen MIT, but the only concern I have about that program is that I've heard it is socially very quiet and introverted. I want to feel like my studio mates and I are in it together! Does anyone have any insight on this?

Mar 20, 14 12:56 am


I visited MIT and the program is quite small... around 25 students! I'm not sure what the class size for Columbia is. 

Mar 20, 14 10:28 pm


   It only matters when applying for post graduation fellowships and academic type appointments. Weather or not you got a full ride when applying to OMA most likely won't matter.


Mar 20, 14 10:39 pm


   ...heard this info from a previous dean and a higher up prof. 

Mar 20, 14 10:40 pm

Anyone got any input on Cornell?

Mar 21, 14 9:18 pm

@the people responding to Archinet

It's an award, why not include it? I wouldn’t stuff it right in with the school, I would (and have) included scholarships under an “awards” section in my resume. I have seen a good number of people do it that way.  I thought it worked pretty well, but I don’t think that it makes one degree superior to another.

I don’t think any of these schools are really “better” than the others, they are just different. Visit them all, check out the facilities, talk to the faculty, see if the work is what interests you, and then try to pick one that makes you a good offer. That’s your best option.  

Mar 21, 14 10:50 pm

Block this user

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

  • ×Search in: