Rice versus SCi-arc versus Michigan



I had applied for the Masters of Architecture program (M-Arch II) and got through to Rice University, University of Michigan and SCi-arc. As you might already know, all three colleges are really good, with good faculty and each has its own orientation. It would be really helpful if you could give me some insights about these colleges, it will help me make my decision. Also, i wanted to know about the work and research opportunities post the Masters' program.


Mar 28, 14 2:40 am

I'm also accepted into Michigan and SCI Arc, but their M.Arch 1 programs. Michigan gave me a sizable financial aid package, so money is a factor for me. Still waiting for SCI Arc's financial aid. I'm at Michigan's accepted student weekend-- their facilities are amazing and the school has lots of money in fellowship opportunities. I can't speak for Rice, but I know SCI Arc and Michigan both have a heavy focus on construction/ material fabrication methods... and each school's faculty is outstanding. SCI Arc seems to me to be almost excessively experimental. Not to say experimentation is an important part of the profession -- pushing boundaries of design to their limits -- but it doesn't appeal to me so much. 

I'm also having a hard time deciding though... Ann Arbor seems like a better fit for me over LA, but the Michigan campus is HUGE. I'd be interested to see what others have to say. 

Mar 28, 14 5:33 pm

Is Rice free?

Mar 28, 14 6:02 pm

I would go to Michigan for following reasons;

It is also experimental (well, no to that level as sci-arc tho).

It is a part of big university system so you could take some additional classes not necessarily related to architecture - aerospace engineering for  example.

Their grads are respected in any big cities.

Only reason, which is more personal, is that it is a cold place.

Mar 29, 14 11:23 am

I graduated from Michigan last year. Any specific questions?

@ Design//\\build, it sounds like you want to go to Michigan... just do it! I would point out that you shouldn’t really expect to get much if any money beyond the initial scholarship. They tend to frontload the scholarships to get people in the door. There are student instructor positions that cover the cost of tuition, but the odds of getting one are not very high.

The campus never really seemed that big to me, then again I only ever had classes in one building…

@ _learner, what kind of opportunities are you interested in? Things related to the school? Job prospects? Connection based positions?

Mar 29, 14 11:49 pm
It all depends what you want to do within architecture or what your vision for your career path is. I graduated from Sci-arc and it's the best decision I could have made. But that may not be the case for you. You should identify your interests within the discipline and choose based on that.
Mar 30, 14 12:56 am

Thanks a lot for the responses/ insights. I didn't get any financial aid/ scholarship offers from Michigan and Sci-arc, but got a job as a RA and half the tuition fees waved from Rice.

As you have mentioned, each school has its different orientation. My choice is between Rice and Sci-arc. Though Michigan is a good school, the location of the former two within an urban context might lead to more internship opportunities and the kind of urban- 'city' exposure would be interesting, as a majority of our studio contexts are pertained to such sites. 

Another incentive at Rice is the intake number, which is around 20-25 as compared to the other two which take in about 60-80 students. I am assuming that each student is given a lot of individual attention, since the school is small, intimate and intense. 

Lastly, Sci-arc is very radical, experimental in nature - but it might be limited to the studio. Rice is much more holistic in the sense that the studios are both rooted in theory and practical approaches; an emphasis on the 'making'.

Of course, i am obviously hinting towards Rice, but i would like to know opinion. 

Apr 1, 14 7:15 am


Apr 1, 14 9:32 am
C. Watts

If Rice is giving you money I say go there. 

Apr 1, 14 9:38 am

Ditto. Follow the money. Ultimately, each school is what you make of it/ bring to it. 

Apr 1, 14 9:45 pm

Regardless of the money issue, Rice is still the best school on that list. You are right in that Rice's small class number gives it a huge advantage in regards to attention/resources directed to each student. This advantage is carried out through small class sizes, RA positions where you can work closely with a professor, the ability to form tight bonds with your classmates, and a stellar thesis program through which you can really develop your own unique interests through the lens of architecture. In addition, many travel grants are given out each summer and the smaller student body means that  your chances of obtaining one are pretty good.

Apr 1, 14 11:30 pm

Its funny how you say the best school on that list because there is no best school point. 

In my opinion there is only a school that best fits your interests and location.   Find out where you want to work after because you may find job opportunities, internships and still be able keep your current living arrangements.  

In addition, look into specific faculty who's interests meet yours. I think this is one the most important points in deciding a school. 

Good luck 

Apr 2, 14 11:08 am


Yes, that is my opinion but opinions could provide insight as much as objective reasoning. Unless you truly know what you want to do and have been planning it your whole life, it is hard to predict the school that is the best "fit" based purely upon interests and location, because such things shift while in grad school and it is necessary to keep an open mind. The qualities I was describing about Rice have more to do with developing one's own potential while still in school rather than predetermining what that could be.

Apr 2, 14 11:55 am

Right on nice opinion , I was referring @ -learner who already has a degree in architecture and probably has a better sense of what he or she wants in a program as compared to a non arch background. They only have 2 yrs to focus on what he or she wants to do as where non arch backgrounds have more time to figure who they are as a student and understand the culture.  But I completely understand how people change their mind in grad school . 

Apr 3, 14 11:16 am

Hi guys 

Thanks a lot! @Bwatson and mini_clips, both of your comments are helpful. The financial offer and location are additional incentives. Like you have mentioned it is important for me to choose a school based on their orientation, pedagogy, outlook and faculty, etc. (more points could be added) that synchronise with me, and my 'architecture' path.  After careful study of all these colleges, i believe Rice is the place for me. 

Apr 6, 14 11:41 pm

Rice all the way. LA is much more interesting than Houston, but the faculty, financial aid and name make up for everything.

Apr 7, 14 12:24 am

Block this user

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

  • ×Search in: