Get Accepted Into Architecture School

architecture at Webster University

Guest Post by Luke Glasscock

If you have a student that is interested in architecture school, there are a few important things you will need to know before beginning your college search. 1.  Understand the degree categories.  There are three categories that architecture degrees fall under: Pre-Professional, Professional, and Post-Professional. Pre-professional architecture degrees are four-year undergraduate programs that are taken prior to a Professional degree.  Many Universities offer the four-year architecture program in conjunction with a two-year professional graduate architecture program (this is often referred to as the 4 +2 option).  While many students do pursue a Pre-professional architecture degree before moving on to a Professional degree, it is not necessary in order to obtain your architecture license in the future (in fact, many students discover that it is unnecessary once they are in the program).  These degrees are usually defined as Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in some form of architectural study. Professional architecture degrees are programs that are approved by the North American Architectural Board (NAAB).  Professional degrees are required by most of the States throughout the U.S. in order to obtain an architecture license.  The good thing is that there are programs available at the undergraduate level.   At the undergraduate level, a professional degree usually takes five years to complete.  At the graduate level, with no prior architecture experience, the degree usually takes three years.  As was stated earlier, the professional graduate degree takes two years with a pre-professional architecture degree.  The NAAB recognized professional architecture programs as: Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch), Master of Architecture (M. Arch), or Doctor of Architecture (D. Arch).  These are the only options for the professional program; if the school shows a different program (M.S. of Architecture, etc.) then it is not NAAB-approved. Post-professional architecture degrees are programs that are offered after a professional degree has been earned.  They are offered only at the graduate level, and they usually focus on a specific sub-category of architecture: sustainable design, urban, commercial, etc.  These are not necessary for earning an architecture license, but may be helpful for upper-level promotions or if pursuing a career in teaching.  These are usually identified as Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Science (M.S.), or Ph.D. in some form of architectural studies.   2.  Know the application requirements.  While most schools will have similar application requirements, it is important to research the specifics of each one as early as possible.  Most architecture departments release the following year’s application requirements at the beginning of each school year.  These often have minor changes between each school year, but the previous year’s requirements can be used as a guide.  Remember that most schools will require an application to the University, as well as the actual architecture department.   3.  Match the student to the school.  Many times, people will want to apply to the school that is currently listed as the number one architectural school in America.  While there is nothing wrong with pursuing a highly rated school, I would argue that a student should attend a school that is going to bring out the best in him/her.  Creativity is one of the key factors in architecture school.  If a student attends a school in Seattle, WA, but gets severely depressed when it rains, this may not be the best option.  If a student draws inspiration from the urban environment, he/she may want to attend a university that is in the city or that has an urban design focus.  School ratings change every year (and sometimes drastically).  Inspiration is what should be sought out when looking for a university.   Luke Glasscock is the author of Get Accepted Into Architecture School and founder of My School of Architecture (informational website).  He attended the University of Oregon’s NAAB-approved Professional Architecture Program.]]>

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