Is a portfolio needed to apply to the School of Architecture?

No. Portfolios are not required at the undergraduate level.

Many high schools do not have high-quality graphic education programs in either art or architecture, and therefore using access to such unreliable resources as the basis admission seems to us unfair. Instead, Architecture asks our central admissions office to get us the best academically qualified students, and then the School of Architecture takes the responsibility for training them in our excellent foundation program.

Is the B.S. degree accredited?

No. The accrediting board, NAAB, no longer accredits undergraduate programs. The School of Architecture offers a one-year M.Arch program to its B.S. students. Students who complete this program will receive a NAAB accredited Masters Degree.

Can students study abroad?

Yes, but all School of Architecture students must participate in the Berlin Studio, which happens in the third year. If students wish to have another study abroad experience, they could participate in the University’s Summer Dialogs.

What courses should a student take in his or her senior year to prepare for an academic career in architecture?

The best thing for a student to do in high school before applying to an architecture school is to take courses that encourage synthetic thinking and curiosity. An architectural education is about creative problem solving. Architects today are part of large teams that offer very specific expertise in a given area. But as the leaders and coordinators of those teams, architects are responsible for keeping these vast groups working in the same direction. To that end, courses in creative writing and drawing are every bit as important– if not more so– than courses in math and science.

Does a student have to excel in math and science in order to do well in architecture?

Math and science are important. Quantitative and spatial thinking help students to execute their ideas. But math and science alone are not the essential elements of architecture that they once were. Calculus and Physics are still required at University to study architecture, but critical thinking and creativity are just as important.

What distinguishes different architecture schools from one another?

In the United States, there are really three kinds of architecture schools:

  • Art schools (i.e., RISD, Cooper Union, Cranbrook)
  • Technology schools (i.e., RPI, NJIT, MIT)
  • Design schools (i.e., NU, Cornell, Syracuse, Penn)

Each of these types offers specific advantages:

  • Art schools teach architecture as a fine art, and as such, they often focus on the individual artist. They often teach architecture as a means of “finding one’s own voice.”
  • Technology schools teach architecture so that innovations in systems and materials are emphasized.
  • Design schools offer perhaps a more synthetic approach, focusing less in finding one’s voice, and more on “learning a language” (an approach that presumes that architecture is a conversation that has been going on for a long time, and will continue beyond the time frame of the individual student).