Sunday, October 1, 2017

Computer Science and Architecture

I am currently working on my undergraduate degree in Computer Science.  And I love software development.  But I also have a strong passion for architecture. I have less than two years to go before I complete my degree, so I do not think it will be wise for me to switch majors now (this late in the game), especially if switching to a career much less stable than the tech field. 

But I also do not want to spend the rest of my life wondering if I would have enjoyed a successful career as an architect. The only solution I can come up with at this point is to complete my undergrad in computer science and then pursue a Master of Architecture degree.  But I feel like this will leave me with a lack of focus in either fields and I will just end up somewhere in the middle. 

Any suggestions? 

I would certainly agree that it is not wise to switch majors now.  

Given your interest in both disciplines, your idea of pursuing a Master of Architecture after your CS degree makes sense.  Remember, if you truly wish to be a licensed architecture, you will need to obtain the professional degree in architecture.

But do you wish to be an architect or do you have the passion.  Is there a way to use your CS degree within the discipline of architecture?  Obviously, there are more and more innovation of computer science in architecture.

Who are the companies that develop software for the architecture industry?  Below are just a few.


Also, be in touch with the following association.

ACADIA - Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture

If you have NOT already done so, I would suggest you contact the Career Center on your campus and flush out some ideas.


Dr. Architecture

BArch vs. MArch in Australia?

May I please ask you to advise on my following case?

I possess a bachelor degree in Business from India. Additionally, I pursued MSc Construction Project Management from the U.K. Thankfully, I found a job in U.A.E in a company that deals with fire rated Facade in a project managerial role. Currently, the company has placed me in a project in Saudi Arabia - Highspeed Haramain Railway project. I have gathered 1.5 years of work experience in the facade field. 

Since I have an obsession for design, I am desiring to do an architecture degree in Australia. The question is if I should choose a Bachelor degree in Arch. or directly a Master's in Arch. The intention is also to gain PR status in Australia so that I can gain the license. 

Although, your advise has been in North America, I'd imagine with your extensive knowledge and passion, you could show me a pathway.

Thanks for reaching out.

But as you point out, my knowledge base is on becoming an architect in the U.S. not Australia.  I truly do not know the answer you are asking for programs in Australia.  To that end, I would suggest you contact the architecture programs directly and inquire as to whether you should apply to the BArch or the MArch.

I will state that architecture programs in the U.S. would welcome you to apply directly to a Master of Architecture degree with your previous education.  Of course, the duration of the program for you would be 3-4 years.

I am sorry that I am not able to answer your question directly.


Dr. Architecture

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Biology to Architecture - Graduate Portfolio

I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm finding a lot of your comments very helpful as I try to apply to M.Arch programs. I thought I'd email you to gain some more insight on this process. My biggest concern is what exactly graduate programs are looking for in a portfolio. 

I do not have an architecture background but i did take an Intro to Architecture course this summer which gave me two projects I'm proud of but I know I need more. I'm looking into taking additional  classes before the deadlines but what would help boost my portfolio? Is it a basic drawing class? Should I try to find some computer graphic courses? My background is in biology and I am so hopelessly lost in this application process, any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks for being an ARCHCareers fan.  You are the reason I do the blog; I am more than willing to address your questions below and future questions.

Also, I suggest you obtain the following

Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 3rd Edition

First, congrats on your desire to pursue architecture.  I think you will find it extremely rewarding.

The best source to determine what graduate programs are looking for in a portfolio is to contact them directly.  I would suggest contacting them by phone to learn firsthand on how they make decisions and how the portfolio is used.  Below is probably the best website for a list of the programs.

Below are the portfolio requirements for a particular graduate program for their 3+ MArch; for applicants with an undergraduate program other than architecture, you do NOT need to submit architecture.  Instead, you submit work that is creative (see below).

I would NOT do a computer graphics course -- freehand drawing would be more helpful.

Portfolio Requirements:
A portfolio of student, extracurricular, and professional work is required of all applicants to the MARCH 2+ program. This portfolio should demonstrate the applicant’s creative abilities, skill level and talent in graphic communications. Applicants should include items demonstrating a latent interest in architecture. Submissions may include undergraduate or extracurricular design or drawing studio work, sketches, photos of architectural models, and digital models and drawings demonstrating abilities in architectural representation, drawing and sketching as well as the applicant’s abilities to use such graphic and design programs as Photoshop, In-Design, Illustrator, Sketchup, Sketchbook Pro, and Rhino.  Portfolio content should meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Show at least eight [8] different items completed as a student or in extracurricular or personal study.
  • Demonstrate an applicant’s ability in graphic analysis, conceptualization, and development as well as and final products for each included item. A short narrative must accompany each entry.
  • Illustrate abilities in two- and three-dimensional thinking
  • Demonstrate attention to detail as appropriate for the item included
To receive full consideration, any professional work should include a statement from the employer indicating the extent of the work performed by the applicant. All examples of work should state whether the project was completed individually or by a group. For projects completed by a group, the applicant must include a statement outlining the number of group members and the applicant’s responsibilities as part of the group.
If you are near any of these cities, you can visit schools directly.

College Fairs - Fall 2017 - Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York

Finally, I am more than willing to create a email exchange or even set up a phone call it that helps.

Keep in touch and best.

Dr. Architecture

Monday, September 4, 2017

Civil engineering to Architecture

I am a Civil Engineering student currently studying in India. Upon my completion of my undergraduate degree, I wanted to do my masters in Architecture. I wanted to inquire if Universities in South Korea or Singapore offer Master in Architecture programs to students without a bachelor in Architecture.

I needed some advice on this, if this is the right move for me to follow to get a job in the States and if this change in profession will effect my career in any way.

Thank you for your time.
First, please understand that my expertise is on becoming an architect in the U.S.

To determine if the universities you list allow students to enter their graduate programs without a bachelor of architecture, I would suggest you contact them directly.

Many institutions in the U.S. would allow you to enter their master of architecture with your civil engineering degree but it would take between 3-4 years to complete.

If your longer term goal is to pursue a position in the U.S., you may wish to consider attending your graduate studies in the U.S.

The above listed website is a great resource to learn about architecture programs in the U.S.

Dr. Architecture

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Too late to become an architect

I hope you find time to respond to my question on pursuing this career. I have been working as an Energy Advisor for close to 10 years now since this is what I studied in university up to Graduate level.
I have had this passion for Architecture for years but this was suppressed early on since I was required to study and excel in a science career. I realize that I must change career and pursue my dream. I'm now 41 . Is it too late to pursue my career? I'm Kenyan living in Kenya but wish to pursue the program in a school in the US. At this age will I have the stamina to take the classes and exams? My last question is if I have to start at entry level after studies. My plan would be to get some practical experience in the US then return to Kenya to start a practice.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,


In my opinion, it is NOT too late to study architecture.  Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects in the 20th c. did not become an architect until the age of 39.
You will need to decide if you have the stamina to take the classes and exams. 
Given your previous education, it would take 3-4 years to complete a graduate degree in architecture.  For the U.S., you would need approximately 2-3 years of professional experience before you are eligible to take the A.R.E.  Thus, it would take a minimum of 6-8 years before you were an architect.
Remember, my expertise is in becoming an architect in the U.S., not Kenya.

Dr. Architecture

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Questions on pursuing Master of Architecture

Hello sir , I am from India. I have read your suggestions  in architecture  career thought to contact you personally to learn  more. I have  completed my bachelor of engineering (chemical engineering) in India in 2012. Now I am 27. I want to pursue master of architecture because I would like to learn and I want to make my career in this.  Can you please tell me what is the  process to get an admission in the school? Will I be a licensed architect after completing Master program? What is portfolio designing? I have no basics in architecture. Will that become a problem?

Thanks for contacting me and your question.
First, I must share that my expertise is in the process of becoming an architect in the U.S. 
To learn the process of admission, I will suggest you review the websites of graduate programs in architecture and consider contacting them directly for more details.
A great website to review graduate programs in the U.S. and Canada is --
In its simplest terms, you will need to submit the following (may vary by program).
Statement of Purpose
Three letters of recommendation
GRE (if required)
TOEFL (for international applicants)
In the U.S. the licensure of architects is maintained by the individuals states/jurisdictions; for most states, an individual seeking licensure must meet the requirements of 1) education, 2) experience (AXP), and 3) examination (ARE).  Thus, you are NOT a licensed architect upon completion of your graduate program.
As for portfolio design, again, contact the graduate programs for insights.  Plus, you may wish to review the following website.
Remember, your portfolio does NOT need to be architecturally focused as your background is NOT in architecture.  It needs to be more about creativity -- artwork.

Dr. Architecture

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Selecting a Program

Thank you so much for your very helpful response! I have been poking around those websites and have been learning a lot. I reached out to UC Berkely to learn more about their program so I am sure it will help clarify some questions in general. 

Just one quick question I'd like your opinion on: Would you recommend focusing on programs through universities or art schools? 

Thanks so much!

Becoming an Architect, Chapter 2 - Education talks about criteria to consider when selecting a program -- they include the following:

Type of School (as you mention)
Institution Size
Public vs. Private
Financial Aid

Academic Structure
Academic Resources
Special Programs
Career Programs
Postgraduate Plans

Thus, do not focus on a single criteria but find the best program for you.

Dr. Architecture

Friday, July 7, 2017

Marketing to Architecture - How to Prepare

I obtained your email from the ARCHCareers Blog. I am currently in the beginning of the research phase for pursuing a Master in Architecture. Like many of the people who wrote on the post, I have a bachelors degree in an unrelated subject (marketing) and would love some insights on what I can do to prepare to apply to programs. 

I have admired the architecture field from a young age--come from a line of developers/designers. I believe I have an innate ability when it comes to architecture and design, but I have never formally explored it. 

Before I further pursue the direction of a career, I'd like to become more knowledgeable. Do you have any recommendations on classes I should take or books I should read that would help prepare me and build my portfolio? I live in San Francisco and have easy access to the city college.

I am looking forward to hearing back to you and discussing further!

Thank you!

Thanks for contacting me with questions on becoming an architect.  First, I would suggest you continue following my blog and obtain the book, Becoming an Architect.

Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 3rd Edition

First, do know that you can apply directly to a Master of Architecture degree program with your undergraduate degree even though it is in an unrelated field.  Typically, these degree will be from 3-4 years.  The two best websites to research potential programs are the following:


Next, to best prepare for applying to these programs is to visit 1-2 of them even if they are ones you do not wish to attend.  The programs will provide you insight on the curriculum and the application process.  For example, you MAY need to take calculus or physics as part of the prerequisites.  As well, you will learn what needs to be in your portfolio -- creative work.  You may consider attending an ART course to develop material for your portfolio or a summer program --

Many are for high school students but some are for YOU.

As a general connection to architecture, you may wish to simply follow some architecture blogs, etc.

If possible, try to connect with an architect in your region; contact the AIA SF chapter for possible referrals.

As always, I would welcome to continue the conversation on your journey.  Let me know if you have more questions.


Dr. Architecture

Monday, June 19, 2017

Industrial Design to Architecture

Hi I am studying industrial design. 

Is it possible for me to take the master degree in architecture? If yes, after taking the master degree in architecture do i become an official architect? Am i going to be able do to everything that an architect can? 

Please inform me, thank you!

Please note that my expertise is in becoming an architect in the U.S.

With your degree in industrial design, you may certainly pursue the NAAB accredited professional Master of Architecture (3-4 years) at any number of U.S. institutions that offer it.  

With the Master of Architecture, you will have completed the education portion of becoming an architect.  You would still need to complete APX - experience and pass the ARE - examination to become an architect per the state / jurisdiction requirements.

I suggest you pursue the following websites for more details on the process of becoming an architect.



Dr. Architecture

Saturday, June 17, 2017

French and English to Architecture

I hope that all is well by you!  I am hoping to pursue a Master of Architecture, though I have little academic experience in the field.  I have a Bachelor of Arts in French and English from Amherst College and a few years of experience in communications, one of which was spearheading the marketing department of a small residential design firm in San Francisco.  
I am wondering, are there any reputable programs you could recommend that are receptive to students pivoting from another kind of career?  I, unfortunately, do not have many college-level math or art classes to my name, though I am happy to enroll in a few this fall if need be. I am most interested in sustainable design and institutional projects.

Any advice you have is much appreciated!
Thanks for reaching out to me.  First, I will suggest you obtain a copy of Becoming an Architect as it will answer this question and others as you become an architect.

Becoming an Architect: A Guide to Careers in Design - 3rd Edition

The two best sources for potential colleges for studying architecture are the following:

NAAB National Architectural Accrediting Board

To become an architect, you will need to accomplish three tasks - 1) education), 2) experience, and 3) examination.  For education, he will need to complete the a professional degree in architecture that is accredited by NAAB.
There are three degrees - 1) Bachelor of Architecture (5 years), 2) Master of Architecture following a pre-professional degree (BS or BA in Architecture) (6 years) and 3) Doctor of Architecture (Univ of Hawaii - 7 years). 
As you have a BA degree, you may pursue the Master of Architecture (a variation of #2) for those that have a degree in another discipline.  I cannot say for certain, but there are at least 50-60 programs -- see either of the websites listed above.  I typically do not recommend programs because there are so many variables, but would be glad to touch base after you have developed a list.
Depending on the program to which you apply, you may need to have calculus as a prerequisite; as well, you may wish to take ART classes to help you develop your portfolio.

Plus, I would be MORE than pleased to answer additional questions as needed.
Also, I would suggest you pursue a summer program -- this summer if possible.  Each year, I compile a list of the programs.
Again, stay in touch.