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For Architecture: Virginia Tech vs Texas A&M vs Auburn?

parentinaustinparentinaustin Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
edited March 1 in Architecture Major
My son has been accepted to the Undergraduate Architecture Programs on some great schools and is trying to make a decision where to attend. Here are the schools and costs including room & board after scholarship money:
- Virginia Tech (ranked 4th to 8th on different lists) / Cost per year: $44K
- Auburn (ranked 11th to 13th) / Cost per year: $32K
- Texas A&M (unranked) / Cost per year: $24K

He is trying to gauge the true value of the higher ranking/reputation vs lower cost. Any advice and insight will be super valuable; thanks in advance!

Replies to: For Architecture: Virginia Tech vs Texas A&M vs Auburn?

  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,993 Senior Member
    I don’t know. Tbh. But thank you for a direct and accurate post and headline.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,728 Senior Member
    edited March 1
    Are you looking for 5-year NAAB-accredited BArch programs?

    If so, check at https://www.naab.org/architecture-programs/school-search/ .

    After a non-NAAB-accredited BA/BS, he would need to do an MArch, though some schools offer a shorter MArch program for those whose BA/BS was in an architecture-related major.
  • parentinaustinparentinaustin Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    edited March 1
    Virginia Tech and Auburn are 5-year accredited programs that result in a license. Texas A&M is a 4+2 Masters program (you are not licensed at the end of the bachelors portion, you are licensed until you complete the masters).
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,728 Senior Member
    edited March 1
    Is the MArch part of the Texas A&M similar cost per year as the BA/BS part?

    If there are scholarships, do they cover the fifth year for BArch students?

    Try to figure out the total cost until the first professional degree (BArch or MArch) at each. Of course, be aware that Texas A&M requires more time, even if it does not require more money.
  • parentinaustinparentinaustin Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Great questions. The MArch cost at Texas A&M is roughly the same (less than $1K additional per year). Yes, the scholarships he has received so far are included in the numbers above (he may get others but don't know yet).

    So, the costs to get the architecture degree and license would be:
    - Virginia Tech: $220K (BArch in 5 years)
    - Auburn: $160K (BArch in 5 years)
    - Texas A&M: $146K (MArch in 6 years)
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,728 Senior Member
    Yes, the scholarships he has received so far are included in the numbers above

    But do they cover the fifth year of a BArch program, and how high is the college GPA needed to renew them in following years?

    If they do cover the fifth year, then it looks like the obvious tradeoff between Auburn and Texas A&M is that the latter is $14k less expensive, but requires an extra year.

    Also, is it correct that none will require loans beyond the federal direct loans ($5.5k first year, $6.5k second year, $7.5k later years of undergraduate)?
  • parentinaustinparentinaustin Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    edited March 1
    He has only received scholarships offers from one of the schools (Auburn) and it will cover the the 5th year as long as he keeps a 2.0 GPA (fairly doable). The main questions are:
    1. Is Virginia Tech recognition for being a perennial top 5-10 ranked architecture program worth the additional $74K in total vs. a non-ranked program like Texas A&M?
    2. Will he be able to get a better paying job that will allow him to recover the difference over the first 5 years post graduation?
    3. Is Auburn worth the additional $14K?
  • momrathmomrath Registered User Posts: 5,976 Senior Member
    @parentinaustin, The BArch programs of both Virginia Tech and Auburn are highly rated by Design Intelligence and highly respected among architecture firms throughout the country. Career success after graduation is closely aligned with the kinds of internships held and the contacts made during school. I believe that both schools are about equal in job placement though where your son plans to live after graduation and what type of firms he is attracted to will be factors.

    Whether VT is worth an additional $74K depends on your family financial situation and your son's reaction to the environment of both schools of architecture. Entry level architecture jobs vary by location, but repaying $74K will take a significant chunk of a young architect's salary. Also, it's become increasingly common for architects to hold MArch degrees, even though they already have BArchs, and MArchs are expensive.

    In comparing VT and Auburn to A&M, I think you also have to compare the experience of the BArch versus the BED+MArch. Neither, is better, but they are different. DI doesn't rank BA,BS or BED programs, but you should be able to find A&M's MArch ranking.

    In evaluating all three you'll want to look at the profiles of the professors and visiting lecturers, internship and job placement for students, study abroad opportunities, thesis and summer session requirements, and possible joint-degree programs. The core curriculums for BArch and MArch programs are more or less the same at each school, but the focus and culture of each individual school will vary.

    Lastly, I would note that having a BArch or MArch is just the first step in the licensing process. After that, there are exams and work requirements that are pursued while employed by a sponsor. The process commonly takes another 3 to 5 years of employment before becoming a licensed architect.
  • parentinaustinparentinaustin Registered User Posts: 18 Junior Member
    Thank you @momrath for the detailed comments and insights. These are very helpful.
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