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UIUC's Architectural Studies

idontknowmymajoridontknowmymajor 0 replies1 threads New Member
I'm an incoming senior that's considering majoring in architecture, and I really would like to go to uiuc for several reasons (campus, environment, etc.). But, uiuc only offers architectural studies and not an architecture major. I've been trying to find information about whether or not it's better going to another school and majoring in architecture since I've heard that having a degree in architectural studies doesn't get you hired as much as a degree in architecture. I don't know if this is true or not and it'd be great if someone could clarify that for me. The only thing I do know is that uiuc is the 29th best school in the nation for architecture which is great but they also have a low rates with employment and continuing after graduation.
Would uiuc be a good choice for me if i want to pursue being an architect or would it be better if I look for another school that offers a degree in architecture?
Also, if not, what alternative major would be possible for me if I like math, science, and art (design)? (if engineering, please specify)
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Replies to: UIUC's Architectural Studies

  • momrathmomrath 6017 replies39 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2019

    The University of Illinois has a School of Architecture at their Urbana-Champaign campus. They DO offer an architecture major, but it is a Bachelor of Science IN architectural studies (BS) not a Bachelor OF architecture (BArch).

    In order to become a LICENSED architect in most states you will need either a BArch or an MArch. UIUC offers a 2.0 year MArch to their BSAS students (though admission may not be guaranteed). BSAS graduates would also have the option to get an MArch at any other School of Architecture.

    The licensing process, which includes exams and work experience, takes about 3.0 years. Plenty of people work in the architecture industry who are not licensed architects; however, licensed architects tend to get paid more and have more flexibility.

    I believe Illinois is one of those states that allows you to become licensed with a BS + work experience; however the BArch or MArch route is better as you may want to practice in other states. The NAAB website can give you details.

    Since you're not 100% sold on architecture as a career or major, the BS+MArch route is a good idea. And it is also quite common for graduates with BA or BS degrees in architecture (or any other field) to work in architecture for a few years before heading back to architecture school for an MArch. Today, this is the most common progression.

    I would like to stress that it's possible to get admitted to a good MArch programs with an undergraduate degree in just about anything, related to architecture or not, as long as you fulfill the admission requirements which usually include some studio art, art history, physics and calculus plus an art/design portfolio.

    With a BA/BS in architecture or architectural studies the MArch usually takes 2.0 years (though some are shorter and some are longer). With a BA/BS in anything else the MArch may take anywhere from 2.0 to 3.5 years. It really depends on both the undergraduate degree and the graduate program's requirements.

    The upsides of the BS+MArch is that it allows you more time to experiment with other disciplines during your undergraduate years. Many architects working at well known firms will hold MArchs, even if they already have BArch.
    The downside of the BS+MArch is that it takes longer than the BArch and may cost more. Look at MArch funding carefully! Grants are available, but they may not cover a majority of the cost.

    The upside of the BArch is that it's professional degree, meaning that with this degree you can begin the licensing process. The downside is that the 5.0 year program is intensively and narrowly focused on architecture, so you should be sure that it's the right career choice for you. The drop out rate is high.

    UIUC School of Architecture's website is very informative, including information on career placement. Reach out to them with your questions. I'm sure they'll be helpful. Try to their Architecture Career/Firm open house which they offer in the fall.

    For comparison you might want to research a few BArch programs as well. In Illinois this would be IIT, but there are several other BArch programs in midwestern states at universities more like UIUC. E.g. Notre Dame, Iowa State. Kansas State and Kansas University both offer undergraduate MArchs, which are hard to explain, but are more or less an expanded BArch with a better title.
    edited June 2019
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