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Transferring to architecture school without art experience/portfolio

wannabearchitectwannabearchitect 0 replies1 threads New Member
I'm a sophomore majoring in Civil engineering and I'm kind of regretting going into it. I've always been artistic but I never cared to develop my skills any further in High school. I've now come to the conclusion that i would actually enjoy architecture more.
I'm now in the process of applying to out of state schools to major in architecture. What are some schools that don't require portfolios to transfer?
Or should I just stick with civil and get a MArch afterward?
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Replies to: Transferring to architecture school without art experience/portfolio

  • momrathmomrath 5986 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @wannabearchitect, There are quite a few BArch schools that don't require portfolios for first year applicants, but most do require portfolios for transfer students.

    Equally important to note is that BArch design studios tend to be sequential starting from first year. Transferring into a BArch after two years in engineering may require that you repeat at least a year, maybe two, of the five year BArch.

    If you want to make a move immediately, I'd suggest you look at a few BA or BS architecture programs, most of which don't require portfolios. It's very difficult to predict whether you'd be able to finish a BA/BS in architecture in an additional two years, but the chances of doing so would be greater than trying to transfer into a BArch program.

    With a BA/BS in architecture you'd still need to get an MArch, but at least you could cover the art studio, art history prerequisites before applying.

    The option of continuing with your engineering degree, then applying for the MArch could also work as long as you find a way to take at least two each art studio and art history courses. Attending a summer career exploration program in architecture is also a good way to build a portfolio.

    With an engineering degree, you may be able to get advanced placement credit for some aspects of the MArch. I would caution you that although all MArch programs cover the same core curriculum, each has its own "rules" for advanced placement, so time it would take to complete an MArch is also difficult to predict.

    When you analyze the different options, be sure to consider the financial aspect. Grants are available to MArch students, but they are usually not need based and the amounts are (you guessed it) difficult to predict.

    Bottom line, there are lots of variables. You should choose a few BArch and a few BS/BA programs that appeal to you and contact the schools directly with your questions. I think you'll find them willing to help.
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  • bgbg4usbgbg4us 1369 replies44 threads Senior Member
    hi there -
    along with the good thoughts above, here's what we've experienced. My kid studied architecture and transferred after 1.5 years to a non-competitive state school. She lost one full year in the process, because the two schools teach differently.

    They let my daughter in at semester into the program, but that was after analyzing all syllabi from her previous courses, and she started as 2nd semester freshman although she was a sophomore. I'm afraid you'd be starting from square one if you wanted a BS in the program without studio classes.

    You could transfer to a school that offers architecture as a BS/BA without a portfolio; but you'd probably start in the very beginning class of the first year program where they have their beginning design studios. To me, that'd be the big question: do you want to start over again and add extra time on to your degree? And something else to consider: do schools let first year arch students start their programs at semester? It'd have to be a big department to have the ability.

    If your school now has an architecture program, go over and look at the studios and projects; mull around and see what you like. Also, you can learn about what it takes to get a masters in architecture after you were to finish a civil degree (or any degree).. That'd be about 3 years; the first year of a masters would be an intensive year with studio and art classes mostly. LOTS of people go into a masters program in architecture with a BA/BS in other areas.

    transferring to a school with a BArch might be the way to go; I'm guessing you'd have to start at the beginning though; and that would be 5 years. :( And once again, I'm not sure many start mid-year at second semester.

    no easy answers here. BUT the good news is that what you have learned so far in civil will be a big help in your knowledge base if you were to pursue architecture.

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