<p>I am currently a first year at Barnard planning on majoring in architecture, and last year when I was trying to choose a college I found myself in a very similar situation to you. I was also trying to choose between Barnard and a 5-year professional degree program (Cornell). I ultimately chose to go to Barnard because I wanted a more well-rounded education, whereas at Cornell I would have only been able to take about 25 percent non-architecture classes.</p>
<p>I would say that Barnard's architecture is fairly prestigious for a non-professional degree from a liberal arts college. They have a record of consistently getting students into top architecture graduate schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Columbia.</p>
<p>Barnard strongly discourages first-year students from taking architecture studio classes, but this semester I managed to wiggle my way into one, and it has been intense enough to ease any regrets I may have had about having not attended Cornell. If you attend Barnard, make sure you take your studio class with Madeline Schwartzman -- she is considerably more intense that the other studio professors. The entry level studios are very conceptual and theory-based. They get slightly more practical in later years (meaning that you get to design buildings), but the theoretical side of architecture is still a strong emphasis.</p>
<p>The program has its various benefits. They give you a good bit of personal attention ... my first year academic advisor (Karen Fairbanks) is also the head of the architecture department. In later years you have the ability to sometimes take courses from Columbia's GSAPP graduate architecture school, where they have world-class professors such as Kenneth Frampton. You also have the ability to attend some of GSAPP's architecture-related events. So far this year I managed to get into a lecture with Zaha Hadid (and even ask her a question). There was also a Rem Koolhaas lecture that I didn't get into because I arrived too late and it was full, but as I was leaving I saw Koolhaas walk past about 3 feet away from me, which was kind of exciting for an architecture nerd.</p>
<p>There are some downsides. I will say that among the other students in my entry-level studio, I am somewhat disappointed with their lack of enthusiasm for history and theory, and you would be able to find more people who are more committed to architecture earlier on at Pratt. That problem seems to go away after Junior or Senior year ... all the upper class architecture students who I have talked to have been more well informed.</p>
<p>To sum it up, the program is a case where you get out of it what you put in to it, but I think it's possible to have a good architecture education there if you reach out. You need to independently and aggressively seek opportunities.</p>
<p>If you want to know more, I would suggest that you try and contact the department. If you call, you'll probably get Raleigh on the phone ... she's very nice and can point you towards lots more information.
The website is at: <a href="http://www.columbia.edu/cu/archprogram//bca_ctct_frm.html%5B/url%5D">http://www.columbia.edu/cu/archprogram//bca_ctct_frm.html</a></p>