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School of Architecture and Planning

Course IV -- Architecture

Course IV students focus on one of four discipline streams: architectural design, visual arts, building technology, or history, theory, and criticism of art and architecture.

Renee A. Caso, Course IV’s administrator for academic programs, said that “95 percent of students choose architectural design,” with building technology a distant second.

Opportunities for UROPs are limited in Course 4. “There are not a lot, unfortunately,” Caso said, because of the nature of the field. Caso estimates that there are “a handful, maybe five or six, every term, most for credit.”

During IAP, the department runs an architectural internship program for undergraduates who have taken at least one level-one studio course (mostly juniors and seniors). Caso said it’s a “wonderful opportunity -- it’s something the department and career services work together on to find architectural firms in the area.” About ten undergraduates take part in the program each year.

Academic support comes primarily in the form of the teaching assistants who work in the design studios where students spend a lot of their time working outside of class, but still on the premises. The department has a high TA to student ratio, and Caso said that TAs play a major role in working with students.

Brian Wilson ’01 said, “The TAs are always there, usually working in studio themselves.”

Of the faculty, seventeen are tenured, with eleven full professors and six associate professors. Caso said that some professors are “in practice,” meaning that they teach part-time and are also practicing architects.

There are a total of about seventy to seventy-five undergraduates in the program, Caso said. “The department is graduate-driven in a sense,” she said, since there are 250 graduate students in five programs, the Master of Architecture being the most popular. Caso said the MArch program is very competitive and is consistently ranked first or second in the nation.

About fifty percent of undergraduates go on to graduate school. With an SB degree, a graduate can work in architectural fields, though not as an official architect; an architect must have a Master’s degree and a license. Some MIT SB graduates have also gone on to be network specialists for small firms or to find work in the construction field, Caso said, adding that “graduates have a lot of transferrable skills.”

The American Institute of Architecture Students is a student-run organization on campus which is active some years and not others, Caso said. The organization is a national one with chapters in other architectural schools. The department offers money, resources and support for the group, but the initiative lies with the students. --Laura Moulton