BEDS ‑ Years 3 & 4
If you need academic advice on Architecture courses, instructors, regulations, studio arrangements, accommodation, medical extensions, counselling referrals, etc., check with the undergraduate or graduate coordinator. University-level advising is also available from the Bissett Student Success Centre.
Health and Time Management
For all incoming students, the BEDS program includes some familiar subjects and some new subjects. Depending on your background, you will be able to complete some assignments more quickly than others. If most of the class is spending much more time than they should on a particular course (for a three-credit-hour course, an average of nine hours per week, including classes and assignments), ask one of the class reps to speak with the instructor to clarify the expectations.
Health is your #1 priority. Don't be tempted to skip eating or sleeping for the sake of an assignment. Studio life is new and exciting but don't be swayed by what others do. You have options. Develop a healthy routine that includes taking some time off each week. If you find yourself procrastinating and then spending long hours rushing to meet a deadline, you're doing it wrong. Your process portfolio can help you maintain a healthy balance by becoming more aware of your working methods. For additional tips, see Dalhousie's handouts on time management.
Portfolios are records of your design work, research, and abilities. They are prepared and updated periodically throughout your academic and professional career. Assembling a portfolio can help you reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and interests. In the BEDS program, the main portfolio is a "process portfolio." It is a thorough record of your research, analysis, work-in-progress, and finished work for all of your courses in a single term. It complements the small design sketchbook that you carry with you at all times.
- Download the School's guidelines for a physical process portfolio (B1).
- Download the School's guidelines for a digital process portfolio (B2–B5).
- View a video of a process portfolio.
- View a video of another process portfolio.
- View a video of a sketchbook for carrying around.
The BEDS program does not include any electives, so most students will not be concerned with courses elsewhere; however, in an exceptional situation, a BEDS student may have to take a course at another Dalhousie department or another university. For details, see Extramural Courses for BEDS Students.
Most BEDS students continue straight from B1 to B5. If you receive a clear passing grade of C- or higher in every course, you will be eligible for a BEDS degree at the end of B5.
If you receive a D or an F in a course, please refer to Year-end Reviews. You'll probably receive a letter from the Undergraduate Coordinator or the Director, describing your standing and your options.
If you are unable to continue straight through the BEDS program due to illness, a family problem, or another circumstance beyond your control, you should discuss this with the Undergraduate Coordinator. Assuming that your academic standing is satisfactory, a place will be reserved for you to return next year. While away, you would be withdrawn from the BEDS program and the university. At least two months before you plan to return, you would submit a new undergraduate application form and a letter of intent (but no application fee or any other admission requirement).
If you recognize a substantial weakness in a particular academic area and want to address it before continuing on to the next term of the BEDS program, you should discuss this with the Undergraduate Coordinator. You can request to take an extra year to repeat one or more courses. (Both grades for a repeated course would be reported on your academic record but only the higher grade would be included in your BEDS GPA.) You can also request to continue working in an architect's office beyond the end of the B4 work term. If your aim is simply to complete the BEDS program, taking an extra year may not make sense. If your aim is definitely MArch admission (which requires a minimum 3.00 BEDS GPA, a 3.00 Design GPA, and a strong design portfolio), this option may make more sense.
The last two terms of the BEDS program are an opportune time to think about your longer-term career ambitions, as well as your abilities and interests, both before and during the BEDS program. Proceeding into the MArch program and eventually becoming a registered architect is a popular option but not the only one. One book that describes other career options for architectural graduates is: Christine Malecki, Career Options: Opportunities Through Architecture (New York: American Institute of Architecture Students, 1993) [Sexton Reference section: NA 1995 A6 1993].
Although the last two years of BEDS is exclusively architectural, BEDS is a multi-faceted program that introduces a wide range of subjects and abilities. After a BEDS degree, your can pursue many different academic streams other than the MArch program, with its emphasis on building design. For example, if you are more interested in urban design or environmental planning, Dalhousie's Master of Planning program is an option. If you really enjoy building technology, digital design, history, craft, conservation, or fine art, other programs in Halifax or elsewhere may be more suited to your interests and career ambitions.
If your goal is a master's degree but not necessarily in architecture, you can check the 90 other master's programs at Dalhousie. Some require an undergraduate degree in the same subject, while others are open to students from various undergraduate fields.
With a BEDS degree, you can also apply to an MArch program at another architecture school; however, the structure and content of undergraduate architecture programs may differ, so transferring may require a transitional year to catch up on any missing subjects. For this option, a useful reference is the ACSA's guide to architecture schools in North America.
Applying to the MArch program presumes a two-year commitment, as graduate programs at Dalhousie require continuous registration. If you need time off to replenish your finances, to travel, to gain additional experience, etc., this should be done before starting the MArch program.
Potential MArch Admission
In August, at the end of the B3 term, the MArch admission committee reviews BEDS student grades and portfolios for potential MArch admission. Its observations are intended to inform students whether they are on track for MArch admission next May, so that they can plan ahead with confidence. Students who wish to participate in this event submit their B1, B2, and B3 portfolios. After the review, they will receive a letter indicating their current standing: 1. firmly on track for MArch admission; 2. not yet firmly on track for MArch admission; or 3. admission to the MArch program may be unlikely.