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FAQ ‑ BEDS & M.Arch Program

What do students study in the Bachelor of Environmental Design Studies program?

Although the name refers to "environmental design," the program focuses on architecture - the creative study of buildings and cities. Each academic term consists of courses in architectural design, representation, history, building technology, and professional practice.

Why is the program divided into BEDS and MArch?

The BEDS degree is awarded after two years in the architecture program, acknowledging that some BEDS graduates choose to switch to a related field such as urban planning, building construction, or digital design.

Can I become an architect by doing only the BEDS program?

No, both BEDS and MArch are required. A BEDS degree (or an equivalent degree from another university) is the prerequisite for entry to the MArch program, which then leads to the professional MArch degree.

How does Dalhousie compare to other schools?

Dalhousie's BEDS/MArch program is the only architecture program in Canada that includes integrated co-op work terms and a compact schedule that can be completed in 3 years, 8 months. You may wish to ask a professional architect or an architecture graduate about the school's national and international reputation. Some may still know the school as part of the Technical University of Nova Scotia (TUNS), which amalgamated with Dalhousie University in 1997.

What are my chances of being admitted?

The BEDS acceptance rate is about 20%. Accepted students usually have a B+ average (3.50 GPA) and a good portfolio.

How many BEDS graduates are accepted into MArch?

There is no quota but usually about 85% are accepted. To be considered, an applicant must have a 3.00 GPA in BEDS Design courses and a 3.00 GPA in the BEDS program.

Where do Dalhousie architecture students come from?

Usually, about 40% are from western Canada, 30% from Atlantic Canada, 20% from Ontario and Quebec, and 10% from other countries. Although two years of university are required for admission, most incoming students already have an undergraduate degree. Each class includes a diverse set of academic backgrounds: fine arts, science, engineering, computer science, liberal arts, etc. The male/female ratio is usually equal.

How is the sequence of terms organized?

The BEDS/MArch program operates on a trimester system: September to December, January to April, and May to July. The BEDS program begins with three academic terms, one work term, and one more academic term. The MArch program consists of two academic terms, a double work term, and two more academic terms.

How are the work terms organized?

The BEDS program includes a four-month work term and the MArch program includes an eight-month work term. Students typically work in an architectural office in Canada or abroad. Salary depends on experience and location, averaging $15–$20 per hour in Canada. The Faculty's Co-op Office helps students find suitable employment. Students arrange their own accommodation.

Can a student major in a particular subject area?

All courses in the BEDS program are required; they provide a foundation for subsequent graduate studies. In the MArch program a student completes additional core courses and electives that may emphasize a particular area such as history, theory, housing, urban design, computer applications, building technology, or representation. Graduate electives also may be taken in other departments at Dalhousie and at the five other universities in Halifax: NSCAD University, St. Mary's University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Atlantic School of Theology, and University of King's College.

How can I obtain a university calendar?

The Architecture section of the university calendar is available online.

How can I see what students are doing at the school?

To obtain a copy of StudioEast (an occasional journal of design work by Dalhousie architecture students) or Free Lab (design-build projects by students), go to the Dalhousie Architectural Press website.

Can I receive a guided tour of the school and meet with an admissions advisor?

Yes. Please contact the Architecture office to find out when tours and meetings are available.

Can I take architecture courses before applying to the architecture program?

Yes. Several introductory courses are open to all students in the university. These courses are introductory, not credits toward a BEDS degree.