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MEDS Design‑Build FAQ

Jump to: Design-Build | Eligibility | Application | Financial Information | Equipment | Accommodation | Additional Information



What does the MEDS Design-Build option include?

Please see the Design-Build program description, including the list of courses.

What kinds of work will students be doing?

From May to July, students will do coursework in classrooms, in the studio in Halifax and on site. (Some of these courses may be shared with students in the first term of the MArch program.) During late July and five weeks in August and September, MEDS students will do construction work on a site elsewhere in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick. From September to early December they will work on a written thesis.

Who will be teaching in the MEDS Design-Build option?

Ted Cavanagh is the person in charge of both the Design-Build option and the School's Coastal Studio. Some courses may be taught by other faculty members and/or sessional instructors in the School of Architecture. Faculty members from several architecture schools in the United States also may participate in certain events.

How long is the MEDS Design-Build option?

This program is nominally one year long but can be completed in seven months (early May to early December).

When does it begin and end?

It begins in early May. If you are completing another program at that time, this start date can be postponed until mid-May. The earliest completion date is in early December, for students who are able to complete their thesis in one term. The next completion date is in early April.

How is the thesis organized?

After working on-site in August, each student will formulate a related topic to pursue in a written and illustrated thesis, starting in September. Each thesis student will have a supervisor and advisor. The completed thesis will be presented at a thesis examination with an external examiner and submitted as a formal document to the university.

After students graduate from this program, what kinds of work might they do?

There are two general possibilities:
1) Hands-on experience in design-build will assist graduates who wish to work on-site in developing countries. It will also enable graduates who are working in developed countries to pursue architectural design with a better understanding of building options.
2) An emphasis on entrepreneurship and technological innovation will assist graduates who wish to innovate in areas of architecture related to construction and building science. It will also enable graduates to initiate projects that combine architectural design and project construction.

Can the Design-Build option be done part-time?

No, the curriculum is organized for full-time students only.

Can a course from a previous degree be used as a transfer credit in the MEDS program?

If you previously took a course that is equivalent to a required MEDS course, you would not repeat the subject or request a transfer credit; instead, you would take a different graduate course. This should be arranged during the first two weeks of the program.

Will this program enable an international student to gain professional architectural certification, as a step to becoming a registered architect in Canada?

No, this specialized program is not intended to satisfy professional certification requirements. A graduate of a professional architecture program outside Canada who plans to work eventually as an architect in Canada should contact the Canadian Architectural Certification Board to apply for his/her international education to be certified. An international student would apply to the MEDS Design-Build option only if he/she is strongly interested in this subject.

Are there any other MEDS options?

No, Design-Build currently is the only MEDS option available.

Does the School of Architecture also offer a post-professional Master of Architecture program?

No, that program currently is not available.



What kinds of students are most suited to this program?

Experience in architectural design and hands-on building construction is beneficial.

How many students will be in this program option?

Up to twelve students will be admitted each year. Admission is competitive, based on previous academic and architectural experience. Canadian and international students who apply by the February 1 deadline are equally eligible for admission; there is no international quota.

Must I have a professional architecture degree (BArch or MArch) to apply for MEDS Design-Build?

Because this is a graduate program, a previous undergraduate degree is required. The admission committee will give preference to applicants with a professional architecture degree, then to applicants with a pre-professional architecture degree, then to applicants with a non-architectural degree.

I have a diploma in architectural technology. Can I be admitted?

No, admission requires an undergraduate degree from an institution that is considered a university.

My undergraduate GPA is below 3.0. Can I be admitted?

No, a 3.0 GPA is the minimum standard for admission to all graduate programs at Dalhousie University.



Which items are needed in an application?

Please refer to the Graduate Application page.

Must I submit an architectural design portfolio as part of my application?

Preference is given to applicants with a strong background in architectural design, so an architectural design portfolio with examples of previous construction work is required.

What should I include in my architectural design portfolio?

It should include images of projects designed and/or built by yourself, either in school or in practice. Collaborative work should identify your collaborators and describe your role in the project. A small (8.5" x 11") printed booklet is the recommended portfolio format. It will not be returned, so please do not include originals or an expensive portfolio case. A PDF (max. 10 MB) is also acceptable. 

Must one of my reference letters be from an academic instructor?

Because you are applying to an academic program, a reference from a university instructor is most useful. A reference from an employer or supervisor also is acceptable.

Should my referees' letters be sent directly to the School of Architecture?

Reference letters are intended to be confidential and must be signed. Your referees should use the Graduate Studies Confidential Reference Letter form. They can submit it to Graduate Secretary, School of Architecture, by mail, courier, fax (902-423-6672), or scan and e-mail it to grad.arch@dal.ca. Alternately, they can place it in a sealed envelope, endorse it across the back seal, and return it to you, to include with your application.

When is the application deadline?

All items for May admission must be received by February 1.

How can I confirm that all of the required items have been received?

You are responsible for checking that the items sent to the Registrar's Office were received; phone 902 494 2450 or e-mail admissions@dal.ca. The Architecture office will send you an e-mail confirmation only when all required items have been received, indicating that your application is complete. If you have not received confirmation two weeks after submitting the final item, please e-mail the Graduate Secretary at grad.arch@dal.ca or phone 902 494 3973. (Please disregard the Registrar's online record of items received.)

When will I know if my application has been accepted?

A response will be sent to all applicants by late March.

Is there a wait list for applicants who are not offered a position?

Yes, several applicants may be notified that they have been placed on a wait list, in case any of the admitted students withdraws. This wait list will expire at the end of March.

If I am admitted, can I defer admission for a year?

No, if you are unable to begin the program in May, you would have to decline the offer and apply again next year.

Is it possible to begin the Design-Build option in September or January?

No, May is the only admission date each year.

Financial Information


What is the tuition fee for Canadian students?

Unofficially, the one-year Canadian tuition fee in 2018-19 is $9,192. Incidental fees are $830. For official fee information, please see page 1 in the Graduate Studies Program Fee Schedule.

What is the tuition fee for international students?

Unofficially, the one-year international tuition fee in 2018-19 is $15,762. Incidental fees are $1,245. For official and current fee information, please see pages 1 and 6 in the Graduate Studies Program Fee Schedule.

Are scholarships available?

Students (depending on eligibility) may receive one or both of the following research assistantships:
International or Canadian students may receive a $2,500 assistantship during August, when they take ARCH 5013: Design-Build Studio.
In addition, if your undergraduate GPA is 3.70 or higher, you may be awarded a Faculty of Graduate Studies Scholarship during the fall term, worth approximately $1,800. 

What is the cost of living like in Halifax?

It's comparable to other small Canadian cities, and substantially lower than larger cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, and London. Please see the cost of living in Halifax page for estimates.



What equipment should I bring with me?

Drawing equipment, modeling tools, and a laptop computer should be sufficient. For on-site construction, you will also need safety footwear, safety glasses, a hard hat, and a safety vest. Construction equipment and building materials will be provided.



Where is the architecture school located?

It's in downtown Halifax, at Spring Garden Road and Brunswick Street, two blocks south of the Halifax Citadel, five blocks west of the Halifax harbour, and next door to the new Halifax Central Library. The Faculty of Architecture and Planning and the Faculty of Engineering are on Dalhousie's Sexton Campus, in the middle of Halifax's prime commercial area. Dalhousie's Studley Campus is a fifteen-minute walk away. NSCAD University is ten minutes away.

Are university residences available near the architecture school?

Residences are available during the fall and winter terms, but not the summer term.

What off-campus accommodation is available near the architecture school?

With six universities in Halifax, off-campus accommodation is plentiful, especially during the summer term. Most students live in Halifax's South End. Expect to pay $600 to $800 per month for a bachelor apartment, $1000 for a one-bedroom, $1200 to $1500 for a two-bedroom, or $2000 + for a house. 

Are short-term apartment sublets available?

Yes. In early May, summer-term sublets may be available from other architecture students who have just completed the MArch program. The Architecture office e-mails sublet information to all incoming architecture students.

Additional Information


For questions about the content and organization of the MEDS Design-Build option:

Contact Ted Cavanagh at ted.cavanagh@dal.ca or phone 902 209 1444.

For administrative questions (application, registration, etc.):

E-mail the School's graduate secretary at grad.arch@dal.ca or phone 902 494 3973.