Architecture school garners high ranking

Nicole Aikens

Kent State’s architecture program, known to be rigorous, made the list by ranking in the 2009 national architectural registration examination.

In seven of the nine categories, Kent State graduates ranked in the top 20 out of approximately 150 accredited programs with at least 14 graduates taking the exam. Some of the categories are general structures such as site planning and construction documents. The highest-ranking Kent State graduates were fifth in the nation in the materials and methods category.

Students take the exam after completing a two- to three-year internship and five years of schooling to earn a master’s degree in architecture.

Architecture is a demanding program at Kent State, and it is difficult for a reason. In order to become a licensed professional architect, graduates have to pass the registration exam, and Kent State graduates collectively post some of the best scores in the nation.

In order to retain the accreditation and high-ranking exam scores, there is a particular rigor students accepted into the program face.

Associate Dean Jonathan Fleming said each year there are approximately 100 freshman openings in the architecture program. After four years, approximately 75 students graduate with a bachelor’s degree in architecture.

Throughout the four years of the undergraduate degree, students take 15-20 credit hours, but that does not include the extra amount of time spent in the studio.

“There are three things: doing well in class, sleeping and having a social life,” said freshman architecture major Tara Knapp. “Each week you can pick two of those things.”

Charles Harker, associate professor in the College of Architecture, said the goal is not to create a stress-free program.

“The numbers tell the faculty they’re on the right track,” Harker said. “Having an education that prepares you to go out and excel in your chosen field might be worth the stress.”

On top of the time spent in class, architecture students spend 30-40 hours a week in the studio working on their projects — drawing, building and constantly revising.

Lauren Frey, Kent State graduate and architecture instructor, said this semester, students have six two-week projects and one five-week project. She said time management is the toughest part of the program.

“You can work for hours and hours on a project and never say ‘I’m done,’” Frey said.

Freshman architecture major Julian Norton said he thought the architecture reputation of long nights fit his lifestyle.

“I didn’t sleep much before, so I figured this was the perfect career,” Norton said. He said he spends about seven extra hours in the studio every weekday.

Contact College of Technology reporter Nicole Aikens

at [email protected].