IE University alum, Jose María Casado and fifth-year student, Haitam Daoudi, answer commonly asked questions about the Bachelor in Architectural Studies program.

Why did you decide to study the Bachelor in Architectural Studies?

Jose, an IE University alum, said: My father is an architect and I grew up watching him enjoy his work. His passion inspired me and those memories encouraged me to become an architect. The profession has changed and evolved, and IE University taught me to think and act critically in order to move with the times.

Haitam, a fifth-year student, said: I made the decision to study the Bachelor in Architectural Studies for the variety of job opportunities. Even though it is just one career, the final destination is more than just architecture. My expectations were a bit different, but IE University has offered me a diverse community and given me even more than I expected.

What are the main elements of the program? What topics do you have in class and are the courses more practical or theory based?

Jose: During class, everything is practical—from understanding the material, to digitizing and creating projects. Throughout the entire program, you will progressively learn hand-drawing and representation skills, as well as the analysis of physics and development of architecture projects. Each year your critical thinking, digitalization, and general-knowledge skills will increase.

Haitam: I think this depends on the year, but in general, the courses are a combination of practical and theoretical approaches. Overall, the degree aims to teach a variety of experiences so that each student is able to figure out what type of architecture they’re more interested in.

What was your favorite class and with which professor? Why?

Both students agree that the various Design Studio classes were their favorite. They enjoyed them because the classes were consistent throughout the program and each one offered a unique challenge. Jose also notes that he enjoyed the final project with Professor Fernando Rodriguez and Professor Matan Mayer because it was intense and he was able to utilize everything he had previously learned.

Tell us about an average class. How long is it? What’s the workload like? Do you do more group or individual work?

The classes are multicultural and can be very different from what you’re used to in high school. There are some subjects in regular classrooms, but most of the activity is held in the studio because as an architect, you need a lot of space to create and experiment. The Bachelor of Architectural Studies program offers the Architecture Studio to study, investigate, work, and spend hours with your friends. The classes and the workload are balanced between individual and group work, which creates a dynamic learning atmosphere.

Do professors place more emphasis on practical or academic learning?

This depends on the professor and the subject, but even with their different teaching styles, all of the professors are incredible. In Design Studio, for example, we work mostly with a combination of short presentations and then receive individual tutoring. We also have classes that use powerpoints and readings. Professors will ask you to give presentations, have debates, and work in groups. The professors will also be available to answer questions and will eventually form part of the jury for your final project.

How many hours will I spend doing homework or studying?

Jose: Sincerely, a lot—more than they say you will need. My recommendation is to stay organized because otherwise you will see a lot of sunrises, and not because you wake up early.

Haitam: More than you would expect. Sometimes you should just know when to end things for the night because otherwise they could go forever. 

What are finals and deliverables like?

Finals also depend on the class and the professor. Some professors will want you to learn a lot of representation techniques and give presentations on them, while others will assign deliverables in the form of essays. In the Bachelor in Architectural Studies, it isn’t about if the exams are difficult or not, it’s truly about the amount of work you need to do in order to present your ideas to their fullest quality. Design Studio exams are the most important because we present to a jury formed by external IE University professors who haven’t seen our work. It’s a great opportunity to sell a project and show your hard work.

How do you prepare before class?

Jose: Reading is something that you should do even if it isn’t assigned. I also recommend going to lectures, conferences, debates, seminars, and investigating a bit on your own. Architecture is a field that has a wide range of professional possibilities, but you need to discover and master them on your own as well as by learning in class. I also suggest starting learning how to use design programs such as: AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, Adobe Pack and V-ray.

Haitam: Preparing for class is usually a work in progress—meaning you will go over everything repeatedly until it’s time for its final submission. How much reading and investigation you do is ultimately up to you and your learning methods. Your class preparation doesn’t need to be similar to that of your classmates, but it is nice to discuss among yourselves for ideas and feedback.

What is a typical Bachelor in Architectural Studies student like?

They vary—it’s impossible to describe.

What are the exchange-student program opportunities?

Jose: I personally think that the opportunities to go on exchange are one of the best things about IE University. You will learn not only from the new people you meet, but also about yourself. IE University pairs with a lot of international universities and you will be able to pick the best country and program for you.

What are the internship opportunities? Are they easy to find?

There are a lot of internships available, but you have to have good grades in order to get them. The internships act as a healthy competition among students and encourage you to create unique projects. Internships provide excellent experience and the IE University Talent & Careers office is a great resource for finding them.

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Additional tips from Jose and Haitam on getting the most out of the Bachelor in Architectural Studies:

  • Make friends from all of the IE University programs, not only the ones in your program. Remember, architecture without people is just a ruin.
  • Stay organized. There is time for everything if you are truly organized.
  • Make taking action a habit. Stop thinking too much and just start doing. Use thinking to solve problems. Less is more.
  • When designing, bring an agenda with you to keep bullet points of your project and to have a clear idea of what you’re doing.
  • Take risks, be radical, and get out of your comfort zone when creating projects. You will learn more and enjoy the process thoroughly, while also developing your skill.