A Master of Architecture from Roger Williams University prepares students for career success. They are set to be leaders in all facets of sustainable and equitable design, preservation, and development at the intersection of the natural and built environments.
A “learning by doing” approach makes this possible. Just ask M.Arch graduate Abdullah Soufan. “The architecture school has a very smart programme for assistantships and internships. Each student has an amount of money provided by the school during the year which can be used for assistantships or internships,” he says. “This programme encourages employers to hire Roger Williams students. The programme helped me and many others find a full-time job after graduation thanks to the summer internship.”
Such exposure is typical for students at the Cummings School of Architecture at Roger Williams University (RWU). Linked to industry and professional practice, an education here will transform the mindset of students and prepare them to be multifaceted job-ready graduates through professional training in design, history, planning, and technology.
A personalised, experiential programme
M.Arch students have the flexibility to customise their studies with an added graduate certificate in Preservation Practices, Real Estate, or Urban and Regional Planning. Designed for graduate students across various fields — architecture, construction, law and real estate — these certs can be obtained independently with no additional coursework, time or money if paired with the M.Arch programme, leading graduates to professional success.
That’s not all. The M.Arch’s core strength lies in bridging academia and industry. World-renowned firms and architects often visit and teach on campus. The Teaching Firms in Residence programme brings the highest quality educator practitioners to the School from the region, the country and abroad for semester long stays.
Two to three lead participants from Teaching Firms teach graduate architectural design studios, and often an additional seminar. Often, they provide studio lectures, design studio review critiques at RWU and at the firm, and visits to the firm and to sites as well.
This was one of the main reasons Abdulmajed Aljabhan chose RWU. “During my searching for M.Arch programmes, I found that the Teaching Firm in Residence at the Cummings School of Architecture is an interesting and unique feature that is going to enrich my experience and will allow me to visit and meet practitioners from top architectural firms,” says Aljabhan.
There are more on-the-ground experiences that enrich their student experience. This includes the guaranteed paid assistantships and internships, the Cummings School of Architecture Event Series, the latest state-of-the art software and technology in rCloud (a free cloud environment) as well as short- and long-term study abroad opportunities.
All of this is complemented by the award-winning Career Investment Programme. It ensures support for paid internships and assistantships throughout the year, fall resume and portfolio preparation, and spring Job Fair engagement with firms and organisations across the country.
“School can be great for theoretical knowledge, but engaging in teamwork and managing time and deadlines in the office was way more intense, which made my skills much better during the next school year,” says Soufan. He adds that the internship widened his mind, making him more aware of all the other aspects of the industry that aren’t taught in classrooms.
Apart from internships, M.Arch students can go abroad, too. They can go to top destinations like Barcelona for semester-long experiences or take advantage of short-term opportunities for studio work.
Amelia Tayeh took full advantage of this. “My favourite was taking a studio where the students were given the opportunity to travel out of the country to visit different sites. I was selected to be part of the travelling studio twice during my time at RWU where I visited Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Zurich, Switzerland,” shares Tayeh.
These industry connections lead to unparalleled job opportunities for M.Arch graduates — greater so for international students as they seek Optional Practical Training (OPT). The OPT refers to temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. The Master of Architecture programme is STEM-designated, so students are eligible for the 24-month extension of OPT.
Whether in the US or beyond, M.Arch students are set to find success. In 2020, even with the challenges of the pandemic, 97% of Cummings School of Architecture graduates found employment or sought further graduate study.