Most architecture schools around the world offer their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in separate tracks. That means that if students want to attain a Master’s degree, they first need to acquire a B.A. or B.S.,which usually takes five years. Altogether, this can be an expensive, eight-year endeavor that can subject students to crippling debt. One US report found that both undergraduate and graduate students can easily accumulate $100,000 in student loan debt, and another finds that “undergraduate students majoring in theology, architecture and history are much more likely to graduate with excessive debt,” compared to those pursuing math and the sciences.
Given these harsh realities, a school that combines both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in a single, five-year program is a welcome option. Enter the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts‘ School of Architecture.
Students can be admitted to The Royal Danish Academy’s School of Architecture one of four ways. First is the Danish-language program, open to all Danish-speaking students (this is the aforementioned five year program). For the first three years, students pursue their Bachelor’s studies in one of eleven architecture specialties or “Departments” which include Town and Landscape, Space and Form, Experiment and Technology, and Architecture, Design and Industrial Form to name a few. Students also have opportunities to work with the four different research institutes affiliated with the school, such as the Institute of Technology, where the goal is to explore technology as equal parts inspiration and practical tool for architects. During the last two years, which comprise the Master’s portion of the program, students build upon their basic knowledge and skills by specializing in planning, building design, or design. Even better, students who are citizens of an EU/EEA country or Switzerland can attend tuition-free.
If students want to attend the English-language program, then they must already possess a Bachelor’s degree, as only a Master’s is offered. This program is structured along a more traditional two-year model. However, here again, tuition is free for all students from EU/EEA countries, as well as those from Switzerland. What that means is that students are responsible only for living and material expenses, and the school provides assistance to find accommodations, which consist primarily of living with a host family. For students who do not reside in the EU/EEA, tuition is €5,000 per semester, for a total of €20,000 for four semesters and 120 credit units.
There are two additional ways to attend this program. Students can enroll as exchange students for either one or two semesters. However, if the student’s school does not have an exchange agreement with The RDAFA’s School of Architecture, there is a second alternative. Students can apply as visiting students for, again, one or two semesters for a total of 60 unit credits. For this option, students must already have a B.A. or B.S. and be enrolled in a Master’s of Architecture program and they must submit an application. In both of these situations, students pay their tuition to their home school as they normally would, not to the RDAFA’s School of Architecture.
Total enrollment for the school is also quite modest, between 90-140 students, and the school estimates that entering classes are around 20 students in size; thus, the opportunities for individualized learning are many. This intensive approach may just explain the school's impressive list of alumni, which includes Jan Gehl, Bjarke Ingels, Arne Jacobsen, Henning Larsen, and Jørn Utzon.
Sherin Wing is the writer of ArchDaily’s Architecture School Guides. She received her Ph.D. in the Humanities at UCLA and resides in Southern California. You can follow Sherin on Twitter (and send her tips) @SherinWing.