BSc curricula in Architecture A comparison of The Netherlands: TU-Delft, TU-Eindhoven; Switzerland: ETH- Zürich; Belgium: KU-Leuven; Germany: TU-Berlin; Denmark: Aalborg-University; Italy: Roma 3; Spain: ETSAM Madrid, Portugal: University of Coimbra.
At the moment the Faculty of Architecture in Delft counts over 3000 students. Yearly 600 first year fresh students were admitted until September 2011. A numerus clausus has already reduced this number to 450 and seems to work as a preventative measure.
The current Delft agenda for the revision of the BSc curriculum is a triple one.
The actualization of the ‘building assignment’ in the contemporary perspective of the profession is the first reason for reviewing the programme. Sustainability and the shifted economic situation are changing the upcoming practice in scale, strategy and programme. Virtual techniques and division of labor (specialization) are developing topics.
The second reason for reflection is about shaking up ‘design education methodology’, which could be considered as periodical maintenance.
The third and in fact leading reason for change comes from the political pressure to improve the ‘study success ‘ of our students. In the Netherlands only 20 % of the university grade students in technology succeeds to obtain the diploma for the three years BSc in four years’ time. The situation at our faculty is even worse: 17%. The aim is to improve this percentage up to 70%. The BSc curriculum will be restructured thoroughly from September 2013.
A national fund to promote and improve academic education in technology (WO Sprint) gave us the opportunity to carry out a comparative study on the curricula of schools of architecture as a mirror for our programme. Since 30 % of our MSc programme is composed of international students an European perspective is obvious. Moreover, the final attainment level of the curricula is becoming a European matter. For the comparison we decided to select schools of architecture which are comparable to ours: education into a Bachelor of Science (not a Bachelor in Arts), number of students and culture.
The questions we hope to answer are:
What are the generalities and particularities, the similarities and differences of curricula in Architecture?
Which is the main content of the curricula? What is the main structure of the study programme? Which are the main (didactical) principles structuring the programme? Special attention is given to the content, structure and organisation of design education.
Curricula are complex matters. Most course programmes are a result of ‘faculty tradition’ and the backgrounds are not always explicit: for this comparison the principles were mainly interpreted from practice. Data were collected from a questionnaire, course-descriptions, visitation reports and interviews with visiting teachers and international students studying in Delft.
The curricula are mapped in diagrams, providing a very clear visual overview .The similarities and differences between schools of architecture are presented by a series of polarities as a range, structured in three categories: profile, programme structure, didactical principles.
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