May 14 to June 18 — Online
June 25 to July 30 – Online
Who is STUDIO FIRST FOR?
1. You have a four-year undergraduate degree in any field, or are currently enrolled, but wonder whether architecture and design are the career for you. Carleton and three other Canadian universities have professional architecture degree programs for people with a first degree in another subject, as do schools in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
2. Students already in architecture, environmental design, conservation, or urban design, who are applying to graduate programs to gain a professional degree. You may need to improve your portfolio or augment your design studies.
3. International students who want to learn how to create a suitable portfolio for application to schools in North America, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
4. Anybody who wishes to improve their visual literacy and fluency in graphic expression. You might be interested in fashion design, landscape, interiors, film, even computer interface design.
• work on three separate studio projects;
• attend lectures on architectural theory and practice;
• learn how to use key digital media tools central to the profession;
• participate in workshops on portfolio preparation and grad school applications;
• have access to recorded lectures and other online resources until October 31, 2024.
Optional In-Person Experience
STUDIO FIRST 2024 will be delivered entirely online. In addition, we will offer access to studio space at the Architecture Building during the program for participants who wish to come to campus to work on their projects. This will give students a physical space, as well as a digital space, in which to cultivate a sense of community and learn from each other. Access to studio space is an optional benefit.
We will also host an optional half-day event at the Architecture Building at Carleton University. This gathering will provide an opportunity for participants to meet each other and STUDIO FIRST instructors. The event is not mandatory. It is not a requirement to succeed in the program or to receive a Certificate of Completion.
Student Work from STUDIO FIRST
About STUDIO FIRST
STUDIO FIRST is a full-time five-week studio in architectural design for students from a wide range of backgrounds who are considering graduate studies in architecture, urban design, or landscape architecture.
Did you know that a Master of Architecture professional degree is available to students with an honours undergraduate major in any field? STUDIO FIRST provides a post-baccalaureate “bridge” from an undergraduate degree in any field toward entrance into a three-year accredited professional degree program in architecture.
Architecture is well-suited to people from diverse disciplines, from visual arts and engineering to geography and the humanities. The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism’s STUDIO FIRST program will allow students to immerse themselves in studio culture and determine whether architecture is the right path to follow.
STUDIO FIRST is the first and only program of its kind in Canada,.
The main goal of the program is to allow participants the opportunity to generate portfolio material appropriate for application to a three-year Master of Architecture accredited degree program or any of the environmental design fields.
It is equally valuable to those wanting to pursue a degree in urban design or landscape architecture, if the application has a portfolio requirement.
Want to pursue a career in architecture? STUDIO FIRST will help you create a competitive portfolio for application to any three-year Master of Architecture program.
Learn more at Architecture Next, a blog about the three-year Master of Architecture program.
My experience with STUDIO FIRST has been outstanding. The team’s professionalism, expertise, and attention to detail impressed me. They provided valuable guidance throughout the course and delivered great assistance in preparing a portfolio and writings that exceeded my expectations. Having recordings available for review is amazing, and they ensured we had ample time for review. I highly recommend STUDIO FIRST for their exceptional courses and commitment to excellence.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST survey response
STUDIO FIRST FAQs
STUDIO FIRST is a full-time five-week studio in architectural design for students from a wide range of backgrounds who are considering graduate studies in architecture or any of the environmental design fields. The program provides a post-baccalaureate “bridge” from an undergraduate degree in any field toward entrance into a three-year accredited professional degree in architecture. STUDIO FIRST helps participants develop competitive portfolio material appropriate for application to a three-year Master of Architecture accredited degree program. It is equally valuable to those wanting to pursue a degree in urban design or landscape architecture, if the application has a portfolio requirement. The Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism’s STUDIO FIRST program will allow students to immerse themselves in studio culture and determine whether architecture is the right path to follow.
May 14-June 18 — Online
June 25-July 30 — Online
STUDIO FIRST 2024 will be delivered entirely online. However, we are pleased to offer access to studio space at the Architecture Building during the program for those participants who wish to come to campus to work on their projects. This will give students a physical space, as well as a digital space, in which to cultivate a sense of community and learn from each other. Access to the studio space is an optional benefit. It is not mandatory.
In addition, we will host an optional half-day event at the Architecture Building at Carleton University. This gathering will provide an opportunity for participants to meet each other and STUDIO FIRST instructors. The event is not mandatory. It is not a requirement to succeed in the program or to receive a Certificate of Completion.
STUDIO FIRST requires a high level of engagement and commitment. The course is about 30 hours a week. Most students spend an additional 5-15 hours a week working on their projects.
The entire program is live and online. However, the lectures and digital labs are also recorded and available for viewing on your own time.
The studio sessions are not recorded.
For maximum benefit and results, we advise against working full-time while taking STUDIO FIRST.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until all spots in the program are filled. Due to space limitations, early submissions are strongly encouraged. We notify applicants of the status of their application within two weeks via email.
The program is open to all graduates of a bachelor’s degree program from a university or equivalent, in any major, or those currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. Mature students are also eligible to apply. Please contact us (email@example.com) if you have any questions about your eligibility for STUDIO FIRST.
Yes! STUDIO FIRST does not have any status restrictions for applicants. Our application process only looks at your eligibility for the program itself (i.e., holding a bachelor’s degree or currently enrolled in one, and your resume, essay, and image).
STUDIO FIRST is a non-credit course at the university. Participants enrolled in STUDIO FIRST are not considered to be registered in a university course. Participants who present all three assigned projects will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the program.
Describe your interest in the program. Tell us about yourself and why you have an interest in pursuing an architectural education.
Please include a resume or CV that lists professional, academic, and extra-curricular achievements. Include honours, awards, registrations, and all relevant accomplishments.
Accepted file format: .pdf
Please include one recent visual representation of your work that showcases your aptitude for a studio-based design program. The image can be of any medium, as long as it’s an original piece, no larger than 11″×17″. Examples include drawing, painting, etching, photography, an image produced through a digital program, a photograph of a 3D object that you’ve built, or other work. Accepted file format: .jpg, .pdf, .png, .tiff
2024 PROGRAM FEE: CAD $3,050 + HST = $3,446.50 (includes studio supplies)
Option to pay in two installments.
Non-refundable application fee: $45
Access to specific design software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign, will be required to participate in STUDIO FIRST.
Licenses for this software will need to be purchased by the participant. Instructions on when and how to purchase these programs will be communicated to participants before the first class.
Currently, Adobe offers the full Creative Cloud (which includes all necessary Adobe software) at $108 a month.
Participants should plan to purchase licenses for two months.
Should you find that you are unable to attend and have already paid the tuition, you have two options: request a refund or apply for a deferral.
If you request a refund, the policy is as follows:
• Cancellation by April 2, 2024 inclusive (for the May-June program): a refund of the full paid tuition, minus $150 service charge, will be issued.
• Cancellation after April 2, 2024: No refund will be issued.
• Cancellation by May 14, 2024 inclusive (for the June-July program): a refund of the full paid tuition, minus $150 service charge, will be issued.
• Cancellation after May 14, 2024: No refund will be issued.
Enrolling after the cancellation deadline means that you accept financial responsibility for the program fees.
All tuition must be paid in full prior to the beginning of the program.
If you request a deferral:
You have the option to defer your participation and fees for one year. If your deferral is approved, your tuition paid will be carried forward and applied to your account for the following year. Only one deferral will be granted per application, i.e., you will forfeit your application and tuition fees should you choose not to participate in the program in the year following your deferral.
In a small number of cases, yes. Most people continue to work on their portfolio and apply the next year. Applicants to Carleton’s MArch program will have to follow all requirements and deadlines posted by Graduate Studies. Please refer to the MArch Program page for more details.
Each school has its own requirements. Please visit our MArch Program page to learn more about Carleton’s requirements.
Student Work from STUDIO FIRST
My Studio First 2023 experience has been nothing short of transformative. As someone with a non-related background, I initially hesitated about pursuing a master’s in architecture. However, this program has reaffirmed my passion and solidified my desire to embark on this exciting journey. The online sessions surpassed all expectations, making me feel as if I were in an actual classroom. The camaraderie among the participants and the interactive nature of the classes made the learning process enjoyable and engaging. I never felt disconnected, and the sense of community fostered within the virtual space was commendable. The complimentary in-person event was an added delight. It provided an invaluable opportunity to get a feel of their studio, get acquainted with the talented teaching staff and build meaningful connections with fellow participants. The warm and welcoming atmosphere was evident throughout.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST survey response
How we deliver STUDIO FIRST online
Faculty use accessible digital platforms to create a virtual studio space in which students can interact, share their work, and receive one-on-one instruction.
Students receive a box of art supplies and other materials in the mail.
Participants learn how to use architectural software in the digital lab sessions.
Lectures are delivered by expert faculty and guest speakers.
All lectures are recorded, and all lectures and documents are available online to read and download at your convenience.
I absolutely loved it! It was exactly the type of program I needed to help build portfolio materials and gain additional creative experience. As an older student who is building their MArch application, the information provided over the course of the studio quickly became essential. I had a lot of fun as well.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST participant feedback
Why you should participate in STUDIO FIRST
• STUDIO FIRST is designed for you if you have no formal academic background in architecture and want to pursue graduate education in architecture, urbanism, or other design-related academic fields.
• You will get the chance to work on your graduate school portfolio under the supervision of our studio instructors, experience studio culture, and network with like-minded participants.
• You will be exposed to leaders in the fields of architecture, urbanism, heritage conservation, and digital fabrication.
STUDIO FIRST gave me the opportunity to learn more about architecture and design in a fun and engaging way. I am so grateful for all of the diverse design skills I have learned in the course coming from a non-design background. The STUDIO FIRST instructors and studio assistants were very encouraging and helpful along the way. Also, learning alongside peers who were going through a similar experience even in this remote setting was such a rich experience. I was unsure about if it was the right decision for me to pursue a Masters in Architecture and now I feel very motivated to apply. I would recommend this course to anyone coming from a non-design/studio background and looking for a way to explore the architecture and design field further.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST survey response
Top Schools Accept STUDIO FIRST Alumni
STUDIO FIRST participants have been accepted to graduate programs at the following schools:
Carleton University, Ottawa
Dalhousie University, Halifax
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
University of Calgary, Calgary
University of Toronto, Toronto
Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg
Arizona State University
Kendall College of Art and Design, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts
New York Institute of Technology, New York City
Pratt Institute, New York City
Rice University, Houston, Texas
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York
SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), Los Angeles, California
The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, London, England
University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
University of Houston, Houston, Texas
University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
The work I produced surprised me as I did my best to create work that represented who I am. I cannot wait to use what I learned to pursue my goal of becoming a licensed architect.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST survey response
STUDIO FIRST Academic Team
Project 1 Lead Instructor
Adriana Ross has been an instructor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism for 14 years. She teaches design studio and courses in the theory and practice of architectural representation, drawing, and multi-media. She was among four teachers at the Azrieli School named a Favourite Faculty member for the 2021-2022 academic year. Her popular elective course, An Introduction to Drawing: Seeing through the Hand, attracts more than 100 students each year, from over 25 different academic departments. Adriana has also taught at Algonquin College. Adriana’s research, teaching, and original work show how sensitivity to historical meaning and social conscience can enrich contemporary methods and design. Her award-winning work has been exhibited and published internationally, and she is co-author with Marco Frascari of the 2012 book Drawing in the Silence. Her drawings and writing about ecclesiastical architecture explore new uses for historic buildings. Adriana earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture at Carleton, where she received numerous awards, including the RAIC Student Medal for outstanding achievement.
Project 2 Lead Instructor
Piper Bernbaum is an assistant professor at the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism at Carleton University and teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. Piper has worked at architecture offices in Canada and globally, including Atelier Jean Nouvel in Paris, Sauerbruch Hutton in Berlin, and Kohn Pederson Fox Associates in New York City. She also has extensive experience in architectural exhibitions. She was the project manager for The Evidence Room, which studied the forensic architectural artifacts of Auschwitz and was exhibited at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Hirshhorn Museum. Piper’s research focuses on the intersection of law and architecture, the considerations and constraints of social and spatial plurality in urban environments, and the appropriation of space through design. She is the recipient of the Prix de Rome for Emerging Practitioners, the RAIC Academic Medal, and the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal for her work and research. Piper completed her BAS and MArch at the University of Waterloo and taught at Waterloo’s Cambridge and Rome campuses.
Project 3 Lead Instructor
Rana Abughannam is an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. She is currently concluding her doctoral studies at the School of Architecture & Urbanism at Carleton University. She is co-founder of the CR|PT|C (Carleton Research | Practice of Teaching | Collaborative). Rana has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at Carleton that revolve around architectural design, urbanism, and spatial formations within colonial and post-colonial settings. She has also taught at the Canadian University Dubai as a visiting lecturer at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences and an adjunct lecturer at the School of Architecture and Interior Design. From 2013 to 2015, Rana was an instructor at the Department of Architecture at Birzeit University, teaching the history of architecture, architectural representation, and architectural design studios. Rana is a registered architect in Palestine and Jordan, where she practiced as a freelance architect. She obtained her professional degree in Architectural Engineering from Birzeit University in 2012. In 2013, she received her post-professional Master of Architecture degree from the history and hheory program at McGill University’s architecture school. Rana’s research revolves around architecture and urbanity and the socio-political conditions which govern them. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on spatial forms of colonialism and resistance in Palestine.
Digital Lab Instructor
Cailen Pybus is an architectural designer, researcher, and instructor specialized in digital storytelling for cultural heritage. His recent collaborations include the VR project Parliament: The Virtual Experience (2019) with the National Film Board of Canada, and Marking Time in the Cormier Garden (2020) for the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute. He teaches courses on digital representation at Carleton University and McGill University. He obtained his Master of Architecture from Carleton University in 2018 and a post-professional master’s degree in architectural history and theory from McGill University in 2020.
Derek Clouatre is a graduate student in his final year of the three-year Master of Architecture program at Carleton University. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Marketing (2011) from Nipissing University. He worked for over a decade in marketing and communications roles for the federal government in Ottawa, ON, and ultimately led a team managing the online and social media presence of the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence. Having always regretted not testing the waters in the world of architecture, he participated in the STUDIO FIRST program in 2021 which ultimately convinced him to pursue a career change. Derek is interested in researching glass and examining its potential future uses in glazing, both interior and exterior, as a reaction to the climate crisis. While responding to the technical performance of the material, he will look to better understand the social and sensorial implications of layered transparencies on human (and non-human) occupants of these spaces. Through material testing and making, he hopes to propose new ways of considering the material’s sustainable and thoughtful use in design and the built environment.
Cameron Penney is a 2023 graduate of the Carleton Architecture three-year Master of Architecture program. Before studying architecture, he earned a degree in Honours Biology at Carleton University in 2020. After graduating with his undergraduate degree, Cameron applied to the MArch1 program and participated in the 2020 STUDIO FIRST program. As a result of Cameron’s graduate thesis work, he is the recipient of the Maxwell Taylor Prize and an Azrieli Thesis Support Grant. His thesis, Toronto’s Terrestrial Reefs: BioRock’s Infrastructural Biogeochemical Futures, focuses on the material of BioRock and its applications towards growing and repairing Toronto’s infrastructure. While in school, Cameron has been a teaching assistant, research assistant, guest critic, and architectural intern. He co-founded Landscape Lab as a means to promote interdisciplinary education among landscape professionals and architecture students. Cameron is the head editor of Edition 23 of the student publication Building 22.
Stephanie Murray holds both a post-professional Master of Architectural Studies and a professional Master of Architecture degree, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is currently a doctoral student at Concordia University. After finishing her degree in Fine Arts, Stephanie moved to Whitehorse, Yukon, where she worked for Northern Front Studio and Kobayashi + Zedda Architects, while continuing her art practice. She has exhibited her independent artwork across Canada, as well as overseas in Australia and Iceland. She has also led digital and analog projects at two research labs associated with the Azrieli School of Architecture & Urbanism: the Carleton Immersive Media Studio (CIMS) and the Carleton Sensory and Liminal Technologies Lab (CSALT). Her research interests are grounded in the effects of representational conventions on material and spatial imaginations in the construction of social and political narratives.
STUDIO FIRST expanded my way of thinking, imagining, and seeing things. Thanks to it I was able to develop my creative skills. I felt challenged, but not overwhelmed, by the pace of the program. There was more than enough support when help was needed. The feedback I received was always insightful. I’m glad I took on this challenge.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST survey response
You are eligible for STUDIO FIRST if one of the following applies to you:
• You have a bachelor’s degree from a university or equivalent (it does not matter which year you completed your degree).
• You are an upper year student (2nd year and above) currently enrolled in a degree program.
• You are an international student who falls into any of the two criteria above.
The application process is the same for all applicants (graduates, undergrads and international students). Feel free to contact us for any questions regarding your eligibility for the program.
Please note: To be eligible for most Master of Architecture (MArch) degree programs in Canada, you need to have an honours bachelor’s degree (or four-year bachelor’s degree).
Participants who are planning to apply to Carleton’s MArch program are encouraged to visit the MArch Program page for information.
Studio First 2023 has undoubtedly been a personal & professional pivotal experience, igniting a passion and determination to pursue my dream of becoming an architect. I am immensely grateful for this enriching opportunity, and I can’t wait to continue this journey with newfound enthusiasm and zeal.
– 2023 STUDIO FIRST survey response
How to Apply
The following materials are required for consideration for admission to STUDIO FIRST.
• Application Fee: A non-refundable application fee of $45 is due upon application submission.
• Application Form: Applicants must complete the online STUDIO FIRST Program Application Form in full.
• Essay: An essay (500 words max) that describes your interest in the program. We would like you to use this opportunity to tell us about yourself, and why you have an interest in an architectural education.
• Resume: Please include a resume or CV, which includes your professional, academic, and extra-curricular achievements. Also, include honours, awards, registrations, and all relevant achievements.
• Image: Please include one recent visual representation that showcases your aptitude for a studio-based design program. This can be in any medium, as long as it’s an original piece. Examples are drawings, sketches, photography, a picture of a built model, sculpture, or other handmade objects, computer-generated graphics, etc.