If we accept that the UBC SALA curriculum will stay as is for the time being, after 5 studios students are required to take on a masters thesis. The following description can be found the SALA website
“The Graduation Project, consisting of ARCH 548 and ARCH 549, provides an opportunity for students in the professional M.Arch program to identify, delineate, and explore a topic of their choice leading to a proposal for a specific architectural project clearly situated in a fully articulated context. Students are required to demonstrate their ability to define an architectural project, to acknowledge the varied scales of resolution appropriate to the task, and to take responsibility for the management of the process to complete the project on schedule.”
As any student knows the little blurb describing the course usually have little to do with the methodology and spirit of the course itself, but it does give an object definition of what I will be doing next year.
It is quite interesting being a student going into GP 1 as we call it, everything about UBC SALA in terms of procedure is very controlled, we have meeting for the vertical studios where everyone hands in a ballot in a well ordered manner, multiple emails go out once a day to remind us of events and goings on in the school, professors in our studios email us and remind us things to see and projects to look at. But after your last studio you are kind of left in no man’s land. To me the thinking runs parallel to setting up your own project, being responsible for your last year. No emails are ever sent out regarding time to get a mentor or set up your committee, professors never (rarely) ask students what they are doing for their last year, only if a student brings it up. It feels like the seedy underbelly of UBC SALA. Vague emails have to be sent asking to have a meeting outside of normal schedules; it is always a bit uneasy, you do not want to tip your hand, but want to learn as much as you can from others.
The students always have some small cloudy idea of an area they want to look into if they are lucky, and the professors have to decide on if and how many students they would like/have to take on (at no extra benefit besides the work itself). Without fail about halfway through every semester student’s start to whisper and talk about possibilities and professors, “Have you talked to anyone yet?” “Yeah, I heard he is full” I am not any better mind you; I saw how things are early on and have got things going. Perhaps I am a bit too worried about it all; some of my fellow students have a very relaxed attitude to the whole thing, but either way, it is a very weird transition into the final year, but on a positive note one that adds a bit of drama and mystic to my final masters thesis.
(I still get chills saying that)