The professional program in architecture at McGill is divided into two parts: the first is a six-semester program that leads to the B.Sc.(Arch.), and the second is a three- or four-semester program that leads to the professional degree, M.Arch. (Professional). It has long been a requirement in the program that students acquire a defined amount of work experience in an architect's office before completing the professional degree. Students do not receive academic credit for this work experience, but are required to submit a detailed report which must be approved by the School.
The total amount of work experience required is 16 weeks. At least 12 of the 16 weeks must be carried out under the supervision of a licensed architect. The remaining time, up to a maximum of 4 weeks, may be completed in a related work environment or as part of a self-directed activity. Work experience generally falls into one of two categories, which are described in more detail below.
Category A, minimum 12 weeks: based on work carried out under the supervision of a licensed architect. Examples of acceptable workplaces include:
- A professional architectural office
- The building division or facilities office of an institution such as a school board, hospital, university, or corporation
- The building & planning office of a municipality
- The architectural office of a multi-disciplinary corporation or construction company
- The architectural division/department of a professional engineering office
Category B, maximum 4 weeks: based on experience in a related work environment, includes both directed and self-directed activity. Examples of acceptable experience include:
- Architectural Research (for example, with a professor, the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection or the Canadian Centre for Architecture)
- Volunteer or remunerated work with non-profit groups in housing and other community-based services, work with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Architects without Borders, Architectes de l’Urgence, Engineers without Borders
- Self-directed activity, based on work, study or travel, and approved in advance by the School
- Work in construction
Eligible students are encouraged to register as interns with the Internship in Architecture Program (IAP). For students registered as stagiaires with the Order of Architects of Quebec, relevant work experience completed after 60 credits of architectural studies may be counted up to a maximum of 940 hours (approximately 6 months) toward the internship requirement for registration in Quebec.
Since the School does not operate a formal coop-style placement office, students are expected to find their own employment. However, the School maintains a "Job Notice Board" on the second floor of the Macdonald-Harrington Building, coordinates visits by professionals visiting the school to recruit students, and tries to employ as many students as possible on campus when opportunities and circumstances allow. Typically, 6-8 students will find employment each summer with the School, with individual professors, and with McGill’s Departments of Facilities Management and Space Planning.