Student Experience

Study Abroad | Block Weeks | WIL and Community-Based Learning

SAPL students embrace bold, entrepreneurial thinking in the built environment

...from undergraduate, professional graduate and research graduate students, all the way to post-professional studies.

A vital strength of our programs comes from the interdisciplinary nature of our school. Through interdisciplinary courses, students learn how to work within broader intellectual, environmental, and professional contexts. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, enrichment pillars such as Block CoursesStudy Abroad, Work-Integrated-Learning and Community Engagement opportunities broaden the educational experience.

Throughout the course of the year, SAPL and the SAPL Student Association offers student events that facilitate student networking, learning and idea-shaping. This includes the Design Matters Lecture Series, exhibition openings, lunch and learns, as well as student-industry events. Find out what's happening on campus and at our downtown lab.


Block Week Program

Block week courses allow students to work with prominent practitioners and educators, architects, planners and landscape architects, from around the world in an intensive study. These block courses are a vital and essential aspect of the professional graduate programs. The one-week block course was pioneered by our faculty several decades ago, and they continue to provide a special opportunity for intensive courses (typically electives).

Global leaders in design supplement the learning experience through one-day, one-week and semester-long terms. Students have had the opportunity to work directly with guests such as Marc Fornes (THEVERYMANY), Koen van Velsen, Chris Sharples (SHoP Architects) and Dr. Jane Rendall from the Barlett School of Architecture.

Taylor Block Week | Winter 2021

Maureen Carrigy, M'Arch22


Study Abroad

A well-rounded design education includes practical, real-world engagement with ideas, systems, and precedents around the world. Study abroad opportunities are offered as part of the MArch, MPlan and MLA program studies, ranging from one-week field study courses in cities like Los Angeles to semester-long programs in Japan and Spain. Our study abroad locations are recognized for their expertise areas like growth management, transit-oriented communities, district revitalization, sustainable infrastructure, public space design, and urban design. Participating in these opportunities is a great way to gain an appreciation for interdisciplinarity, sustainability, and culture. 

Participation in these programs is not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged for all students. Going abroad benefits the academic, personal and professional development of students and is a pivotal part of your post-secondary education.

Zurich 2019 | Instructor: Francisco Alaniz Uribe


Work-Integrated, Community-Based Learning

SAPL students are offered an academic experience that closely resembles professional practice.

The Advanced Professional Planning Studio (EVDP644) is the capstone studio in the MPlan program fulfills this mandate. Through collaboration with community-based organizations, students engage with citizens in a comprehensive urban planning project that addresses pressing current and future challenges for growth and development.

Unique, work-integrated MArch M2 Studios is another example of integrated learning. These studios were developed for the fall of 2020 in response to the cancellation of study abroad options and to take advantage of this moment in history when our enforced physical distance has reinforced the need to creatively design the ways we interact and collaborate as designers across the globe. This fall we embarked on a new project in the architecture program. This project is one that connects teams of students, faculty members, researchers and practitioners to address challenges facing our communities, cities, regions and nations through the lens of the discipline of architecture. Local and international design thinkers delivered design research projects that facilitate valuable experiences, networks and directions for students' futures as designers. 

Above image gallery: SAPL architecture students led by Dustin Couzens from MODA architecture firm worked with the High Level Line Society to imagine design possibilities for a proposed 4.3 km active transportation corridor in Edmonton. Read about it in the Edmonton Journal → 


Cultivating Leaders

Design and planning professionals are leaders in city building. To supplement professional practice and leadership courses, students are encouraged to take part in professional associations such as SAPL Students' Association (SAPLSA), the Canadian Architecture Students Association (CASA), and the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA). Students are also strongly encouraged to be involved in all aspects of Faculty governance and strategic planning, and be representative on committees and councils

Supportive Environment

With 400+ students and state-of-the-art facilities, SAPL provides a supportive learning environment. Students come from a diverse range of academic disciplines, backgrounds, and interests, including form-making, social and environmental change, and technical integrity. Students are supported throughout their studies through resources such as workshop, fabrication and technical support. Students also have access to a wide range of resources ranging from financial support to wellness. as well as entrance scholarships, bursaries and awards to lessen the financial burden.


Student Profiles

Discover what's it like to study here through the lens of some SAPL students:

MArch spotlight

Whenever she can, Ashley Ortlieb will continue to broaden her perspectives and enrich her craft through travel

MLA spotlight

Jackson Brandt’s capstone project combines natural firebreak with walk-in campground

MPlan spotlight

Robyn Erhardt brings more than a little inside knowledge to capstone project

MEDes spotlight

Kristine Vodon successfully blends academic and athletic in her wakeskate shoe concept

MEDes spotlight

Guy Gardner from UCalgary design lab tackles innovative commission on behalf of Calgary software firm

PhD spotlight

Mohamed Imam studies how 'super tall' buildings yield super resources


Competitions

NCC Competition 

In April 2019, student team from the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape won the Ottawa Capital Riverfront Challenge organized by the National Capital Commission (NCC). Congratulations Emily Kaing (MLA), Ji Sun (MArch), and Liyang Wan (MPlan). Read UToday feature →

ULI Competition 

A team of graduate students from SAPL and the Haskayne School of Business and received an honourable mention at Urban Land Institute of the Americas case competition. The team’s final presentation focused on connection, experience and opportunity in Kansas City’s downtown core. Read UToday article →

CTBUH Student Design Competition 

Medi Hubs, Karan Sharma’s (MArch’20) design for a rapid-deployment skyscraper placed third in the 9th CTBUH International Student Tall Building Design Competition amongst 250 entries. The design responds to the changing needs of the pandemic and proposes the reuse of shipping containers for biocontainment and privacy. View Medi Hubs proposal →

Common Ground

archidairies: Emotions, Architecture, Opioids _ 2020

Common Ground by Cindy Nachareun, Melissa Amodeo, Natalie Sandelli and Vivian Ton was awarded 2nd Prize in the international archdiaries competition. The proposal addresses ways in which individuals and the communities they inhabit can begin to heal  together from the effects of addiction. Read full announcement →