Over the course of time, FOA has gone from a B.Arch degree available under Mysore University (1978) to MAHE’s 22nd institute (inaugurated in 2010). Boasting an array of opportunities available to students, Manipal’s Faculty of Architecture & Design (FOA) is currently ranked 10th among all architecture schools in India (source: Outlook 2017), 97th among BRICS universities, and has 35+ filed patents since 2009. This charming little department situated in Academic Block 2 (AB-2) has a ton to offer apart from the painted walls and the general aesthetics.
Courses and Academic Schedule
The Faculty of Architecture and Design at the moment offers three courses:
- Bachelor of Design (Interior Design) [B.Des. (ID)]
- Bachelor of Design (Fashion Design) [B.Des. (FD)]
- Bachelor of Architecture [B.Arch]
While the first two courses are four-year programs, B.Arch is a five-year program. For B.Arch. the minimum NATA score required is 100/200. Details of the courses are attached below.
Classes begin at 9:00 A.M. every weekday and are occasionally held on Saturdays. All subjects in the first year are foundation based and help students incorporate the skills required for the course, from the very beginning. Hence students shape their mind towards design and how architecture or design works. During a semester, classes can tend to get very hectic with all the assignments and jury presentations. For B.Des. (FD), the stitching class happens in AB-1, next to the engineering EG labs. Meanwhile, the other two courses remain in AB-2.
A minimum of 75% attendance is required to write the end semester exams. Internal exams are conducted during the semester and only on passing them with a minimum of 20 marks on 50, will you be allowed to write the final exams. If the internals are not cleared during a semester, it can be cleared in the next by paying an extra amount and appearing for the exams. However, if there is a shortage of attendance, the student is required to repeat the semester. The grading system is on a 0-10 point scale, with each letter grade being awarded a set number of points.
There is a provision for an international exchange program which students can opt for, although the institution does not have set collaborators.
FOA offers basic facilities like a well-curated library and personal drafting tables for each student. The first floor has an exhibition hall as well as classrooms. Apart from this, there is also a CAD (Computer Aided Design) lab with around 40 computers and a printing room on the second floor. Also on the same floor are more classrooms, along with the teachers’ cabins. All activities through the year take place in the foyer.
Although the classrooms are not air-conditioned like the ones in AB-5 or AB-3, the rooms are well ventilated and the heat isn’t felt too much inside the block. Basic stationery items such as drafters, mount boards, etc. are easily available nearby at either Om Xerox, Higginbothams or the Campus Store, all of which are a five-minute walk (max) from AB-2.
Here is a map of Manipal in case you want to check out the proximity of the classrooms to the hostels.
Sticking to the atmosphere of the other colleges under MAHE, FoA too has a very celebratory scene through the year. All festivals are observed – Iftar, Diwali, Onam, and Christmas to name a few. Opus is the college’s annual day, and Seig is the sports day held in even semesters. Aside from this, students are divided into houses, and both inter and intra sports matches take place. In fact, FOA’s basketball team (girls) won the intra-MAHE basketball tournament.
Hostels and Accommodation
FOA students are housed with the MIT, SOC, and DOC students in the same hostels. First-years have to compulsorily live in the hostels, while seniors have the option of living off campus as well. You can live off campus as a first-year only if you are a local. The curfew for first years is 10:00 P.M. and for seniors, it’s 11:00 P.M.
For more information on the hostels, follow the link given below.
General Tips to Survive
- Submit your work on time irrespective of what you’ve done. It’s better to get a redo rather than a late submission.
- Never underestimate the importance of aesthetics, always make your work look pretty no matter what. Pretty sheets are everything.
- Don’t stress about anything apart from your main subjects. Focus on those, and everything else will fall into place.
- Failing an exam is completely fine, everyone experiences it at least once. It’s not the end of the world, keep your chin up!
- Always (and we mean always) have butter sheets with you.
- Don’t play around with the 75% attendance criterion. The teachers will never push you to get the required attendance. More often than not, you’ll be informed of your subject back at the last moment and there will be nothing that you can do about it. If you’ve had a tiring night, some professors might even pardon sleeping in class, but never let your attendance drop below 75%.
- Do note that attendance is taken in the mornings, but if you bunk your afternoons you lose your morning attendance as well.
- You can sleep in class, during weekends and long holidays, but don’t ever sleep before your submissions. No amount of regret can fix your average work.
- Befriend your teachers, and discuss your designs with your friends and teachers. It’s extremely important to get an outside perspective on your ideas and work.
- Something that you won’t know until your third year is how important software programs are. Learn as much as you can beforehand, it’ll help out a lot.
Here’s to hoping that you’ll make Manipal your home for the next four/five years. After all, this University town’s beauty is incomparable to any city vibe.
-Nethraa Kannan and Karthika Venugopal for MTTN.