Frequently Asked Questions

Can one pursue an architectural degree by completing VABE?

The School of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy has been closely involved in the development of Windsor’s VABE program, and is prepared to admit Canadian students into the fourth year of their pre-professional B.Sc. degree after students have successfully completed their third year of VABE. Acceptance however is NOT automatic. Students must apply to the UDM program in the second semester of their third year, submit a portfolio of their VABE design work for review, and meet the grade point average requirement of B+.

What does a pre-professional degree mean when referring to architectural programs?

There has been a move in both Canadian and U.S. schools over the past several years to have the Master of Architecture degree become the Professional architectural degree. What this means is that the undergraduate degree is a preparatory degree that lays the foundation for students so they can gain entrance into graduate school. The architecturally focused undergraduate program is referred to as a pre-professional degree. These types of degrees have such titles as B.Sc. in Architecture, B.Sc. in Architectural Studies, BA in Architecture, Bachelor of Environmental Design, Bachelor of Architectural Studies, etc. Undergraduate degrees normally require four to five years to completion, depending on whether a co-op component is included. It is upon completion of the Master’s degree in architecture that a student will be able to write the various licensing exams that allow him/her to become a practicing architect.

Is VABE a three or four year program?

All Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs are completed in four years. Students wishing to earn a BFA in VABE would finish their degree at the University of Windsor after four years. This undergraduate degree would allow them to go on to graduate studies in Fine Art. VABE students who choose to seek an architectural degree from UDM after their third year at Windsor would graduate with a general degree in Art from Windsor before proceeding to become architectural students at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Do I need a passport if I'm in the VABE program?

YES!  The law requires that Canadians must present a valid passport in order to enter the United States. This means that all VABE students must have in their possession a valid passport in order to attend classes at the University of Detroit Mercy. The time it takes to process a passport can be anywhere from 2-6 weeks, therefore it is highly recommended that students apply for their passport early if they do not already have one. Students who do not have a valid passport in their possession will not be allowed to cross the border or attend classes in the United States. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport.

Do I need a car?

Yes and No. Students in their first year of the VABE program will not need a vehicle to commute between the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy. Arrangements for a shuttle bus will be provided for both the Fall and Winter semesters. This will give students an opportunity to become familiar with the UDM campus and its general location within the city of Detroit.

During a student’s second and third year, they will be expected to make their own arrangements to commute to the School of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Do I need to get a NEXUS card if I have a car?

Students in their second and third year who will be traveling frequently between Canada and the US may wish to consider obtaining a NEXUS card, but it is not mandatory. The advantage of the NEXUS inspection program is that it allows pre-screened, low-risk travelers to be processed with little or no delay by United States and Canadian border officials. Approved NEXUS applicants are issued a photo-identification proximity card and cross the border in a dedicated lane, where they present their proximity card. VABE Students interested in this program must make their own arrangements.

Can a VABE student get access to Financial Aid - Ontario Student Assistance Program?

Students seeking student loan assistance from the Ontario Student Assistance Program should apply through the University of Windsor for OSAP funding for years 1 through 3 and year 4 should they continue at Windsor. Only costs being paid to the University of Windsor can be considered as allowable costs for OSAP purposes and therefore, the 'Program Fees' paid to the University of Detroit Mercy' are not factored into the OSAP assessment.

On-line OSAP applications can be made via the OSAP website at Students attending UDM for their fourth year and beyond, will submit their OSAP application on-line however it will be routed through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for studies outside of Canada. Students who study outside of Canada are eligible for the Canada Student Loan Portion of OSAP only. Additional information on studies outside of Canada can be found by visiting the OSAP website.

For additional information and or clarification on OSAP policy and procedures, you may contact:

The Student Awards & Financial Aid Office at 519-253-3000 Ext. 3300 OR

Do I need health insurance to attend classes in Detroit?

YES! All VABE students must obtain out of province health insurance. This is available through the University of Windsor student health care package and all VABE students must purchase it. (You cannot opt out!) Health coverage provided by OHIP and other Canadian provinces does not pay for the true U.S. costs of health care. In the case of a serious illness or injury, depending on the provincial coverage, a student could experience serious financial hardship if they do not have out of province health insurance.

Are there forms required by Canadian students to be able to commute to classes at the University of Detroit Mercy?

YES. VABE students will be living in Canada and commuting to classes at the UDM and therefore require an I-20 form indicating their ability to commute. This is arranged directly through the University of Detroit. Please refer to the Canadian Students section of the University of Detroit Mercy web site.

Once I’m accepted into the VABE program at UWindsor who will be contacting me from UDM?

Mr. Stephen M. Coddington, who is the International Admissions Counselor and Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Detroit Mercy, will be contacting you by email once you have confirmed your acceptance into the VABE program at the University of Windsor. He will request biographical information which will assist you in being processed in a timely manner on the US side. It is absolutely essential that you be in communication with him as soon as you receive his email so you have your I-20 packet before arriving in Windsor to begin classes. Please note that there are 2 fees associated with your I-20 form, a SEVIS fee and an I-94 fee.

A tour of the UDM campus will be arranged for all incoming students after the Labour Day weekend and before classes begin at UWindsor. Please arrange to be available for the tour, as you will also visit the US Immigrations Office to process your forms. Dr. Veronika Mogyorody, VABE Coordinator, will be in contact with all incoming first year students as to the date of the UDM tour.

Mr. Coddington can be reached at:

University of Detroit Mercy
International Admissions Office, FAC 10
4001 W. McNichols Rd.
Detroit, MI 48221-3038
Voice: 1-313-993-3310

If I should have any questions regarding UDM who should I contact?

Will Wittig, Dean of Architecture at the University of Detroit Mercy will assist you with any questions you may have about the School of Architecture. His contact information is:

Voice: 1- 313-993-1532

What does VABE prepare me for upon graduation?

Students who study in the VABE program may choose to pursue many different careers. Here is a sampling of what is possible:

  • Artist, Architect, or Designer
  • Architectural Journalist or Historian
  • Building Researcher, Inspector, or Contractor
  • Draftsperson and CAD Operator
  • Interior or Furniture Designer
  • Real Estate Broker
  • Set Designer
  • Technical Illustrator
  • Urban Designer