Cultivating your own design methodology takes time and experience and pursuing a master's degree in architecture can help you find your direction.
While many people decide to plunge into graduate work straight from their undergraduate study, taking time off to work can be beneficial. Working develops the real-world skills you'll need to succeed in a master's degree program in architecture and may help you decide what to focus on in graduate school.
Graduate School Accreditation
You'll want to choose a graduate school accredited by the National Architecture Accrediting Board, as this accreditation is vital in applying for state licensure. There are 84 schools in the U.S. that offer a Master of Architecture. You may view these schools and see which programs may be a good fit for you.
The Master of Architecture Program
The main difference between your teachers in graduate school and undergraduate is that they will expect more from you at each stage in your projects. If you have an undergraduate degree in architecture, you can typically finish a master's degree program in two years. The graduate-level coursework in an architecture program is more focused than in undergraduate, but it's not about how much you produce, but how prepared you are.
Graduate-Level Architecture Projects
The projects in an architecture master's degree program vary from extremely theoretical to the practical aspects of designing and building. You are encouraged to try both types of projects, but in the end your personality plays a large role in how your project develops.
Working While You Go to Graduate School
If you are considering working and going to school, try getting a teaching assistant position. That will give you the time to work on your graduate school projects. School is the time when you will have the most design freedom in your career, and you want to explore it to the fullest.
Getting a master's degree in architecture is expensive, and you could emerge with $100,000 in debt. But you can always take out student loans for graduate school. In the end, you need to weigh the costs of a graduate architecture program against the benefit of continued education.
Andrea Noce is a graduate of the University of Dayton and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She currently lives in Washington, DC, and is a reporter in the healthcare field.