A short post to bolster the argument for the No Master alternative. Money, money, money.
The overall average state tuition and fees for a master’s in architecture is close to $20,000 a year according to a 2010-11 report prepared by DesignIntelligence. (www.di.net/news/tuition/). And you can spend a whole lot more depending on the school.
Forbes listed a Master’s degree in architecture in their top 10 worst master’s degrees to get based on salary and employment. (06-08-12).
And, finally, total college debt is hovering around one trillion, and the unemployment rate for recent architecture grads is just under 14%. (any number of sources – google it).
None of this is news to anyone in our line of work, but it’s not just a recitation of depressing news we’ve heard before, it’s an indictment of a system that is not meeting some pretty fundamental social expectations. Unless, of course, we are returning to an age of the “Gentleman Architect,” when architecture was an avocation of the wealthy (yes, I know, they weren’t all gentlemen – let me have my screed.)
Look, I’m not expecting a free education, especially for a master’s degree that really is a personal and professional choice, not a basic requirement as a B.Arch is for becoming an architect (although not absolutely necessary in some states). But there is a failure when the cost is $50,000 or more, but the expected employment increase for the degree is just 16% and the median pay at $77,000. (Forbes article cited above).
If you are in your twenties this may be a somewhat reasonable investment (if you don’t plan on having kids or owning a home, that is), but older than that, it simply ceases to make any financial sense. When I looked into it a few years ago, the interest on the loans was over 8%, yikes.
But we live in a time when our work lives will be getting longer and longer, don’t be surprised if you work until 70 or older. You can be 40 years old today and looking at another 30 years as an architect, but feel shut out of professional growth because you didn’t get that M.Arch back when you were twenty five.
This circumstance isn’t just a frustration for the individual, it is a failure to cultivate our resources as a society.
I don’t expect every architect to fully realize his or her delusions of grandeur since that would be just about all of us and the planet just isn’t big enough for that, but it is reasonable to expect an education system to provide a feasible option for those who are willing to work hard and strive for growth.
And if it doesn’t, well, we will have to do it ourselves. No Master.
No Master is a concept for a peer driven study program aiming to capture the benefits of an accredited master’s program without the school. Aimed at working architects and design professionals who wish to develop their professional growth. No Master - play on words: 1 Architects (master builders) without a master’s degree. 2 No school or teachers but but a peer review process, no masters just students 3 Ronin - masterless samurai, term for a secondary school graduate not admitted to university.