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M. Arch 1 (3+ year) - more questions / looking back

Apr 30 '13 6 Last Comment
observant
Apr 30, 13 11:50 pm

I have a couple of questions for those who have done a M. Arch 1 (3+ year) and/or are familiar with the dynamics of that route into architecture.  I hold such a degree.

How many M.Archs. (3+ year variety) are released into "the market" each year, compared to 4 years, 5 years and M.Arch. 2s?  Is there are study, or are there stats, on the profession's retention of these grads?  In total, it has to be a rather small number.

Here's why I'm asking.  In the handful of employers I've had since graduation, I have been the ONLY M.Arch. 1 employed in any of these places - mostly, they've been B.Archs., followed by M.Arch. 2s.

Also, I graduated in a class of about 19 people, after losing 3 people.  About half of those people never even went into architecture ... or an allied field.  Some returned to their previous occupations or did completely different things. Only about 7 have licensed as architects, and not all of them work in the traditional role of architect (some are doing other kinds of consulting and one is in educational administration).  From what I saw, the people who went on to work in architecture fared better in NYC, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago.  My thought is that markets closer to Ivy schools (where that is a popular educational route into the field) are more receptive to these graduates.  They aren't as likely to be seen as often in secondary markets.  Am I right or wrong?  Do you have any insight into the markets these grads tend to "score" in?

I have seen a cavalier attitude toward the M.Arch. 1 but, again, that was a function of there being no others in the firms I personally know of.  In your firm or your previous employers, have you seen them to a noticeable extent and did they hang on? 

In general, I'm wondering what becomes of them down the pike.  Is it that the ones who went to best schools stay in for the long haul, and the ones who went to the more "open admission" state schools have less at stake and thus leave the occupation?  Any input, anecdotes, or experiences?

 

Given
May 1, 13 4:10 am

Hmm, at the firm I used to work at in the NE it was Mostly M.Arch 1 employees at the lower levels. I think that in general there was a bias to hire older employees at entry level up to a point. I actually think that firms love to hire entry level 30 year olds, they are perceived as responsible and non-threatening. Once you get older than that it can get quite tough though.

I think that your hypothesis about markets closest to ivy league schools is probably a decent one, but I think its more about location in general. All the firms I have worked preferred employees from the schools nearby, because that's often where the bosses either studied or teach.

That's a distressing statistic about your class of architecture, but the locations aren't really surprising. I believe it really is much easier to drop out of the field if you are not in a major city with a lot of firms to choose from. I dont believe that the M.Arch. 1 has a lot to do with it though, much more important is the size of the city and the school.

archinet
May 1, 13 5:23 am

In my experience I have noticed (in the only office I worked for in US .I have an M.arch 1 from a Canadian school) all the architects had an M.arch degree interns a 5 year B.arch. It did not really matter if the degree was an M.arch 1 or 2. It did matter what school you went to. 

However the ppl that did well professionally since graduating did have an arch. background or a related background. We only have 4 year b.arch in Canada, so the only way to get licensed is to get an M.arch....also there is no distinction between a M.arch 1 or 2....maybe you can get advanced standing. 

tiorted
May 1, 13 10:28 am

archinect, M.Arch 1 is the M.Arch that Canadian schools offer--a professional degree for undergraduates from a variety of backgrounds. M.Arch 2 is a post-professional research degree that is one to two years long. McGill and U of Toronto offer both.

observant
May 1, 13 12:14 pm

Hmm, at the firm I used to work at in the NE it was Mostly M.Arch 1 employees at the lower levels. I think that in general there was a bias to hire older employees at entry level up to a point. I actually think that firms love to hire entry level 30 year olds, they are perceived as responsible and non-threatening. Once you get older than that it can get quite tough though.

Northeast location, ok, because that is in fact where the bulk of those programs are. I figured as much.  As for 30 year old entry level hires, I sort of see you're point about the responsibility, but disagree on the threatening part.  If it's an office that thinks it can treat the 30 y.o. like the 23 y.o., as in it's a privilege to work here, the 30 y.o. is more likely to find another employer and tell them to stuff it, if it's a buyer's market.

It wasn't just our class that had those statistics, though.  The preceding and succeeding 3 year class did as well.  I attribute it to the fact that the admit rate was high and people got it without having their aptitude through a portfolio scoured enough.  At the Ivies (not to bring them up), the competition to get in is intense, that the portfolios and the aptitude are both in a different ball park.

Given
May 2, 13 10:15 am

If it's an office that thinks it can treat the 30 y.o. like the 23 y.o., as in it's a privilege to work here, the 30 y.o. is more likely to find another employer and tell them to stuff it, if it's a buyer's market.

haha agreed, but I've never worked in a buyers market and Im starting to think that it will never happen again unless 30% of the arch. schools in the US shut down. Anyways more fuel for the tired debate that architecture school is growing into an art school program with 1-2 extra years of tuition thrown in.

observant
May 2, 13 11:52 am

I don't think a buyer's market is anything we'll see anytime soon.  And, in the last 20 years, as you say, more a-schools have come onto the scene, and others have added this very 3 year program, such as UMass, ASU and WSU.  Then, there is a disturbing trend that the programs have watered down their technical content in favor of fluff.  Still, I think there is a tipping point when going back for a first-timer M.Arch. makes less sense as it relates to employment and even our adviser mentioned this, though while I was planning my schedule with him in private. No one wants to put their heads together to fix the problem, as is typical of architects who can't agree on anything.  Instead, we have a 500 pound elephant in the room.

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