Working Part-time as a Full-time Part 2 Architecture Student?


I am wondering if anyone have had experience in working part-time in an architectural practice while being on a full-time Masters Architecture programme?

How did it work and how many days/hours did you work per week? Many thanks

May 17, 21 9:05 am

I worked full time (35-45 hours a week) while being a full time masters student. Halfway through my program my wife had a baby. I took a week paternity leave from work and a semester off from school.  I think I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep at night - sometimes I didn’t sleep. My health was greatly impacted, I gained about 40lbs and I ended up in the emergency room several times.

I graduated almost debt free, but I also almost died.

I think if I were doing it over again, I would have only worked a few hours a week and had given myself a lighter course load. I had no choice because I needed to support my family. My advice is if you do work, make sure you can take chunks of time off during major deadlines at school - and make sure they understand that school is the priority.

May 17, 21 9:58 am  · 

First, glad you're ok! Hope you have recovered fully.

Second, how much of an impact did working really have on your debt? If you were supporting a family, presumably on an entry level wage, you couldn't have been putting THAT much money back into paying for school? 

It seems generally unrealistic to pay for most architectural education with a job during school, so I don't think it's the right message to send that if you almost die, you can graduate debt free. I realize that's not the message, but I've known too many architecture students to think that wouldn't be seen as a fair trade off haha

May 17, 21 1:27 pm  · 

30% of my salary went to tuition. I also wasn’t working for entry level wage - I was primary person on several projects.

May 17, 21 3:09 pm  · 

Oh - and I did a side kitchen renovation project during my semester off.

May 17, 21 3:11 pm  · 

I was stupid - I thought I could manage everything - I couldn’t.

May 17, 21 3:12 pm  · 

The best thing that happened to me was I got laid off when I was starting my thesis project.

May 17, 21 3:37 pm  · 
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Hi, I am currently doing this - working about 15-20 hours during the week while taking a full M.Arch. course load. The hours per day I work vary on my schedule during the semester. The firm I work for has been very flexible, which is helpful. I find it better when I am working in more of a support role, rather than playing more of a primary role on projects. The more involved you are in projects, the harder it is to disengage from work when school gets very busy. 

It's a challenge to feel really engaged with work while in school and it's important to remind your coworkers of your schedule and other commitments. Professors in general seem to think you should be focused on school 200%, so it's hard to get sympathy from them that you are working part time. Still, it's definitely been a great decision for me personally to be able to continue working. 

May 17, 21 10:00 am  · 
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I worked full-time in an architecture/research/build-office after my bachelors degree and when I decided to do my masters still had to finish some permits and construction of my project, so I worked there part-time while starting my masters. The project finished, beautifully, won some awards even, but I failed my first semester as a masters student at university, had to switch studios and directions because of that. And so I quit that job to focus better. It did open up new possibilities for me, it impacted every studio I did afterwards, and basically my career to I’m glad I worked and glad I failed that first semester, wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

May 17, 21 3:56 pm  · 

I think there is no problem with that, as long as you can handle it then go for the future.

May 17, 21 11:55 pm  · 

I always worked part time through school, either in the Architecture reading room helping out the librarian ( and looked at every book I could ) or working part time in one of the offices I had interned at over summer.  No more than 8-10 hours a week and usually broken into two stints.  It was a nice mental break and gave me continue exposure to real world issues. It helped to be flexible IE I put the hours in when I could vs the same day or time ( that probably was the best part ) 

May 18, 21 12:19 pm  · 
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I worked part time - 20 hours a week during my thesis year.  It was tough.  It was a lot of 12-14 hour days. 

May 18, 21 1:32 pm  · 

Yes, UK (London) you might also be in the UK based on the usage of 'part 2' here? I worked usually one day a week in architectural practice (very occasionally 2 days), more in the holidays (though leave enough time for deadlines you'll definitely have to be working on during that time) and full time in the summer between the two years. (More flexibly I also did uni ambassador shifts like showing students around and stuff)

Mostly very manageable - in some ways even helps with time management for uni cause it forces you to not do things for (most of) that day so you have to plan well and get them done elsewhere and it's basically an enforced break, this is good most of the time. And I think more practice experience is a benefit in general, while potentially keeping a more grounded reference point while you're doing student projects.

It helps if your practice is at least reasonably understanding - I do recommend taking off crit weeks/big deadlines where you can.

However, it very much can feel like you are having to do the same amount of work to your peers with one-two less days to do it in. (Which is...kind of true, it's basically important not to focus on it and think about your own output relative to your project not what other people are doing)

(If you are in the UK then US style 'take a slightly lighter course load' type advise isn't going to be much use - UK schools are much more 'here is the workload you figure out how much time you can/want to spend on it')

May 19, 21 7:24 pm  · 
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