would a Post-Professional master’s improve marketability?


Bit of background: 5 year accredited degree, class of ‘09. I only had 2 internships and I’ve been doing exhibit design since graduating. In the past 3 months after redoing my portfolio and updating my resume I had 1 interview out of roughly 120 jobs I applied for. It was for an architectural visualizer.

I guess my question is for anyone that’s gone Post-Professional Master’s route - does it improve chances of getting hired? Is it worth the roughly 50K price tag? (Northeast). Did it improve your salary? It sounds great: 3 semesters / roughly 13 months but the price tag is insane  and I’ve only managed to save up enough for living expenses for a year without working.

I’m considering CCNY/CUNY at 16k per semester and Pratt, long shots are UPenn and Columbia. I’m considering focus on sustainable design, building technology, or parametric design. California has some great programs but I would ideally want to practice here in the northeast.

Also - were you able to get IDP credits for work done during?

Thanks much!

Nov 5, 12 10:23 am

More marketable? It's hard to become an expert in one of the 3 concentrations you mentioned above in only a year but if you rebrand yourself that way it can certainly help you break out of the exhibit designer label. However, I'd have a hard time taking on 50k in additional debt, assuming that you may have some left over from undergrad.

You can earn IDP credits if your employer is flexible, I had several classmates work 30 hours a week during grad school. 

Advanced degrees can earn you an additional 930 elective hours.

Nov 5, 12 10:31 am

Thanks for the info on IDP.

Yes, it's party I feel exhibit design isn't a selling point on my resume and the duration of the program is very appealing - summer, fall, spring with 3 studios. it's the price tag that's scary coupled with the job market. If I could get assistance on tuition and hopefully only need to borrow 24-28K (plus the 12 or so left over from undergrad) I should have enough money saved come August for all other expenses (living, transportation, supplies, and computer).

I'm just curious how the degree would improve chances of getting hired if at all and if there's a bump in salary to make it worth it.

Nov 5, 12 5:03 pm

Hi rob!

Oh I definitely can identify with you! My bachelors was architecture and instead of continuing design with Masters of Architecture, I wanted to broaden my horizons and opted for a more academic direction  instead of constricting myself to design, and chose Masters of science in built environment by research. In retrospect I wonder if this degree makes me more versatile or just less qualified because I'm not a certified architect! But I don't really regret my decision, and  In your case I would say go for it! Acquiring more k knowledge can never be a bad thing right?

Nov 25, 12 8:38 am

It would definitely increase your prospects. Don't limit yourself because of the money. Either go for the best or don't do it.

Nov 27, 12 12:52 am

I have a post professional masters degree from Penndesign, and I have to say it doesn't help very much. Only a little. I have classmates who apllied for over 150 jobs and got no interviews at all.

Nov 27, 12 4:43 am

If you do this, make sure you pick a thesis topic that's useful and will be in demand. I would dive into energy modeling for instance. Become an expert in an emerging field that companies will be desperate to acquire in the upcoming decade.

Too many masters thesis topics are 'design for a bathhouse' or such dime-a-dozen topics.

Nov 27, 12 2:42 pm

@ fc1987625 - financial stability and a steady job just aren't for me, I have a penchant for bad financial decisions and glutton for punishment. Kidding aside, though, it's a huge gamble leaving my job and doing this.

Rusty Shackleford - I'm interested in parametric design and really supplementing my archy education. As for the thesis I had couple of ideas floating around one being architecture response to crisis/makeshift housing and tying it into mass production/parametric design. What I should really be doing is taking your advice and narrow it down to something more in demand right now. I figured I wouldn't get too bogged down by since it's optional for most programs, there's really no need to commit to one right now.

Nov 27, 12 3:49 pm

doesn't matter what you go for, in the end either you have good design abilities or not.  Getting a masters degree will not guarantee a job if your work is no better than a 2nd undergrad student. 

Nov 27, 12 4:05 pm

I graduated in 09 as well. While I was struggling to find work, I was considering going back to school too. I visited a few schools, and on one trip in the middle of a conversation with a faculty member I realized that what I really wanted to do (if the difficulty of finding a good job wasn’t an issue) was to spend a few years working in an office, learning how the profession really works. Finding a job was super hard at the time, and I think subconsciously I was falling back on what I knew I was good at, being a student.


I do think some day I will go back to school, but I won’t spend a cent of my savings until I know exactly what I want to study, where I want to do it, and how the degree will help get me to where I want to be.

I guess my advice would be to figure out your real motivations for going back to school. If it’s strictly to help get a good job I would think twice. There are a bunch of ways you can make yourself stand out in the job market besides another degree.


Good Luck.

Nov 28, 12 8:30 am

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: