A better MArch and quit my job vs. a lesser MArch and keep the job?


I'm interested in some feedback regarding MArch reputations and the reality of long-term effect it may have on my career.

I currently work at a very reputable and established architecture firm and would love to keep my job while I'm finishing my MArch; however, if I attend the more reputable program in my area at University of Maryland, I would not be able to keep my current position as an assistant.  There is another option at Morgan State University; the program is designed for working adults and offers evening classes.

Because I already work in the field (and have a 12 year continuous job history in architecture, green building and design), I am extremely uncertain of which is the best option for me.  Can anyone give advice on the pros and cons of choosing work over a better program? Does it matter in the long run? 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and feedback!

Dec 5, 12 10:10 am

I'd stick with the "lesser" program and remain employed.  Work experience is going to count for more than the name on your degree in the vast number of settings, particularly since neither Morgan State or Maryland have the Ivy League cache.  If you can avoid debt, do it at all costs.  Why do you even need a Masters?  Can do sit for the test with what you already have?  If so, I'd skip grad school altogether, and just be self taught on the subjects you were going to grad school for.  Pieces of parchment on the wall are becoming increasingly over rated as society (and would be students) begin to question the whole academic racket.  Just one old man's opinion. 

Dec 5, 12 11:48 am

I'd agree with geezertect.  Keep the job & choose the less prestigious March.  I'm assuming that the tuition is less at Morgan than Maryland.  If that's not case, should Maryland somehow cost less then it might be the better option.

The hard $ & ¢ numbers matter much more than any vague notion of prestige.


Dec 5, 12 1:33 pm

Thanks for the input! 

I'm pursuing a MArch because my undergrad is a BA in Studio Art. So far my studio background hasn't held me back from getting assistant jobs, but my problem is advancement. I completed 2 years of a BArch, then my husband's company moved us to a city with no NAAB program and I landed in Studio Art. Now I'm finally in a great place to earn my MArch, allowing me to eventually take the ARE. 

Morgan State is definitely cheaper than U of MD. I was offered a scholarship at UMD, but Morgan is still cheaper. I'm mostly concerned about what employers think - even though I'm employed now, I want to be desirable to other firms, too. 

Dec 5, 12 6:39 pm

I am actually in the same position as you, deciding between morgan state and keep working or umd and quite my job. I am currently finishing a master's in structural engineering while working in the baltimore area as a project engineer for a very reputable A/E firm in architectural engineering, will have my PE within the next year. Giving up my salary for 3 years would be a very difficult. Architecture was always been and will always be what I wanted to do but I wanted to get a good technical background first. I believe this will make a huge difference when I own my own firm.

Is there a big discrepancy between these two architecture schools in terms of prestige? I have never seen UMD ranked by DI either. I have heard that morgan state's program is on the rise, just not where it was to start with.

How do employers view programs like morgan state? Has anyone graduated from morgan state architecture or know someone that has who could shed some light?

Dec 20, 12 7:45 am

I'd agree with geezertect

Dec 20, 12 10:01 am

I will be the one to disagree....depending on the situation,

If you really desire to attend UMD, if you believe the education and network will give you ins to firms that you actually WANT to work for, then you should go... if you really have a strong desire to attend. Because to be blunt, going to Morgan is not going to open up many more doors to you then what are already opened up, similar to what geezertect said. In short it really comes down to what you want to do in your life, if you are "happy" and "comfortable" and you like being "happy" and "comfortable" then yeah, don't take the risk, you have a good thing going... but you don't like what your doing, then you should be looking towards a path that leads you to the places you desire.

Dec 22, 12 7:59 pm

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