why did you go to grad school?


...particularly those of you with a B.Arch, who went on to work for a few years afterwards and then decided to do a masters in architecture or something else design oriented. I guess the common response to this is "I want to teach", which is wonderful, But I'm more interested in why you thought that leaving a job, moving away, racking up loan debt again, would be worth it. 

I'm awaiting responses from MIT, Columbia and UCLA as of right now and periodically catch myself pondering this issue.

aaaaaaaand GO :D

Feb 14, 13 4:49 pm

I didn't. Because it would have been a colossal waste of money and time. Went and got a job instead.

Feb 14, 13 4:50 pm

The ONLY 2 reasons I can think of are these: a) if a one year add-on after a NAAB degree would ensure that they are more likely to teach because of some novel research, but that is less likely with emerging PhD programs, or b) because you did really well in your program, which then could get you admitted to your first choice school for a M.Arch.1 for its local "union card' value if you are intent on a certain geographic area, and spew some great archi-babble on your essay as to your proposed program.  These could be a Sept-May time frame, eh, not bad ...or a year plus a thesis, which is bad.  Who knows?  You might actually learn something "extra" or make some additional contacts, but that's a coin toss.

Feb 14, 13 6:13 pm

I haven't yet, awaiting decisions mid March / early April. I graduated 09, couldn't find work and had to start working as exhibit designer, stayed there for 3 years or so and decided I wanted back in the game, quit my job and got a internship.

So instead of putting a down payment on a starter home, I decided to put it towards grad school. For me if I can pay 1/3, take loans for a 1/3, and get assistance for a 1/3 I think it's worth it absolutely. And you're looking at 12 to 13 months of additional schooling, not bad.

Pros: research topics of interest, networking (if you decided to go to school where you'd like to work), possibility of teaching later on, improved job prospects and initial pay (I hope)

Cons: additional debt, job market outlook not so hot, a year without work.

Feb 14, 13 8:49 pm

NAAB requirements.  Want license.

Feb 14, 13 9:25 pm

I have an MArch because I would rather be an educated fool than just a fool

Feb 14, 13 10:18 pm

NAAB requirements.  Want license.

Yep.  One never knows where they'll end up geographically, so ...

(My above comment referred to those 1 year M.Archs. very few people do after a B.Arch. or the M.Arch.)

Feb 14, 13 10:35 pm

12voltporcupine, we seem to be in the same boat.  I am applying to M. Arch II programs @ UCLA, GSD, and Columbia.

My reasons are similarly echoed by other posters in this thread.  After graduating with a b. arch, I worked for 2 years at a design studio specializing in public art sculpture, and furniture design.  Finding a full-time architecture job in this dry market is obviously first priority, but I do want to continue learning and researching at the academic level.  I also would like to expand my networks, and try my luck in a different city.

Grad programs, (ivies especially) will incur an almost insurmountable amount of debt.  Should I get in, I'm not likely to even be able afford the costs of tuition/living, but the 1-1.5 years of school for a post-grad degree is tempting.  Teaching is also something I'm considering at the tail-end.

Looks like we're still about a month away from admissions.  Keep me posted!

Feb 15, 13 1:59 am


I forgot.  What's GSD? Georgia State Design School?  Something like that?

Feb 15, 13 2:53 am

GSD is Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Apologies if that wasn't an earnest question. 

Feb 15, 13 4:48 am

I decided to pursue M.Arch to:

1/ Focus deeper on theoretical topics. My undergrad school is too technical-oriented which gave me too few room for studying theoretical aspects. I want to build a more concrete base of design thinking that would allow me to make designs that are more "me".

2/ Experience new cultures, see buildings and meet new people from different culture. Coming from an asian developing country, we don't have good architectures and urban contexts for case-studies, those that I believe exist in the US.

3/ Discover myself. Undergrad studies has changed me dramatically in a positive way. I believe M.Arch studies will give me an even greater experience.

Feb 15, 13 9:52 am

GSD is Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Apologies if that wasn't an earnest question.

My apologies.  It wasn't an earnest question.  I came to learn that acronym's widespread use here.  During the night, I had a revelation.  It occurred to me that it should probably be termed HUSOA - Harvard University School of Architecture, that way 1) we know it's Harvard, and 2) we know it's architecture and not interior or industrial design.

Their moniker sort of reflects this long-running joke:

An new freshman is walking around the quad at Harvard.  He is not sure where the building he is looking for is located.  He stops what appears to be an upperclassman.

Freshman:  Excuse me, but can you tell me where the library is at?

Upperclassman:  We at Harvard do not end sentences with prepositions?

Freshman:  Ok, excuse me then, can you tell me where the library is at, asshole?

End of rant.

Feb 15, 13 11:55 am

Nice one, observant.  I'm actually a sucker for acronyms.  So I guess I should've written AUD M. Arch II, GSD M. Arch II, and GSAPP MSAAD (How ridiculous does this one sound :P)

Feb 15, 13 5:53 pm

Interesting thread, here's my reasons for applying for grad school

-wanted to learn more about public interest architecture in a rigorous academic setting

-massive networking potential

-better job prospects

-currently work at facility management and it's tolerable at best

-great way to travel 

-I like school

-I only have a 4 yr degree 


as for the debt... well... shit lol 

Feb 15, 13 10:12 pm

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