changing my career to architecture?


I'm a 'senior student' (24 years old), studying a Graphic Design degree through correspondence, whilst working a full time job at a design studio. I'm only half way through my first year of my degree, but have worked in the design studio for just over 3 years now. My problem is that I am wanting more than graphic design... I feel like I'm not working to my full potential, and think that in a couple of years I am going to be driving myself crazy with boredom. I have always had an interest in architecture, and am now looking into this as a new area to explore as it still makes use of creativity, but also has a more 'technical' side to it. My A level subjects were maths, physics and biology (I had wanted to do art as well but my high school did not let us do both physics and art so I chose the one that would get my further later on; althought I have my art O' level). I am only doing my tertiary education now due to financial constraints as I live in Zimbabwe so cannot get a bank loan easily and do not feel I could burden my parents with having to try to support my studies as they are struggling.

So my question to you is this- should I continue and finish my graphic design degree anyway, even though I feel like I should be doing more with my life than graphic design, and then try to look for a masters in architecture that I will be accepted into using my graphic design degree for entry? Or should i complete only my first year (and get my graphic design 'certificate') and move on and try to start my architecture degree? I am also wanting to find out if anyone knows of any South African universities that will accept my graphic design degree as entry into the architecture masters? I will be self- funding this completely so need to find a good program that doesn't cost the earth!

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Jul 9, 13 10:42 am

you could get the best of  both, get Graphic design as a degree, then apply for Masters of Architecture. Undergrad Architecture degree is nowadays limiting and most would still need to go for M.Arch.

Having said that, having  a good graphic design and 3d skill would come in handy for your M.Arch

Jul 9, 13 11:14 am

I got my undergrad in graphic design - spent a long career in 3D graphics both Flight simulation and then video games went back to school and got my M.arch in 2007, then have been working in the architecture field since. Go for your M.arch as superspace says soon after you get your graphic design degree - don't  take the 25 year route I did - 

Jul 9, 13 12:01 pm
Also, contact the African Leadership Academy. They may be able to assist you with information about foreign universities.
Jul 9, 13 1:43 pm

Architecture is alluring,however, the process is very difficult

Jul 10, 13 12:49 am

thank you so much for your comments; it's great to know that other people have done their M.Arch after a graphic design degree as so many people have told me I can't do that so I'm really glad to hear that it is possible! If you don't mind me asking @superspace and @Xenakis- where did you do your Graphic Design degrees and then your M.Arch's? I'd like to just research the schools a bit to see what the process involved was, and compare it to schools in South Africa.

You have made my day- thanks so much!! :)

Jul 10, 13 1:34 am

Go for it bro. Your degree in graphics art would be a tremendous addition besides its already an evidence of creative ability. What you may need to work on is the technical aspect. For a start, try to study develop a curiosity for the way things are put together and how things work. From machines, to buildings. Develop an obsession for details, do some self tutoring on technical drawing and descriptive geometry. It would all seem strange at first, but with time, you should begin to appreciate the effort. with the right amount of passion and hard work, you should be successful.

Jul 10, 13 6:22 am

@ogunedo, thanks so much! I love perfection, precision and detail (I was constantly told with my O level art to make my art more 'abstract' and not so detailed and precise) so this is sounding more and more what I should be doing! I will definitely start doing some self- tutoring as yes it is a concern that I would be behind on the technical side. I really appreciate the tips on where to start, and thanks so much for the encouragement! :)

Jul 10, 13 8:21 am


I did my B.S. in graphic design at San Jose State

Jul 10, 13 1:15 pm

the My M.Arch at New School of Architecture in San Diego

Jul 10, 13 1:15 pm

You're going to be frustrated no matter what path you choose.  I say choose the cheapest easiest path.  There really are no rewards, it's a zero-sum-game.  And you get to work with douchebags in either industry, unless you get lucky and find some nice people to work with.  Happiness is not going to come from any degree or working in Architecture or Graphic Design.  You're asking and wishing happiness comes from exterior events, occupation, work.  Life doesn't work like that, unless you're just another human robot sheep, going along with a crowd of human robot sheep.  I'm not urinating on your dream, just saying that it's exactly that, a dream, an illusion.

Jul 10, 13 3:42 pm

I went the architecture undergrad, architecture masters route, although my girlfriend did switch over from graphic design after a year. She's really happy she made the switch. As for finding meaning, I can sympathize with LightMyFire66's frustrations- if you are lucky, you will get to make interesting buildings with nice people. If you are unlucky, well, there are a lot, a lot of architects whose idealism and zeal has turned to bitterness. From my own experience, the act of designing is a joy into itself, and if you can find a way to do it, regardless of the outcome, it can be rewarding.

I'd say see if you can take a few classes or a summer program. Many schools offer summer 'try and see' architecture studios. After my first studio in undergrad, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.

As far as finanicng your education, aim high and wide. Many schools have application fee waivers, and you could probably get some excellent scholarships. Just go after them.

Good luck!

Jul 10, 13 7:16 pm


Am sorry about your frustration. However , i dont think its a good idea discouraging ppl from following dreams and aspirations that have kept them sleepless several times. Individuals differ and it may just be that you are in the wrong profession, as many others. Architecture is about passion and not necessarily about work. I have had friends who upon graduation from Arch school have never worked a single second for anyone and enjoy the joy and freedom that comes with it.  I suggest, you find out what your real passion is within architecture or leave it for something more "fulfilling.

Jul 11, 13 5:40 am

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