Architecture school while working full-time...possible?



I have a masters in Urban Planning and I'm currently employed as a transportation planner with an interest in sustainable urbanism. I’ve been considering architecture school and doing some online research on schools, prerequisites, skills etc. I also plan on talking to a couple of architects at my company this coming Monday to get some advice. I work for great company that has a policy of paying for its employee’s further education. I feel I have a great opportunity to go back to school and have my company foot the bill.

Now with that in mind, is it possible to attend school part-time while working full-time, or is the course work too demanding? I would definitely appreciate anyone’s opinion and advice.


Nov 13, 09 10:29 pm

what city do you live in?

the boston architectural college has an m.arch program where you can work and complete a degree...

not sure of any other architecture programs that accomodate people working full time... schedules would be difficult, and architecture school culture tends to assume you have no other life...

Nov 13, 09 11:29 pm  · 

You can go to a school that has such a structure in place, like the BAC in Boston or the night program at Drexel. They are tailored for people working part time.

I don't know where you are but I'm sure there's more programs like that in the country.

Nov 13, 09 11:32 pm  · 

Lawrence Tech in MI has an accredited Online Masters of Architecture program.

Nov 14, 09 12:17 am  · 

You'll get out what you put in, imho. I can't see how you could function at a job and still excel with design work - there are just too many times you have to struggle, stay up all night or whatever to advance your skills and design.

Outside of design, sure, it is all just regular classes.

Just my opinion, but you can't put a time frame on learning how to design well.

Nov 14, 09 1:46 pm  · 

vksince82 - do you think an architecture background is necessary for an urban planner? And given that you have some experience in urban planning, how would you compare the payoffs as an urban planner vs those of an architect?
I am facing a dilemma of whether to go for an MArch vs an MUP.
any advice would be greatly appreciated !

Aug 7, 10 12:21 pm  · 

"Now with that in mind, is it possible to attend school part-time while working full-time, or is the course work too demanding? I would definitely appreciate anyone’s opinion and advice."

I did it - working full time as a 3D environment designer/3D Modeler
for Rockstar games and attending architecture school working on my M.Arch - My days started at 4am except on tuesday, then it was 3am.
I would work 8 hours at the game studio in Carlsbad Ca., then afterward, drive 35 miles down to San Diego to attend Architecture classes at New School of Architecture + Design. It took 4 years, 2 years part time, and 2 years full time(2nd + 3rd year Studio requirements).

That being said, I used my 3D Maya based modeling skills to perform my architecture projects, then when that got too time comsuming, I switched to Revit to further reduce the time involved.
Before using Revit, I only got 4 hours of sleep/night except on midterms and finals, where I got none.

My advice, is to learn BIM first - this will reduce the time involved in your studio work and make impossible tasks easy.

Also one more thing - do you have a family? if you do, don't do it
never be selfish and put your career before your family - That is the worst thing anyone can do.

Aug 8, 10 4:33 pm  · 

Yes, it's possible. I've done it while running 3 businesses and going to architecture school (M.Arch.) full time.

It is possible.

Is it easy? Nope.

Will all of your relationships suffer (partner/spouse, dog/cat, family, friends, etc.). YEP.

Will you sleep much? NOPE

But is it possible. Yep.

Aug 9, 10 3:39 am  · 
Quentin I never knew there was an online arch college. Might have to look into that (actually I will) my job will even pay for 2 classes a semester. Kind of excitied.......Thanks for the info.

Let me know if there are any more online colleges.

Aug 9, 10 10:12 am  · 

Online M.Arch????

How is THAT supposed to work???

Aug 9, 10 10:36 am  · 

Seems legit and the school is accredited. You do have to go there a few weekends for ur thesis.

Aug 9, 10 1:59 pm  · 

Academy of Art University offers their M.Arch online too. It's accredited.

Aug 9, 10 5:41 pm  · 

So does Boston Architectural College- I believe it was the first accredited M.Arch online.

Aug 10, 10 12:43 pm  · 

Yes but Boston Architectural College requires one to already have a degree in Architecture which is fine but if you have a degree in something else then you can go to AAU or ITU

Aug 10, 10 1:38 pm  · 

These schools would allow you to get an M.Arch without a degree in architecture?? What's the full name of the schools please.

Jul 5, 22 9:24 pm  · 

getting an online degree is like putting water in your gas tank and expecting to get somewhere

Aug 10, 10 9:11 pm  · 

I agree. I can't imagine school without studio.

Aug 10, 10 9:25 pm  · 

Oh that's ridiculous. I have 2 degrees and working on a third.

I completed my entire 2nd degree online and was a far better experience than on campus.

Some people need the live interaction of an instructor, which we also had online with video conferencing and online chats as well as recorded lectures and asynchronous discussions.

Unless you've experienced both in-class/on-campus and on-line studies as I have you don't know what you're talking about.

Aug 10, 10 10:08 pm  · 

i worked while getting my undergrad and Im still alive to tell the tale.

BAC and LTU online program has studio, because it is required by naab. What happens is you go to the school for a week or two to fufill the requirements. I would say check out the schools and see what you think. Look at the student nd faculty projects, that will tell you alot.

Aug 11, 10 9:22 am  · 

I agree, 90% of what I learned in studio was from my classmates in studio (why they require you to work in studio and not at home). Taking generic classes on line is ideal and saves a ton of time, but nothing design oriented.

Learn cad and calculus at home, learn how to design in a studio. And yes, I've done both, taken classes online and at more univ's then most people see!

I would be very, very skeptical of a school that tried to slam everything into a quick 'requirement'. I can't imagine really learning anything in two weeks (took me 2 years of studio before I had a clue, then 2-5 years to explore and learn)! Building a simple model, yes, learning how to design, no.

But it depends on your priorities. If design isn't your primary motivating piece, then that's another story altogether.

Aug 11, 10 9:39 am  · 

I went to BAU's website, I can't find anything about their "online masters". Only thing I see is their 5yr work/school program.

Aug 11, 10 10:35 am  · 

We had an entire charette at our school online, we had studios online, it's simply not true that one cannot learn "design" online.

Aug 11, 10 8:06 pm  · 

It all boils down to how you are as an individual creatively and with time managment.   I hated working in studio I worked full time while getting my Bachelors and did just as good as those who didn't.  Average a B or better in my studios.  I'm naturally creative and don't need the "help" from classmates and to be honest its annoying having someone ask you how to do something 100 times.  I'm currently an Intern Architect making over 40k and will be attending BAC for their Distance Learning Program and think its a perfect school for someone like me.  

Apr 4, 13 10:12 am  · 

Dear Telicious Robinson, would you mind telling me a little more about the BAC and your online experience? I am debating if to go to the BAC or LTU for their accredited online programs, but I do not understand why the BAC is 3 times more money than LTU? 

Please see this post:

Can you tell me about your experience, and what differences I could potentially find between the two programs? I would appreciate it. 

Apr 28, 14 8:26 am  · 

Short answer.....NO

Jul 21, 22 11:26 am  · 

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