To continue with a master’s degree or not is a daunting decision, one that every architect ponders towards the end of their undergraduate academic life. For some, the answer is crystal clear, while some take time in figuring it out. It is a difficult choice that will determine the course of an A large number of factors affect this decision, the least of them is the diverse options available today. Architecture is a complex profession that involves a lot of skills and expertise. Therefore, expanding on these skills is always helpful. But is master’s the only way to do that? The answer depends on the person making the decision. 

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Various options after B.arch_©Ariana Zilliacus

Timing is also an extremely important factor when deciding whether to pursue a master’s or not. Some decide to take the plunge immediately after B.arch, some take the longer route filled with experience and learning. Both of these options are viable and have certain advantages and disadvantages that can be argued but what’s important is to do a master’s for the right reasons. The reasons for pursuing a master’s are numerous. Some do it to expand their knowledge and some to focus on one particular niche. More commonly, students decide to go for a master’s simply because it’s the next sensible step. While there is almost no downside to furthering a person’s academic knowledge, making a more informed decision can be helpful in the long run.

Some of the main advantages of doing a master’s early are that a student is already familiar with the academic lifestyle and the pressure that comes with it. Continuing with studies can be a great way to further architectural knowledge. It gives a person an opportunity to get ahead in the field early on in their career. On the other hand, gaining some real-world experience, and exploring the options available and exactly what they offer is the more appropriate way to go for certain people. Clarity comes with time and some experience can help make the process easier.

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To pursue a masters or not is a difficult decision_©BAM Team

Another major motive for a master’s is specializing in a particular field. Architecture encompasses and binds a large number of talents, namely interior design, landscape design, product design, structural engineering, and various others. Focusing on one of these aspects and utilizing personal talent and interest opens up a lot of new opportunities for an architect. Experts are high in demand due to their immense knowledge in their respective fields. This is a useful option for students who know where their interests and talents would be most useful.

A higher degree also translates to higher salaries. Tragically, architecture is a highly competitive and demanding industry, where most fresh graduates are underpaid and overworked. Masters give students an edge in this area and introduce higher-paid jobs and diverse employment opportunities. Specialties such as project management are renowned for offering generous salaries. 

For architects whose passions focus on urban design and large-scale planning, a master’s is a suitable choice to expand in that direction. This can also be a promising aspect for architects looking for employment in the public sector. Various government organizations handling town planning, housing, transportation, and urban design projects have roles assigned to architects. These are rewarding career paths and can lead to even greater accomplishments.

Architects with a specialty are globally recognized and usually earn higher salaries_©Slava Bowman

All of the above-mentioned options talk about working in the architectural field. But pursuing a master’s is not just restricted to architecture. Architects, a lot of the time, find that while they love and have a talent for design and creativity, they do not necessarily care for the practical and technical aspects of building. These architects can use a post-graduation degree to divert from the traditional sense of building and go for lucrative options such as product design, fashion design, architectural journalism, research, graphic design, animation, content creation, and many others.

Probably one of the only downsides to doing a master’s is the cost. It a usually a two-year program that can be done in India or abroad. The courses are often expensive and require a lot of time and dedication. It can take years to recover from the debt due to the educational loans required. This option is particularly challenging for students going for master’s immediately after completing their undergraduate degrees. That being said, the advantages can often outweigh this concern, considering the number of opportunities an additional degree opens.

A master is rarely a bad idea but the question remains. Does it align with a person’s long-term goals? This is an extremely personal decision. In this intense and demanding industry, interest remains key. It is only natural to pursue a masters in a particular field out of interest and passion, especially after a 5-year undergraduate course. The pros and cons can be outweighed and argued against each other but the only factor truly affecting this decision is the direction in which a person wants to go in their career.

References:

  1. RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2019). 20 Best Masters Degree Programs after Architecture. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/article/a259-20-best-masters-degree-programs-after-architecture/.
  2. ‌RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2022). To or Not to pursue a Masters right after graduation. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/architectural-community/a6370-to-or-not-to-pursue-a-masters-right-after-graduation/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2022].
  3. www.bfitdoon.com. (n.d.). You are being redirected… [online] Available at: https://www.bfitdoon.com/blog/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-professional-degree/.
  4. Team, S. (2016). Bachelor Of Architecture (B.Arch): Career, Scope, Jobs, Salary. [online] SarvGyan. Available at: https://www.sarvgyan.com/courses/engineering/barch [Accessed 27 Oct. 2022].

Author

Ankita is an enthusiastic architect, reader, and writer with an endless fascination for history, literature, and design. She loves practising architecture and writing about it, and hopes to become better at it every day.

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