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Thread: MUP to architecture

  1. #1
    Jan 2010

    MUP to architecture

    Hi everyone. Long story short, I went to planning school thinking I'd get a solid urban design education. My school turns out to be heavily skewed toward policy--something I didn't even realize was a possibility when I jumped into this new field. I have learned two things in this program:

    1. I love design whether it is graphic design, urban design, contemporary art...
    2. I don't think I want to be a planner. Urban designer, yes. Zoning approvals, etc. not so much.

    Here's my question: Do I try to find that elusive foot in the door at an urban design firm with my MUP and try to develop my creative skills there, or do I jump into a second master's degree in architecture or landscape architecture and get the solid design foundation and then come at it with a dual masters. I love urban design, but it seems that architects do most design work.--I assume because they have the training in drawing, rendering, spatial thinking, etc.

    Some considerations:
    The market for architects and landscape architects isn't much better than for planners right now. Will the dual degree give me an advantage?

    Would 3 years spent at a design school be better/worse than 3 years spent interning/working in the field? In other words, in three years I'd be entry level in one instance. Somewhat experienced in the other.

    As a side note: I recently wandered through the architecture department at my current school and was blown away by what students were doing compared to what my classes emphasize. For whatever its worth, I have little doubt that I would enjoy the courses and challenge of arch. school.

    Thanks for any insight!


  2. #2
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
    Jan 2005
    Hang on Sloopy...land
    As a consideration the MUD program at Michigan is 1 year. Urban Design could be where you want to end up.

    Taking 3 years in school might work out well though. The market could be turning around, and you are now much more marketable. Good luck!
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

  3. #3
    Dec 2006
    I started college in architecture school and switched over to planning. I was interested in the larger picture and the architecture studios focused on one, maybe two, buildings at a time. UIUC had no real connection between the architecture, landscape architecture, and planning. I now work as a planner in consulting and have been able to do both design and non-design types of planning.

    Firms, especially those that do any level of design work, want to see a portfolio. It doesn't need to be fancy, although with so much competition out there for even the smallest internship, you should really have solid skills. If you really want to do design, why are you wasting your time on the MUP? I knew that I didn't want to spend 5 years in a BArch program so I got out during my junior year and earned a BUP. I carried alot of those skills over, but I have also taken calculated risks. I never say no to anything ever asked of me: right now I am wrapping up a very intense environmental assessment for a road realignment that I pretty much created from the ground up. I also teach myself new skills rather than wait for something to drop in my lap.

    I am very fortunate to do design work and can crank out construction documents on a whim if I wanted to. I don't have an architecture or landscape architecture degree, but have learned enough of the skills that many of them of them through on-the-job experience to at least be taken more seriously than a design planner (though I'm still not in that pantheon of engineers and design professionals). Unless you have amassed a bunch of projects by learning skills "on the street" or teaching yourself, you will need an architecture (or landscape architecture) degree.

    Everyone is hurting right now. Dual degrees do not equate to higher salary unless (1) you have a VERY diversified skill set that you couldn't get with just one degree or (2) you have experience in both fields in addition to the degree. See previous posts.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

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