Saturday, January 22, 2011

From Business to Architecture

I have been reading through your blog discussions and was hoping you could offer me some insight – I am 24 years old and I have a B.S. from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. I currently work as a merchandiser for Gap Inc., managing a $250M business but I have recently been thinking about a career change. I have always loved architectural design and building think architecture could be a good fit - I am analytical, I enjoy problem solving and mathematics, and I have a true passion for interior design. With that said, I am incredibly scared to make a career transition of this magnitude so ‘late in the game.’ It sounds like I would need to pursue a master in arch, is that the case and if so, would I get any credit for a B.S.? I have already taken many math courses (calculus, computer science, statistics, etc.) as part of my undergraduate degree, so are there any programs that are less than 3-4 years? Am I crazy for making a switch like this?
First, I assure you that you are neither crazy nor too "late" in the game.  In fact, more and more candidates for architecture are older than 24 and are considered career changers.  However, ultimately, it will be up to you as to whether or not you desire the change as pursuing a Master of Architecture is a commitment.  If you are not sure, visit an architecture program or visit with an architect to learn more.

With your business degree from UC Berkeley, you are eligible to pursue the Master of Architecture (3-4 years).  It is doubtful that you could complete the degree in less than the 3-4 years given your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated discipline.  As you state, you have fulfilled what most programs require as prerequisites, but you may wish to take a drawing course to begin work on a portfolio.

To learn more about degree programs, visit both and

To learn more about the process, obtain Becoming an Architect, 2nd Edition.

I wish you the best and feel free to contact me with additional questions.

Dr. Architecture

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