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The Master of Architecture program involves a unique approach to architectural education in which research and practice are integrated. Students work on projects, which reflect real design problems met by architects in practice and use them to develop the knowledge and competence required of a graduate entering the profession.
Graduates find employment in private architectural firms where they work on residential, commercial and institutional projects. They may also work in government departments where they assist in the development of major building projects. Some graduates run their own architectural practice while other study related areas and move into interior design, landscape design, urban design, urban planning, facility management, project management and development, conservation and heritage management, public art, construction, overseas aid, research, journalism, criticism, restoration and conservation.
It should be noted that architects, construction managers and engineers often work in the same industry, but their disciplines are very different. Architects are responsible for the overall design of buildings, while the engineer concentrates on the technical engineering solutions for the building's structural and services component. Construction managers work with both architects and engineers to ensure that structures are built to budget in a safe and timely manner.
It should be noted that, in order to become a registered architect you will need to complete two years of on the job practical work experience, and complete an examination in architectural practice set by Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) and run by the NSW Architects Registration Board.
There is no professional placement in this program however students are encouraged to take a year’s break between the Bachelor of Design (Architecture) and Master of Architecture in order to gain practical experience, working in an architectural practice or furthering their knowledge of architecture through travel and study of celebrated historical and contemporary works.
To gain admittance into the Masters of Architecture the successful completion of the Bachelor of Design (Architecture) is required.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Architecture include:
Degrees are awarded with honours on the basis of superior performance throughout the program and results of Research Project, there are two classes of Honours - Class I and Honours - Class II. For more information, see Master of Architecture.
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to have completed a post-graduate qualification, particularly independent research (such as Masters by research, or PhD). See more information on research higher degrees within the School of Architecture and built environment here.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of post graduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Post Graduate Handbook.
The following list provides some example jobs available to Master of Architecture graduates. Some of these jobs will depend on the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, the combination of other majors and electives studied, and some may require further study.
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Architecture employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries in small, medium or large organisations. Numerous worldwide, national and local private architectural practices graduates to entry level positions. Work opportunities vary with the economic climate; as such you may need to be proactive by approaching these firms and consultancies. Below are examples of major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in architecture.
- American institute of Architects (International)
- The Australian Institute of Architects (Australia)
- Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- The American Institute of Architects (Australia)
- Architect's Accreditation Council of Australia (Australia)
- The Association of Consulting Architects (Australia)
- Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (Australia)
- The Australian Architecture Association (Australia)
- The Australian Institute of Architects (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Building (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
- RIBA : Appointments: links to architecture job listings
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Master of Architecture are the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge required to become a professional Architect. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- A thorough knowledge of Architectural fundamentals and the principles which underpin them so as to operate effectively with comprehensive and well-founded skills.
- An ability to inform their practice through knowledge of historical and cultural precedents, as well as their own experience.
- An ability to apply design theories and methods to their projects.
- Utilise effective communication skills, including verbal, written and visual strategies, to communicate design & technical information both in the process of collaboration & to convey information.
- Be responsive to the societal issues and the needs of the users of their designs.
- Inform their design through a knowledge of structures, materials, construction and service systems.
- Apply their knowledge of professional, business, financial and legal contexts within which built environments are procured.
- Inform their actions through their knowledge of natural systems and the built environment.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note, the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.