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Could a postgraduate architecture course be for you?

James Davis

Careers Commentator
Architecture and building disciplines allow you to create things people will enjoy for years to come. With the right course, you can get involved.

Architecture and building courses allow students to envision, manage and follow through with all manner of design and construction projects. They provide graduates with the skills to take part in civil works, landscape design, surveying and more. However, there are several things prospective students ought to know before making their decision. Here’s what architecture entails as a profession and as a course, what the job prospects and salary are like, as well as a guide to where you can study it.

What does architecture entail?

Architecture as a profession is about overseeing the whole life of the construction process, from the initial planning and design phases all the way to building. Architects are responsible for being knowledgeable about all manner of regulations and legislation, physics regarding structural stability and efficacy, project management and more. Their day-to-day activities can thus be highly varied depending on where they’re currently at on their project(s).

Postgraduate architecture courses provide a wealth of knowledge in all manner of relevant, practical disciplines. Students can expect units in the following, among many others:

  • Architectural research
  • Architectural practice & business management
  • Advanced structures and software
  • Institutions and ideology
  • Dwelling and density
  • Utopian urbanism
  • Material experiments

Most postgraduate courses assume prior knowledge in the field, with a bachelor’s degree in architecture being the optimal entry point. If you didn’t attain roughly a credit GPA throughout prior study, you’ll likely need to do some sort of work placement to prove to your institution’s selection committee that you have what it takes.

Overall, this is a discipline for people who can effectively communicate detail and think creatively. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys thinking about minute details and how they fit into the grand scheme of things, this could well be a profession and line of study for you.

What are the job prospects?

A very telling fact weighs in the favour of aspiring architects. Namely, the fact it’s on the Australian government’s list of Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills, which we’ve talked about in our article on student visas here. Basically, this means architecture is a skill Australia needs. If you’re an international student, you can enter the country on a special visa if you possess skills in architecture or are on the path to gaining them. Similarly, domestic students who graduate from a postgraduate architecture course are well-positioned to land a job, as according to the government, there is a scarcity.

What’s the salary like?

According to Payscale Australia, the median annual salary for an architect not affiliated with naval or landscape projects is AU $63,096. This can range between $48,710 early career and $93,669 for later in a career. Landscape architects make slightly less at a median AU $58,589 pa and naval architects make more than both at AU $75,289.

Where should I study it?

There are several levels of study available to prospective architects. The following are some of the best ways of gaining additional or preliminary certification for use in the field:

  • Graduate certificates like those from the University of Sydney provide the chance to specialise or refine a particular skill set regarding architecture as opposed to learning the fundamentals. The Graduate Certificate in Architectural Science (Facilities Management) is a prime example of this, providing students with the opportunity to learn about facilities management in this case, but in others the focus can be sustainable design, high performance buildings, audio and acoustics or more. They take six months of full time study to complete or about one year part time, making them a nice bite-sized option.
  • Graduate diplomas serve a similar purpose to certificates, but take longer at one year of full time study or up to two years part time. The Graduate Diploma in Built Environments from the University of Melbourne is a prime example of this, allowing specialisation in this eponymous element of architecture.
  • Master’s degrees give students the means to become architects through covering many fundamentals. The University of Queensland’s Master of Architecture provides all the units required to enter professional practice and is one of the premier options for aspiring architects to gain necessary accreditation.  

Hopefully this brief article has given you some insight into what architects do, what you study throughout an architecture course and where you can go to study it. No matter where you take your knowledge in the professional or academic world, good luck!