Architecture/Urban Planning

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In the traditional sense of what a degree in architecture means, we often think about it as being the designing and constructing of buildings and other structures to primarily provide socially purposeful structures. A broader definition usually includes the design of the entire built environment that integrates the surrounding landscape as well as the architectural or construction details. This field of study can really open up a number of opportunities in the design process or the construction aspect of architecture but can go as far as working with local and federal agencies to develop sound planning policies and regulations.

As the complexity of structures has increased (in terms of structural systems, services, energy and technologies), architecture has taken a much more multi-disciplinary approach to design and construction. Architecture today usually requires a team of specialist professionals, with the architect being one of many. This field has also seen a greater push for architecture to work holistically in the design process to go beyond the construction of individual structures and include the surrounding area taking into consideration the existing design and infrastructure. The use of GIS and other planning technology has increasingly become an integral part to professionals in this field making skills in this area highly desirable for any job with a corporation, firm or government. An advanced degree in this field will help you pursue a career in design, planning, construction, or policy. You should research programs and schools that align with your particular interests and can provide you with the skills and networks necessary to excel in this career. 

For more information about degree programs in architecture check out the National Architectural Accreditation Board website.

Job Opportunities In the Field

This field is particularly broad in nature and has a wide range of career opportunities that you can pursue. A few examples include project managers for governmental agencies or corporate firms, preservation planners, architects, technology specialists, contract managers, regulatory specialists and so much more.

For more information about a career in this field check out www.archcareers.org.

In the International Context

Since the number of people in metropolitan and urban areas around the world has gone up significantly, countries around the world are looking to plan their cities more efficiently. What’s more, the number of American architects, planners and designers practicing internationally has also grown in the last couple decades. Whether you are looking to work with an international design firm or to work with local communities to develop their infrastructure, you are sure to find your niche abroad.

Skills you’ve gained from study abroad will be useful in this field, regardless of whether you decide to work at home or abroad. This knowledge includes:

  • Communication skills. Most likely, you’ll be working with diverse groups of people and will need to communicate effectively with them. 
  • Cultural sensitivity. Knowing the values and lifestyle of the local culture can help you design structures and improve infrastructure that are best suited for the community where you work. 
  • Ability to work independently. This career often requires a high level of independent work, something that is also attributed to living abroad. 


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