MSc in Architectural Technology

MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby neiljdonn » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:39 am

I'm considering applying for the MSc in Architectural Technology in Edinburgh Napier University. I'd like to hear from anyone who has done this course. I'd like to get an insight into the content or the course and the career benefits to having an MSc in the field. Thanks.
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby onq » Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:09 pm

Why are you considering this route as opposed to gaining a qualification as an architect?

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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby neiljdonn » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:48 am

Well there are a few reasons that I have chosen this route.

I am already an architecural technician (on the road to becoming a Chartered Architectural Technologist with CIAT) and I think the most logical step is to increase my qualifications in my own field. I see Architecture and Arch Tech. as seperate disiplines and I think that as Technologists/ Technicians we need to work on gaining more recognition and respect for our own skills. We shouldn't just look to Architecture as the next step.

However, I have in the past considered doing a degree in Architecture and I have decided against it for two reasons. Firstly, I feel that I am much more technically minded, rather than artistic, so I feel that I may not be that well suited to the design aspect of Architecture. It seems that Architecture courses are becoming more and more art orientated. I suppose this is a response to improvements in the technical education for Technologists. My second reason is that I am already over 30 years old. In order to complete an education in Architecture it would take me the majority of 10 years (Part-time - as I can't afford to step out of my career for 5 years to complete it full-time)

Another option I had explored was to pursue a masters in construction technology, but I discounted this option as i decided I prefer life in the architectural office, rather than life on-site.

So, it seems that The MSc in Architectural Technology is the best option for me. I am also based in the Caribbean at the moment and the fact that I can complete the MSc in Napier Uni by distance learning is obviously a plus!!
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby onq » Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:45 pm

Well answered neilljdonn.

Its horses for courses and a design aptitude is precisely why I would have suggested the Architecture degree.

For what its worth, back in the Eighties my Alma Mater, Bolton Street DIT in Dublin used to offer places in second year to the top 10% of the Archtiectural Technicians in Longford House.

Many of the Longford House gradutes [male and female] were excellent designers in their own right, with the added credibility/confidence of their technical background.

Few of them found the course easy however, especially the time spent investigating the design in the design process, being more suited to the "just get on with it" mode of design and production.

A related issue was stopping seeing everything in terms of details, to think flexibly in terms of forms and materials without "fixing" them prematurely in order to maximise the benefits of the design process until the time came to "crystallise" the final form of the scheme.

There were only one or two who dropped out however and the rest were able to re-arrange their mental furniture to complete the course - whether they reverted to type afterwards I don't know.

Ironically many student architects who did not start as technicians found it helped them to bring some realism to their design if they chose a building material and worked through the details.

Horses for courses, as I say.

I'm sorry I can't offer comment on the course you hope to pursue, but perhaps this post will bump the original post back up the pecking order and attract some attention to your query.

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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby teak » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:00 pm

Looking at the course details on NU site I see :

1. Please ensure that if you are seeking a course which leads to accreditation with a professional body you have checked what the requirements are or have contacted us for specific advice. We cannot accept any responsibility if the course you select does not subsequently meet your requirements.

Have you determined if this course will give you the professional accreditation - in whichever countries that you may wish to work in - that you may seek ?

2. This is a distance learning course based over three years, involving minimal face-to-face teaching. You'll learn via online course materials, with email and phone support from teaching staff.

I know that it is not possible to "negotiate" one's M.Sc. course but, as you are presumably busy on a variety of projects with your present employer, have you asked the NU DoAT staff if it might be possible to use your ongoing work and existing job supervisor for dissertation themes ?


3. Course Content
Year 1
Concrete Form & Construction, Building Performance 3, Timber Form & Construction, a choice of either: Building Performance 1 (Acoustics & Sound Insulation) or Building Performance 2 (Lifetime Homes)
Year 2
Sustainable Building Design, Dissertation, a choice of either: Advanced Digital Media or Regulation, Certification & Compliance (Scotland)
Year 3
Dissertation.



Is this really the academic course material that you'd have chosen yourself ?
What does Building Performance 3 concern itself with ?
Will Certification & Compliance (Scotland) be of any use to you out in the Caribbean ?
Would it be possible that this could be adapted to something like General Principles of Worldwise Certification & Compliance Systems plus Specific C & C in One Chosen Jurisdiction (e.g. your present country) ?

Sorry if I sound like a fussy old granny but it is always best to look behind the grandiose veil that some of these university blurb-writers drape over the plainest old courses. Better to get the true picture from the outset.

On your primary enquiry -- have you not asked for the names of some past graduates of this M.Sc. course ?
Do you know how long it has been running ?
If failing to find graduates of this course, why not try to contact the present students on it and get their views ?
If there are only 2 guys on the Distance Learning course, it is surely in their own interest to keep in touch via email or phone as they progress through the course. Find that network !
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby neiljdonn » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:01 am

Thank you for the responses Teak & ONQ.

In reply to Teak, thanks for the advice. I will definitely try to get the contact details of some of the current students. I have already discussed the program with the course director and I found him to be extremely amiable and helpful. He informed me that there are 7 current distance learning students (5 of which are Irish).

In relation to the accreditation issue, this is not something that had concerned me. I am currently working my way through the process of becoming a Chartered architectural Technologist with CIAT. I will be able to attain full membership regardless of whether I gain an M.Sc. or not. My main aim by pursuing this course is to make myself more employable in the future, possibly get myself into a position where I can become a 3rd level tutor in the subject and, of course, in the short term, increase my salary. (My current bosses are encouraging me in this area and garauntee greater rewards as a result)

The lack of face to face teaching may be an issue, but only time will tell. I am aware that to complete any course by distance learning takes vast amounts of commitment and self discipline. Hopefully, I'll be up to the challenge. Again, having spoken with the course director, I get the impression that every assistance will be forthcoming should it be called upon.

I had spotted the course on Compliance in Scotland and had wondered what addition that would be to me, even if I am to return to Ireland in the future. However the course director has informed me that this is an optional module and the more universial subject of "Advanced digital media" can be taken instead.

I was also quite please to hear that this course of study is on an incremental basis. As such, I will recieve a PG Cert on completion ofpart 1 of the course, a PG dip on completion of part 2 and then finally receive the M.Sc. on completion of the third part.

The more I research the course the more it seems to fit my needs. Hopefully it will be worth the effort.
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby neiljdonn » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:55 am

I just discovered that the Architectural Technology courses in Napier Uni are indeed accredited by CIAT..... So that is a bonus I wasn't looking for...... I expect to be a chartered member of CIAT before I complete the M.Sc. anyway, so I suppose it is irrelevant, but good to know all the same.
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby teak » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:13 pm

In other distance learning universities, they have these summer schools whereby students do the practical work content of their course in week long stretches. In OU engineering courses, I think, the practicals are done annually over 2 x 2 week summer schools, usually taken in 2 different centres - usually regular university engineering departments during summer recess. As well as giving the students the required practical training, they give them the chance to all meet and engage both studywise and socially. (The time was taken from the students summer holidays plus some special leave given them by employers if employed.)
To what extent Arch Technologists would need direct practical work for their course, I do not know. But I can see some potential benefits from it in terms of group projects, peer review (if the summer school were held on Napier campus, then the regular M.Sc. (A.T.) based at Napier could possibly also be around to contribute.
Of course, there is one major disadvantage to you personally in this, were it introduced:
the relatively high cost of UK-Caribbean flights :thumbdown:
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby onq » Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:26 pm

What, for site visits?

:think:

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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby neiljdonn » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:24 am

I was accepted on to the M.Sc. Architectural Technology & Building Technology and I'm pretty happy with that.

My company director has indicated that this qualification will increase my salary, but maybe not as much as i had hoped. So now i am considering other options (while keeping my current offer as a safety net). One course I have been looking at is an M.Sc. Construction Project Management (online) with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen..... (It seems the Scots are at the forefront when it comes to online learning.)

All my research has indicated that a career in Construction Project management would provide me with a much better income in the long term. I'd like to hear your opinions as to what you might consider to be the pros & cons of each career route.
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby onq » Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:12 pm

I think you need to get out there and start building things and see what the profession has to offer.
A track record with an employer and a visible plan of betterment may look better than you becoming an eternal student.

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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby parka » Sun Mar 20, 2011 12:23 am

onq wrote:I think you need to get out there and start building things and see what the profession has to offer.
A track record with an employer and a visible plan of betterment may look better than you becoming an eternal student.

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ONQ this guy ran his own office.

I have to live next to one of his designs
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby onq » Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:54 am

Parka,

Are we talking about the OP in this thread - neiljdonn - or the horticulturalist in the other thread in which I responded to you and about whom you said he was providing architectural services?

:think:

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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby parka » Sun Mar 20, 2011 10:22 pm

onq wrote:Parka,

Are we talking about the OP in this thread - neiljdonn - or the horticulturalist in the other thread in which I responded to you and about whom you said he was providing architectural services?

:think:

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Lol, I should have read the post title. The joys of mobile technology :wtf:
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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby onq » Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:08 am

Nope, you should have answered the question I asked - are we talking about the OP or the horticulturalist? :crazy:

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Re: MSc in Architectural Technology

Postby teak » Mon Mar 21, 2011 1:02 am

1. Construction project management M.Sc. courses will attract a lot of people.
Civ Engs, quantity surveyors and , not least, graduates in construction management itself.
So more jobs, yes -- but more competition too for those jobs. Much more.

2. Going on this course will be a signal to your present employer, if you work for architects.
It will basically say to him that you see your future being somewhere beyond the present office.

3. Your present boss has made a definite commitment to a salary increase for more AT expertise.
Not as much as you'd have hoped for.
But when the new know-how starts being applied by you in the office projects and design tenders --
that is where the added value of your new AT skills become real to your employer.
And that's where you can start to reasonably ask for a bit more in the pay.

4. Another option I had explored was to pursue a masters in construction technology, but I discounted this option as i decided I prefer life in the architectural office, rather than life on-site.

Making a career decision should never overlook the basic question :
What sort of situation do I like to be in when at work ?
Make no mistake but that Construction PM is pressurised and contentious.
That's a whole new territory to the round-the-clock-overtime coming up to a deadline when you
work for an architect, for which you will at least be paid for.
That's ulcer territory for many people.
Talk to some PM fellas about their jobs.
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