BlogUniversityPros and Cons of a Bachelor of Architectural Design at UQ

Pros and Cons of a Bachelor of Architectural Design at UQ

Now that you’ve got all the details of what a UQ Architecture is and how to get there, let’s take a look at what the experience of studying it is really like! 

Sionnan talks to us about uni life at UQ while studying Architectural Design there. Here’s your chance to learn about the pros and cons, and if this is truly a degree you’d like to pursue.

What are you waiting for? Let’s go!

Why should you study an Architecture degree at UQ?
Top 3 Pros of an Architecture Degree
Top 3 Cons of an Architecture Degree
Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make
Things to Know Before Starting UQ Architecture
What Makes this Degree Different
Motivations for Studying UQ Architecture
Potential Career Paths

Why should you study an Architecture degree at UQ?

UQ’s Bachelor of Architectural Design helps students to refine their creativity and develop a unique style through practical and creative learning. With a wide range of lecturers from all over the world and on-campus design studios, students will be well supported! 

Furthermore, with a relatively small cohort and lots of contact hours — students will get to know both their peers and academics well! 

UQ Architecture - Quote

Top 3 Pros of an Architecture Degree at UQ

#1: The community aspect 

There’s a cohort of about 100 students in each year who study Architectural Design at UQ and a prevalence of ‘studio culture’ where Architectural Design students spend long hours in the studio. This really encourages you to get to know everyone in a collaborative space. 

Sionnan says, “I really like the community aspect that they’ve built up in the environment and while you are studying the course. I don’t even think I got this in high school, but there’s such a strong community aspect across the years and everyone talks.” 

She recalls having third years and Masters students reach out to her while she was in first year offering help, so while studying a Bachelor of Architectural Design at UQ, you know your peers and seniors are there for advice and to help you out as well! 

#2: Range and diversity of lecturers 

UQ hires lecturers and architects from Australia and overseas, enabling students to learn from experts in different areas and cultures, enabling them to develop and refine their own style and creativity. 

Sionnan adds, “We have guest lecturers come in and last year, we had a designer from Game of Thrones come in as she is a UQ alumni which is pretty cool.

The university really tries to give us a wide range and we don’t get the same lecturer twice because they want our experience and style to come from ourselves, so to foster that, they give us a huge range of opportunities and experience.” 

#3: Studio sessions 

“The way they structure the course so that we have the long studio sessions — it almost replicates what you get in the industry. It puts you into that kind of mindset of working for an entire day. It’s similar to what you will get when you’re working so I think that’s a nice flow on.”

Sionnan also talks about ‘studio culture’ which is briefly mentioned above, but due to the long hours you spend in studio working on independent and group projects with your cohort and other years, you’ll get to know them really well!

Additionally, the architecture building is a communal space with a kitchen on each level that often has food for students so you know you’ll be in good company and well-fed! 

Top 3 Cons of an Architecture degree at UQ

#1: Focus on technical skills 

Depending on what you are seeking to develop through a Bachelor of Architectural Design, this may be a pro or a con. UQ continues to emphasise on technical skills like freehand drawing and traditional skills. 

“I think sometimes you get a lecturer who hasn’t worked as an architect for a long time, so they get caught up in traditional practice, which can be really good. However the negative side is that some don’t want you using technology, when these days that’s where the industry is leading to. So I think that can limit it a bit,” explains Sionnan.

However Sionnan also adds that some architectural firms prefer UQ Architecture students due to their strong technical skills, so this would be highly dependent on your career goals and the skills you want to develop. 

#2: Plagiarism and architectural work

“I think this comes across in any architectural design, but plagiarism in architectural work can be really hard for them to decipher. In architecture you often get inspired from history or buildings, so often you’ll see students whose works looks similar to another and the uni can’t do anything because they can’t prove it has happened. So that can be a bit frustrating,” shares Sionnan.

#3: Heavy workload 

Architecture has a heavy workload with strict deadlines and students also tend to be perfectionists and high achievers.

Sionnan says, “The workload is very heavy and it can take a toll on students. They’ve had a lot of students who have mental health problems because it gets so overwhelming.

“There’s a lot of pressure and it’s kind of toxic — it comes with architecture school in general — but students will often not sleep. Some people will do several all-nighters, especially up to the final portfolio submission and students want really high grades. I think it’s partially fostered by Architecture students who can be perfectionists.” 

Like any other degree, it is important to maintain a balance between your leisure time and study time. UQ also has several services in place to help students who are struggling with their mental health and to support them. 

Any regrets? 

“There are definitely times when I’m like, ‘Oh, maybe I should study something else’. In high school my favourite subject was Biology but I’m very squeamish. Sometimes I think about doing Medicine and think maybe I should have given that at work,” Sionnan mentions. 

Sionnan considers for a while, “It’s more to do with work, but we have a lot of very wealthy clients who just want to make money and I just wish that I was helping people versus healthy wealthy clients get more wealthy. I think that’s the only time that I regret studying Architectural Design.” 

However, Sionnan adds quickly, “Other than that, I really enjoy the degree. I have a lot of friends studying Architecture now so I definitely enjoy it.

What do you wish you had known before starting Architecture at UQ? 

Sionnan laughs saying, “Its funny. My mum’s dad was an architect, and my dad is an architect. However, when I went into architecture I didn’t realise it would be a long process — I thought it was going to be a 4-year degree.

“I didn’t research this well, but to be an architect it’s a 3-year Bachelor’s, a year out for work experience, two years of Masters and then sitting another set of external exams, an interview and everything before you even register as an architect. It takes about seven years.

I didn’t realise it was going to be that long going into it, and I think a lot of students didn’t realise that either.” 

Sionnan also warns that until you have been registered as an architect, you cannot associate the word ‘architect’ with yourself. Instead you would have to address yourself as a ‘student of architecture’ or you could get into trouble legally and be fined. 

What makes this degree different from the ones offered at other universities? 

“From experience, I think UQ is just more traditional so if you want the traditional Architectural experience, UQ is perfect. Some of the lecturers have really cool backgrounds too or worked for Zaha Hadid who is one of the leading architects in the world, so you’ll have really good global industry connections because a lot of the lecturers are from overseas.

UQ has a pretty good reputation and the traditional approach and training can be beneficial when searching for a job in the industry,” highlights Sionnan.

What inspired you to choose Architecture at UQ?

Sionnan answered honestly, that when choosing her degree she wanted to find something that her parents would be happy with.

She says, “When I was in high school, my parents were like, ‘Oh maybe you should study law,’ but I wasn’t too keen on that. I enjoyed things like art and my dad was an architect.

“After graduating Year 12, I asked if his company would let me do work experience. On my first day, I went home and told my mum I was not going to do architecture because I didn’t like it.”

Sionnan laughs, “At the end of the week, the guy that was supervising me was like, ‘You’re pretty good at it, you should definitely look into it’ and that’s what I chose.” 

When asking why she chose UQ specifically, Sionnan laughs and sheepishly admits, “It was because of the campus. It probably sounds really cliche but I liked the idea of having the university experience with all these big old buildings, different food places and all the different clubs and societies.” 

What are the possible career paths?

Architecture UQ - Careers

To be recognised as an Architect in Australia, you will have to complete a Master of Architecture and pass the Architectural Practice Exam. However, there are still plenty of career paths for students who graduate with a Bachelor of Architectural Design from UQ: 

  • Interior designer 
  • Environmental graphic designer 
  • Urban designer
  • Property developer 
  • Change manager 
  • Product designer

Learn more about a career as an Architect here!

Tiffany Fong is currently completing a double degree in Media and Communications with Law at Macquarie University. She currently contributes to the university zine, Grapeshot where she enjoys writing feature articles, commentary on current affairs or whatever weird interest that has taken over her mind during that month. During her spare time, Tiffany enjoys reading, writing, taking care of her plants or cuddling with her two dogs.

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