Back in April, the Daily Beast awarded architecture the dubious distinction of being the fifth most useless major of 13 useless university courses of study. This listicle didn't actually explain the Daily Beast's metrics, but it isn't hard to guess at why they have such a bad opinion of architecture as a major: The relatively meager earnings ($36,000) and soaring unemployment (13.9 percent) for recent grads perhaps should serve as a cautionary tale.
But those stats serve as a snapshot, a look at a field hit hard by the recession in a way that other fields of study (petroleum engineering, art) perhaps are not. Here is another snapshot: The Washington Post reports that architecture students study harder than any other students.
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, architecture majors studied 23.7 hours per week—more than chemical engineering, physics, and chemistry majors (the next hardest studiers). Architecture majors study almost twice as many hours per week as their peers in journalism school (ahem).
The Post couches the study in a scare story about how college is too easy and students don't study any more. Maybe that's true. But this reader has to wonder: Do architecture students know what they're getting into? Are schools doing a good job of posting realistic expectations for their graduates? To work so (relatively) hard in order to face a 14-percent unemployment rate—useless isn't the word, exactly, but it does seem like architecture students are bound for disappointment.