All Academic Programs

JUNE 13 – JULY 22, 2016

Open Eyes

Exploring a new perspective, testing limits, expanding potential. These concepts are central to the design and planning professions—and central to what Career Discovery offers. Our students spend most of their time, including evenings and weekends, in a stimulating studio environment at the GSD that mirrors a graduate level studio experience. They learn to analyze any challenge from multiple angles, pursuing new ways of thinking and seeking out creative solutions. In the studio, a student’s participation, dedication, and enthusiasm are essential to success.

Short, intensive projects similar to first-year graduate school projects;

One-on-one guidance from instructors;

Group discussions and reviews;

Training sessions in graphics and related skills;

Individual presentations to instructors and guest professionals;

Direct access to the GSD’s Frances Loeb Library—one of the country’s foremost design  and planning libraries.

Every Career Discovery student is exposed to the following disciplines but will select one as a concentration:

Architecture: the design and preservation of individual buildings and the understanding of relationships between buildings and their surroundings 

Landscape Architecture: the planning, design, and preservation of built and natural landscapes, from rural landscapes to urban parks and infrastructure projects

Urban Planning & Design: the strategic planning of the city at the intersection of formal, social, civic and environmental issues

Open Mind

Design is everywhere, surrounding us wherever we go and influencing cityscapes and landscapes in ways that are material, social, emotional, and spiritual. In the Career Discovery program, students go beyond studio work in order to study the broader, real-world impact of the design and planning professions. With guidance and in-depth instruction from respected faculty members and practitioners, their experiences will help them make the leap from theory to practice, idea to reality.


The Career Discovery Faculty Director, Jeff Klug, a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, is a practicing Architect in Boston. Our Lead Faculty, who are graduates as well as current faculty at the Harvard GSD, are also practitioners in their respective fields. The faculty are assisted in the design studios by instructors who are advanced Harvard GSD students or recent graduates. A maximum ratio of 12 students per instructor or lower is maintained.

Field Trips and Drawing Workshops
Participants have the opportunity to visit professional firms in the Boston area, develop manual drawing skills and explore design software, and view first-hand the region's landmark examples of architecture and design.

Design Representation

Drawing, computer related lectures and workshops are scheduled throughout the six-week program. Those seeking to learn new skills or enhance their existing skills will benefit from the sessions.

Lectures and Discussions

Career Discovery invites exceptional professionals and academics to give lectures and join career panel discussions on design, history, theory, office practice, and other aspects of each profession. Speakers are often available for informal conversations afterward.

Past speakers have included:

  • Alex Anmahian, Principal of Anmahian Winton Architects
  • Alex Krieger, professor in Practice of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Kathryn Madden, Critic in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Principal of Madden Planning Group
  • Thomas Lyons Mills, Professor of Foundation Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design
  • Kirk A. Sykes, Senior Vice President and President of Urban Strategy America Fund
  • Maryann Thompson, Adjunct Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Founder of Maryann Thompson Architects
  • Charles Waldheim, John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Panel discussions have included:
Design and Planning Practices, Career Options, Career Change, and Preparing a Portfolio.


The ability to choose is a gift—and the value of making an educated choice cannot be underestimated. Career Discovery is an opportunity to experience the challenges and excitement of the design and planning professions before you commit yourself to a choice.

Beyond that, Career Discovery has changed students’ lives in unexpected ways. Design and planning have fundamental connections to many other vital aspects of life in a complex society such as our own. No matter what direction you take, the knowledge you gain here may help you make decisions that are more informed and more insightful. We invite you to join us and see the possibilities for yourself.

Typical Student Profile

Career Discovery students represent a broad range of ages, lifestyles, and training (most have no previous design experience), and this contributes to a challenging environment. Many are college students, but the program is also helpful to recent graduates and professionals in their 30s, 40s, or older who are considering a career change. The following information is from our summer 2015 program:

64% Architecture
13% Landscape Architecture
23% Urban Planning & Design

Education Level
<1% High school seniors (recent graduates)
39% College students
61% College graduates or professionals
with no previous design training

Geographic Origin

37% Northeast
9% Midwest
12% South
16% West
25% International

36 States
34 Countries

23 Average Age
18–61 Age Range
38% Male
62% Female

An average of 225 participants per year

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