All Academic Programs

JUNE 9 – JULY 18, 2014

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:

the design and preservation of individual buildings and the understanding of relationships between buildings

Landscape Architecture
the planning, design, and preservation of built and natural environments, from private gardens and rural landscapes to urban parks and civic infrastructure projects

Urban Planning
the planning for the development, preservation, and enhancement of the built environment at neighborhood, city, and regional scales, including consideration of social, economic, legal, cultural, and other forces

Urban Design
the design of large-scale projects—from mixed-use building complexes, neighborhoods, and cities to urban regions

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 are also graduates of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and/or practitioners in their respective fields. The faculty are assisted in the design studios by instructors who are advanced GSD students or recent graduates. A maximum ratio of 15 students per instructor or lower is maintained.

Career Advising

Career Discovery attracts people who seek to test, confirm, and refine their career goals. For some, the most useful advising focuses on a series of panel discussions emphasizing pragmatic concerns: information about application procedures, admission policies, preparation of a portfolio or résumé, minority concerns, and job interviewing techniques. Another series of workshops is especially designed for older participants making career transitions. Students benefit from additional informal career advice through discussions with career advisors, faculty, and guest speakers about their professional experience, salaries, work schedules, job security, and other aspects of their practice.

Field Trips and Office Visits

  • First-hand viewings of important examples of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design
  • Visits to professional firms in the Boston area
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.

Open Road

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 the challenging experience. Although most participants are college students or recent college graduates, the program has been helpful to many graduating high school students as well as men and women in their thirties, forties, and fifties who are considering a career change. In a typical year, approximately 63% of our students concentrate in architecture, 19% in landscape architecture, and 18% in urban planning and urban design.

The following chart reflects demographic information for the summer of 2013:

Education Level

  • < 1% High school seniors (recent graduates)
  • 41% College students
  • 58% College graduates or those professionals with no previous design training

Geographic Origin

  • 14% West/West Coast
  • 22% New England
  • 20% Middle Atlantic
  • 14% South/Southeast
  • 7% Midwest
  • 23% Foreign countries
  • 33 States represented
  • 16 Foreign countries represented


  • Age range: 17 - 57
  • 39% Male
  • 61% Female

An average of 250 participants per year

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