Our nation's best architecture schools consist of a mixture of consistently acclaimed universities and up-and-coming programs. While there are many excellent architecture schools to choose from, those that gain the most recognition and commendation place the most graduates in reputable architecture firms. These firms are surveyed to select the best colleges, based on the graduates joining the workforce and their preparedness. Given the rate at which technology and programming changes to facilitate architects in their work, it is no surprise that educational institutions must continue to raise the bar when prepping students, in addition to providing a strong foundation of fundamental skills and theory.

DesignIntelligence Survey Credentials

The Design Future's Council developed DesignIntelligence to survey and rank Architecture schools in 2004 and is the foremost provider of survey data among Architecture schools in the United States. Both undergraduate and graduate programs are ranked by the level of proficiency their graduates exhibit based on information solicited from our nation's leading architecture firms. This system is subject to two major factors, which should be taken into account when selecting schools. First, applicants should take into consideration a school's history for consistently turning out skilled graduates, as well as their program's commitment to cutting edge technologies and resources. Secondly, applicants should not diminish their pool of potential institutions by ruling out smaller schools, who are less likely to impact survey data simply based on the number of graduates who matriculate, and hence, do not make the top ten. Finally, when reviewing the top ten lists, you will notice that several institutions tied for rankings within the top ten, skewing the numbering as evident below.

The Top Ten Undergraduate Architecture Programs

  1. Cornell University
  2. Syracuse University
  3. Rice University
  4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  5. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  6. Southern California Institute of Architecture
  7. Carnegie Mellon University
  8. University of Texas at Austin
  9. Pratt Institute
  10. University of Southern California

The Top Ten Graduate Architecture Programs

  1. University of Michigan
  2. Harvard University
  3. Yale University
  4. Columbia University
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  6. Cornell University
  7. University of Cincinnati
  8. University of Pennsylvania
  9. Washington University in St. Louis
  10. University of California at Berkley

Areas of Assessment for Architecture Schools

DesignIntelligence goes a step further to break down where the best architecture schools fall in line with skills assessment. Schools, not necessarily within the top ten are included in this data. Schools are judged on their ability to teach vital skills like: analysis and planning, communication, computer applications, construction materials and methods, design, research and theory, and sustainable design principles and practice.