Architecture School Rankings
A student wishing to work as an architect must get a professional Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) or Master of Architecture (M.Arch) degree from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Course topics include design theory, architecture history, building materials and construction methods. A final project typically integrates all aspects of architecture. Non-professional degrees are usually available as well.
Top Architecture Schools
1. California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) opened its doors in 1903 as a vocational high school with just 20 registered students. Today, Cal Poly is the seventh-best university in the West according to U.S. News and World Report's 2012 rankings. The school enrolls more than 19,000 students in seven colleges and schools that focus primarily on science, technology and hands-on learning. Nearly 10% of those students elect to enter the College of Architecture and Environmental Design where they may earn a B.Arch or a non-professional Master of Science in Architecture. In 2012, Cal Poly's undergraduate architecture program placed fourth in DesignIntelligence's ranking of best architecture schools in America as reported by Architectural Record. Students in the program learn mostly through direct experiences in a curriculum that balances art with science, and B.Arch students may opt to spend their fourth year abroad.
2. Rice University in Houston, TX
Rice University, which opened in 1912, tied for 17th on U.S. News and World Report's list of top national universities in 2012. The school regards its approach to education and research as unconventional and radical, and it emphasizes research and creativity in all of its programs. With just 200 students, Rice's School of Architecture is one of the smallest in the U.S, yet it ranked fifth in DesignIntelligence's 2012 survey of best U.S. undergraduate architecture programs. Undergraduates pursue either a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture leading to a professional B.Arch that takes a total of six years or a non-professional Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies. The B.Arch program features an optional study-abroad semester in Paris, and the Preceptorship Program, which gives each fifth-year student real-world experiences at a top architecture firm. Graduate students can pursue an M.Arch in three, five or seven semesters, depending on the amount of architecture education the student has when entering the program.
3. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia
Benjamin Franklin started the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in 1740 with the goal of training America's youth for leadership positions in business, public service and government. In 2012, Penn tied for fifth place in U.S. News and World Report's ranking of the best national universities. The university's graduate architecture program tied for eighth place in DesignIntelligence's listing of best architecture schools, reported by Architectural Record. Penn's architecture programs emphasize design, ranging from hand drawing to computer-aided design. Undergraduate students can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, and there is a special intensive major for those wanting to earn a Master of Architecture. Graduate students have several program options: a professional M.Arch, a post professional M.Arch II, a Master of Science in Architecture, a Ph. D. in Architecture or a Master in Environmental Building Design. Penn partners with the Architectural Association's School of Architecture in London to offer an Advanced Architectural Design Studio for 15 selected M.Arch students each year.
Ten Good Architecture Schools in the U.S.
|Name of School||Distinction||Location|
|California Polytechnic State University||Recognized in 2009 for its commitment to sustainable design by Architect magazine||San Luis Obispo, CA|
|Cornell University||First-year architecture students celebrate Dragon Day annually, a 100-year-old tradition in which they create a huge dragon that's later part of a bonfire||Ithaca, NY|
|Harvard University||Graduate program ranked best or second best for the last seven years of DesignIntelligence's survey of best American architecture schools||Cambridge, MA|
|Kansas State University||Master's degree students take trips to Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles to learn about urban architecture||Manhattan, KS|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Master's program ranked sixth in 2012 by DesignIntelligence||Cambridge, MA|
|Rice University||Offers a summer architecture program open to all Rice students and taught by graduate architecture students||Houston, TX|
|Southern California Institute of Architecture||One of the few independent architecture schools in the U.S. with undergraduate and graduate degrees||Los Angeles, CA|
|University of Texas||Second best undergraduate architecture program according to DesignIntelligence's 2012 rankings||Austin, TX|
|University of Pennsylvania||Home of PennPraxis, a research organization in which faculty and students apply their experiences and creativity to work with organizations around the world||Philadelphia, PA|
|Yale University||Joint master's degrees with the School of Management and School of Forestry and Environmental Studies||New Haven, CT|
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