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Architecture School Rankings

Higher Education Articles March 27, 2013

Individuals who want to become an architect are required to earn their professional Master of Architecture or Bachelor of Architecture degree from a college or university that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Course topics include construction methods, building materials, architecture history, and design theory. Typically, the final project integrates all aspects of architecture. Non-professional degrees are generally available as well.

California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo, California

Established in 1903, the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) is a vocational high school with only twenty enrolled students. According to the 2012 U.S. News and World Report, today the school is ranked seventh-best university in the West. Cal Poly enrolls over 19,000 students in seven schools and colleges, which concentrate mainly on hands-on training, technology, and science. Nearly ten percent of students choose to enter into the College of Architecture and Environmental Design where they can earn a non-professional Master of Science in Architecture or a Bachelor of Architecture. California Polytechnic State University bachelor degree program in architecture was placed fourth in Design Intelligence’s rankings of leading architecture colleges and universities in the United States as reported by Architectural Record in 2012. Individuals in the program will learn through direct experiences in a curriculum, which balances science with art, and Bachelor of Architecture students may select to spend their fourth year abroad.

Rice University – Houston, Texas

Established in 1912, Rice University tied for seventeenth on U.S. News and World Report’s list of leading national universities during 2012. The school regards its approach to research and education as radical and unconventional, and it emphasizes creativity and research in all of its programs. With only two hundred students, Rice University’s School of Architecture is one of the smallest in the United States, yet it ranked fifth in the 2012 Design Intelligence’s survey as the top United States bachelor degree program in architecture. Students can pursue either a non-professional Bachelor of Arts in Architecture Studies or a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture leading to a professional Bachelor of Architecture, which spans for six years. Students will be given an option to study-abroad in Paris for one semester through the Bachelor of Architecture program, and the Preceptorship Program will give each fifth-year student real-world experience at a leading architecture firm. Students in the graduate program may pursue a Master of Architecture in three, five, or seven semesters; depending on the amount of architecture education a student has when entering the program.

University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In 1740, the University of Pennsylvania was created by Benjamin Franklin with the goal of training the nation’s youth for leadership positions in government, public service, and business. University of Pennsylvania tied for fifth placed in the U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of the top national universities during 2012. As reported by Architectural Record, the school’s master degree program in architecture tied for eighth place in the Design Intelligence’s listing of the top architecture colleges and universities. The school’s programs in architecture emphasize on design, ranging from computer-aided design to hand drawing. Students in an undergraduate program can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree, and there is a special intensive major for students who want to earn a Master of Architecture. Students in graduate programs have multiple options:

•Master in Environmental Building Design
•Ph.D. in Architecture
•Master of Science in Architecture
•Professional Master of Architecture
•Post-professional Master of Architecture II

University of Pennsylvania partnered with the Architectural Association’s School of Architecture in London to provide an Advanced Architectural Design Studio to fifteen chosen Master of Architecture students each year.

Ten Leading Architecture Universities in the United States

School Name Distinction School Location
Yale University Joint master degrees with the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and School of Management New Haven, Connecticut
University of Pennsylvania Home of Penn Praxis, a research organization in which students and faculty apply their creativity and experiences to work with organizations around the world Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University of Texas According to the 2012 Design Intelligence’s ranking, this school has the second best undergraduate degree program in architecture Austin, Texas
Southern California Institute of Architecture One of the few independent architecture schools in the United States with bachelor and master degrees Los Angeles, CA
Rice University Provide a summer program in architecture that is opened to all students and taught by students who have graduated from the architecture program Houston, Texas
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) In 2012, the Design Intelligence ranked the MIT’s graduate program sixth among all schools Cambridge, Massachusetts
Kansas State University Students in graduate degree programs will take trips to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Dallas to learn about urban architecture Manhattan, Kansas
Harvard University The Design Intelligence’s survey leading United States architecture colleges and universities, ranked Harvard graduate program as being the best for the last seven years Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cornell University Students in the first-year architecture program celebrate Dragon Day annually, one hundred years old tradition in which students create a large dragon that is later part of a bonfire Ithaca, New York
California Polytechnic State University In 2009, the Architect Magazine recognized the school for its commitment to sustainable design San Luis Obispo, California

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