2010 United States Best Architecture Schools

Cornell University

Every year, the Greenway Group led by James Cramer (chief executive of the AIA from 1988 to 1994) assembles the architecture-schools rankings. The rankings include the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools and the top 10 graduate schools.

Also, there are different skills rankings, like “analysis and planning”, “communication”, “computer applications”, “construction methods and materials”, “design”, “research and theory” and “sustainable design practices and principles”. This may be a great tool for architecture students when looking for a school and useful also for architecture firms when deciding on who to employ.

Read the complete rankings after the break. Seen at Architectural Record.

Top 10 Undergraduate Architecture Schools

1. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
2. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
3. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
4. Virginia Polytechnic institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
5. University of Texas, Austin, Tex.
6. Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kans.
7. University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.
8. Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.
9. Rice University, Houston, Tex.
10. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.

Top 10 Graduate Architecture Schools

1. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2. Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
3. Columbia University, New York City
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
5. University of Texas, Austin, Tex.
6. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
7. Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
8. Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
9. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
10. University of California, Berkeley, Calif.

Skills Rankings
Analysis and Planning

1. Harvard University
2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute
3. Cornell University
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. University of Cincinnati
5. University of Oregon


1. Harvard University
2. Yale University
3. Cornell University
3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
5. University of Cincinnati

Computer applications

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. Carnegie Mellon University
2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
4. Columbia University
5. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Construction methods and materials

1. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
1. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
3. Auburn University
3. University of Cincinnati
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


1. Harvard University
2. Yale University
3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
4. Cornell University
5. Columbia University

Research and theory

1. Harvard University
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. Princeton University
4. Columbia University
4. Yale University

Sustainable design practices and principles

1. University of Oregon
2. University of California, Berkeley
3. University of Texas, Austin
3. University of Virginia
5. Auburn University

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "2010 United States Best Architecture Schools" 03 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 18 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=39728>


    • Thumb up Thumb down +1

      not true, why dont you try checking the NAAB website before posting inflammatory and absolutely untrue remarks.

      • Thumb up Thumb down +1

        Who’s talking about the Masters program JS? Im referring to
        the undergraduate (BARCH) program, you know, the one that is actually mentioned in this article.

    • Thumb up Thumb down -1

      “They might not of lost it, but they came close…”

      might not have*

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Harvard and Yale… sure… how original.

    More interesting: Do the “best” architecture universities produce the best architects? Or rather: Why not?

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Virginia tech and Carnegie Mellon are the best architecture universities and produce the best architects.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Not necessarily… Architecture is more a matter of talent than anything else… We’re similar to Athletes… UIC isn’t ranked very highly, yet they’ve produced some of the best architects in the world, like Adrian Smith for example…

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    I’m interested in why most of these universities have little or no involvement with the American Institute of Architecture Students. The culture of insularity that has been a real problem at architecture schools is now being challenged by students and faculty alike, but many of these schools represent some of the worst examples of this problem. UT and Cal Poly are a couple of exceptions to this, but it makes you wonder what makes these schools “the best.”

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      what does aias involvement have to do with the quality of work/students? i felt like it was a waste of time and money and did not really add anything to my school experience. it was just another pointless formality or ‘club’ to put on the resume. there are much better ways to be involved and engage the broader design community… can you elaborate on how cal poly and ut are exceptions? i feel that they are no less insular than any other school on the list.

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        The AIAS is the only collateral organization representing students at the national level. National officers sit on the board for the AIA and the ACSA, and members comprise the student representation on NAAB accreditation teams. Unfortunately not all school have active chapters, but in terms of engaging the greater architectural community and connecting with other architecture students, the AIAS is probably the best way for students to do that. UT and Cal Poly have fairly consistent representation at regional and national conferences, so at least in some ways they are more engaged than Harvard or Yale.

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      you dont know what you are talking about. most have very strong involvement with AIA or AIAS. Here at KSU it is considered a very important.

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        Not at all.
        AIAS in Syracuse University does have its perks like traveling to other schools but it is still simply is a club. It doesn’t teach kids design or anything conceptual or truly practical, only AIA traditions.
        Mostly everyone talks down on the AIA here anyway
        example: Greg Pasquerelli’s (SHoP) entire lecture this year

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Remember that Eisenmann debating wolf video? xD… that was yale right? hahaha nice, i wanna go there then B)

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Whoever compiled this list obviously has some sort of connection to Va Tech. It’s a good school, but not THAT good.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Actually Va Tech has consistently been ranked among the best architecture schools.

      Rankings are ridiculous anyway. A degree from Harvard is no substitute for good and diverse practical experience. Trust me, I know.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      really… you think that VT is the mis-ranked school. did you not notice that Syracuse doesn’t make any of the top fives but is ranked #2 overall.

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      What is your justification that Virginia Tech is not “THAT good” of a school?

      Your education is as much as you make of it and you certainly could find success getting a degree from nearly anywhere. However, the schools that can facilitate the most growth and provided the most opportunities for you as a student that make success that much more attainable. In that respect, Virginia Tech is a fine university.

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      Are you a student at SCI-Arc? I’m debating between Sci Arc and Cornell for grad school this coming fall, any thoughts? Thanks.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I didn’t go to Harvard or Yale, but yes, they really are the best grad schools out there.. and yes, they really do produce some of the best architects and designers out there. It’s not a coincidence that many of the most innovative and well-respected young firms out there are the brainchilds of GSD or Yale alumni.

    People who went to poorly ranked or unranked schools always think these lists are bogus but most likely, if offered the opportunity (and probably a scholarship), they would jump at the chance to go to any of those schools.

    I’d like to see a Worst Arch School list.. even more controversial!

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I have to agree with Archi-nerd. They are actually the best schools because of the students and not because of the location, teachers ans technology. They are the main reason for the success of their schools because going to the best school, it does not always make you better than others students if you do not want to succeed.
    Regarding the comment of 12yrVet that says: “Rankings mean nothing if you can’t get a job… i guess it is partially true but remember that these schools have the most influential relationships between big firms and teachers and also they are great designers with a lot of project under their wings and that helped you to find a job. I guess after studying on those schools, you got a better chance to get chosen in interviews(if you were a good student) along with new perspective a new plans to develop in the professional world.

    I am going to a probably low or mid level school in regards of ranking but my portfolio, knowledge in 3d programs and ideas are the only things that i have so i am making the best of it. So it is great having the chance to go to those high ranked school but is up to you to make the best out from the school that you go to.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Rankings are useful in many, albeit narrow, ways. They offer specific insights, but should not be viewed as the end-all-be-all surveys of educational institutions.

    The motivating factors and architectural ambitions of prospective students vary greatly. Likewise, design schools also vary greatly. A student will receive very different educations at Virginia Tech or VCU (generally more traditional) than schools such as SCI-ARC and Cooper Union (generally more experimental). Thus, the value of a school is based on the values of the prospective student. One seeking guaranteed job placing with a good salary would probably do well to aspire to the zenith of such rankings as the one found in this article.

    Anyway…. Is anyone else surprised that Cooper Union is nowhere on these lists?

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      Cooper never makes the list, we have to small of a school; these rankings don’t account for that. With regard to the statement about Vidler ruining the school, he has very little control within the school. Hejduk RAN the school, Vidler lectures at other schools.
      In no way is Cooper ruined as was suggested, we still have the same great professors and we are still producing innovative and provocative work. Personally I agree that the rankings accurately show the schools that are producing some of the best thinkers and practitioners. These rankings just go to show that with any general statements made there are exceptions that are ultimately left out.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Not surprised at all that Sci-arc didn’t land on the lists, as that place is nothing more than an architectural ponzi scheme. They essentially lost their way since moving downtown and the thesis reviews for a long time have been a digital pony show of bad actors creating bad music.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Its not so much the school ranking but what kind of instructors do you deal with..I went to a mid-lev. school where at times studio guidance was extremely challenging, I know Harvard doesn’t have that type of challenge and I would never trade it for a course just because it is placed in a highly ranked university. You gotta search the pearls for what suits you and enhances the architectural drive. But I like Harvard in many ways, I’m just saying just bc it’s on the top list does not mean it has all the ingredients. At the end it’s what you make of your talent.

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    the schools that give a student the ‘best’ education may (or may not) be the best school to advance a career or open doors throughout a career. of course, i’m speaking about quality of design education. others may differ. that’s why i put ‘best’ in brackets. these days, it’s such a big investment-it’s good for the prospective student to ask how many (if any!) offices arch recruited at the school in past years. i think that’s something that architecture students-who tend perhaps to be idealistic in their view of things in general-can take into account when choosing their school. as for rem’s opinion, well you know he’s in a different situation than 99.9999% of architects get to live.

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Immagine how pissed you’d be if you went to one of those schools and didn’t make top 10.

    I think that the rankings are useful as long as you understand what criteria was used to make them. It’s nice to help evaluate schools you would like to go to but I hope employers are looking past my less than top 10 school status and into my work and personality.

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the rankings aren’t bogus. they are subjective only in the criteria used to determine rankings, which, from a former executive of the aia, don’t seem to have any bias concerning the interaction with the aia. the gsd and yale are thorough, excellent schools that have the opportunity to draw from a massive, competitive talent pool both with their faculty and their student body. i don’t think this should come as any surprise that they tend to get many of the best students and faculty out there. and without the quantitative score published, who knows how big of an objective edge they really have over others?

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    the only oddball in the top ten undergrad schools is perhaps RISD. nice to see an art school ranking high with ivy league & technical schools. there is, afterall, some hope for the future.

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    i would put rice, pratt and cooper union above risd in the undergrad list.

    clearly the evaluation criteria here is corporate in nature.

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