2011 United States Best Architecture Schools

Infographic design: Kiss Me I’m Polish LLC, New York

And this years rankings are in…

In it’s 12th year of publication in DesignIntelligence, James Cramer and the Greenway Group have compiled the 2011 America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools . Cornell University  repeated as the No.1 Undergraduate Architecture program.  The most significant switch among the universities this year, the University of Michigan Graduate program grabbing the No.1 spot, nudging out Harvard (No.2) who had consecutively held the top position for the last six years.

James Cramer answered the ever popular question, why rank schools, “At university, students’ experiences can significantly enhance or diminish their interests as well as their likelihood for future success. This gives schools both tremendous opportunity and huge responsibility, since what happens in them has the potential to change the careers of individuals as well as the architecture profession as a whole.”

Cramer continues, “Another answer is given by the architecture firms that employ recent graduates. If the purpose of a professional degree is to prepare students for professional practice, then how well are degree-granting institutions performing the task? Ongoing research by the Design Futures Council and shows that architecture firms and related professional practice careers are being deconstructed and reinvented at an accelerated pace. Beyond the economy, for example, the profession is being shaped by profound changes in technology, such as building information modeling. Can educational institutions keep pace with the changing needs of 21st-century practices? And so we ask in our survey, “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the architecture profession?”

After the break you can find the complete rankings divided into the following categories: analysis and planning, communication, computer applications, construction methods and materials, design, research and theory and sustainable design practices and principles as seen at Architectural Record.

Top 10 Undergraduate Architecture Schools

1. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
2. Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
3. Rice University, Houston, Texas
4. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California
4. Virginia Polytechnic institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia
6. Southern California Institute of Architecture , Los Angeles, California
7. Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
9. Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York
9. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Infographic design: Kiss Me I’m Polish LLC, New York

Top 10 Graduate Architecture Schools

1. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
2. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
3. Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
4. Columbia University, New York City, New York
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
6. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
6. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
8. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9. Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
10. University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California
10. University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Architecture Skills Assessment

Analysis and Planning
1. University of Michigan
2. Harvard University
3. Cornell University
4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Yale University

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

Computer applications
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2. Southern California Institute of Architecture
3. University of Michigan
4. Columbia University
5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Construction methods and materials
1. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
2. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
3. University of Michigan
4. Lawrence Technological Univeristy
4. University of Kansas

1. Harvard University
2. Southern California Institute of Architecture
3. University of Michigan
4. Cornell University
5. Yale University

Research and theory
1. Harvard University
2. University of Michigan
3. Columbia University
3. Yale University
5. University of California at Berkeley
5. Cornell University

Sustainable design practices and principles
1. University of Oregon
2. University of Michigan
3. University of California at Berkeley
4. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
5. Auburn University

Architecture Deans Survey

Most admired B. Arch. programs
1. Auburn University
2. Cornell University
3. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
4. University of Texas at Austin
5. Syracuse University

Most admired M. Arch. programs
1. Harvard University
2. Yale University
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
4. Columbia University
5. University of Michigan

Cite: Minner, Kelly. "2011 United States Best Architecture Schools" 29 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=92310>
  • ditto

    I cant take these rankings seriously for something as subjective as architecture. When ranking business school programs you have alumni networks, specialty professors in areas like payment processing that have immediate real world impact on their students. Architecture is mostly about the individual student and their ability to be productive for their employer during apprenticeship ( internship ).

  • Thom

    I wish “affordability” was factored in.

    Also, Michigan eclipsing the GSD after not being on the list? Hmm…

  • student

    i am sure michigan is amazing, but it seems a little optimistic to put them at the top of everything without….well…..being known at such a high status…for very long

  • zach

    I believe that Cal Poly SLO has the most affordable tuition of the undergrad schools with Virginia Tech not far behind. As both of them are state schools, they are far cheaper than some of the others on the list. To give a good idea, Cornell costs close to $40k, while Cal Poly is around $7k and Virginia Tech is around $8k. Both universities should be highly applauded for the quality of education they provide, ESPECIALLY considering their price tags.

  • Bapha

    GSD grad w/ couple of thoughts:

    1) I don’t know the first thing about Michigan’s arch school but if Monica left the GSD to lead their program I’m not surprised their stock is up (and vice-versa).

    2) Based on my interaction with lots of other folks in arch since graduating I have to say that, as painful as the GSD’s MArch program was (and it was f-ing BRUTAL), it also appears that it was far and away the best DESIGN education available anywhere.

    3) The GSD left me, and all my classmates that I keep in touch with, woefully unprepared to actually practice architecture. There was this unstated law that assumed you could work out the P’s & Q’s of actually being an architect on your own time. Nobody taught us software, nobody taught us a real pro prac class, nobody taught a practical goddamn thing – we had to teach ourselves on our own time (and dime).

    3) The profession of architecture has changed a lot since the GSD’s pedagogy was cast in stone a few decades back. And it has probably changed faster in the last handful of years then ever before. The simple fact is this: you cannot in good conscience charge some poor kid $150k and four (4) of the best years of thier adult life to prepare them for a career that earns $50-75k/yr working 60-70hrs/wk. IF they are lucky enough to land a job.

    • http://www.umu.ac.ug Olweny Mark

      Were you in Uganda martyrs university Nkozi? Terrible I should say.