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

Communication
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

Design
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 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=92310>

33 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    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 ).

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I wish “affordability” was factored in.

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

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I agree with ‘ditto’: these list are hard to take seriously. to put it in perspective: I recently applied and was accepted to 5 of the schools on this top-5, including a nearly full ride to Michigan. what did I do?.. accepted an offer at a school not even on this list offering me less money. I did it because they offered an area of focus i’m interested in, and also because it’s smaller and more of a family feel to it.. something I feel rankings like this don’t take into account and in fact indirectly penalize.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    what can be other tools to help people decide what is the best program for themselve?. I’m an italian student, and I do not have a clear idea on what to rely on in my searches for a graduate school?

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I feel like going to the school and talking and seeing the work might be the best way. but that’s hard because a) you’re in italy and b) what’s presented to you sometimes ends up just being a show

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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 make success that much more attainable. With that being said, rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, not to mention these rankings are quite subjective and can change radically from year to year. To do “research” requires a whole lot more than looking up lists online. Visit the school, talk with the professors and current students and ask them questions, and look at what other opportunities will be available to you once you arrive on campus (both within your program and university). You will learn a whole lot more about how a school operates when you see it for yourself. Also, all of these school have very different approaches and totally different atmospheres. You need to determine what type of school will be best for you in a scale of what you can afford. (on another note, I do wish DI would include affordability with quality of education into these rankings) If you do your homework and add up all your findings you will find what that perfect fit is for you. For me that perfect fit ended up being Virginia tech. I love my program and I love my school – I could not see myself going anywhere else or studying anything else for my undergraduate education. As for the naysayers that say “why would you ever spend so many years studying something that will get you a job (if you can find one) that won’t have as high a salary as a major say like engineering.” Why does everything always have to be about money? Have you ever been passionate about something? I study architecture not because I’m in it for the money, not for the fame or prestige, but because I have passion for it and makes me happy. I have a hard time understanding the mindset of those who despise what they do simply because it will make them rich.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      agree with all that michael has said above. but for an international student the research is extremely difficult. especially things like atmosphere, which are all the more crucial for an international student…any ideas?

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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 make success that much more attainable. With that being said, rankings should be taken with a grain of salt, not to mention these rankings are quite subjective and can change radically from year to year. To do “research” requires a whole lot more than looking up lists online. Visit the school, talk with the professors and current students and ask them questions, and look at what other opportunities will be available to you once you arrive on campus (both within your program and university). You will learn a whole lot more about how a school operates when you see it for yourself. Also, all of these school have very different approaches and totally different atmospheres. You need to determine what type of school will be best for you in a scale of what you can afford. (on another note, I do wish DI would include affordability with quality of education into these rankings) If you do your homework and add up all your findings you will find what that perfect fit is for you. For me that perfect fit ended up being Virginia tech. I love my program and I love my school – I could not see myself going anywhere else or studying anything else for my undergraduate education. As for the naysayers that say “why would you ever spend so many years studying something that will get you a job (if you can find one) that won’t have as high a salary as a major say like engineering.” Why does everything always have to be about money? Have you ever been passionate about something? I study architecture not because I’m in it for the money, not for the fame or prestige, but because I have a passion for it and makes me happy. I have a hard time understanding the mindset of those who despise what they do simply because it will make them rich.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Can anybody tell me how Arizona State University is for Urban design or Architecture?

  11. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hi everyone,

    I have completed my masters in conservative architecture in India , and is looking for a PHD program in US/CANADA in related field.

    Can anyone make any recommendation for a university which specializes in conservative Architecture.

    Thanks
    Sam

  12. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Hi!Someone can tell me how is the university of Seattle to study architecture ?

  13. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    would like to knoow rankings of MASTERS IN landscape architecture (MLA) programmes in the country… would any one care to throw some light…

  14. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    dear!
    Can you tell me how Georgia Institute of Technology is for Master of Urban design , Architecture and landscape architecture?

  15. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    can anybody tell me what actually are the options for a person having a B.Arch degree in hand…………………..

  16. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Well, I have heard of masters architecture graduates having a hard time even finding an unpaid internship at the moment. The current economic climate means that this kind of work is difficult to get, but that could be said with a lot of other degree subjects as well.

  17. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Interesting points made, especially since it’s so important for people to have a good education now. Getting a job certainly isn’t as easy as it used to be during the economic boom!

  18. Thumb up Thumb down 0

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  19. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I just could not leave your site before suggesting that I extremely loved the usual info an individual provide to your visitors? Is gonna be again steadily to check out new posts

  20. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Like another reply said I cannot take this list seriously knowing how subjective architecture as a whole is, and after meeting people from these so called top ten schools. For example I’ve met some grads, I won’t call out their school, who I can’t even believe their thesis projects weren’t second year projects…. #justsaying

  21. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    hi i want to know the best colleges that would provide M.Design with gre and ielts scores and what are the basic requirements

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