What Are the Best Architecture Graduate Schools?

In a graduate architecture program, you might explore architectural history while learning to design structures that suit contemporary needs. Keep reading for information on some of the top architecture schools for graduate students, whether you're a working architect seeking to expand your horizons or you have a bachelor's degree in another field and want a career change.

What Constitutes an Excellent Graduate Architecture Program?

The best graduate programs in architecture emphasize creativity and technical acumen. They allow students to take a variety of courses as well as participate in valuable design studios. Faculty should be diverse in their research interests, well-published and willing to work closely with their students.

If you're searching for a professional program to become an architect, you'll want to seek a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) or Doctor of Architecture program that's approved by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Some schools divide their M.Arch. programs into M.Arch. I, the professional degree, and M.Arch. II, a post-professional degree.

A number of architecture programs offer degrees in specialty areas, such as urban design or landscape architecture, and some offer joint degrees in architecture and disciplines like business or social work. A Master of Arts, Master of Science or Ph.D. in Architecture may be relevant for a career in teaching and research.

What Are Three Top Architecture Schools for Graduate Studies?

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

In 2019, Harvard was ranked number two in the category of National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. Harvard's Department of Architecture boasts a world-class faculty that's engaged in a variety of research projects, publications and approaches to design. The department emphasizes creative skills as well as a thorough foundational knowledge of the arts and sciences. You can study topics within the general areas of design theory, historical architecture, visual studies and technological applications, receiving a body of knowledge that is both wide in scope and detail-oriented. Harvard awards the following professional and post-professional degrees in architecture:

  • Master in Architecture I
  • Master in Architecture II

Washington University in St. Louis in Missouri

Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) graduate program in architecture features a design studio sequence that's central to the curriculum; through this sequence, you can work with a diverse range of faculty members on a variety of projects, developing your own unique voice along with strong design principles and technical abilities. To supplement your studio experience, you can study topics in urban design, building technology, architectural theory and history, structural principles, landscape design and representational media. In addition to joint M.Arch degrees in business, urban design, social work, construction management and landscape architecture, WUSTL confers the following degrees:

  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design
  • Master of Science in Architectural Studies
  • Master of Urban Design

Yale University in New Haven, CT

Yale University views architecture as an artistic expression of human values. The program's pluralistic approach to architectural pedagogy allows you to become familiar with a range of contemporary design methodologies while developing your individual interests and talents. You'll be encouraged to communicate and collaborate with your classmates, faculty members, professionals, critics and the public through design studio workshops. In addition, you can take courses in visualization, design, architectural history and theory. Yale offers the following degree programs in architecture:

  • Master of Architecture I
  • Master of Architecture II
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture

Ten More Great Schools With Graduate Architecture Programs

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Columbia University Private, not-for-profit, 4-year or above New York, NY$48,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Private, not-for-profit, 4-year or above Cambridge, MA$55,000
Cornell University Private, not-for-profit, 4-year or above Ithaca, NY$30,000
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Public, 4-year or above Ann Arbor, MI$23,000
Rice University Private, not-for-profit, 4-year or above Houston, TX$38,000
University of Pennsylvania Private, not-for-profit, 4-year or above Philadelphia, PA$38,000
University of Virginia Public, 4-year or above Charlottesville, VA$19,000
University of California-Berkeley Public, 4-year or above Berkeley, CA$14,000
University of Texas-Austin Public, 4-year or above Austin, TX$12,000
Rhode Island School of Design Private, not-for-profit, 4-year or above Providence, RI$51,000

*Source: NCES, U.S. Department of Education