Top Architecture Schools

Find out what to look for in architecture programs and learn about three top schools. Read about their rankings, resources and the types and level of degree each university offers. Schools offering AutoCAD Drafting & Design Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Select a Top Architecture School

Whether you're looking for a professional architecture degree program or want to pursue a concentration in urban development, design research or building science, look for schools that offer programs in your area of interest. You might also want to look at schools with opportunities to study abroad, enter design competitions, complete internships or participate in community architecture projects.

On-campus laboratories and exhibition facilities should also be widely available. Look for a program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) or recognized by DesignIntelligence's annual surveys.

What are Three Top Architecture Schools?

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

Cornell tied for 16th in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 national university rankings. Cornell has a professional bachelor's degree or a professional master's degree. Alternate undergraduate options include a history of architecture or architecture fine arts program. Graduates of bachelor's or master's degree programs could pursue a post-professional advanced master's degree focused on urbanism, ecology or discourse.

Resources include the John Hartell Gallery, the Experimental Gallery and digital exhibition spaces. As an undergraduate fine arts student, you could spend a semester in Rome or enroll in summer study abroad programs and on-campus studio sessions. Undergraduate and graduate students can also study in Cornell's New York City studio facilities for one semester. Cornell offers these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in History of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Doctor of Philosophy in History of Architecture and Urban Development

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

As a student in the post-professional master's degree program, you may specialize in history and theory, digital technologies, design research, building technology or design studies. International travel studios are available to juniors and graduate students. Resources include the Building Technology Laboratory and the Art and Architecture Shop. You can also access studio and design facilities at the Detroit Community Design Center or participate in the federally-funded Midrise Modern Modular project for affordable housing. You might enter the annual Architecture Student Show or the Wallenberg Competition Studios. UM has these degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Urban Design
  • Ph.D. in Architecture

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg

VT tied for 76th in U.S. News & World Report's 2019 ranking of national universities.

Master of Science in Architecture students may select either building science or interior design concentrations, with a special acoustics study option also available. Upper-level undergraduate students may spend one semester in Berlin during a 1-year research studio. If you choose to participate in the Chicago Studio, you may be responsible for designing a structure within your team's master plan. As a fourth-year student, you could extern in an architectural practice for credit.

Graduate students can access design and research laboratories at VT's Washington-Alexandria Center. You could also help design teaching labs via the Center for High Performance Learning Environments or conduct research at the Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory and History of Art and Architecture. A Community Design Assistance Center is available to students who want to help non-profit organizations and communities improve their built environments. You could pursue the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design
  • Bachelor of Science in Building Construction
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Science in Building Construction
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture and Design Research

Ten More Top Architecture Schools

College/University Institution Type LocationEstimated Graduate In-State Tuition*
Harvard University 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$47,000
Yale University 4-year, Private New Haven, CT$42,000
Columbia University 4-year, Private New York, NY$48,000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4-year, Private Cambridge, MA$55,000
University of Cincinnati 4-year, Public Cincinnati, OH$15,000
Washington University 4-year, Private Saint Louis, MO$53,000
University of Texas 4-year, Public Austin, TX$12,000
University of Virginia 4-year, Public Charlottesville, VA$19,000
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, Public Berkeley, CA$14,000
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Private Philadelphia, PA$39,000

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

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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