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Architecture Degrees

Architectural designers are artistic, technically driven individuals who apply their skills to the design of buildings. Architects need specific education and practical training, as well as licensure, to work in the field. Read on to determine if a career in architecture design is for you.

What is an Architecture Degree?

Architecture degree programs prepare students for careers in architecture, construction and a variety of other fields by teaching them about structural design, mechanics and related topics. Architecture degrees are available to undergraduate and graduate students and sometimes enable students to study specific fields of architecture, such as architectural engineering. Undergraduate students can earn an architectural degree at the associate or bachelor's level. Graduate students (those who already have a bachelor's degree) can earn a master's degree or doctoral degree in architecture. Students can earn academic or professional degrees at the bachelor's and master's levels.

Associate Degree in Architecture

Associate degree in architecture programs typically take around two years of full-time study to complete and most frequently lead to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree in architecture or architectural technology. Associate degree in architecture programs usually have between 60 and 70 credit hours of coursework that is composed of general education and degree-specific classes. Graduates of these programs can become CAD operators and architectural draft assistants or continue their education and pursue roles as architects, designers and more. Common courses in these programs include:

  • Architectural design
  • Drawing
  • Building materials
  • Graphics
  • Computer-aided drafting (CAD)

Bachelor of Architecture Degree

Bachelor's degrees in architecture include general education courses as well as architecture classes. These programs include between 120 and 170 credit hours and take four to five years of full-time study. Professional 5-year Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) programs typically take longer than other programs, such as Bachelor of Science in Architecture, because they are hyper-focused in architecture principles and design courses with fewer elective courses and prepare graduates for licensure as architects. Courses within architecture bachelor's degree programs can include:

  • Architectural design
  • CAD
  • Environmental architecture
  • Aesthetics in design
  • Contemporary architecture.

In addition to coursework, students complete a field experience and might have the opportunity to study abroad. Depending on the degree type, architecture bachelor's degree graduates may continue their studies or enter careers such as drafter, consultant, landscape architect or licensed architect.

Master's Degree in Architecture

Master's degree in architecture programs take around two to three years of full-time study. Students who have a qualifying bachelor's degree in architecture can typically finish their programs sooner than those who have degrees in other fields. Master of Architecture (MArch) programs are the professional architecture master's degree programs that prepare students for architecture licensure, but students can find other programs, such as the Master of Science in Architecture, at various schools. Courses in architecture master's degree programs can include:

  • Architectural theory
  • Landscapes
  • Structural design
  • Preservation
  • Building materials

Graduates of MArch programs can pursue roles as architects, while those with an academic master's degree can become architectural managers, landscape architects and urban planners.

PhD & Doctor of Architecture

PhD in architecture and other architecture-related fields are the highest degree programs and include a significant amount of coursework on architecture theory, practice and research. These programs have varying lengths but can take around five years of full-time study. Many architecture doctoral programs offer research concentrations within the curriculum so that students can focus on the topics most relevant to their goals. Although they vary by school, architecture doctoral program concentrations can include:

  • Cultural design
  • Architectural history
  • Design technology
  • Urban design
  • Interior architectural design

A culminating experience like a dissertation is typical. Courses vary by concentration, and graduates of these programs can become architectural managers, researchers and professors of architecture. A professional Doctor of Architecture (DArch) is also an option, which can qualify graduates for licensure as an architect.

Types of Architecture Degrees

While not available in all architecture schools and degree levels, some programs enable students to select a concentration within their program. By choosing a concentration, students are able to spend more time learning about topics that are specifically applicable to their career goals and needs. Concentrations for architecture degree programs can include landscape architecture, sustainable architecture and more.

Landscape Architecture Degree

Landscape architecture degree programs prepare students to design and work with various landscapes, from wilderness to urban. Although courses vary by school and degree, landscape architecture students may take classes in landscape CAD, design, landscape architecture, plants in landscapes and issues in landscape design. Graduates of these programs can become landscape architects, landscape designers, park planners and urban designers, to name a few options.

Architectural Design Degree

Architectural design degree programs teach students to integrate computer-aided design with technical drafting techniques to meet architectural design needs. Courses can include those in drawing techniques, blueprints, color and design, modern architecture, CAD and structure. Graduates of these programs will be prepared for roles in architecture, engineering, design, construction and other fields.

Architectural Engineering Degree

Architectural engineering degree programs can include courses in engineering physics, mechanical systems, CAD, structures and architectural engineering. These programs integrate technology, design and science to teach students building designs and construction techniques that maintain and improve quality, efficiency and aesthetics. Graduates of architectural engineering programs can pursue careers as architectural engineers, managers, structural systems engineers and more.

Interior Architecture Degree

Interior architecture degree programs give students the necessary skills to create and repurpose interior spaces in buildings. Courses within interior architecture programs can include aesthetics, drawing techniques, traditional and contemporary architecture, color techniques and building systems. Graduates of these programs can pursue roles as interior designers in a variety of industries.

Sustainable Architecture Degree

Sustainable architecture degree programs give students an understanding of sustainability in architecture, including environmentally, socially and economically sustainable practices. Graduates of these programs can pursue countless roles in architecture and related fields, including architect, architectural designer and urban planner. Courses can include structural design, designs in architecture, environmental architecture and urban planning.

Online Architecture Degrees

Some of the many schools that offer online architecture degree programs include Boston Architectural College, Academy of Art University and Southern Illinois University. Online architecture programs utilize various software programs and websites in order for students to actively participate in skill-building exercises. For example, students may be required to upload 3-D designs and other videos for feedback and revision notes. While some classes require some synchronous (scheduled) components, many offer asynchronous learning that allows students to log in at their convenience.

Online architecture programs are available at different levels and with different content/learning outcomes. Undergraduate students can pursue an associate's degree or bachelor's degree while graduate students can pursue a master's degree or doctoral degree. In addition to the different levels of degrees, students can select from academic programs in architecture or professional programs. Professional programs are meant to prepare students for architecture licensure and typically have Arch within the degree name (such as Bachelor of Architecture/BArch or Master of Architecture/Arch). While both types of architecture programs are available online at different degree levels, professional programs involve some on-campus learning sessions.

Accreditation for Architecture Degrees

There are two primary types of accreditation that matter for architecture degree students: institutional and programmatic. Institutional accreditation applies to an entire school and shows that the school has met (or exceeded) the required criteria for quality. These criteria can include things like faculty experience, curriculum and graduation rate. Institutional accreditation can be either regional or national. While both types are institutional and accredit an entire school, regional accreditation has a few key benefits:

  • Regional accreditation requires schools to meet higher quality standards
  • Credits earned at regionally accredited schools can transfer to both nationally and regionally accredited schools, whereas credits earned at nationally accredited schools can only transfer to other nationally accredited schools.

The second type of accreditation that architecture students should look for is programmatic accreditation. Architecture programs can be accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Not only does attending an NAAB-accredited program increase the chance of receiving a quality education, but it's also required for architect licensure in many states.

NAAB accredits professional architecture programs at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. As of 2020, around 60 bachelor's programs, more than 100 master's degree programs and one doctoral program are accredited by the NAAB. Students interested in becoming architects must graduate from a program with NAAB accreditation.

The 50 Best Architecture Degrees (2020-2021 School Year)

We've done the designing, planning, and building and are here to share our list of the best architecture schools in the nation. To build our list, we researched schools' student retention numbers, tuition costs, graduate rates, and other data from the Department of Education. We also considered any special program features, such as National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation, study abroad opportunities, on-campus facilities, and the types of architecture degrees offered. What we designed was the definitive list of the top architecture schools in the country.

1. Woodbury University

With a main campus in Burbank, California, Woodbury University makes the top of our list due to their educational approach of producing citizen architects who are committed to building and designing for the community. This school offers an exceptional Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree program and an outstanding Master of Architecture program, both of which offer an Integrated Path to Licensure track that allows students to take the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) before graduation. Also offered here is a great Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch) and interior architecture design programs that lead to a bachelor's or master's degree. All students can gain important hands-on experience through the Making Complex that includes a digital lab, a wood fabrication lab, spray booth, casting yard, and more.

2. Wentworth Institute of Technology

At Wentworth Institute of Technology, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BSArch) degree that offers unique concentrations in urbanism, emerging technologies, or adaptive interventions. This school also has a superb Master of Architecture (MArch) program that allows student to create through physical production, using 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC machines. Architecture students at this Boston, Massachusetts, school can take part in Wentworth's Center for Community and Learning Partnerships where they perform community service and develop professional skills by working on urban proposals or aiding in disaster response through design studio research.

3. Rhode Island School of Design

Architecture students at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence have access to first-class facilities and resources that include different digital fabrication technologies, the latest software and hardware programs, and a model shop with saws, joiners, and a 3-D printer. Their excellent Bachelor of Architecture allows students to complete a self-determined degree project at the end of their program that showcases their professional and design skills. Students wanting to earn a Master of Architecture can do so here through a 3-year program or a 2-year advanced program option. Graduate architecture students learn by doing and have access to large open design studios and customizable workspaces where there is room for collaboration and personal study.

4. Lawrence Technological University

Lawrence Technological University's architecture program offers students the opportunity to earn both a notable Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree and a Master of Architecture degree on a single track where they transition easily from undergraduate to graduate studies. The MArch program also has excellent options for students with or without an architecture bachelor's degree. Further this Southfield, Michigan, school participates in the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative that allows students to complete requirements for licensure while enrolled, which includes opportunities for internships and employment with world-class architecture firms. This school also has a number of one-of-a-kind dual degree programs where the MArch degree is paired with undergraduate degrees in engineering, interior design, urban design, and even business administration.

5. Roger Williams University

Located in Bristol, Rhode Island, Roger Williams University offers architecture students a wealth of resources and facilities that enhance their education, including the SAAHP Building that has a digital media lab, an architecture library, and high-tech computer labs and the AIA Rhode Island (AIAri) Window on Architecture storefront where students can attend workshops and have their design work exhibited. This school also has studio space for students in Florence, Italy, which is housed in the Palazzo Rucellai, a Renaissance landmark. As for program options, students can earn an exceptional:

  • Bachelor's degree in architecture
  • Joint bachelor's/master's in architecture
  • Bachelor's in art/architectural history
  • Master's in preservation practices
  • Bachelor's in preservation studies
  • Joint bachelor's/master's degree in preservation studies

Students can also supplement their studies by participating in the Career Investment Program where they can complete internships with real architectural companies.

6. Pratt Institute-Main

The incredible STEM-designated Bachelor of Architecture program at the Pratt Institute-Main in Brooklyn, New York, features a truly unique optional concentration in morphology, which is the study of form. Also offered here are a top-notch Master of Architecture program that has an advanced standing option and a STEM-accredited Master of Science in Architecture program. Further, this school has a unique Master of Science in Architecture and Urban design program, which explores the 21st century urbanism. Architecture students can hone their practical and research skills by studying in one of six independent research centers, such as the Center for Experimental Structures, and or using such special facilities as a laser room, the wood shop, or the prototyping room.

7. Massachusetts College of Art and Design

The Boston-based Massachusetts College of Art and Design offers two noteworthy architecture degree programs, including a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Architecture and Master of Architecture. The BFA in Architecture features an awesome mix of classroom and real-world training, and students routinely take field trips to building sites and participate in committees and mentoring activities. The MArch program also gets students out of the classroom when they work for the MassArt Community Build Program, which focuses on designing a building projects that increase the well-being of the community. This program also features 2 tracks: a non-pre-professional that requires 102 credits and a pre-professional track that requires 60 credits.

8. Iowa State University

The architecture students at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, get plenty of opportunities to apply their architecture skills and knowledge to real projects, and students have created permanent installations at such places as the Iowa Arboretum and Reiman Gardens. The opportunities don't end there, as students have participated in the Venice Biennale, which is an international expo for art and design, and have spent the summer in Berlin studying urban architectural environment. This school's notable degree offerings include a Bachelor of Architecture, a Master of Architecture, and a Master of Science in Architecture. The BArch and MArch programs feature ample studio time, and graduate students can also choose to earn a double degree where the MArch is paired with another master's degree in business, urban design, regional planning, or sustainable environments.

9. University of Oregon

Located in Eugene, the University of Oregon provides students with several pathways that lead to an architecture degree, including the following programs:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • PhD in Architecture

The excellent MArch program features tracks for those with and without an undergrad architecture degree. The PhD program is a great choice for advanced students who want to delve into the research side of the field. All students in these fine programs have access to a number of studio shops, including a wood shop, a lighting lab, and a fabrication lab. Students can also study architecture around the world through the school's study abroad program that can take them to Italy, British Columbia, or even Copenhagen where they can earn studio credits.

10. California College of the Arts

Located in Oakland, the California College of the Arts is dedicated to challenging the conventional framework of architecture, and students are encouraged to forge new community-focused ideas through speculative architectural research and practice. This school offers a tremendous Bachelor of Architecture program that is STEM designated as well as an amazing Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program that focuses on human environments - and both programs allow students to intern at major Bay Area architecture firms. Also offered here are a wonderful Master of Architecture program and a unique Master of Advanced Architectural Design program that is especially designed for early- to mid-career professionals. Students can also participate in a range of architectural projects through the high-tech, in-house architectural research labs, such as the Architectural Ecologies Lab where they study issues related to architecture and climate change.

11. Kansas State University

Kansas State University has a Master of Architecture degree pathway for just about every type of student, including an incredible 5-year MArch for high school graduates and transfer students and a 2-3-year MArch for those with an undergraduate degree. Students at this Manhattan-based school can also earn a notable Master of Science in Architecture degree or a unique master's degree in landscape architecture, regional/community planning, or community development. Kansas State University architecture students, right from the jump, move beyond the classroom to study in a vast array of places and countries. Students can participate in study abroad opportunities in Italy, Australia, or Germany, and can intern right at home with local design and planning firms. This school also has a partnership with the Kansas City Design Center where students can get involved in the future development of Kansas City.

12. North Dakota State University - Main Campus

Architecture students at North Dakota State University - Main Campus in Fargo benefit from a supportive community that includes a mentorship program that pairs students with alumni and student organizations, such as Freedom by Design (where students can apply their architecture skills to community service) and the NDSU chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). This school has an incredible architecture program that includes a Master of Architecture degree that can be paired with a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree where students begin graduate-level work in their fourth year and complete their master's in their fifth.

13. University of Kentucky

The Lexington-based University of Kentucky offers two outstanding architecture programs, including a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture. This school grants students plenty of opportunities to grow as architects and designers outside of a classroom setting. Students can work in and help underdeveloped communities through a satellite design studio in West Louisville, can participate in outreach and speculative proposal projects at Studio Appalachia, and can travel abroad to places like Spain and Italy to study architecture, interiors, and historic preservation in an international context. Students also benefit from on-campus facilities and studios that have everything from 3D printers to robotic arms.

14. University of Kansas

Students at the University of Kansas in Lawrence can earn several notable architecture degrees, including a:

  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Arts in Architecture
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture.

Also available here is a superb Bachelor of Science (BS) in Interior Architecture degree program that offers students the opportunity to pair it with the MArch degree. Along with a rigorous academic course of study that fully prepares students for their architecture careers, this school offers plenty of opportunities to gain hands-on experience through their multiple lab spaces, including a traditional film photography lab, woodworking and metal-working spaces, and state-of-the-art computer labs with the latest software. Graduate students can also study at the school's Center for Design Research (CDR), which is housed in a 19th century restored barn and limestone farmhouse, where they work on corporate-sponsored projects.

15. Miami University - Oxford

The Oxford, OH, campus of Miami University offers two exceptional architecture programs: a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and a Master of Architecture. The terrific BA in Architecture fully prepares students for a master's degree program in architecture, and the MArch helps students qualify for the Architectural Registration Examination and licensure. This school rounds out its architecture student's education through a lively lecture series that brings in professional and innovative architects and a study abroad program where students work, study, design, and build in places like London, Ghana, and Germany.

16. University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Architecture students at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln benefit from a range of exciting and skill-building practical opportunities that can take the form of mentoring their peers, exhibiting their work in student competitions, or taking part in the Responsible Design Learning Community (a program for first year students where they live, study, and take field trips with the same group of peers). The academic offerings here are robust and diverse, and students can earn an excellent Bachelor of Science in Design with a focus on Architecture or an outstanding Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. Graduate students can choose from a 2-year or 3-year Master of Architecture program or a master's degree in community-regional planning or in architecture with an interior focus. Students can take advantage of high-tech work spaces as well, including a media center, computer lab, and a wood and metal shop.

17. Catholic University of America

Catholic University of America, which is in Washington, D.C., uses its location to the advantage of its architecture students, who are able to participate in the CUA Design Collaborative where they offer building and design services for the community. This school offers several degree programs for undergraduate students, including a first-rate Bachelor of Architecture program and other amazing bachelor's degrees in architectural studies and environmental science. There are also a range of top-notch graduate degree offerings that include a 2- or 3-year Master of Architecture and other career-enhancing master's degrees in city/regional planning, sustainable design, and facilities management. All architecture students at this school study in the innovative Crough Center for Architectural Studies, which is designed to function as a small town with a piazza that exhibits student work, meeting halls, and state-of-the-art labs.

18. Judson University

At Judson University, students can embark on an architectural educational journey that includes an unrivaled hybrid 4+2 format program where students earn a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture degree as well as complete the 1-year internship needed for professional licensure. Students in this Elgin, Illinois, school's architecture program benefit from a low 16:1 student to faculty ratio, experienced faculty who all hold terminal degrees, and a Christian-focused educational perspective. Students also get the opportunity to study international architecture on a 4-week May-term trip that takes place in their third year or by spending a full semester at a foreign institution in England, Ireland, or Germany, among other options.

19. University of Oklahoma - Norman Campus

The University of Oklahoma - Norman Campus' College of Architecture offers a wealth of degree programs that are sure to match a range of interest, including the following remarkable programs:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies
  • Bachelor of Construction Science
  • Bachelor of Interior Design
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design

This school also has several graduate-level offerings, such as a first-rate Master of Architecture degree. All of these diverse degree programs have an emphasis on community engagement, and students are encouraged to take part in projects, such as mentoring events, campus expansion plans, and community art workshops. Architecture students can also expand their design and building skills through a study abroad program that takes them to Uganda, Italy, or Germany, and through several maker spaces that include an urban design studio and digital making lab.

20. Arizona State University - Tempe

At Arizona State University - Tempe, students can choose between a wonderful Bachelor of Science in Design - Architectural Studies degree, a career-boosting Master of Architecture degree, and a truly one-of-a-kind Master of Science in Architecture with a concentration in Energy Performance and Climate Responsive. Architecture students at this school have access to world-class facilities, including a digital lab, print/computer lab, and a prototyping shop. Additionally, students in the MArch program get to complete a travel studio component that takes them to such places as Europe or Asia for a full fall semester. Also offered here are first-rate bachelor's and master's programs in landscape architecture and programs in urban design and environmental design.

21. Auburn University

Auburn University, which is located in Auburn, Alabama, has a truly diverse offering of architecture -focused degrees, including the following outstanding programs:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Interior Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design

All students get plenty of chances to hone their practical skills and gain real-world experience. In the past, students have worked on creating a landscape architecture project for an in-need city with a hazardous waste issue, and routinely, students participate in the annual Alabama Forestry Student Design Competition where they create wood-based design projects. Students can also take full advantage of a range of facilities that include computer lab, a darkroom, and crit spaces as well as a cool study abroad program.

22. University of Idaho

The University of Idaho in Moscow has degree pathways that lead to notable bachelor's degrees in architecture, interior architecture, and landscape architecture as well as programs that lead to master's degrees in architecture, integrated architecture and design, bioregional planning, and landscape architecture. Students in these programs are able to develop their practical architecture skills through the unique Design-Build Program where they design and build real-world projects, and past builds include renovating an old motel into a modern facility and creating a wine tasting room. There are also a wealth of internship opportunities that can take place in architectural firms and groups.

23. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The architecture and design students at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University have a number of unique opportunities to study outside of the Blacksburg, VA, campus, including a semester-long residency in picturesque Switzerland, study abroad trips to Europe, and a semester-long studio residency in Chicago. However, right on campus students have access to high-tech fabrication and studio spaces, including wood and metals shops and printing/plotting labs, most of which are open 24 hours a day. This school offers several amazing bachelor's degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Architecture. At the graduate level, students can earn a phenomenal STEM-designated Master of Architecture, a Master of Science in Architecture, or master's degree in landscape architecture. There is also an excellent doctoral program in architecture and design that features a landscape architecture or landscape architecture track.

24. University of Detroit Mercy

The University of Detroit Mercy's School of Architecture is dedicated to producing career-ready students, and as such, it has the only architecture program in Michigan that requires two semesters of internships where students work with real-world architecture firms as a paid employee and gain practical experience. This co-op program also allows students to extend their internship and participate in the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards' accelerated path to licensure and graduate as a licensed architect. At this school, students can choose from a notable 5-year accelerated Master of Architecture program or a standalone Bachelor of Science in Architecture program. Also offered here are a terrific Bachelor of Architectural Engineering program and Master of Community Development program that allows students to study community building in Havana, Cuba.

25. Keene State College

With a campus in Keene, New Hampshire, Keene State College offers an exceptional pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree that has a learn-by-doing philosophy where courses are designed around real architectural design problems and experiential learning. Along with courses on architectural design, residential construction, and architectural history, students also complete a cooperative education course that places them in an architectural setting and a portfolio design course. This outstanding program has a focus on sustainability as well, providing students with a strong background in solar energy, green design, and efficient energy systems, and students routinely attend national conferences in the field of sustainable design.

26. Drury University

Drury University has several outstanding architecture degree pathways, including a great Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture program, both of which emphasize a personalized educational experience with one-to-one instruction, hands-on learning, and low student-faculty ratios. This Springfield, Missouri-based architecture school encourages students to move beyond the classroom with the Center for Community Studies (CCS), which allows students to partake in regional community designing, planning, and building, and the Design-Build Program, which lets students join a design-build team that helps communities with different building projects. All students at this school participate in an international study abroad experience as well.

27. The University of Tennessee - Knoxville

At the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, students can earn a noteworthy Bachelor of Architecture or a 2- or 3.5-year Master of Architecture. All architecture students get access to modern, state-of-the-art studio spaces and labs that saw a $1.5 million refurbishment in 2015, and each student gets their own ergonomic chair, desk, and high-resolution computer monitor. Further, students can hone their practical designing and building skills through Fab Lab (which is housed in a renovated historic building and contains a CNC router, 3-D printers, a nine-axis robotic cell and more) and through the Environmental Design Lab (which allows students to work on partnership-focused landscape projects). This school has plenty of off-campus experiences for students as well, including a study abroad program where students can work and study in such places as Finland, Poland, and Germany.

28. Dunwoody College of Technology

Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Dunwoody College of Technology's exceptional architecture program is designed as a two plus three stackable credential where students earn an technical Associate of Applied Science degree after two years of study and then earn a Bachelor of Architecture after an additional three years of study. This program also allows transfer students from community colleges or technical schools to seamlessly transfer into the BArch program as well. Students in this program have a range of out-of-the-classroom opportunities, including attending conferences, competitions, and events, and they also can access design studios and labs that contain laser cutters, drafting kits, large form printers and more.

29. Marywood University

Undergraduate students at Marywood University have several exceptional ways to earn an architecture-focused degree, including a:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Architecture
  • Bachelors of Environmental Design in Architecture (BEDA)
  • Bachelor of Interior Architecture

While earning their career-enhancing degree, students can access world-class facilities that were built with sustainability in mind and re-use the school's former natatorium and gymnasium. These labs include wood and metal shops, a reference library, a digital fabrication room, and a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) lab. Students can also round out their academic studies with a study abroad program that takes place at the International Studies Institute (ISI) in Florence, Italy. This Scranton, Pennsylvania, school offers a wonderful 60-credit Master of Interior Architecture degree program as well, which features classes that range from lighting design to sustainability.

30. University of Hawaii at Manoa

Located in Honolulu, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is home to an architecture programs with a unique focus on the connection between the West and Asia, and it offers a one-of-a-kind international dual graduate degree program where students earn a Master of Architecture degree in China and a Doctor of Architecture in the US with students studying in both countries. The DArch degree has the distinction of being the only NAAB-accredited doctoral degree in the nation, too. With an emphasis on international collaboration, this school offers plenty of study abroad opportunities, including to Denmark, Australia, Hong Kong, and Korea. Yet, right on campus, students can also move beyond the classroom with high-tech lab spaces, such as the Environmental Research and Design Laboratory (ERDL) where students study sustainable buildings and the Digital Media & Information Technology Laboratory (IT Lab).

31. New Jersey Institute of Technology

The Newark-based New Jersey Institute of Technology offers a number of exceptional architecture-related degrees, including:

  • Bachelor of Architecture/Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Architecture / Master of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Infrastructure Planning

Architecture students are well supported in every aspect of their education with numerous scholarship opportunities that include awards for academic excellence, design skills, and collaborative skills as well as several modern labs for printing and fabrication. Students can also study beyond the classroom through an exchange program that takes place in Austria and the Siena Summer Studio, which is a study abroad program that partners with the University of Siena in Italy. This university also offers a truly noteworthy PhD in Urban Systems that has an optional concentration in urban environment, which focuses on the physical and spatial designs of built environments.

32. Otis College of Art and Design

Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, California offers a one-of-a-kind, multidisciplinary Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors degree program that allows students to study multiple fields of architecture and design within a single course of study, It includes classes on landscape technology, digital modeling, lighting fundamentals, and more. Students take these courses in sequential order while also taking comprehensive studio courses where they work on real-world projects in the Los Angeles area and beyond. During their senior year, students travel to another city, such as Chicago, Seattle, or New York, where they conduct research as a part of their final studio project.

33. University of Arizona

The University of Arizona has an architecture degree to meet the needs and interests of almost every student, including offering the following brilliant degrees:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Built Environments
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture

This Tucson-based architecture school places a special focus on hands-on learning, and through the CAPLA Design/Build, students take courses, studios, and independent study hours where they work on cross-disciplinary, real-world projects, such as classroom buildings, playgrounds, and shade structures. The Drachman Institute at this school also helps architecture students build important professional skills by allowing them to work on community projects, such as mixed-income housing designs and middle school design plans.

34. Montana State University

Montana State University in Bozeman has incredible Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design and a Master of Architecture programs. The undergrad program culminates in a 4th year of study where students can choose from completing an internship, studying abroad in Europe or South America, enrolling in design/build studio, or working at the Community Design Center where students manage their own community-focused design project/build with a recent project example being an elementary school greenhouse. All architecture students can take full advantage of a wealth of resources that aid them in their education, including state-of-the-art facilities like a fabrication shop, a wood shop, and high-tech printers.

35. Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College

Architecture students at Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College can benefit from a range of experiential learning opportunities that take the form of 1-week externships and summer internships at architecture and design firms. This Baton Rouge-based school offers a range of remarkable degree programs, including a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture, as well as related degrees in interior design and landscape architecture. The collaborative learning at this school means that students can join a number of student organization, such as the Students for Historic Preservation, and can work with peers in the design shop, fabrication factory, or IDEA hub.

36. University at Buffalo

Located in New York State, the University at Buffalo's School of Architecture and Planning houses five internationally-renowned research centers, including the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA Center) and the Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies (CAST), and students are able to learn and research in these centers while they work on transdisciplinary projects. The degree offerings at this school are robust and include incredible programs that lead to a:

  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Urban Planning

All these excellent degree programs are supplemented by an extensive study abroad program where students can spend 10 weeks working on ecological issues Costa Rica or studying urban and coastal environments in Ireland.

37. University of Massachusetts - Amherst

At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, students can earn a superb Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree or a first-rate Master of Architecture degree, which has a 2- or 3-year track. Other amazing degree offerings at this school include a Master of Design with an optional track in historic preservation and dual programs that pair the MArch with a Master of Landscape Architecture or a Master of Regional Planning. Architecture students get the unique opportunity to participate in the Yestermorrow Sustainable Design/Build, which includes a credited full-immersion semester spent designing and building a real-world sustainable project. Other practical experience can be gained by using the schools advanced computer labs and workshops.

38. Kent State University at Kent

In Ohio, Kent State University at Kent has a diverse range of architecture and design degrees that include world-class bachelor's degrees in architecture, construction management, architectural studies, and interior design. Students here can also earn an exceptional Master of Architecture degree or master's degrees in landscape architecture, urban design, or architecture/environmental design On top of that, this school offers a rare Master of Healthcare Design (MHCD) degree, one of few in the country that focuses on the design of clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Architecture students at this school are encouraged to give back to the community and can participate in community design projects in Northeast Ohio and studio projects with such organizations as Habitat for Humanity.

39. Texas A & M University - College Station

The College of Architecture at Texas A & M University - College Station has a range of career-enhancing undergraduate degree programs, including:

  • Bachelor of Environmental Design
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Science
  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Urban & Regional Planning

These rigorous degree programs supplement in-class learning with several real-world opportunities, and students are required to study away from the university through an internship or international travel to places like Italy and Spain. Also offered here are top-notch master's degree programs, including professional Master of Architecture program and master's degrees in urban planning, landscape architecture, construction management, and land/property development.

40. University of Cincinnati - Main Campus

The University of Cincinnati - Main Campus in Ohio has a robust set of terrific architecture degrees, including:

  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • PhD in Regional Development Planning

These great degree programs are built around a co-op model of learning where students gain on-the-job experience as they earn their degree, and most students complete their program with at least one full year of professional experience. This school also believes in learning by doing, and students can participate in the MetroLAB, a public interest design program where students work on community projects. On campus, students can take advantage of an almost unlimited number of labs and centers where they can hone their craft, including a rapid prototyping center, a 24/7 computer lab, a photo lab, and a build lab that as wood and metal working tools.

41. University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

The University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign's architecture school fully lives up to its motto of 'Learn from the Past - Question the Present - Shape the Future.' That's why students can access an array of technologically-advanced labs and spaces, including 24-hour work spaces, a wood shop, a modeling lab, and three computer labs, and they can participate in community-focused seminars and programs that center on the complexities of urban and sustainable design. The degree offerings here are sure to match the interests and career goals of students, and it's possible to earn a fabulous:

  • Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Planning
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • PhD in Architecture

42. Clemson University

Although the architecture school at Clemson University is based in Clemson, South Carolina, this school has developed a fluid campus model and was one of the first architecture programs in the nation to establish a satellite campus in Europe. Now, students can live and study at partner architecture centers in Barcelona and Genoa. This university offers a range of terrific programs, including the following top-notch degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Resilient Urban Design
  • Master of Science in Historic Preservation

Additionally, architecture students can choose the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) program where they can fast track the architect licensure process, reducing it from 12.5 years to only 6.5 years.

43. University of Florida

At the University of Florida in Gainesville, students can earn an amazing Bachelor of Design in Architecture degree, which is a pre-professional program that fully prepares students for future graduate work. This university also offers several phenomenal graduate-level programs, including a:

  • Master of Architecture
  • Masters of Science in Architectural Studies
  • Master of Landscape Architecture program
  • Master of Historic Preservation program

Further, this school has a unique PhD program that offers concentrations in everything from architecture to urban/regional planning and is perfect for students who want to pursue an academic teaching career. Students at this school can participate in several specialized programs, including the Global Lab, which allows them to study and work on studio projects concerning urban policy making and building technology, and the East Asia Program that takes students to Asia to study cross-cultural design.

44. Portland State University

Portland State University's architecture school has an educational philosophy that emphasizes urban-oriented design, material diversity, and social engagement. As such, this Oregon-located architecture school has developed the Center for Public Interest Design (CPID), which is a research center where student fellows have worked on projects related to Portland's housing crisis and the creation of transit stations in Sacramento. At this school, students can earn a wonderful Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree or a 2- or 3-year Master of Architecture degree. Students get plenty of hands-on and practical experience both on and off campus, such as at the Shattuck Hall Ecological Learning Plaza where students are creating and researching living walls and a study abroad program that takes students to Haiti, Argentina, or Spain.

45. Ball State University

First year freshman students at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, have the opportunity of choosing between a Bachelor of Architecture, BA in Architecture, or a BS in Architecture. They also get their own study and work space and can practice their building and design skills through a diverse array of labs and studios, including a computer simulation lab, a fabrication lab for prototyping, and a wood shop. On the graduate-level, students can enhance their careers by earning an excellent:

  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Science in Historic Preservation
  • Master of Urban and Regional Planning

Also offered here is an outstanding Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design, which is perfect students who want to study building and design but don't want to become a licensed architect.

46. Andrews University

At Andrews University, which is located in Berrien Springs, Michigan, architecture and design students are educated within a Christian-focused framework that encourages whole human health, innovation, intentional design, and hands-on learning. This school offers notable undergraduate degrees, including a Bachelor of Interior Design and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, as well as a fantastic Master of Architecture degree. Additionally, students can complete a 5-1/2 years professional program where they earn the BS in Architectural Studies and the MArch in sequential order. Students are able to see the world while earning their degree through a European summer study tour where they visit Italy, France, England, and elsewhere, and the Waldensian Faith History Tour where students learn about the homes and villages of these Northern Italy early Christians.

47. University of Illinois at Chicago

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers an array of noteworthy architecture degrees, including the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Science in Architecture

These programs are built around the ideas of collaboration and risk-taking, and as such, students take numerous studio courses where they receive important feedback and must complete a final studio project that they present to faculty and classmates. Further, all students are granted their own work space and access to a print lab, a project lab, and a fabrication lab. There are plenty of opportunities for off-campus learning as well through a spring break trip to Barcelona and through an undergraduate co-op program that allows students to pursue employment opportunities.

48. California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

The diverse population of architecture students at California State Polytechnic University - Pomona come from many different backgrounds, some being first generation college students and others community college transfers who want to fulfill their dream of become a licensed architect. To help students meet their career goals, this school offers the following terrific degrees:

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Interior Architecture
  • Master of Landscape Architecture

Students can enhance their in-classroom learning by participating in year-long study abroad programs that take place in such countries as Italy, Italy, and Mexico or by attending exchange programs in Japan or Germany. Students also can get the hands-on training they need right on campus with the College of Environmental Design (ENV) Model Shop.

49. North Carolina State University at Raleigh

North Carolina State University at Raleigh offers incredible architecture undergraduate degree programs, including a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture program and a Bachelor of Architecture program, which is 2-semester program for students who have already earned a non-professional undergraduate degree in architecture. Also offered here is an outstanding Master of Architecture program that allows students to earn additional bonus credentials, including certificates in city design and public interest design, as well as a notable Master of Landscape Architecture program that has tracks for students with and without an undergraduate degree in landscape architecture. These exceptional architecture programs feature a learn-by-doing educational framework, and students can participate in a design-build program where they work in teams to create and build community projects. Students also benefit from a study abroad program that lets them study architecture in Greece and Chile.

50. University of Maryland - College Park

At the University of Maryland - College Park, students can earn terrific Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees. Both programs feature a special junior year semester abroad program where students get to study at the International Studies Institute in Florence; there are shorter 3- or 6-week summer programs to France, Italy, and Scandinavia available as well. Also offered here is an outstanding Master of Architecture program that has track for those with a BArch degree and one for those without. All architecture students can participate in the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS) program where they can work on sustainability projects for local governments and communities.

How to Become an Architect

How long it takes to become an architect depends on you. To become an architect, there are a few steps that individuals need to take. Architects are required to be licensed in all states and must meet the following qualifications to obtain licensure.

1. Earn a Degree - Individuals will first need to earn at least a Bachelor of Architecture (professional degree). Students should complete professional programs that are accredited by the NAAB.

2. Gain Experience - Next, students will need to develop relevant experience through a paid internship that can be found through the Architectural Experience Program (AXP).

3. Pass Required Exam - Aspiring architects must take and pass the Architect Registration Examination in order to obtain licensure in all states.

4. Maintain Current Knowledge - In many states, architects need to continue their education to stay up to date on systems and practices and maintain licensure.

What Can You Do With an Architecture Degree?

There are several careers that architecture degree graduates can pursue. Architectural professionals design and modify various structures and landscapes in order to meet the needs of clients and environments. Depending on the specific program that students complete, they may also be qualified to enter fields such as construction management, cartography, safety and engineering, surveying and more. Students who have completed a professional degree and obtained licensure can pursue roles such as architect and landscape architect, while students who have completed an academic architecture degree can work in related fields such as drafting. Some of the careers that are commonly pursued by architecture degree graduates are compared in the table below.

Job Title Degree Required Licensure Required Description Median Annual Salary (2019) Estimated Job Growth
Architects Bachelor's degree Architect license *Design structures
*Determine specifications
*Prepare and present drawings
$80,750 8%
Drafters Associate's degree Optional certification *Convert designs from other professionals into technical designs using software $56,830 0%
Landscape Architects Bachelor's degree Landscape architect license *Design outdoor environments (including residential and wild) $69,360 4%

All career data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics