Top Architect Masters Programs with School Info

Learn about master's degree programs in architecture, which usually award a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) or post-professional Master of Science. Read brief summaries of the programs offered by four high-profile institutions, and find a summary of other schools with graduate architectural programs.

Graduate students who are interested in architecture can earn a professional or post-professional master's degree in the field.

School Overviews

Master's degree programs in architecture are available at schools that have received high marks from DesignIntelligence and U.S. News & World Report. These include three Ivy League institutions--Harvard, Columbia and Cornell--as well as the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: Harvard's Graduate School of Design offers numerous prizes and fellowships to deserving graduate students in architecture.

Harvard University placed second on the U.S. News & World Report list of national universities for 2017. According to DesignIntelligence, the university also offered the top-ranked graduate architecture program, as reported by Architectural Record in 2016.

The university's M.Arch. programs are offered through the Graduate School of Design. Program options include a track for students who are earning their first professional degree, as well as one for those who've already completed an undergraduate architecture program. The school also offers foreign exchange programs to current students and travel fellowships to alumni who'd like to study abroad.

Columbia University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Architectural graduate students have access to the Spatial Information Design Lab and Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture.

Columbia University's graduate architecture program was ranked 4th in the nation by DesignIntelligence for 2016. The university also tied at 5th among national universities, as designated by U.S. News & World Report in 2017.

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University offers an M.Arch. program to students without prior architecture training; advanced standing is available to those who have some undergraduate experience in this area. Post-professional programs include a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design and Master of Science in Urban Design.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight: MIT offers students numerous research centers and programs, including a Center for Advanced Urbanism and an Infrastructure Architecture Lab.

MIT's graduate architecture program was ranked the 5th-best in the country by DesignIntelligence for 2016. Other university distinctions include a top 10 national university ranking from U.S. News & World Report for 2017.

MIT's M.Arch. program can be completed in 2.5-3.5 years, depending on the student's undergraduate education. The program consists of a series of design studios where students develop their drawing and visualization skills. They also participate in a fabrication workshop and take courses in design theory and geometric disciplines, among other areas. MIT also offers dual degree programs and graduate certificates in architecture and urban design.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

School Highlight: The Sustainable Design Initiative at Cornell gives students the opportunity to participate in research-based, interdisciplinary studies with the goal of completing projects that lead to ecological, social and economic sustainability.

In 2016, Design Intelligence named Cornell the second-best graduate architecture program in the country. For 2017, Cornell was tied for 15th in the U.S. News & World Report rankings for national universities. The school's professional M.Arch. program takes 3.5 years to complete, and it is designed to train students with bachelor's degrees in any field to become architects. The school's post-professional M.Arch.II degree is intended to provide advanced instruction to trained architects, so only students already holding a B.Arch. or M.Arch. are accepted.

Top Architecture Master's Degree Programs

Other well-regarded schools that offer master's degree programs in architecture include the following:

  • The College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, publishes Oz, a design journal.
  • Graduate students at Rice University in Houston, TX, can spend a semester studying abroad in Paris
  • The Visual Resources Center at the University of California in Berkeley houses an extensive collection of architecture- and landscape-related images.
  • At the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN, students interested in documenting historical structures can join the Digital Historical Architectural Research and Material Analysis (D.H.A.R.M.A.) research team.
  • The graduate architecture program at Washington University in St. Louis, located in St. Louis, MO, was ranked 10th by DesignIntelligence for 2016.
  • Yale University in New Haven, CT offers on-campus recruiting services for students in the Yale School of Architecture.

Students who want to pursue a master's degree in architecture can enroll in highly ranked programs at either the professional or post-professional level, depending on their background.

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