Best Architecture Graduate Schools in the U.S.

Read about the best graduate architecture schools in the U.S., which can help students advance their skills or prepare for careers in education and research. Learn about the degree options at three universities, as well as what's unique to other schools that offer graduate studies in architecture.

School Overviews

Three of the top graduate architecture schools in the U.S. include two Ivy League institutions, Harvard University and Columbia University, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All three schools have ranked among the top ten national universities in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. They have also received high marks from DesignIntelligence for the quality of their graduate architectural programs. Depending on the course of study, programs can lead to a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Architecture or post-professional degree.

Top U.S. Schools with Graduate Architecture Programs

1. Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

Harvard University, one of the oldest colleges in the U.S., is a private research institution that ranked number one on U.S. News & World Report's list of best national universities for 2012. In the same year, Architectural Record reported that DesignIntelligence ranked Harvard's graduate architecture programs first on its 'America's Best Architecture and Design Schools' survey ( The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers a Ph.D. in Architecture for students seeking careers in teaching or research; those who meet the minimum degree requirements can apply for an interim M.A. in Architecture award. The Graduate School of Design offers a professional M.Arch. I and post-professional M.Arch. II.

2. Columbia University in New York, NY

As of 2012, Columbia University ranked fourth on U.S. News & World Report's list of best national universities. The university's graduate programs in architecture also ranked third among their peers by DesignIntelligence, as reported by Architectural Record in 2012. Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation offers a professional M.Arch., two Master of Science programs in architecture and a Ph.D. in Architecture. The school is also home to the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, one of the nation's renowned architectural archival collections.

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ranked fifth on U.S. News & World Report's list of top national universities in 2012. In addition, MIT's graduate programs in architecture tied for sixth place on DesignIntelligence's list of top graduate architecture programs for the same year. The school's Department of Architecture offers graduate degrees in five areas of study, including art, culture and technology; history, theory and criticism; computation and building technology and architectural design. Students should be aware in advance that not all degree programs lead to a professional M.Arch.

Leading Schools for Architecture

School NameDistinctionLocation
Columbia UniversityThe Shape of Two Cities: New York-Paris Program for students who want to study architecture in the U.S. and abroadNew York, NY
Cornell UniversityOffers professional and post-professional M.Arch. degrees and a Ph.D. in History of Architecture Ithaca, NY
Georgia Institute of Technology M.Arch., post-professional M.Arch. and Ph.D. programsAtlanta, GA
Harvard University Offers fellowships, prizes and travel programs to architecture students Cambridge, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Architecture was one of MIT's four original academic departmentsCambridge, MA
University of MiamiOffers a 6-year combined B.S.A.E./M.Arch. program Coral Gables, FL
University of PennsylvaniaTied for eighth place on DesignIntelligence's survey of graduate architecture programs for 2012Philadelphia, PA
University of Texas at AustinOffers professional and post-professional M.Arch. programs, as well as M.S. programs in sustainable or urban design, historic preservation and architectural studiesAustin, TX
Washington University in St. LouisArchitecture-oriented study abroad programsSt. Louis, WA
Yale UniversityRanked second among top schools for its graduate architecture programs by DesignIntelligence in 2012New Haven, CT

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