Colleges for an Architect Career

U.S. colleges offer architecture degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students looking for an architecture program should select one that adheres to national and state standards.

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Architecture is the process of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures. In most states, students must earn a professional degree, complete a paid internship and pass a licensure exam before they can practice.

10 Top Architecture Programs

Here are some schools that offer undergraduate and/or graduate-level architecture programs:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's,
Doctoral
(Graduate) $42,874
Yale University New Haven, CT 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
(Undergraduate) $47,600,
(Graduate) $38,700
Columbia University New York, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
(Undergraduate) $53,000,
(Graduate) $44,176
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
(Undergraduate) $46,704,
(Graduate) $49,272
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
(Undergraduate) $49,116,
(Graduate) $29,581
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's
(Undergraduate) $11,000 in-state,
$26,334 out-of-state, (Graduate) $14,468 in-state,
$26,210 out-of-state
Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
Master's
(Undergraduate) $48,093,
(Graduate) $47,620
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
(Undergraduate) $13,856 in-state,
$43,476 out-of-state,
(Graduate) $20,966 in-state,
$42,016 out-of-state
University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's,
Doctoral
(Undergraduate) $9,806 in-state,
$34,676 out-of-state,
(Graduate) $10,934 in-state,
$20,762 out-of-state
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 4-year, Public Bachelor's,
Master's
(Undergraduate) $15,192 in-state,
$44,365 out-of-state,
(Graduate) $17,094 in-state,
$26,892 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Architectural History
  • Architectural Technology
  • Environmental Design
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Urban and Regional Planning

College Selection Criteria

Here are some important things to remember when choosing between architecture schools:

  • It is important to ensure that the school is accredited by the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB).
  • Students may want to find out about the design studio facilities available to students at the school.
  • In the 34 states that require students to pass the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) exam in order to become licensed, it can be helpful to look at the pass rates for graduates of the school.
  • Prospective architecture students may want to look into internship placement rates of graduates from the school, as well as the locations where graduates commonly find internships and jobs.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A professional Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree is the minimum educational requirement to pursue licensure and start practicing in the field. These five-year programs introduce students to architectural theory and design concepts, as well as the drafting software and construction procedures commonly used in the field. At the same time, students gain general education through liberal arts courses. Another bachelor's-level option is a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) in Architecture, which also covers the fundamentals of building planning and design, but to a less extensive degree. Graduates can find work in support positions at architectural firms, or they can gain the professional training they need to pursue licensure by advancing to a Master of Architecture (MArch) program.

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs differ depending on the student's experience and career goals. MArch programs are designed for students who want to get the professional education they need for licensure. At some schools, students who already have a BS in Architecture can choose a two-year track, while those who have a BA or BS in a different subject must complete three years of graduate-level training. For architects who already hold a professional degree and want to conduct architecture research, Master of Science (MS) programs are available.

Doctoral Degree Programs

In PhD in Architecture programs, students take advanced courses in the history and theory of architecture, and they conduct advanced research in a particular topic of interest. Some schools also allow students to pursue formal concentrations, such as urbanism or Islamic architecture. Since most students generally go on to jobs as professors, rather than practicing architects, teaching experience may also be included in the program.

Students can choose between architecture degrees based on their prior educational qualifications and future career goals. There are both private and public four-year schools that provide relevant programs in the field.

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