Top Architecture Colleges, Schools and Universities in the U.S.

Read about the top architecture colleges, schools and universities in the U.S. Learn about degree options at three leading institutions, and find a table that lists other schools across the country that provide training for aspiring architects.

School Information

To work as an architect, students must complete a program that's been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) and fulfill requirements for state licensure. The three universities featured below offer undergraduate and/or graduate programs that have been approved by the NAAB. Additionally, two of the universities were nationally ranked by DesignIntelligence, a publication of the Design Futures Council, and all three are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

1. Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

School Highlight: In 2015, DesignIntelligence ranked Cornell University the best school for undergraduate architecture programs and the fifth-best school for graduate architecture programs.

U.S. News & World Report rated Cornell the 15th best national university in 2015. The university's Department of Architecture offers an undergraduate program for a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.). Unique to the program is the chance to study in New York City or spend a semester in Rome. The department also offers an accredited Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) program with two options, including one for students who hold an undergraduate degree in another major. Additional programs include an undergraduate minor in architecture, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the History of Architecture and Urban Development.

2. Columbia University in New York, NY

School Highlight: Columbia University was DesignIntelligence's choice as the third-best school for graduate architecture programs in 2015.

In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked Columbia fourth among national universities. Through its Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the university offers a three-year professional M.Arch. program. Master's degree programs are also available in urban planning, urban design and advanced architectural design. Graduate students who are interested in the history and theory of architecture can pursue a doctoral degree.

3. Clemson University in Clemson, SC

School Highlight: U.S. News & World Report ranked Clemson University the nation's 20th-best public school in 2015.

The university offers a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture; a minor in architecture is available for students enrolled in another undergraduate program. Clemson's M.Arch options include a two-year program for students who hold a pre-professional bachelor's degree in architecture and a three-year program for those who hold a degree in an unrelated field. Clemson also offers a non-professional Master of Science in Architecture and a Ph.D. in Planning, Design and the Built Environment with specializations in architecture and health, design and building, and animated architecture.

Top Architecture Schools in the U.S.

School Name Distinction Location
Auburn University Offers a program in Landscape Architecture Auburn, AL
Barnard College Undergraduate architecture program partners with Columbia University in New York New York, NY
Middlebury College Ranked seventh among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report in 2015 Middlebury, VT
Smith College Graduate architecture program requires prerequisite coursework in physics and calculus Northampton, MA
University of Arizona Focus on sustainability, hands on education and the environment Tucson, AZ
Washington State University First land-grant university in the state Pullman, WA
Yale University School of Architecture offers several joint-degree programs New Haven, CT

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