Schools with Planning and Architecture Programs: How to Choose

Colleges and universities with planning and architecture programs instruct students in the fundamental theory and practice of planning and architecture. Students can expect to learn about softwares such as computer-aided design software and geographic information systems software. Internships are often required in architecture and planning programs to help students develop real-world skills.

Architects are responsible for the appearance and overall functionality of structures, while planners are involved with the use of land and the revitalization of communities. Architecture and planning programs can be found within the architecture departments of colleges and universities.

Ten Schools with Bachelor's in Architecture Programs

The following schools offer bachelor's programs in architecture. Undergraduate tuition for each of these schools is based on the 2015-2016 academic year.

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition and Fees*
Barnard College New York, NY 4-year, Private $47,631
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private $50,665
Morgan State University Baltimore, MD 4-year, Public $7,508 in-state, $17,182 out-of-state
University of Texas, Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public $9,806 in-state, 34,676 out-of-state
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public $12,763 in-state, $37,471 out-of-state
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale Carbondale, IL 4-year, Public $13,137 in-state, $26,390 out-of-state
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Public $15,188 in-state, $25,494 out-of-state
Northeastern University Boston, MA 4-year, Private $45,530
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, Private $43,450
Pratt Institute Brooklyn, NY 4-year, Private $46,586

*Source: NCES, School websites

Top Master's in City Management and Urban Policy Programs

According to the U.S. News website, the following schools were rated the top 10 in city management and urban policy in 2016. Graduate tuition rates are based on the 2015-2016 academic year, and do not include any extra program fees:

College/University Location Institution Type Tuition*
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS 4-year, Public $9,029 in-state, $21,120 out-of-state
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private $38,592
University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Private $39,984
Arizona State University Phoenix, AZ 4-year, Public $10,610 in-state, $27,096 out-of-state
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 4-year, Public $9,143 in-state, $26,354 out-of-state
Northern Illinois University DeKalb, IL 4-year, Public $8,176 in-state, $16,352 out-of-state
Cleveland State University Cleveland, OH 4-year, Public $9,565 in-state, $17,980 out-of-state
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public $9,684 in-state, $24,116 out-of-state
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public $6,876 in-state, $22,374 out-of-state
University of Illinois, Chicago Chicago, IL 4-year, Public $13,447 in-state, $22,306 out-of-state

*Source: NCES

School Selection Criteria

Students should consider the following when selecting an architecture program:

  • Aspiring architects should search for programs that have been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which will help them become licensed.
  • Students interested in planning should seek a program that has been accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board.
  • Architecture programs often incorporate computer-assisted design (CAD) software as a learning tool; students should consider programs that integrate CAD to gain an understanding of common building materials.
  • Internships can help an architecture student be best prepared for an architecture licensing exam and prospective employment.

Bachelor's Degree in Architecture

The NAAB requires that bachelor's degree architecture programs be a minimum of 150 credit hours. Design studios are often required to allow students to create projects for assignments and for their portfolios.

Master's Degree in Architecture

For master's degree programs, a minimum of 30 credit hours is required by the NAAB. Professional architects who want to advance to leadership and management positions should consider obtaining a graduate degree. The program typically culminates with the completion of a master's project or thesis.

Bachelor's Degree in Planning

Individuals in these programs learn how to analyze site problems and develop solutions. Subjects covered include urban and neighborhood development, environmental and political considerations and urban geography. Many programs require the completion of an internship.

Master's Degree in Planning

Some schools offer combined master's programs with the business or architecture schools. Master's degree programs in planning focus on areas such as urban development, environmental planning, and communication skills.

In summary, architecture and urban planning are typically two different academic tracks. Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in both, and the best programs offer hands-on learning opportunities, internships, and licensure exam preparation.

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