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Top Architect Schools and Colleges in the U.S.

Learn about top schools for aspiring architects. Explore what makes three of these schools the best in the nation, including their program options, training requirements and national rankings. View article »

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  • 0:03 School Overviews
  • 0:40 Cornell University
  • 1:25 Harvard University
  • 2:15 Auburn University

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School Overviews

Universities typically offer architecture degree programs at two levels. The undergraduate (B.Arch.) degree typically takes five years to complete, while the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) can take 1-5 years, depending on a student's previous experience and training.

Harvard University, Cornell University, and Auburn University are three of the best schools for architecture. They were all nationally ranked by Design Intelligence in 2016 and the first two are Ivy League schools. Also, they all offer relevant programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY

Cornell University's architecture department offers three undergraduate degrees and 13 graduate degrees. Each year, the department serves over 750 students and employs 56 faculty members. Of the three undergraduate degrees offered, there is the Bachelor of Architecture and the Bachelor of Science in urban and regional studies. Of the multitude of graduate degrees, there are the Ph.D. programs in city and regional planning and history of architecture and urban development. Master's degrees are available in architecture, regional planning, and landscape architecture.

Students enrolled in the architecture bachelor's program eventually spend a semester in Rome. In 2016, Cornell's undergraduate architecture program was ranked #1 by Design Intelligence, and its graduate program was ranked #2.

Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

At Harvard University, students enrolled in the Department of Architecture in the Graduate School of Design benefit from a diverse faculty and visiting theorists in the field of architecture from all over the world. The architecture school offers two levels of the Master of Architecture: M.Arch. I and M.Arch. II. The former is a professional degree for individuals possessing a bachelor's degree in a subject other than architecture, while the latter is for those with a B.Arch.

Architecture, Urban Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture departments work cooperatively to provide comprehensive lessons; students are also exposed to additional resources through a partnership with MIT. Harvard's graduate-level architecture program was ranked #1 by Design Intelligence in 2016.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

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

Auburn University in Auburn, AL

At Auburn University, architecture students can gain hands-on experience through the university's Rural Studio and Urban Studio programs. The College of Architecture, Design and Construction at Auburn University offers a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture that includes both pre-architecture and professional coursework, providing the educational background necessary for the ARE licensing exam. Second-year students in the program can apply to the Interior Architecture Specialization Program.

Another undergraduate option is a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, with a concentration in pre-landscape architecture. This program prepares students for Auburn's graduate-level Master of Landscape Architecture program. In 2016, Auburn's undergraduate architecture program was ranked #8 in the country by Design Intelligence.

Top Architecture Schools

Excellent architecture programs can also be found at several other schools:

College/University Distinction Location
University of Texas at Austin Students have access to the Architectural Archive, the Architecture and Planning Library, and the Center for American Architecture and Design Austin, TX
University of Virginia The university's extern program allows undergraduate and graduate students to gain hands-on experience in many aspects of the architecture field Charlottesville, VA
Virginia Tech Virginia Tech was ranked #3 for its undergraduate architecture program and #9 for its graduate architecture program by Design Intelligence in 2016 Blacksburg, VA
Yale University In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Yale tied at #3 among all national universities New Haven, CT

Aspiring architects can find highly ranked architecture programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Most of these programs prepare students to obtain licensure and launch their careers or pursue further education in the field.

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