RECORD’s 2016 rankings of top architecture school programs, provided by Design Intelligence, the research arm of the Design Futures Council, comes amid good news that more women are being trained as architects. Women now compose 44 percent of those enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs. (In 2011, that percentage was 41 percent.)
At the same time, there is a growing debate about the value of architectural education. Enrollment of first-year architecture students dropped almost 20 percent over a five-year period ending in 2013, Frank J. Mruk III, associate dean at New York Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture and Design, pointed out in an op-ed piece in the September 29 Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Mruk argues that the drop comes from the “outdated, costly and time-consuming qualification process” and suggests developing a tiered system where architectural training will be specific to the skills and goals of the students.
Yet, according to executive director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) Andrea Rutledge, the decrease could depend on any number of factors, including generational swings in student-aged populations. Rutledge also notes that the latest numbers drew from data released for the academic year 2013–14, when enrollment in accredited programs totaled 24,989. The results for 2014–15 will not be published until January 2016.
In another response to the WSJ essay, Marilys Nepomechie, president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, wrote that architecture and design schools are already increasing flexibility in their programs. Students can pursue a number of different options, including working toward registration while in school. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) is considering proposals from over a dozen accredited architecture schools that want to offer this option.
In an interview accompanying the 2016 rankings, RECORD asked James P. Cramer, editor in chief of the publication DesignIntelligence (DI) and the chairman of the Design Futures Council, to address these and other changes he sees confronting architectural education today.
The Top 10 Architecture Undergraduate Programs
|2||California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo|
|3||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University|
|6||Rhode Island School of Design|
|7||University of Texas, Austin|
|9||Carnegie Mellon University|
|10||University of Southern California|
Comparison of Previous Architecture Rankings: Undergraduate
|Cal Poly SLO||2||2||1||5||4||4||3||3|
The Top 10 Architecture Graduate Programs
|5||Massachusetts Institute of Technology|
|6||University of California, Berkeley|
|7||University of Michigan|
|9||Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University|
|10||Washington University, St. Louis|
Comparison of Previous Architecture Rankings: Graduate