Architecture Skills Assessment

  These rankings, based on the hiring experience of firms surveyed, assess the preparedness of recent graduates in a range of vital skills. Survey participants were asked which collegiate architecture programs (undergraduate or graduate) are strongest in each skills category.
  Analysis and planning
1
University of Michigan
2
Harvard  
3
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Calif. 
4
Virginia Polytechnic institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.  
5
University of Texas, Austin, Tex.
6
Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kans.
7
University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.
8
Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, R.I.
9
Rice University, Houston, Tex.
10
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Calif.
   
TOP 10 GRADUATE ARCHITECTURE SCHOOLS (M.ARCH.)
1
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2
Yale University, New Haven, Conn.  
3
Columbia University, New York City 
4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
5
University of Texas, Austin, Tex.
6
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
7
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
8
Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, Va.  
9
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.
10
University of California, Berkeley, Calif.
   

SKILLS RANKINGS††

Analysis and planning

1
Harvard University  
2
Virginia Polytechnic Institute  
3
Cornell University  
3
Massachusetts Institute of Technology   
5
University of Cincinnati  
5
University of Oregon
 

Communication

1
Harvard University  
2
Yale University  
3
Cornell University  
3
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
5
University of Cincinnati
 

Computer applications

1
Massachusetts Institute of Technology  
2
Carnegie Mellon University
2
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University  
4
Columbia University  
5
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
 

Construction methods and materials

1
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
1
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
3
Auburn University  
3
University of Cincinnati
5
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 

Design

1
Harvard University  
2
Yale University
3
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University  
4
Cornell University  
5
Columbia University
 

Research and theory

1
Harvard University  
2
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3
Princeton University  
4
Columbia University  
4
Yale University  
 

Sustainable design practices and principles

1
University of Oregon  
2
University of California, Berkeley
3
University of Texas, Austin  
3
University of Virginia  
5
Auburn University
 

†† Indicates collegiate architecture program that is strongest in each skills area (Undergraduate and graduate)

DEANS AND CHAIRS SURVEY

“Early on, deans at a number of schools moaned about the rankings,” remembers Theodore Landsmark, Assoc. AIA, president of Boston Architectural College. The deans and chairs feared that state funding might be tied to their position on the charts. Some people in the academy still view the survey with a certain skepticism. “The higher our rank, the more intelligent we think the document is,” laughs Douglas Oliver, a professor at Rice University School of Architecture and director of design at Morris Architects, in Houston. “If we slip we think the system is flawed.”

In response to earlier criticism, in 2007, Greenway began using a school-evaluation survey informed by questionnaires sent to academic leaders in addition to its practitioner-driven rankings. “Deans and chairs of all NAAB-accredited architecture programs are invited to participate,” Cramer says. This year 67 programs responded, and the deans’ opinions do not differ from those of practitioners as dramatically as was perhaps suspected. Academia’s top five schools hew closely to the more publicized rankings; only the appearance of Auburn and Princeton in the B.Arch. and M.Arch. ratings, respectively, differentiates this list from the practitioner-rated top 10. D.S.

Deans and Chairs Survey

1
Cornell University
2
University of Texas, Austin Most admired B.Arch. programs
2
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
3
Auburn University
3
Rice University
   

Most admired M.Arch. programs

1
Harvard University
2
Yale University
3
University of California, Berkeley
4
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5
Princeton University
   

Architecture Student Survey What students are pursuing (%)

41
Bachelor of Architecture
16
Bachelor of Science in Architecture
4
Bachelor of Arts in Architecture
1
Bachelor of Arts in Architecture Studies
35
Master of Architecture 
3
Other (including dual degrees, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Architecture, and other architecture programs)
   

Percent of Students who believe they will be well prepared for their profession upon graduating: 93

   

Quality of program overall (%)

49
Excellent
40
Above average
8
Average
2
Below average
0
Failing
   

Quality of program Relative to cost (%)

52
Excellent
48
Above average
16
Average
4
Below average
1
Failing
   
What students do after graduating (%)
33
Pursue an advanced degree in architecture
6
Pursue an advanced degree in something else
50
Work in private practice
3
Work for a corporation
3
Self-employment
3
Undecided or other
1
Work in government
1
Community service
85
Planning to take the Architect Registration Exam
77
Planning to become LEED certified
   

THE MAN BEHIND THE NUMBERS

James Cramer, Hon. AIA
James Cramer, Hon. AIA

James Cramer, Hon. AIA: Perhaps best known to architects as the chief executive of the American Institute of Architects from 1988 to 1994, Cramer founded Greenway Group in 1982 and launched it as a fully staffed organization shortly after leaving the AIA. His Atlanta-based firm operates a management consultancy that services the design and construction industries. The company’s communications division administers think tanks (such as the Design Futures Council), organizes conferences, produces publications (such as the bimonthly DFC journal DesignIntelligence), and assembles the annual architecture-school rankings. He is the author of several books, including Design Plus Enterprise: Seeking a New Reality in Architecture (2002, 2nd edition). To learn more about his company and its methodology, and to discover trends that have materialized over the course of 10 years of surveys, go to architecturalrecord.com/features for an exclusive interview with Cramer.  D.S.

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