In surveying architectural firms, we contacted CEOs, managing partners, and human-resources directors to learn about their hiring experience over the last five years. From a list of NAAB-certified undergraduate and graduate programs, firms could select up to 10 schools in each category. We also sent our survey to leaders in top levels of professional practices as defined and listed in the Almanac of Architecture and Design (also published by DesignIntelligence), based on such factors as awards, media recognition, and extent of international business. Separately, we surveyed students and deans. And, as we have done before, we conducted research on programs devoted to landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design. For a comprehensive report on the results, see the November/December issue of DesignIntelligence, released Nov. 1 (see


Graduate Rankings

For the M.Arch. degree, Harvard University's Graduate School of Design maintains its number-one position. In the 14 years that DesignIntelligence has been ranking architecture programs, only twice has Harvard missed the top spot'both times by a few points, when Yale University and the University of Michigan briefly unseated it.

Why Harvard? Not only does it have a strong reputation overall, but it scores very well in design, analysis, planning, and the communication skills that graduates need in professional practice. This year, for the first time in the history of DesignIntelligence research, Columbia University takes second place, followed by Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Tying for seventh place are the University of Virginia (UVA) and the University of California, Berkeley. Always strong in our rankings, Washington University in St. Louis holds the ninth position, and the oft-cited school for innovation, the University of Cincinnati, rounds out the top 10.

The two programs that have shown the most upward movement in this year's top 10 are seventh-place UVA (which ranked 14th in 2011 and 11th in 2012) and sixth-place SCI-Arc (a leap from 13th last year). Why schools move up the rankings obviously depends to an extent on the number of replies from a certain region. It also relies on growing reputations of practicing faculty members and'not to be overlooked'the effectiveness of the school in communicating its achievements to the architectural community. SCI-Arc excels at this sort of communication: Its students are reported by practitioners to be enthusiastic about their education and well prepared in their job interviews.

Included in the top 20 are the University of Michigan, the University of Texas at Austin, Kansas State University, the University of Kansas, the University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, Princeton University, Iowa State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, and Clemson University.

Undergraduate Rankings

Cornell University has taken the number-one spot this year in B.Arch. programs, as it has consistently for many years. However, the remaining undergraduate rankings do hold some surprises. SCI-Arc has come in at second (up from seventh last year) and Rice at third (up from fifth). Tying Rice for third place is Syracuse University. In the next four spots are California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; the University of Texas at Austin; Virginia Tech; Rhode Island School of Design; Iowa State University; and Auburn University. Perhaps the biggest story in this group is the movement of Auburn into ninth place (from 14th last year).

The next 10 rankings in undergraduate programs constitute a fascinating list, since so many programs have distinct identities in architecture education'some are known for an emphasis on art, some for sustainability, some for interdisciplinary studies, and some for a strong technical orientation or a particular architectural approach. Pratt Institute took 11th place, Carnegie Mellon University 12th, and the University of Notre Dame, the University of Oregon, and Boston Architectural College all tied at 13th. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and the University of Southern California tied at 16th; Pennsylvania State University moved into 18th. Tied at 19th place in the top 20 are the University of Arkansas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. A complete listing of the rankings can be found at

America's Top Architecture Schools
America's Top Architecture Schools
Where more than one school receives the same number of votes, the schools are given the same numerical ranking, and the next rank is omitted.