Top 10 Schools of Architecture in the USA

“Architecture begins where engineering ends”, said Walter Gropius. But more aptly, it does not call for an end of engineering. Rather, architecture may be seen as the continuum connecting art in concrete form with the engineering aspects and those, with an artistic bent of mind and the dexterity of an engineer can be most successful as architects. Trying to strike a balance between these two aspects, a large number of aspirants apply every year to different design schools all across the US. So here’s a list of the top ten design schools in the US for all those of you who stand awestruck at the sight of a beautiful piece of concrete and dream of designing even better structures in the future.


  1. Cornell University: Year after year, since the year 2005, Cornell has been topping the list of best design school ranking. Founded in 1865, it was the first school in the U.S. to come up with dedicated programs in industrial and labor relations, hotel administration and veterinary medicine. The Ivy League school offers scores of options for students interested in pursuing a career in architecture, which includes both professional undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture. Students also have an option to complete undergraduate and graduate programs in the history of architecture.

  2. Southern California Institute of Technology: This design school is situated in Los Angeles and is a non-profit, independent school which offers both graduate as well as undergraduate degrees. Founded in 1972, it has steadily built a reputation for itself in the field of architecture and design. It has approximately 80 faculty members and has an acceptance rate of close to 87%. At offer here are, a five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) program, a 3-year Master of Architecture (M.Arch), and a 2-year Master of Architecture (M.Arch 2) open to applicants with a prior undergraduate degree in architecture. Students have a plethora of choices in the fall and spring terms when, design studios, seminars and workshops are offered by the institute’s faculty and visiting instructors.  The regular application deadline here is January 15 and special advisers are available for international students.

  3. University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture (UTSOA): The University is a flagship institute of the Univ of Texas System and is a state research university. Though the university was set up way back in the nineteenth century, the SOA was set up only in1951. It was ranked 7th in the US in 2010 for undergraduate architecture programs by DesignIntelligence, a professional journal of the Design Futures Council. The graduate architecture program is presently ranked 10th, and the undergraduate interior design program is ranked 6th in the US.

  4. Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban studies: The school consists of four schools which have consistently maintained their position in the top 10 architecture schools in the US. The college offers 13 bachelor’s programs and 11 master’s programs in architecture. The b Arch program at Virginia Tech is one of the oldest accredited programs in the US. It has been accredited by National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) since the academic year 1957-58. Programs in the School of Architecture and Design include architecture, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture.

  5. California Polytechnic State University: Popularly known as Cal Poly conducts the architecture programs under California Polytechnic State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design or CAED. DesignIntelligence rated Cal Poly at the 4th position in the list of undergraduate architecture program in the US. However, the landscape architecture program is rated 1st in the Western US Region. The architecture program is accredited by NAAB and the school offers and offers both BArch, which is a five year long program and Masters of Science in Architecture (MS-Arch) degrees. The fact that one in every twenty architects in the US, and one in five in CA, graduates from Cal Poly make it worth considering for undergraduate courses.

  6. School of Architecture at Syracuse University:  DesignIntelligence has rated both undergraduate as well as the graduate program at this school amongst the top 10 in the US. Established in 1873, it is the fourth oldest school of architecture in US.

  7. Rice University School of Architecture: Established in 1912, the school has a mix of architects, historians, theoreticians apart from visiting faculties as part of the teaching faculties in the school. The school offers a five-year Architecture program (B Arch) rated amongst Top 10 in Undergraduate Architecture programs, a Four-year program in Fine Arts (BFA), and four-year programs (BA) with focus on either Urban or Regional Studies or History of Architecture, besides many master’s program. One of the main attractions of this school is that the School of Architecture Paris program allows graduate students and 5th year undergraduates to participate in semester-long studies in Paris.

  8. Rhode Island School of Design: The school which was established in 1877, consistently ranks as the number one amongst fine arts colleges in the US. With around 350 faculty and curators, it offers 16 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate majors with most prominent ones being BFA/BArch and M. Arch.

  9.  Pratt Institute School of Architecture: is located in New York and is ranked as one of the top ten best Architecture schools in the US. The school offers the both undergraduate and graduate courses. The undergraduate courses being run at the school include B Arch, Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, and Bachelor of Professional Studies in Construction Management at the Manhattan Campus.

  10.  Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD): is a private institute awarding degrees in architecture. It was founded in 1978 and has been accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The university awards a number of degrees most notable of which are Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Architecture, Master of Arts, Master of Urban Design and Master of Fine Arts.