Top Architecture Schools

Are you fascinated by how buildings and venues are designed and do you want to one day design them yourself? Enroll in a top architecture school.

Architecture is a fascinating subject. Many tourists flock to various parts of the world to gaze in awe at architectural marvels, such as the Sydney Opera House or the Hoover Dam. Architectural wonders range from massive museums to elaborate private homes. They also include bridges and other structures that are awe-inspiring. Such wonders make many students choose to study architectural design. However, it is not a career ideal for everyone.

If you wish to become an architect, you must prepare for the multi-faceted nature of your chosen career path. Architectural design requires many different skills. It also often requires long hours of work, many revisions, and an abundance of patience. Before you decide to become an architect, you need to learn as much as you can about the profession. If you do go into the field, it is also important to select the right architecture school to give you the best chance for success. Here are some facts about architecture and its schooling requirements to help you on your educational journey.

Why Should You Become an Architect?

One reason to pursue a career in architecture is to earn a good living. The average wage for an architect in the United States in 2021 was $80,180. However, exact wages vary by area, job type, and experience level. Architectural design also has more extensive educational requirements than some other lucrative career paths. However, it has other non-monetary benefits. Those benefits include:

  • Ability to Use Architectural Design Skills to Help People

  • Creative Outlets/Freedom

  • Constant Challenges and Puzzles to Solve

  • Low Chance of Ever Being Bored

  • Ability to See Work Come to Fruition in a Tangible Way

Another important reason to become an architect is that doing so opens up a world of other learning and working opportunities. In the field of architecture, you can expect exposure to new products, design theories, and technologies on a regular basis. You can also hone many different skill sets. Those skills may help you expand a career in architectural design into something else later, such as an architectural engineering career. If not, they can at least help you and your team work more efficiently on future design projects.

What Are Some Popular Branches of Architectural Studies?

When studying architecture, one option is to obtain a general architectural degree. Most budding architects in the United States start by obtaining such a degree from an accredited university. However, certain specializations are also available. Architects wishing to pursue specializations may opt to take additional classes. Popular specialized branches of architectural study include:

  • Landscape Architecture

  • Interior Architecture

  • Urban Design

  • Residential

  • Commercial

  • Industrial

  • Environmental (Focusing on Sustainable/Green Design and Building Practices)

How Do Online and In-Person Architecture Schools Compare?

Online architecture courses are available. Some of them provide college credits, but not all do. It is possible to use such courses to study architecture at your own pace. You can even take specialized courses, such as in architectural history. However, if you desire a career in architecture, some in-person schooling is always required.

You must physically attend certain classes to get a bachelor's or master's degree in architecture and, eventually, an architectural license in the United States. In-person classes are important because they provide you with hands-on learning opportunities. Such classes also allow you to work closely with your instructors and other students. By doing so, you can gain important design skills that are difficult to convey in an online format.

If you do opt to take some architectural courses online, be aware not all of them count towards a professional degree, such as a master's degree. Those that do are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). However, certain non-accredited courses may still count towards completion of a non-professional bachelor of science or bachelor of arts degree in architecture.

What Are Some Top Architecture Schools?

Certain architecture schools in the United States stand out compared to others. Some of the most renowned colleges and universities in the country have popular architectural studies programs. Selecting one can help you get the best possible start in your architectural career. Here are some top choices: 

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is revered for its many contributions to education and discovery over the years. It has an extensive architectural department. Students also have easy access to related courses of study in other departments, as well as the latest architectural design technologies.

  • Harvard University offers several architectural learning options. However, it is best known for its extensive courses on the history of art and architecture. That history can potentially shape the modern design ideas developed by new architects.

  • Cornell University offers architecture courses that combine the best of all worlds. They include opportunities to learn about architectural history, the latest technologies, and new design techniques. Several focused courses of study are offered, including Visual Representation in Architecture and Architectural Analysis.

  • The University of California-Berkeley requires students to participate in basic architectural courses. In addition, it offers many chances for independent and specialized studies. Architecture students can pursue interests like the study of how architecture shapes culture and society.

  • Columbia University provides hands-on architecture courses and events designed to get students thinking. They are encouraged to solve architectural problems individually and collectively. Courses focus on topics like building performance and architectural design technologies.

What Should You Look For When Selecting an Architecture School?

To get into architecture professionally, start by selecting a school offering the proper accredited programs you desire. The first requirement is typically a bachelor's of architecture. However, you may opt to pursue what is called a pre-professional course of study and later obtain a master's of architecture. You must also consider course duration, classroom size, and general setting to make sure the school you choose is a good fit for your learning needs.

How Long Does Architecture School Take, and How Much Does it Cost?

A bachelor's degree is typically obtained in approximately five years. A master's degree program usually takes six years. Both also require internship completion, but that can be accomplished concurrently while enrolled in school. The cost to enroll in an architecture program depends on where you choose to study. Often, the top schools have the highest tuition requirements. For example, annual tuition at MIT is $77,020, as of 2022. However, there are ways to lower the costs of attending your chosen school. Federal student aid, loans, or scholarships may help you make your architectural design dreams more affordable.