Top Architecture Universities in 2022-2023

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Best Architecture Colleges and Universities in the World

About Architecture

Architecture goes beyond just constructing buildings. Architecture is the art and science of manipulating concepts like space, volume, light, shadows, and textures to create visually aesthetic and functionally sound structures. The field heavily relies on the creative capabilities of the architect to impact and add value to the surrounding spaces. In addition, architecture influences culture and tradition through the application of mathematics, science, technology, art, politics, and history.

Duties of an Architect

The work of an architect is never easy, as it demands considerable creative and managerial skills. Some typical responsibilities include

  • Meeting clients and understanding their functional and aesthetic needs.
  • Conducting research on the environmental and legal impact and creating budgets.
  • Developing plans per clients’ requirements while also considering technical, financial, and environmental feasibility.
  • Drawing blueprints and making modifications to the drafts as may be required.
  • Putting together a team and assigning roles.
  • Managing the project from beginning to end and ensuring the project progresses as per the financial and time constraints.
  • Understanding industry updates and taking note of the latest trends and developments.

Qualities of a good Architect

Architecture, unlike other professions, strives to balance aspects of human life and academic disciplines. It is impossible to be considered a good architect without understanding the culture, tradition, history, political factors, environment, and psychology of the people involved in the project. The power of creative imagination and visualization helps them produce brilliant ideas. Translating such ideas into drawings helps preserve ideas and work on them.

An architect is expected to be well-learned in such aspects and also be well-versed in the technical aspects of the field, such as having the ability to apply mathematical and scientific concepts with ease across a wide range of architectural projects and should be skilled in computer applications used for designing and drafting blueprints of a project with estimated specifications.

Architects need to communicate their ideas to their clients effectively and have good interpersonal skills. In addition, they need to have an eye for detail and observe inconsistencies or flaws in designs to fix them in time.

Popular degrees for a career in Architecture

Professional degree at the undergraduate level is usually a Bachelor of Architecture or B.Arch. However, some universities provide a pre-professional bachelor’s degree (usually a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Architecture) for students to pursue a professional postgraduate degree in Master of Architecture. Such programs are known as ‘4+2 programs’.

Bachelor’s level 

  • Bachelor of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Arts in Architecture
  • Bachelor of Architectural Design
  • Bachelor of Design (Landscape Architecture)
  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Architectural and Structural)

Master’s level 

  • Master of Architecture
  • MSt in Architecture Apprenticeship
  • Architectural Design MArch
  • Master of Arts in Landscape Architecture
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Architectural Science

Doctoral level

  • MPhil in Architecture and Urban Studies
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture
  • Ph.D. (Architecture & Design)

Specializations under Architecture

Urban Planning

Urban Design or Urban Planning is concerned with city planning and the arrangement and appearance of the buildings in a city or town. The function of an urban planner is primarily focused on where commercial and residential properties should be located in a city. They also decide the location of properties of public interest, such as community buildings, street networks, bridges, etc.

Landscape Architecture

Landscape architecture is the design and development of outdoor spaces; these spaces include lawns, public parks, private gardens, golf courses, etc. Typically, landscape architects perform site planning, design, preservation, and restoration functions. Additionally, they specialize in horticulture to determine the placement and design of greenery across the property.

Interior Architecture

Interior Architects deal with structural and functional components of interior spaces. Along with designing the decor, interior architecture courses train students to plan and shape indoor spaces. Strong knowledge of building construction and specifications is essential for interior architecture.

Conservation Architecture

Conservation architecture deals with restoring and protecting structures and buildings of cultural prominence. Many such heritage structures date back centuries and are vulnerable to wear and tear due to age and climatic conditions. Palaces, museums, and prominent residential properties are all under the supervision of conservation architects.

Commercial Architecture

Commercial architects involve in projects that specialize in planning and designing buildings of high commercial value like offices, retail centers, hospitals, buildings, towers, etc. Such structures are designed to enhance the visual appeal of the surrounding location, making them a hub for tourists. Commercial architects must focus on safety measures and facilities required for substantial commercial complexes.

Industrial Architecture

The planning and design of factories, processing units, powerplants, warehouses, sorting facilities, etc., come under Industrial Architecture. All the activities under industrial architecture are focused on functionality, performance, and efficient flow of processes. Additionally, Industrial architects look after ergonomics and facilitate convenient workspaces.

Average salary of Architects

Although entry-level jobs in architecture tend to stay average, experience, and prowess in skills can quickly turn architecture into a high-paying and lucrative profession. Moreover, with the rapid urbanization and growing importance of visual appeal and aesthetics of constructions, architecture will see a gradual rise in demand. The average salaries of architects in different locations are listed below.

United States– $85,700

Canada– $97,400

United Kingdom– $56,690

Australia– $70,000

Duration of completing Architecture studies

Country Bachelor’s Level Master’s Level Doctoral Level
United States 4-5 years 2 years 2-5 years
Canada 4 years 2 years
United Kingdom 3-4 years 1-3 years 3-5 years
Australia 3-4 years 2-4 years 3-4 years

Top Architecture universities based on various rankings

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
1 4 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) United States Click here Click here
2 17 16 University College London United Kingdom Click here Click here
3 151-200 174 Delft University of Technology Netherlands Click here Click here
4 21 26 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Switzerland Click here Click here
5 1 1 Harvard University United States Click here Click here
6 75 29 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore Click here Click here
7 5 4 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) United States Click here Click here
8 28 26 Tsinghua University China Click here Click here
9 3 8 University of Cambridge United Kingdom Click here Click here
10 201-300 300 Politecnico di Milano Italy Click here Click here
11 NA NA Manchester School of Architecture United Kingdom Click here Click here
12 91 70 École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland Click here Click here
13 151-200 224 Tongji University China Click here Click here
14 8 6 Columbia University United States Click here Click here
15 101-150 76 The University of Hong Kong Hong Kong Click here Click here
16 24 77 The University of Tokyo Japan Click here Click here
17 14 14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) United States Click here Click here
18 151-200 124 The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong Click here Click here
19 201-300 212 KTH Royal Institute of Technology Sweden Click here Click here
20 701-800 367 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) Spain Click here Click here
21 69 28 The University of Sydney Australia Click here Click here
22 201-300 330 Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) Germany Click here Click here
23 101-150 58 Georgia Institute of Technology United States Click here Click here
24 52 74 Technical University of Munich Germany Click here Click here
25 33 25 The University of Melbourne Australia Click here Click here
26 12 22 Cornell University United States Click here Click here
27 101-150 135 The University of Sheffield United Kingdom Click here Click here
28 301-400 244 RMIT University Australia Click here Click here
29 15 13 University of Pennsylvania United States Click here Click here
30 42 35 University of British Columbia Canada Click here Click here
31 101-150 130 Seoul National University South Korea Click here Click here
32 28 19 University of Michigan-Ann Arbor United States Click here Click here
33 65 41 The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) Australia Click here Click here
34 501-600 503 Politecnico di Torino Italy Click here Click here
35 2 2 Stanford University United States Click here Click here
36 87 48 KU Leuven Belgium Click here Click here
37 151-200 166 Cardiff University United Kingdom Click here Click here
38 101-150 342 Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) Japan Click here Click here
39 501-600 553 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) Spain Click here Click here
40 41 43 University of Texas at Austin United States Click here Click here
41 501-600 308 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC) Chile Click here Click here
42 301-400 275 Aalto University Finland Click here Click here
43 45 45 Peking University China Click here Click here
44 401-500 339 Chalmers University of Technology Sweden Click here Click here
45 67 51 McGill University Canada Click here Click here
46 81 33 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) Singapore Click here Click here
47 22 16 University of Toronto Canada Click here Click here
48 59 105 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China Click here Click here
49 101-150 115 Universidade de São Paulo Brazil Click here Click here
50 151-200 308 Tianjin University China Click here Click here

Top Architecture universities in USA

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
1 4 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Click here Click here
5 1 1 Harvard University Click here Click here
7 5 4 University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Click here Click here
14 8 6 Columbia University Click here Click here
17 14 14 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Click here Click here

Top Architecture universities in Canada

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
30 42 35 University of British Columbia Click here Click here
45 67 51 McGill University Click here Click here
47 22 16 University of Toronto Click here Click here
51-100 151-200 199 University of Waterloo Click here Click here
101-150 101-150 151 Université de Montréal Click here Click here

Top Architecture universities in UK

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
2 17 16 UCL Click here Click here
9 3 8 University of Cambridge Click here Click here
11 NA NA Manchester School of Architecture Click here Click here
27 101-150 135 The University of Sheffield Click here Click here
37 151-200 166 Cardiff University Click here Click here

Top Architecture universities in Australia

QS Ranking Shanghai Ranking US News Ranking University Bachelor’s Program Master’s Program
21 69 28 The University of Sydney Click here Click here
25 33 25 The University of Melbourne Click here Click here
28 301-400 244 RMIT University Click here Click here
33 65 41 The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) Click here Click here
51-100 201-300 156 Curtin University Click here Click here

Academic requirements for pursuing Architecture at top-ranked universities

Bachelor’s level

The requirements for each architecture university may be different. However, most of the best architecture programs in the world state the following criteria for admission into their undergraduate architecture programs.

  • 12th-grade graduation with a minimum of 80%, with subjects like Art, History, and STEM-relevant ones
  • IELTS score of minimum 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (or equivalent scores from other English proficiency tests).
  • A Portfolio showcasing your designs (may be required to upload digitally)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts of the relevant degrees
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of Objectives

Architecture schools may require students to submit their SAT/ACT scores to gain admission into their programs. In addition, further selection criteria, such as interviews, may be conducted.

Master’s level

A Master of Architecture degree or M.Arch is usually preceded by a typical five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree or a four-year pre-professional degree like a BSc or B.A. in architecture/design. The usual requirements for a professional master’s degree in architecture are listed below.

  • Four or five-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent with a B+ average grade
  • English proficiency scores

TOEFL – 100 iBT or 600 paper-based

IELTS – overall score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component

  • GRE scores (optional; some universities may require students to take the GRE test)
  • Resume with a summary of your experiences in education, work, travel, volunteering, and other relevant areas. 
  • Motivation letter/statement of intent
  • Portfolio
  • References
  • Transcripts of relevant documents

Other master’s programs, such as an MSc or an M.S in architecture, are usually pursued after a professional architectural degree, a B.Arch or M.Arch.

Doctoral level

A typical list of requirements for a doctoral degree in architecture is listed below.

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in Architecture
  • At least two years of professional work experience
  • GRE test scores
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Portfolio
  • Writing Sample

Applicants are advised to check individual course pages of their preferred program to understand specific admissions requirements.

Exams to be passed for obtaining an Architecture License

A student must acquire an acceptable license from the country-specific architecture board to practice architecture in the preferred country. Being a licensed architect begins with obtaining a professional degree accredited by the appropriate supervisory board.

For students who wish to practice architecture in the United States, the board advises pursuing a NAAB-accredited professional degree in architecture. They are further required to gain and document their work experience, followed by the Architecture Registration Examination (ARE). Additional requirements per jurisdiction may have to be fulfilled by the students.

Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL)

Students who wish to study in USA can also opt for a fast-track pathway to obtaining a license. The IPAL option, provided by NCARB, allows students to pursue a NAAB-accredited degree, complete the required architectural work experience, and register for the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE) simultaneously.

Architects in Canada are governed by CACB and are awarded the license upon completing a professional Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Architecture. CACB also accepts graduates of programs accredited by the NAAB in the USA. For foreign architects licensed and registered abroad but who wish to practice in Canada, the BEFA certification may be the appropriate pathway towards licensure in Canada.

The United Kingdom follows a similar route. Students admitted to study in UK in one of the architecture programs accredited by the Architects Registration Board can apply online for the license. In addition, foreign-qualified students can apply for a license to practice in the UK after conforming to all requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Civil Engineering and Architecture may appear to be overlapping disciplines, but that is far from the truth. Civil engineers are dedicated to the technical aspects of large-scale infrastructural projects such as road construction, dams, or hydro-sanitary projects. However, they may also involve in projects concerning building construction. 

Architecture is concerned with the design and development of space that fulfills the user’s needs. It looks after a wide array of aspects of culture, society, and history and aims to create appropriate temperature, acoustics, lighting, shadows, etc.

Most universities request a portfolio in a pdf format with size specifications clearly stated. It is helpful to study the architectural styles that the institution prefers. Consider deciding on a theme that expresses your style best. Skills in graphic design are essential to building an impressive portfolio. Learn tools like Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Indesign, Behance, etc. Include any information, photograph, or work that may add to your personality. Be careful to include the right amount of samples to avoid cluttering.

Subjects in Bachelor of Architecture typically include Architectural Design,  Building Technology & Materials, Aesthetics & Visual Arts, Landscape Architecture, Building Services, Interior Design, Urban Studies, etc. In addition, practical training is usually included in the course curriculum towards the final semesters.