Best Architecture Degrees

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

If you have a passion for design, an artistic eye, and a drive to create, then you have the potential to be a talented architect.

Perhaps you already know this about yourself! If you’ve been thinking about becoming an architecture then you have an exciting and creative road ahead of you. However, even though you may have decided which major you’d like to pursue, it can be difficult to figure out where to turn for your studies. With over 120 different National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) schools in the United States alone, the decision can certainly be overwhelming.

mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

Top 10 Best Architecture Degrees

What kind of architecture degree should you get?

When you’re thinking about getting your undergraduate degree in architecture, the first consideration you need to make is regarding the quality of the program. A good architecture degree will be accredited by NAAB and is usually the bare minimum for pursuing further graduate studies in architecture. You can choose between an online or a traditional program for your studies in architecture.

When in doubt, remember that an online degree is a great way to meet your career goals – without having to leave home or the security of your current job. Most online degrees are affordable and allow you the convenience of studying from any location – without sacrificing the quality of your degree. If you are looking for the right online school, consider our comprehensive ranking of the Best Online Colleges and Universities for a deeper look at the best schools.

How much money do people make with a bachelor’s degree in architecture?

Although growth in the field of architecture is slightly lower than average, at about four percent by 2026, architects are faced with increasingly diverse and rewarding tasks. Because many architects now use computer software to design and plan buildings and to meet the demands of their clients, architects who have strong interpersonal and technological skills are in high demand.

You can expect to earn a higher than average salary after receiving a degree in architecture. In fact, the average pay is about $79,380 per year in most states! Architects who work in a government setting, as well as those employed in engineering and construction services, tend to earn the highest starting salaries. Remember, earning a graduate degree upon completing your bachelor’s program can also help to increase your earnings.

What can you do with a bachelor’s degree in architecture?

With a bachelor’s degree in architecture, you will be fully equipped with the skills and education necessary to design and plan houses, office buildings, commercial structures, factories, and more. You will meet with your clients to determine their goals and come up with plans as to how you can best meet those goals. You might prepare scaled drawings by computer software or by hand, or you might manage construction contracts.

Some architecture degrees include specialized pathways in certain industries, like business or education, so that you can tailor your studies to meet your specific career goals. Perhaps you want to plan elaborate museums or ornate city parks. Maybe you just want to design houses. Whatever option you choose, as an architect, you’ll have access to an exciting career that will always be needed. After all, people will always need places to live, work, learn, and eat!

What are the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in architecture?

There are generally three basic steps to become an architect. First, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in architecture. You can do this in four to five years, with many candidates going on to earn an additional master’s degree in architecture.

A bachelor’ degree will provide you with training in topics like architectural history, architectural theory, building design, computer-aided- design and drafting, and construction methods. You will also take a rigorous set of courses in liberal arts, mathematics, and the physical sciences.

Almost every state requires that an architect hold a degree from a school that is accredited by NAAB, and all states require architects to be licensed. Licensure is usually obtained after completing a degree in architecture, participating in a paid internship, and passing the Architect Registration Examination.

What are the best online bachelor’s degrees in architecture?

Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Architecture Badge

The best degrees in architecture are those that offer you a valuable program of study, but also that are affordable, flexible, and convenient. In developing our list of the best schools, we look at programs all around the country, evaluating their reputation, program quality, return on investment, and most importantly, student satisfaction.

Before finalizing our list, we also analyze exactly how much this degree is going to cost. Our goal is to make sure you receive the most accurate list of schools so that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Be sure to check out our methodology page for a more detailed explanation of how we compile our data.

After we’ve crunched the numbers, we move on to publishing our list of the best schools in architecture. Our list represents not only the best degrees available but is also representative of schools that are sure to fit any budget or lifestyle. Take a look at our top choices below, and begin the process of enrolling in a rewarding degree program today.

  1. Rice University
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Rice is one of the nations leading research universities and maintains a commitment to student education that is both entrepreneurial and aspirational in nature. The school is small, with an enrollment of roughly 4,000 students. The university has a rich student life as it is located in one of the countrys most vibrant cities. Class sizes are small and faculty are dedicated to student success and happiness. The university is unique in that it meets 100 percent of all admitted students demonstrated financial need, making it a great value for your money.

    Program Features

    This degree consists of a variety of classes in the architecture curriculum, as well as courses in other departments like engineering, business, and environmental studies. This program is highly interdisciplinary and allows students to pursue coursework in other fields as well as to engage in paid internships at architecture firms around the world. Required courses include studies in topics such as:

    Professionalism and Management in Architectural Practice Architectural Problems Architectural Problems: Studio Preceptorship Program

    Notables

    Rice University is well-respected for its architecture program, in which students enjoy a student-to-faculty ratio of just 5:1. Students are guaranteed to receive personalized attention throughout the duration of their studies, most of which take about six years to complete. This 62-credit program is just one of many dynamic, hands-on programs offered at Rice. This university, located in Houston, TX, provides its students with unparalleled support and attention.

  2. Cornell University
    Location

    Ithaca, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Cornells program in architecture is the oldest in the United States and also recognized as one of the most prestigious. Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell is ranked as one of the best undergraduate architecture schools by multiple organizations, including the Greenway Group and=U.S. News World Report. Most students will spend about five years to earn their bachelors at Cornell, pursuing a profound liberal arts curriculum before moving on to advanced architecture and interdisciplinary courses.

    Program Features

    All students in this degree follow the same core curriculum for the first three years of study, providing them with the impressive base they need before moving on to take elective courses. During the final two years of study, candidates may concentrate in one of five areas of study, which include Architecture, Culture, and Society, History of Architecture, Architectural Analysis, Visual Representation in Architecture, and Architectural Science and Technology. Required core courses include:

    Representation I: Freehand Architectural Drawing History of Architecture Environmental Systems I: Site and Sustainability Representation II: Media of Representation

    Notables

    This degree is unique in that it gives students exemplary opportunities to an exclusive (yet prestigious) alumni network around the world. Since the program has been around since the early days of the discipline, candidates have access to a large network of alumni and research support. Students can engage in hands-on learning opportunities on campus as well as abroad. The program has locations in New York City and Rome, along with the main campus in Ithaca. Students graduating from this program are in high dem

  3. The University of Texas at Austin
    Location

    Austin, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Texas at Austin began offering professional degrees in 1910. The architecture degree remains one of the most popular programs of study to this day. Today the university is home to a five-year professional Bachelor of Architecture degree as well as a four-year pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies. Motivated students also have the option of earning both degrees through the dual degree program. Most candidates can complete this option in just six full years of study.

    Program Features

    At the University of Texas at Austin, students are able to pursue and enhance their design skills both inside and outside the classroom. Multiple study abroad choices are available such as Tuscany and Mexico as well as many other locations. Honors students may receive hands-on work experience within the professional residency program, which pairs students with architectural firms in 29 different countries. Required courses include:

    Architecture and Society World Architecture: Origins to 1750 Topics in the History of Architecture Principles of Physical Planning Construction

    Notables

    This school is ranked as one of the best providers of undergraduate education in architecture in the entire country. Named as a Best Value school by the Princeton Review, Kiplinger, Forbes, and=U.S. News World Report, the quality of this program cannot be overstated. Through their studies, students learn how to develop their skills in a studio format. The university allows students to focus on pursuing their degree without having to worry about finances as tuition starts at a low rate of just $10,000 per year for in-state students.

  4. Syracuse University
    Location

    Syracuse, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Syracuse University is ranked as one of the Best National Universities and as a Best Value schools by=U.S. News World Report. When you begin to examine the quality and affordability of its degree programs, its no wonder as to why! The School of Architecture is no exception, offering an undergraduate program that prepares students to integrate the fundamentals of design concepts with the modern technologies they will need to examine the world with an architectural lens. This program can be pursued on-campus in Syracuse, NY, or at one of the universitys many other locations.

    Program Features

    The first three years of this degree program focus on a core curriculum that encompasses the theory and rich history of architectural design. It also brings students to a mastery level in drawing, multimedia design, and other techniques. By the second year of study, students will learn how to incorporate their own individual design methodologies and to complete detailed studio work. Other required and elective courses may include:

    Architectural Design Introduction to the History of Architecture Art and Architecture of India Modern Architecture; The International Style to Present

    Notables

    This degree is highly customizable, allowing students to complete work that represents their own passions and career goals. What all students will have in common, however, is that each must complete a design thesis and proposal that will be compared against the work of other students. Syracuse University was the first school in the nation to offer a formal undergraduate degree in architecture, and to this day the university attracts prestigious faculty who teach classes to students from all over the world.

  5. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
    Location

    San Luis Obispo, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    California Polytechnic State University operates many campuses. The San Luis Obispo campus is home to one of the countrys top-ranked programs in architecture. Recognized as one of the best regional universities, best public schools, and best colleges for veterans, this school has one of the largest architectural programs in the United States. Over 850 full-time students are currently enrolled with this degree, which provides students with an education that combines both art and science to foster necessary skills.

    Program Features

    This program is unique in that it does not restrict students to on-campus study. Architecture students have the opportunity to study and intern in other states and countries, with top destinations for study abroad and cooperative learning including Copenhagen, Japan, San Francisco, Florence, Rome, and more. Required courses for the major include:

    Design and Visual Communication History of World Architecture Architectural Systems INtegration Issues in Contemporary Professional Practice Architectural Technology Fundamentals

    Notables

    In addition to giving students the opportunity to experience vibrant on-campus life, California Polytechnic also boasts an experiential curriculum that provides students with the foundational skills necessary to complete the three-year professional internship required by the state of California. Tuition is low, starting at just $9,000 for in-state students, which permits students to experience the best of both worlds by combining affordability with value.

  6. University of Southern California
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of Southern California, located in Los Angeles, CA, is a private university that was founded in 1880. This school has an urban campus with a small-town feel, home to nearly 20,000 undergraduate students. The Bachelor of Architecture degree is a five-year professional degree that prepares students for immediate entry into the field of architecture, while the four-year Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies is another suitable alternative. The school also offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science in GeoDesign program.

    Program Features

    This program is unique in that it doesnt require students to complete several semesters of electives before progressing to the coursework required in their majors. Although the first two years do focus on introductory work, students can take architectural courses right from the very beginning. Students will take classes in subjects such as:

    Building Structures The Fundamentals of Design Communication Architecture in Relation to Culture and Community World History of Architecture Construction Materials and Methods

    Notables

    During the last two years of their studies, students will spend most of their time examining different types of architecture and exploring which disciplines may interest them most. The fifth year of the program consists of a far-reaching design studio project, which is completed in conjunction with coursework in professional practice and design studio research. This degree culminates in a license or potential for licensure that enables students to work in most areas of the country, and in any element of architecture.

  7. University of California-Berkeley
    Location

    Berkeley, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    The University of California-Berkeley is located in Berkeley, CA and has a widespread campus culture that emphasizes the importance of collaboration, innovation, and research. The school offers a myriad of research and hands-on learning opportunities, many of which are offered via the College of Environmental Design. This school offers a host of undergraduate programs in architecture as well as in specialty areas like Sustainable Environmental Design, Urban Studies, and Landscape Architecture. All of these programs emphasize the importance of responsibility when it comes to conserving and using resources.

    Program Features

    This degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. Completion of the program enables students to pursue architectural licenses as well as to continue on to further studies. All undergraduates follow the same program of study until they reach their junior year, at which point they begin taking architecture-intensive coursework. Required courses include studies in topics such as:

    Design and Professional Practice Social and Cultural Processes in Architecture and Urbanism Design Theories, Methods, and Practice Building Science and Sustainability Structures and Construction

    Notables

    This degree isnt just one of the most prestigious of its kind its also one of the most affordable. A range of financial aid opportunities are available, including specialty scholarships such as the Architecture Undergraduate Scholarship. This award is offered annually in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000. Other aid opportunities, like grants and graduate study fellowships, are also available. This degree is offered with two tracks: one in Design Research, which explores a specific theme during the senior year, and the other in Studio, which requires more architecture courses and a design studio each semester.

  8. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Location

    Blacksburg, VA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Its name may be a mouthful, but Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has so much to offer students who are seeking a high-quality degree in architecture. Offered through the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, this program allows students to spend the entire first year of their studies in creating their own foundational programs. Students will begin professional studies as soon as the second year, engaging in a hands-on program that sets candidates up for lifelong career success.

    Program Features

    This program is diverse, allowing students to explore all aspects of architecture while supported by a caring, attentive community of faculty members, support staff, and peers. Students will learn about all of the factors involved in building design, including those that are environmental, technological, humanistic, and artistic in nature. While many of the courses students will take are electives, a sample schedule might include classes such as:

    The Art of Building Building Materials Building Assemblies History of Architecture Basic Principles of Structures

    Notables

    This school is one of the best of its kind, receiving top rankings by=U.S. News =World Report. It is recognized as one of the best global universities, a top college for veterans, and a best national university overall. The school features multiple study-abroad and off-campus programs. For example, fourth-year students may pursue off-campus options at places like The Washington-Alexandria Center or the Chicago Studio. They may also participate in the Extern Program or the Study Abroad program to further develop their skills and provide opportunities for independent study.

  9. Washington University in St Louis
    Location

    St. Louis, MO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Washington University in St. Louis is located in St. Louis, MO and was founded in 1853. A small school, this university has an enrollment of fewer than 8,000 students and is an affordable option for students seeking a private school education in architecture. The school is divided into four schools serving both graduate and undergraduate students. The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts is home to the College of Architecture as well as other colleges and is just one of many departments in this internationally recognized research university. =The architecture degree is offered as a stand-alone program or as a joint 4+2 program that allows candidates to receive a masters degree as well as a bachelors.

    Program Features

    The Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts combines professional studio programs with one of the countrys most prestigious art museum. With a curriculum backed by research, extensive hands-on learning opportunities, and dedicated faculty support, the degree in architecture is designed for students who want to learn more about how to respond to the way people live. Students who have personal interests in areas like painting, drawing, photography, and the environment are especially encouraged to apply to this program. Required courses include:

    Introduction to Design Processes Architectural Design Environmental Systems Building Systems

    Notables

    This program is taught by faculty who are both nationally and internationally renowned researchers and practitioners. As a result, they are committed to students undergraduate success and serve as academic advisers, curriculum developers, and influencers. The school itself is one of the countrys most impressive displays of architecture, featuring several architecturally important buildings that are now home to studios and classrooms.

  10. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
    Location

    New York City, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Cooper Union has offered exceptional programs in architecture for over 150 years. As a result, the school has a reputation for training qualified architects. After all, the university is highly specialized, offering only programs in architecture, art, and engineering. Students receive access to a rigorous course of study that stresses the importance of architecture as well as technical skills, artistic ability, technological awareness, and cultural sensitivity. Located in downtown Manhattan, Cooper Union offers architecture students unique opportunities to explore one of the richest urban environments in the entire world.

    Program Features

    This five-year program culminates in a professional degree that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. The curriculum prepares students with a variety of culturally and intellectually stimulated courses that focus on a wider view of architecture. This degree is highly interdisciplinary, encouraging students to take courses in other areas. Required courses for the major include:

    Design Structures History of Architecture The Modern Context: Figures and Topics Environmental Technologies

    Notables

    In addition to a bachelors in architecture, Cooper Union also offers a Master of Architecture II post-professional degree program. This program was founded in 2009 and expands upon the intellectual vision of the undergraduate program, enabling students who wish to pursue higher research and design skills to succeed in a more sophisticated environment. Multiple concentrations are available, including those in theory and criticism of architecture, urban studies, and technologies.

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

November 6, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Earning a law degree opens professional doors. However, law school graduates owe an average of over . Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can help law school students obtain...

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist

October 19, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Preparing for college before the first day sets up new students for success. Beginning college can be overwhelming, even for learners who have taken college-level classes in the past. Knowing...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.