It’s exciting to enter the creative world of architecture and design, especially for overseas students who want to study at one of America’s top universities.
However, how can you know which architecture school is best for you? What are the requirements for overseas students who want to study architecture in the US? In this piece, we’ll address all of these concerns while also highlighting some of the finest architecture schools in various states around the United States.
- Best Architecture Schools in the US
- 1. Cornell University
- 2. Rice University
- 3. Syracuse University
- 4. Cal Poly
- 5. Notre Dame University
- 6. Virginia Tech
- 7. Rhode Island School of Design
- 8. Pratt Institute
- 9. University of Texas at Austin
- 10, University of Southern California
- General Requirements for all Top Architecture Schools In The US
- 1. Evidence of creative ability
- 2. Portfolio
- 3. Outstanding academic performance
- 4. Interview
Best Architecture Schools in the US
There are many great architecture schools in the United States, but these ten are definitely the cream of the crop. If you’re looking for an education in architecture that will set you up for success, any one of these schools would be a great choice.
Below are some of the best architecture schools in the US. These schools highlighted below are also international student-friendly.
1. Cornell University
Cornell University easily ranks first on our list of best architecture schools in the US. Cornell’s architecture department is one of the oldest in the country, which means that students have access to a broad network of alumni and research.
Academically, architecture students at Cornell follow the same core architecture curriculum for the first three years, which provides them with the comprehensive information they require while also allowing them to select elective courses from around the institution.
Cornell’s architecture program allows students to work and/or study at the program’s New York City and Rome sites, in addition to the school’s main campus in Ithaca, New York. Students graduating from the architecture program are frequently in great demand due to the program’s reputation as a top institution, particularly for positions in New York City, where the school has extensive ties.
2. Rice University
Rice University is well-known for its excellent architectural programs, and with a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, you can expect personalized attention during your studies.
Rice University’s architecture degree is a six-year curriculum. The first four years are dedicated to earning a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture. This is a liberal arts degree that allows you to attend classes in a range of disciplines over your first four years. This is ideal if you wish to combine your architectural studies with another field, and Rice supports this through extensive interdisciplinary research. Many other schools and departments at Rice, including business, engineering, and environmental science, collaborate closely with the architectural school.
After four years, you’ll spend another two years focusing only on architecture, at the conclusion of which you’ll obtain a second degree, a Bachelor of Architecture, allowing you to work as an architect. Students in this program spend one year as paid workers in architecture companies throughout the world, which is an excellent opportunity to gain experience and develop career contacts.
3. Syracuse University
Syracuse was the first institution in the country to provide a Bachelor of Architectural degree, and it has been a leading architecture school ever since. Syracuse’s School of Architecture is able to attract many well-known architects to deliver lectures at the school due to its reputation, and it is famous for its exceptional faculty.
Despite being in upstate New York, the School of Architecture maintains various working and teaching locations in New York Metropolis where students may study the architecture of America’s largest city. There is also a robust study abroad program, with most students spending at least a semester at Syracuse’s centers in Florence or London.
4. Cal Poly
Cal Poly’s Architectural Department offers a variety of architecture degrees, allowing you to specialize in an area of interest to you. Its architectural department is one of the largest in the country, and around one in every twenty architects in the United States (and one in every five in California) graduated from Cal Poly, so there are plenty of alumni connections to be made.
This is especially helpful because Cal Poly provides a cooperative learning option for sophomore, junior, and senior students, allowing them to earn course credit while performing paid employment in an architecture-related industry. Furthermore, Cal Poly allows students to spend a portion of a year studying abroad in Europe, Asia, or other places in the United States.
5. Notre Dame University
The School of Architecture at Notre Dame stresses both classical architecture and urbanization. All architecture students must enroll in the school’s Rome Studies Program, where they spend a year learning about classical architecture. In fact, Notre Dame is the only university in the United States that requires architecture students to spend a portion of their curriculum overseas, ensuring that all students have a more global knowledge of architecture.
Notre Dame’s architecture schools are likewise noted for their emphasis on basics, with computer-based modeling not being taught until the fourth year of study. That’s not to suggest the curriculum is trapped in the past: Notre Dame’s architecture school also prioritizes developing new structures that are sustainable and long-lasting, as well as contributing to an area’s livability.
6. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech’s College of Architectural and Urban Studies is one of the country’s best architecture schools. More than 2,000 students are enrolled in architecture and urban studies program, which offers four bachelor’s degrees, including a BArch. The primary campus of the institution is in Blacksburg, Virginia, and it also maintains campuses in Alexandria, Virginia, and Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.
Students in this college have the opportunity to study off-campus in their fourth year (which can include classes, internships, or a combination of the two). The fifth-year is spent doing an independent design inquiry that will serve as the foundation for the undergraduate thesis.
7. Rhode Island School of Design
RISD is widely recognized as one of the world’s finest design institutions, and its architecture degree is equally acclaimed. The school also takes a distinctive approach to architecture.
Because RISD is a world-renowned fine arts and design school, the architecture department incorporates a visual and humanities-based education into its professional curriculum. This allows students to tackle complicated architectural issues from a new angle, and RISD alumni are highly renowned for their innovative problem-solving methodologies.
8. Pratt Institute
The Pratt Institute School of Architecture distinguishes the Bachelor of Architecture degree by its dedication to pushing technical boundaries. Pratt also provides a range of courses for intense study.
Its most distinguishing feature is its Morphology emphasis, which incorporates the study of form through a combination of mathematics, computer, production, building, and future technologies (how great is that?). The Pratt Institute takes pride in fusing inventiveness and an ethical approach to building in order to produce a new generation of culturally aware, socially conscious architects.
9. University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture has a wealth of resources available to students, including the Center for Sustainable Development, which studies the environment, economics, and social issues in order to better design buildings that are aesthetically pleasing while also having a positive impact on the environment and social equality. On-campus, architectural students can also utilize libraries, archives, conservation labs, and research spaces.
The University of Texas School of Architecture supports overseas experiences and provides grants for some of the various study abroad programs in which architecture students can participate. These include everything from researching historical structures in Mexico to viewing current infrastructure in Europe. Before graduating, students must additionally undergo a six-month professional residency to get job experience.
10, University of Southern California
Students at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture have access to 50,000 square feet of workspace, which includes classrooms, research spaces, galleries, labs, workshops, and design studios. Every architecture student at USC also gets access to their own personal workstation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where they may work on their projects anytime, they wish.
General Requirements for all Top Architecture Schools In The US
As an international student, you will be required to perform some additional work for the application process. To assist you, most schools offer the following general standards to guarantee that applicants are prepared and have what it takes to be a successful architecture student:
1. Evidence of creative ability
The best architecture schools want to see evidence of your shown interest in the discipline. If you completed projects in high school or have previously had an internship in architecture, these architecture schools will be interested in seeing what you have done and what you are capable of achieving in the future.
If you are just starting your undergraduate degree, having instructors or other experts speak directly to your abilities might be beneficial. However, if you are a transfer student, most top architectural schools would request a portfolio of your existing achievements.
3. Outstanding academic performance
It is critical for both foreign and domestic students to have a good GPA of at least 3.0. (Or the equivalent in your home country). This will have a very favorable impact on your application.
The best architecture schools will want to learn about you and maybe see you in person to determine whether you are the right student for their program. Exceptions can be made in specific situations if you are not yet in the United States. Cornell University is one example of this. If a prospective student is unable to travel to campus prior to admission, this university will accept a written interview in lieu of a personal interview.
There you have it — the top 10 best architecture schools in the US, as determined by our experts. We hope this list has helped you narrow down your search for the perfect school and get you one step closer to achieving your dreams. Do you have any questions about these schools or architecture programs in general? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be happy to help!