Architecture is indeed a challenging but also rewarding field, it’s even more promising when you’re admitted to one of the top 50 architecture schools. Going to the right school is very important in building your career in architecture, it won’t only immerse you in the world of high-quality education, but you’ll also have the opportunity to network with renowned architects, and amazing students who will be of great value to your career and future.
The reputation comes into play too, even as a student you would agree with me that when you hear someone graduated from schools like Harvard, Cambridge, MIT, etc., that you’re tempted to give some level of respect to them without even knowing who they are. What if I tell you lots of recruiters do that too when going through applicants’ CVs?
Moreover, if you’re an international student and looking for an affordable architecture school in the U.S. that is also competent in their education and research then these universities should be perfect for your needs. The same is applicable for those interested in studying architecture in Germany where you can literally not pay a dime in some of these schools, but you need to be good in German.
Let’s get started with these schools
Top 50 Architecture Schools
Almost all of these schools provide accredited bachelor’s in architecture, master’s in architecture, and sometimes a Ph.D. in architecture, so we won’t be focusing on listing these programs, even though we might do them in a few scenarios. Our focus is on what makes each school unique and what made us consider them among the best.
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA)
MIT doesn’t need a serious introduction due to its excellence in almost all disciplines it provides, and it’s also home to a lot of international architecture students. Out of 280 of their architecture students, 53% of them are international students hailing from more than 45 countries.
2. Harvard University
Harvard University is among the top 50 architecture schools celebrated for their innovation, historic importance, and rigorous architectural programs. Moreover, the Graduate School of Design’s Department of Architecture has been ranked the Best and most admired graduate architecture program for the seventh year in a row by DesignIntelligence.
3. Delft University of Technology (Netherlands)
TU Delft has been recognized as the core hub for innovative design, and students always have access to faculty of the highest caliber. In fact, their Civil engineering program has always made it among the top 5 by QS World University Rankings.
4. UCL – The Bartlett School of Architecture (UK)
One of the interesting things about Bartlett is that they have 13 departments and each of these departments has expertise in a particular architecture subfield. They have always ranked among the 10 best in the world by QS World Ranking, Times World Ranking, The Guardian University Guide, etc.
5. ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
ETH Zurich is not just among the best 50 architecture schools in the World, but also the 11th best college in the world by Time Higher Education (THE) for 2024. It has also existed for almost two centuries and has remained innovative with its growth.
6. University of Cambridge (UK)
With their rich history of architectural education, having drawn for more than 100 years, since June 1921, and having produced several world-class alumni makes it very easy to be included among the top 50 architecture schools. Also, their BA (Hons) course in architecture was given a 100 out of 100 rating in the Guardian’s just-published Best Universities in the UK.
7. National University of Singapore
If you’re looking for a school that is known for Asian architecture, then the National University of Singapore should be on your top list. They provide several architecture programs from Bachelor of Arts in Architecture to Master of Urban Planning.
8. University of Tokyo (Japan)
If you intend to study architecture in Japan and get a grasp of some leading cutting-edge architectural research, then the University of Tokyo should be your best choice. They are recognized as the best school for architecture in Japan.
9. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
UCLA focuses more on Urban design and sustainability. Their programs begin with a 2-year Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies (B.A.) to either a 1-year MS in Architecture and Urban Design (MSAUD) or a 3-year MArch Professional Degree.
10. Manchester School of Architecture (UK)
Even though Manchester School of Architecture was just established in 1996 and from then they have been ranked among the top 10 and in the recent QS Architecture rankings, they are ranked #5 in the World.
11. Tsinghua University (China)
There’s no better place to study architecture in China than Tsinghua University making it among the top 50 architecture schools. In fact, even the President of China, Xi Jinping, is among their alumni.
12. University of California, Berkeley (USA)
If you think of sustainability planning, you can think of the Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley, they also have a strong tradition of fostering design and research. They provide Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, Master of Architecture (M.Arch), Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD), and Ph.D. in Architecture.
13. Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
If you’re speaking of countries with the best Architecture schools and have not included Italy, especially for the sake of Politecnico di Milano, then you’re wrong. They are recognized as the largest technical university in Italy and have had some notable alumni like Franco Albini who through his creations, the modern furniture design merged the Italian traditional artisanship with the new forms of modernism.
14. Georgia Institute of Technology (USA)
The School of Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology is not just among the best architecture schools in the world. Still, they were the first to provide a 4-year course of study in architecture in the Southern United States. They have also had some notable alumni like Michael Arad who designed the World Trade Center Memorial in New York City.
15. School of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University (UK)
The School of Architecture at Oxford Brooks is not just considered among the best 50 architecture schools but also ranked among the top 10 UK universities by QS World Rankings. The school believes in innovation and experimentation and it runs in their culture.
16. EPFL (Switzerland)
One of the things I enjoy most about this school is its mission, which is to address the systemic challenges posed by the continued climate crisis, rapid urbanization, and the threat of collapsing ecosystems. They adhere to this mission right from the first year of each student’s study.
17. Cornell University (USA)
The College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP) at Cornell University provides 20 degrees in five departments. They are also the only department in the Ivy League to offer a Bachelor of Architecture degree making them among the top 50 architecture schools.
18. Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech (Spain)
If you’re looking for an architecture school that is too good in their masterpiece and also makes it very affordable to study, then you came to the right place. This school is very affordable to both EU and non-EU students where you can use €2,900 for EU students and €6,000 for non-EU students to finish an entire master’s program (120 credit unit).
19. Columbia University – GSAPP (USA)
The National Architectural Accrediting Board has deemed it necessary to always rank the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation #2 for five times in the past ten years.
20. Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin) (Germany)
TU Berlin has several alumni and staff that feature at the US National Academies members, also two have won the National Medal of Science laureates. Konrad Zuse, known as the father of modern computers also graduated from TU Berlin.
21. University of Toronto (Canada)
At John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto students immerse themselves in Landscape Architecture. In fact, the faculty was the first to offer an architecture program in Canada and also one of the first to offer a landscape architecture program.
22. Technical University of Munich (Germany)
The Technical University of Munich is considered among the largest universities in Germany with more than 50,000 students, and it’s a regular hub for International Students with 23,060 of them.
Their Department of Architecture has a vision of successfully integrating design practice into research.
23. The University of Melbourne (Australia)
The University of Melbourne is not just among the top 50 architecture schools it is also the second oldest university in Australia. They are also recognized as the best university for architecture in Australia by several ranking factors.
24. KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden)
If you’re looking for an architecture school to attend in Sweden then this should be on top of your list especially due to their experience and competence in conducting research in engineering and technology and they are the largest technical university in Sweden.
25. University of Sydney – Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning (Australia)
This school is recognized as one of the world leaders in teaching and research across the built environment, which strives for intellectual excellence, creative thinking, and evidence-based research.
26. Rice University
Because Rice Architecture only accepts less than 200 students it has helped them to remain student-centric, thereby always bringing students first. In fact, Rice Architecture has a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1 which is one of the least you could find in any institution.
27. KU Leuven (Belgium)
With its over 150 experience and always-innovating spirit, KU Leuven remains one of the best schools to study architecture in Belgium – perhaps the best place to do so. Even though their main language of instruction is Dutch, they still provide several programs in English.
28. Carnegie Mellon Architecture (USA)
CMA is considered one of the best 50 architecture schools to acquire your bachelor’s program and as students progress in the 5-year B.Arch they can choose to specialize in architectural robotics or a more traditional route.
29. Seoul National University (South Korea)
Through the department of Department of Architecture & Architectural Engineering at SNU you’ll be able to perform various research in important fields like structural engineering, architecture design, Urban design, architecture theory and history, etc. Their laboratory has successfully performed the development and verification of various structural systems, materials, and structural elements.
The school is considered the best architecture university in South Korea.
30. Princeton University School of Architecture (USA)
Sometimes to know the value of a school you need to check their product, that is their alumni. Princeton University School of Architecture has some notable alumni like Kunle Adeyemi, founder of NLÉ; Lemuel Ayers, Tony Award-winning designer and producer, etc.
Some other top 50 architecture schools in the world include;
31. Imperial College London (UK)
32. The University of Virginia School of Architecture (USA)
33. University of British Columbia – School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Canada)
34. National University of Defense Technology (China)
35. Yale School of Architecture (USA)
36. Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium)
37. University of Arizona – College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture (USA)
38. National University of La Plata – Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (Argentina)
39. University of Oregon – School of Architecture & Environment (USA)
40. University of Manchester (UK)
41. Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications (China)
42. University of Utah – College of Architecture + Planning (USA)
43. University of Waterloo (Canada)
44. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee – School of Architecture & Urban Planning (USA)
45. Lund University – School of Architecture (Sweden)
46. University of Porto – Faculty of Architecture (Portugal)
47. University of New South Wales (Australia)
48. University of Miami – School of Architecture (USA)
49. University of Southern California – School of Architecture (USA)
50. University of Bologna (Italy)
This list of top 50 architecture schools has helped us to look deeper into Institutions helping us, the world to shape the future of architectural design. Even though more of these Institutions come from the United States, there are still some that come from different continents that are not just prolific in those continents but in the world.