In its entirety, “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools” is an annual report comprising several distinct surveys that rank undergraduate and graduate architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design programs. For the 2012 edition, 360 firms in the four professional fields participated. Each respondent has direct responsibility for hiring and/or supervising recent graduate new hires in one or more of those fields surveyed. Practitioners selected to participate were drawn from a DesignIntelligence database of leading firms defined by both revenue and reputation.
With regard to architecture programs alone, practitioners from 185 leading U.S. architecture firms participated in the current research, “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools 2012.” In answering a multitude of questions, they rated their satisfaction with the state of architecture education in the United States today as follows: 14 percent indicated they are very satisfied, 53 percent are satisfied, 32 percent are either neutral or dissatisfied, and only 1 percent are very dissatisfied. But in their evaluation of graduates’ understanding of building, facility, and equipment life cycles, 47 percent of respondents say the graduates are inadequate.
Additional data collected in the Best Schools research delve into participants’ rankings of the biggest concerns within the profession—for example, if recent graduates are bringing to the firms innovative ideas about sustainability.
The top 10 undergraduate and graduate schools:
Cornell University again dominated the undergraduate rankings. In the past nine years, Cornell has placed first seven times. It was followed this year by The University of Texas at Austin; Virginia Tech; California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; Rice University; Rhode Island School of Design; Southern California Institute of Architecture and Syracuse University (tied for seventh); Iowa State University; and Pratt Institute.
In graduate architecture education, Harvard University edged out Yale University and the University of Michigan (the only other two schools that have been ranked first in the history of the DesignIntelligence survey). Yale placed second, followed by Columbia University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Kansas State University. Tied for sixth were Cornell and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania tied for eighth, followed by the University of Cincinnati.
A complete list of the top 20 undergraduate and top 20 graduate architecture programs is available through www.di.net, along with regional rankings, student satisfaction data, and rankings of landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design programs.