Once again, the Virginia Tech School of Architecture & Design was among a select group of programs recognized in the annual America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools study conducted by DesignIntelligence in conjunction with the Greenway Group.
In the only national college rankings focused exclusively on design, Virginia Tech moved up from fourth to third in the nation among undergraduate programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), coming in after Cornell and the University of Texas at Austin.
As in previous years, the DesignIntelligence survey tapped professional practice leaders who have direct experience hiring and evaluating the performance of recent architecture and design graduates. For the four professions surveyed—architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, and interior design—a total of 277 private practice organizations participated included in the study which analyzes which college and university programs have best prepared students for professional practice.
Deans and chairs from 111 academic programs also participated in surveys, the data from which was presented separately from practitioner rankings. And Tech was a clear favorite among academics.
In addition to the top overall ranking, Tech’s undergraduate program in Interior Design tied for number 8 nationally. The deans ranked the program number 3, citing “faculty, comprehensive education, and collaborative teaching approach” as particular strengths.
The undergraduate Landscape Architecture program ranked 13, while the graduate program tied for number 12. And the dean’s survey gave the undergraduate program in Industrial Design a second place, citing its “emphasis on human factors, comprehensive program, and quality of students.”
As part of its survey, DesignIntelligence listed 25 “most admired” design educators, including Robert Dunay, Tech’s Director of the Center for Design Research, and Elizabeth Meyer, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia.
In addition to the undergraduate program, Tech offers an MS in Architecture and a PhD in Architecture and Design Research. The school also offers continuing education courses in architecture and design for alums as well as summer workshops for high school students interested in learning more about the field.
The top undergraduate architecture programs according to DesignIntelligence are:
- Cornell University (1st for 7 of the last 9 years)
- University of Texas at Austin (7 last year)
- Virginia Tech (4)
- California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (4)
- Rice University (3)
- Rhode Island School of Design (11)
- Southern California Institute of Architecture (6) and Syracuse University (2)
- Iowa State University
- Pratt Institute (9)
And the top graduate architecture programs are:
- Harvard University (2 last year)
- Yale University (3)
- Columbia University (4)
- Washington University in St. Louis (9)
- Kansas State University
- Cornell University (6) and MIT (5)
- University of Michigan (1) and University of Pennsylvania (8)
- University of Cincinnati (6)
Keep in mind that like any other "ranking," this list represents one organization's opinions and should provide little more than “food for thought” or a starting place for a more thorough investigation of architecture programs.