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Virginia Tech scores high in architecture

Virginia Tech scores high with DesignIntelligence-slide0
Nancy Griesemer

Once again, the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design was very visible among a select group of America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools in studies conducted by DesignIntelligence together with Greenway Group.

Virginia Tech's architecture and design programs scored high with DesignIntelligence.
Nancy Griesemer

In the only national college rankings focused exclusively on design, Virginia Tech made appearances among the top 20 architecture programs (graduate and undergraduate) as well as on the top lists for landscape architecture (graduate and undergraduate) and undergraduate interior design (ranked 5th nationally).

The only other local school to be acknowledged by DesignIntelligence was the University of Virginia Graduate School of Architecture, which came in at number 18 in the top 20 ranking of graduate architecture programs.

As in previous years, the DesignIntelligence survey went to 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—1108 private practice organizations participated in the study which analyzes those college and university programs that have best prepared students for professional practice.

Greenway and DesignIntelligence also asked 89 deans and chairs of architecture schools what they consider to be significant issues facing architectural educators today and sought information from 2,760 architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design students about their satisfaction with their education.

In the deans’ survey, the Virginia Tech undergrad architecture program was recognized as second most admired “for its emphasis on research, innovative pedagogy, and design rigor.” In the student survey, 82% graded the quality of the VT program overall as excellent.

While the economy remains sluggish, the employment rate for architecture school graduates is higher now than in 2009, when unemployment was 13.9 percent for recent graduates, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

Current unemployment in the field is about five percent, according to the Department of Labor, although Greenway estimates the number is sometimes considerably lower, depending on region.

The National Architectural Accrediting Board reports that 15,187 students were enrolled in 2012 in 57 bachelors programs and 11,277 students were in the 95 masters of architecture programs.

In other words, schools continue to turn out architecture graduates as demand starts picking up—despite what was previously a gloomy outlook for these students.

In the meantime, the top undergraduate architecture programs for 2014 according to DesignIntelligence are:

And the top 10 graduate programs are:

  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • Columbia University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Cornell University
  • Rice University
  • University of Michigan
  • Kansas State Univeristy
  • UC Berkeley
  • University of Texas at Austin

Top undergraduate landscape architecture programs include:

  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Louisiana State University
  • Purdue University
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
  • University of Georgia

Master of Landscape Architecture Degree Rankings:

  • Harvard University
  • Kansas State University
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Cornell University

Top undergraduate interior design programs:

And the top undergraduate industrial design programs cited by DesignIntelligence are:

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Art Center College of Design
  • Syracuse University
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Savannah College of Art and Design

Keep in mind that like any other "ranking," these lists represent one organization's opinions and should provide little more than “food for thought” or a starting place for a more thorough investigation of programs