Cornell Tops the 2019 Architecture School Rankings

man wearing a black suit and a white shirt points at a wall of architectural drawings

Justin Foo Zhi Kai (B.Arch. '18) presents during thesis reviews in the spring of 2018. William Staffeld / AAP

September 13, 2018

Cornell retained the number one spot for undergraduate architecture programs, and the M.Arch. program took the number four position among graduate architecture programs in the 2019 list of top 10 NAAB-accredited architecture schools in the U.S. The rankings are the result of a survey conducted annually by DesignIntelligence (DI) and published in Architectural Record.

DI received more than 4,500 survey responses from CEOs and design firms, compared to between 2,600 and 3,200 in previous years — a significant change, which it says may reflect the urgency of improving architectural education. In another shift from previous years, the survey posed two new questions instead of one. Rather than naming "the best" schools, the respondents were asked to identify "the most admired" schools having a combination of faculty, programs, culture, and student preparation for the profession; and to name the schools from which they hired the greatest number of undergraduate or graduate students in the last five years.

Undergraduate and graduate architecture programs were ranked across four categories — design theory, construction methods and materials, sustainability, and research. DI noted the "broad appeal" of Cornell, which scored in the top five of all four focus areas across both undergraduate and graduate programs.

"The exceptional commitment, creativity, and work ethic of our students prepare them for fully engaging the practice of architecture across scales, contexts, and environments," said Andrea Simitch, the Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and chair of the Department of Architecture. "As graduates, they continue to demonstrate this overall engagement and excellence. The dedication of our faculty remains unsurpassed, creating a context for design research and critical thinking that strives to expand the boundaries of our discipline."

In addition to the top 10 schools, DI also conducts an annual survey of the Top 25 Most Admired Educators in Architecture, Interiors, and Landscape Architecture. Kent Kleinman, the former Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of AAP, placed 11th this year. In the 2018 survey, Simitch was among the most admired architecture professors.

The Top 10 Undergraduate Architecture Programs

1. Cornell University
2. Rice University
3. California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo
4. Syracuse University
5. Cooper Union
6. Rhode Island School of Design
7. Pratt Institute
8. Virginia Tech
9. Southern California Institute of Architecture
10. University of Texas–Austin

The Top 10 Graduate Architecture Programs

1. Harvard University
2. Columbia University
3. MIT
4. Cornell University
5. Yale University
6. Princeton University
7. Rice University
8. University of California–Berkeley
9. Southern California Institute of Architecture
10. University of Michigan

By Patti Witten

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