20 Best Bachelor’s Degrees in Architecture 2020

Human beings have always needed shelter –thus was born the architect! Architects design structures and buildings where the rest of us live our daily lives, care for our families, ply our trades, and enjoy the fruits of our culture. They are essential! A bachelor's degree in architecture can open up several related careers to individuals that are not only rewarding but also lucrative. Most states require a graduate degree to become a licensed architect, but a Bachelor of Architecture, which is a professional degree, can prepare individuals for entry-level jobs in most firms. 

Other degrees in the field, like a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Architecture or Architectural Studies, can also open up possibilities for careers in interior design, furniture making, building surveyor, preservation and conservation, or landscape architecture. The good news is that occupations in architecture or closely-related engineering positions are expected to grow by about the average of all occupations. However, these jobs often pay twice as much as the average. According to the Department of Labor, the average median pay for an architect in 2018 was $79,380, which is significantly higher than the average for all occupations. So if you have always liked to build and design, and you want to work with the latest technologies, then consider a Bachelor's degree in Architecture. We can help you decide where to fulfill your educational dreams! 

Methodology

Best College Reviews provides degree rankings, such as the [title of article], from carefully researched data sets published from government and non-profit organizations across the United States. Five primary factors affect how we rank degrees: 

  • 25% Student Satisfaction 
  • 30% Earning Potential 
  • 15% Retention Data 
  • 20% Affordability 
  • 10% Acceptance Rates

For an in-depth breakdown of how we calculate each ranking, check out our Methodology page.  

 

#20 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 84.35

Washington University in St. Louis is a private mid-sized research university known for its high-quality faculty and students. The College of Architecture at WUSL offers a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture. The program at WUSL has a long history, going back over 100 years. The BAB degree is designed to be flexible so that students can pursue graduate-level work in the field. 

Classes in the program include Designing Creativity: Innovation Across Disciplines, Design as Export, and Visualizing Segregation: A History of St. Louis, Chicago, and New Orleans. Advisor's work with students to craft an individualized curriculum that will best fit the students' interests and professional goals.

Net Price: $27,777

 

#19 UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 84.69

The University of Notre Dame is a well-known mid-sized private Roman Catholic research institution of higher education. UND offers a Bachelor of Architecture through the School of Architecture. The program is five years long, and each year is specifically designed to incrementally develop skills and increase student knowledge base. 

The program at UND includes three different concentrations which students can choose from Preservation and Restoration, Furniture Design, and Architectural Practice and Enterprise. The School of Architecture has several research areas that faculty and students engage, including Architectural History and Theory, Health and the Built Environment, and Urbanism and Housing. 

Net Price: $27,453

 

#18 UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 84.71

With one campus that straddles the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and another located in a rustic area of St. Paul, the University of Minnesota is a large public research university. The School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Science in Architecture for interested individuals. The degree is designed as a pre-professional program which exposes students to both theory and practice. 

The program emphasizes design thinking and trains students in design processes and the latest technology used in the industry. Students can take classes like Environmental Design and the Sociocultural Context, Design and Representation, and Architecture and Ecology, among many others. Students are also encouraged to get involved in field experiences locally or through travel courses to places like Spain, Italy, Japan, and China. 

Net Price: $16,808

 

#17 NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 85.98

Located in Boston, MA, Northeastern University has attained the highest classification for research output. Individuals can obtain a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the College of Arts, Media, and Design at NU. The program seeks to combine a necessary pre-professional focus, with the more profound skills of creative and critical thinking, to produce graduates who are ready to engage a complex world. 

Students are required to participate in two six-month co-ops, where they gain valuable experience working on real-world projects. Studio courses include significant feedback from faculty, other students, and visiting critics. NU also offers a one-year Master of Architecture degree which can be paired with the BSA. 

Net Price: $30,784

 

#16 ILLINOIS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 86.10

A small private research university, the Illinois Institute of Technology is located in Chicago, IL, and traces its history back into the 19th century. The College of Architecture at IIT offers a Bachelor of Architecture. The degree requires five years to complete and includes both studio design classes, as well as a rigorous curriculum of theory and history. 

Classes in the program include Site Design, Planning, and Ecology, Digital Form Generation, and Digital Fabrication. During the fifth year, students also participate in an Interprofessional Project, which is generally comprised of a team of 10-12 students who work collaboratively on a project. The Architecture program at IIT is at the heart of the institution, so there are numerous co-curricular events, organizations, and other opportunities to enhance the educational experience and prepare graduates to work in the field of architecture.

Net Price: $26,324

 

#15 TULANE UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 86.83

Tulane University is a mid-sized private research university located in the beautiful city of New Orleans, LA. The Tulane School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree. In keeping with industry standards, the degree takes five years to complete. The curriculum is designed to incrementally increase student knowledge and know-how as individuals progress. 

Classes in the program include Building, Climate and Comfort, History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism, and Inverting the Iceberg: Ethics, Efficacy, and Architecture in the Globalized Economy. During the fifth year of the program, students develop a thesis through research and studio work. Students can also apply for the Rome Study Abroad Program, which is offered during the spring semester and takes students to one of the most architecturally rich cities in the world.

Net Price: $33,886

 

#14 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-LOS ANGELES

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES

Website
Score: 86.85

An extensive research institution of higher learning, the University of California-Los Angeles offers over 300 degree programs. Among those offered is a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies which is overseen by the School of Architecture & Urban Design. The program is a two-years in duration and generally begins during the Junior year. 

The curriculum has courses in three primary areas: Technology, Design, and Critical Studies. Classes including Modernism and Metropolis, Introduction to Sustainable Architecture and Community Planning, and Domestic Architecture: Critical History. UCLA offers outstanding facilities, including the Arts Library and a state of the art Fabrication Shop.

Net Price: $14,760

 

#13 COOPER UNION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF SCIENCE AND ART

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 87.74

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was founded to provide the best education in art, engineering, and architecture to qualified students for free. Though they currently charge tuition (tuition-free undergraduate programs are supposed to be reinstated in 2028), they continue to offer a cutting edge Bachelor of Architecture. 

The five-year degree program includes classes like The Modern Context: Figures and Topics, Introduction to Urban History and Theories, and Texts and Contexts: Old Worlds and New, as well as numerous studio and fabrication classes. CU offers several scholarships and fellowship opportunities for qualified students. Admission is competitive, and students also have a Studio Test as part of the application process.

Net Price: $28,494

 

#12 GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 88.54

Located near Midtown Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology is a large public research university. The GIT School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. The program brings together coursework and studio education in design, history, theory, fabrication, and technology. The SA program features Incubator Workshops for students at every stage, which allows students to think creatively about design problems. 

Classes in the program include Architecture, Space and Culture: Architecture and Language; Syntaxes of Inhabited Space, Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Communities, Computational Making: Inquiry, Theory and Applications. A significant number of GIT students take courses abroad. The SA offers programs in Greece-Italy, and South Africa-Ghana where students not only study architecture but also get to tackle real-world problems in the field.

Net Price: $15,873

 

#11 RHODE ISLAND SCHOOL OF DESIGN

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 89.02

One of the most highly ranked schools for art and design, the Rhode Island School of Design is a small private art and design college located in Providence, RI. RISD offers a five-year Bachelor of Architecture. This is a professional degree and prepares individuals to enter the industry and to pursue the additional graduate coursework needed to become a licensed architect. 

The curriculum is progressive, with courses building on each other. Classes included in the program include Theory and History of Art and Design, The Making of Design Principles, and Integrated Building Systems. During the final year of the program, students work on a unique project which offers a capstone experience, preparing students for the profession. Applicants must submit a portfolio as well as complete an assignment developed by the program directors.

Net Price: $39,777

 

#10 RICE UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 90.75

Rice University is a small private research university located close to the Houston Museum District. The RU School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree. The degree is six years and includes two degrees in one, both a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, as well as the BA degree. 

The last two years in the program consists of participation in the Preceptorship program where students are placed in critical architectural offices or firms around the world, gaining invaluable experience in the field. Students have been placed with leading firms in New York, London, San Francisco, Genoa, and Boston, among many other places.

Net Price: $24,131

 

#9 CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 91.14

Initially founded in 1900 by industrialist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University is a mid-sized private research university located in Pittsburgh, PA. CMU offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree which is designed as a first professional degree. The program takes five years to complete and prepares students to pursue graduate-level work, which is required for licensure. 

The first three years of the program is mapped out by the School of Architecture, while the final two years are highly flexible so that students can forge their pathways into the field. This works through the Advanced Synthesis Option Studio, where students can explore unique areas in architecture like robotics, sustainability, urban design, and computation. 

Net Price: $29,817

 

#8 SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 92.63

Located in Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University is a mid-sized private research university which was initially founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church. The SU School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree. The five-year program immerses students in theory, history, technology, design, and the technical skills needed to excel in the industry. 

One of the great strengths of the program is the ability to study abroad in different settings. The SA has full-time faculty located in Florence, New York, and London where students can study for up to two semesters if they choose. Shorter-term possibilities also exist in places like Japan, China, Turkey, and India. World-renowned architects are also regularly brought to campus in Syracuse to give lectures, giving students unparalleled access to leading practitioners.

Net Price: $35,306

 

#7 UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA 

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 92.72

Conceived, designed, and founded by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia is a mid-sized public research university. UV offers a Bachelor of Science in Architecture through the School of Architecture. This is a four-year pre-professional degree program and introduces students to design thinking, critical theory, and the design process. 

The program includes two concentrations: Pre-Professional and Architectural Design Thinking. The Pre-Professional track requires more studio courses. In both cases, during their second year, students begin taking studio courses, which culminates in the final year in the Independent Design Research Studio, where they work on an original project for a full semester.

Net Price: $16,594

 

#6 UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 93

The University of Southern California is a well-known and highly respected sizeable private research university located in Los Angeles, CA. The USC School of Architecture offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree. The program at USC is designed as a professional degree and is five years in duration. 

The first three years are dedicated to grounding students in the broader theory and practice of the discipline. During this time, students take classes like World History of Architecture and Building Structures and Seismic Design. During the last two years, students explore their areas of interest, which culminates in a final project.

Net Price: $32,892

 

#5 VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 95.76

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, is a large public research university located in Blacksburg, VA. The School of Architecture & Design at VT offers a five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree. During the first-year students in the program progress through a common foundations program with students in other majors like Industrial Design, and Landscape Architecture. 

After the first year, students take the Summer Qualifying Design Laboratory, which enables them to transfer into the program. Students take classes like History of Architecture, The Art of Building, and Basic Principles of Structures. In the fourth year, students can take advantage of one of many off-campus study options in places like Chicago or Switzerland, or pursue a professional internship. The fifth-year rounds out the degree and is dedicated primarily to the research thesis project.

Net Price: $18,700

 

#4 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 96.04

With over 300 graduate and undergraduate areas of study, the University of California-Berkeley is one of the largest public research universities in the state. UCB offers a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture through the College of Environmental Design. The program is a four-year pre-professional degree qualifying individuals for entry-level positions in the field. 

Students take classes like An Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism, Fundamentals of Architectural Design, and Energy and Environment. During their Junior year enrolled students choose between the Design Research Track or the Studio Track, which they will follow during their senior year. The DRT offers the opportunity for students to engage a specific theme in the discipline, while the ST is studio intensive, focusing on design and fabrication. 

Net Price: $18,178

 

#3 CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY-SAN LUIS OBISPO

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 96.14

One of two polytechnical schools in the state university system, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo is a mid-sized public university. CPSU offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree through the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The program is recognized by the National Architecture Accrediting Board and is a five-year first professional degree. 

CPSU emphasizes the motto "learn by doing," the BA program embodies this philosophy with rigorous training in the classroom, studio, and field. In addition to various unique and innovative classes, students can also pursue off-campus study during their fourth year in places like Florence, Italy, Copenhagen, Denmark, and San Francisco.

Net Price: $19,002

 

#2 UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 98.38

The University of Texas at Austin is considered a Public Ivy because of the high level of research output from faculty and students. UT offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree through the School of Architecture. The degree is a five-year first professional degree which emphasizes design-thinking, and grounds students in the history, theory, and technology of architectural practice. 

Classes in the program include Urban Design History, Theory, and Criticism, American Dream: Status Quo and Alternatives, and Energy Modeling and The Design Process. The SA is widely respected as a major center of intellectual thought, and critical practice. It regularly invites leading voices and practitioners to campus to speak on issues in the discipline through the Lectures and Exhibitions Series. 

Net Price: $14,356

 

#1 CORNELL UNIVERSITY

BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE

Website
Score: 100

A mid-sized Ivy League research university, Cornell University is located in Ithaca, NY. The Department of Architecture at CU offers a Bachelor of Architecture degree. The program is a five-year professional first degree and qualifies as a STEM program which brings benefits for international students who come to study on an F-1 visa. 

The program is built around design-thinking and includes extensive exposure to the history, theory, and technologies used in the field. Students are trained to communicate visually through drawings and models and can choose from five different concentrations, including Visual Representation in Architecture, History of Architecture, and Architecture, Culture, and Society, among others. 

Net Price: $31,449