10 min

Top Programs in Architecture

Have you ever dreamt about making a difference in the world? Have you ever thought about improving the life of communities - the way people work, live, and use spaces?

Have you ever imagined yourself designing buildings, neighbourhoods, or even entire cities?  

Then, architecture is your calling. 

Highly qualified architects are in great demand nowadays, since environmental impact, climate design, and sustainability are taken into account in designing new buildings. Bonus: if you consider studying MArch (Master of Architecture) in the USA, keep in mind that this program is now designated a STEM program. This makes international MArch graduates eligible to extend their F-1 visas for up to three years if they wish to stay and work in the United States.

We used the QS World University Rankings by Subject (Architecture) to determine the best schools to study architecture in.  Let’s have a look at them!

MIT Department of Architecture, USA

MIT is one of the very best universities in the world, and its Department of Architecture (one of the sections of MIT School of Architecture + Planning) is a reputable and well-known school.

The Department of Architecture offers degrees on all educational levels (undergraduate and graduate), including doctoral. In addition, students have the opportunity of studying in two-degree programs simultaneously. There is also an option to have a joint program with the Department of Urban Planning (double degree or a Certificate in Urban Design).

At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, introductory studies give students a basic framework for architectural design. Graduate students can hone their skills participating in advanced workshops, lectures, and seminars. Everyone carries out their own project from concept to the final product.

Large-scale physical planning, environmental programming, the form and evaluation of cities, housing and settlement forms in developing countries, and even design in non-Western cultures are among the projects and research areas undertaken by the Department.

The Bachelor of Science in Architecture (4 years)

Tuition fee per year $55,450

The Master of Architecture (MArch), a professional degree program accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) (usually takes 3,5 years to complete)

The Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS), advanced study founded on research and inquiry in architecture as a discipline and as a practice (2 years)

The Master of Science in Building Technology (SMBT) program, run jointly by the Departments of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

The Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology (SMACT) program with the focus on artistic practice in the context of an advanced technological and scientific community.

Tuition fee per year $53,450

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands

TU Delft's Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment is a national and international leader in the field of architecture. The faculty offers cutting-edge Bachelor, Master's, and Post-Master’s in architecture, as well as in related subjects like landscape architecture, housing, building physics, climate design, and sustainability.

The Architecture, Urbanism, and Building Sciences Bachelor degree program is offered only in Dutch. Several Master's degree programs, conducted entirely in English, help students grow into professionals. Students can choose from a variety of studios, each focusing on a particular aspect of design: conceptual or concrete, technical or theoretical.

The Master's program in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences has five tracks: Architecture, Building Technology, Landscape Architecture, Management in the Built Environment, and Urbanism. Graduates of this program with the tracks ‘Architecture’, ‘Landscape Architecture’ or ‘Urbanism’ can complete a professional traineeship (beroepservaringperiode) and apply for registration in the Dutch Register of Architects, which permits  to use the protected title of Architect, Landscape Architect, or Urban Designer in the Netherlands.

There are also three post-master’s programs - European Post-master in Urbanism (EMU), The Berlage Post-master in Architecture and Urban Design, Master City Developer.

The Bachelor's degree programme in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences

Tuition fee for per year approx. $17,299 (EUR 14,500

The price is for non Dutch + EU/EFTA + Surinamese

The Master's program in Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences (2 years)

Tuition fee per year approx. $22,369 (EUR 18,750

The price is for non Dutch + EU/EFTA + Surinamese

Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, the UK

The Bartlett School of Architecture at the University College London boasts a long history and innovative, diverse staff of 32 nationalities. The Bartlett has a large studio, workshop, computing and fabrication facility, as well as one of the UK's most comprehensive libraries on architecture.

The instruction on some of the programs is organized around ‘units’, which are small groups of 15-17 students. Architecture students at The Bartlett spend their time in both the studio and the workshop, with approximately 70% of the program taught and assessed through their design portfolios.

The school offers undergraduate, postgraduate (several Master’s), doctoral, professional studies, along with the short courses. Architecture MSci is a five-year program that includes both undergraduate and postgraduate architecture instruction, with the final year spent on a placement in an architectural firm.

Architecture BSc (3 years), accredited with Architects Registration Board (ARB) and Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)

Tuition fee for ‘overseas’ (non-UK) students per year approx. $35,945 (£25,800)

Architecture MSci (5 years), accredited with Architects Registration Board (ARB) PART 1 and PART 2

Tuition fee for ‘overseas’ (non-UK) students per year approx. $35,945 (£25,800) with only 20% of this sum to be paid during the placement 

Architecture MArch (2 years). RIBA/ARB Part 2 is awarded upon successful completion of the Architecture MArch programme. Overseas students who do not have Part 1 upon commencing the programme and are seeking professional registration in the UK must contact the Architects Registration Board separately in order to gain ARB Part 1.

Tuition fee for ‘overseas’ (non-UK) students approx. $35,945 (£25,800)

Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

The Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich is one of the most prestigious architecture schools in the world. The studies are structured as flexible design studios and are to be experienced as a holistic and open program.

The Bachelor program requires 180 ECTS plus six months of internship. To complete one’s studies, a wide range of interdisciplinary subjects including Social Studies and the Humanities can be taken at either ETH Zurich or the University of Zurich. The language of instruction is mainly German.

The Master's degree program in Architecture requires 120 ECTS and a six-​month internship. The language of instruction is German. Classes and examinations take place in German or English. The advanced training is ensured through the doctorate and various continuing education programs (MAS/CAS).

Bachelor of Science ETH in Architecture, BSc ETH Arch (3 years)

Tuition fee per year approx. $1590 (CHF 1460)

Master of Science ETH in Architecture, MSc ETH Arch (2 years)

Tuition fee per year approx. $1590 (CHF 1460)

The Department of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, USA

The Department of Architecture at Harvard GSD  gives a strong intellectual foundation in history, theory, technology, social issues, and professional practice. Students go through a series of design studio courses, with a strong emphasis on design proficiency.

The school offers a possibility to earn a Master’s degree in Architecture for those without an undergraduate degree in this field. A Pre-Core workshop may be required or recommended before the studies in order to gain more knowledge of the software, workflows and digital techniques used in the context of studios: 3D software basics, rendering basics, and others. 

After the workshop, the students get access to the school's lecture and public program series, exhibitions, and publications, as well as the resources accessible across Harvard University and the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The Harvard University Graduate School of Design's Department of Architecture offers the following NAAB-accredited degree programs:

Master in Architecture  (non-pre-professional degree + 105 graduate credit hours on the NAAB scale/equivalent to 140 units in the GSD course unit calculations) 

Tuition fee per year $53,420

Master in Architecture AP (pre-professional degree + 75 graduate credit hours on the NAAB scale/equivalent to 100 units in the GSD course unit calculations)  

Tuition fee per year $53,420