Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design ranked 4th in nation

Annual DesignIntelligence survey polled U.S. architecture firms and schools

Washington University in St. Louis’ Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design, part of the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, has been ranked 4th in the nation, according to DesignIntelligence, which publishes an annual guide, America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools.

The 13th annual report polled leaders from 277 architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design and interior design firms about which programs have, over the last five years, best prepared students for professional practice.

Washington University previously was ranked 9th.

“This is our highest ranking to date and a significant national recognition of the excellent work and tremendous dedication of our architecture students and alumni,” says Carmon Colangelo, dean of the Sam Fox School and the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Collaboration in the Arts.

“It is also testament to the deep commitment of our outstanding faculty,” Colangelo says. “Under the leadership of Kathryn Dean, director of graduate architecture, and Bruce Lindsey, dean of architecture, the school has built on its collective strengths and expertise while also attracting a host a visiting professionals. The result is a rigorous and relevant curricular structure that addresses the central issues of 21st-century design.”

In addition to professional practitioners, the report surveys deans and department chairs of 111 undergraduate and graduate programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. More than 2,300 architecture and landscape architecture students completed satisfaction surveys about their education. (Both sets of data are presented separately from the rankings.)

“Over the years, Washington University has earned a reputation for fostering a strong practice-based tradition,” says Lindsey, the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration. “But a program is only as good as the faculty it supports, the students it inspires and the alumni who define the field. Ultimately, this is a tribute to our entire community.”

Dean says that the key to training young architects is balancing a comprehensive, hands-on studio experience with exposure to cutting-edge technologies and a solid background in architectural history and theory.

“When our students walk out the door, they not only know how to conceptualize and design a project, but also how to construct it,” Dean says. “Our goal is to give aspiring architects all the tools they need to build their dreams.”

The rankings are compiled using data from surveys conducted and analyzed by DesignIntelligence staff. Participants are queried about how programs rated in various skill sets, including design; sustainability; analysis and planning; construction methods and materials; research and theory; communication skills; and computer applications.

Research is aided by information provided by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the National Architectural Accreditation Board, the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

The top 10 graduate programs are:

1. Harvard University
2. Yale University
3. Columbia University
4. Washington University in St. Louis
5. Kansas State University
6. Cornell University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
8. University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
10. University of Cincinnati

The complete rankings are available as both a print edition and as a downloadable pdf from