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Best Architecture Schools in the US: Courses, Fee, Admission, Career & Many More
1st Mar, 2024

Best Architecture Schools in the US: Courses, Fee, Admission, Career & Many More

Have you played with blocks in your childhood? Playing blocks is fun, right? There are multiple types of blocks, and you need to create a building from them. So what was your dream house architecture when you were playing blocks?

Well, I agree; this discussion is about the #pro level when you know how to play it. And for that matter, you need the best guide for your basic education. Are you still figuring out your career path? Discuss with us as a study abroad consultant.

Asking about a real-time building job, imagine someone who doesn’t have good knowledge about building a building. Will you trust that man with your house?

No right… because everyone wants a well-educated and experienced architect for their work. Imagine yourself having graduated or post-graduated from one of the best architecture schools in the US. 

This article is to give an overview of architecture colleges in the USA, including rankings, specialisations, costs, and scholarships available for international students.

Specialisations and Degrees in Architecture

Architecture colleges in the USA offer various specialisations at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels. Some of the popular specialisations include.

  • Architectural Technology
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Architectural Design
  • Architectural History
  • Interior Design

What Are the Top Ranking Architecture Colleges in the USA:

Thinking about what college has the best architecture programme in the US? It’s hard to get a place on the QS ranking list. Studying in college with a QS ranking is like a bonus. America has many QS-ranking colleges that provide good education. In the list of QS ranking 2024, 250 universities have been listed. Surprisingly, 43 American universities were included in that. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) took first place, with Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, following in fifth and seventh place, respectively. 

According to the QS Architecture Ranking 2024, the top architecture universities in the USA are:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Columbia University
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT is a private research university based in the USA. MIT is the best architecture college in the world, according to the QS Architecture College Ranking 2024. It was founded in 1861 and has a great ancient culture. 

MIT is located in Cambridge. The university is also home to several world-renowned research labs, including the MIT Media Lab and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Let’s talk about the architecture course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):

  1. Bachelor of Science in Architecture (BSA)

Duration: 4-years

NAAB accreditation: Not available

Fees: $59,750 /Yr

Areas focused:

  • Architecture Design
  • Building Technology
  • Computation
  • History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art
  • Art, Culture and Technology
  1. Bachelor of Science in Architecture Studies (SBAS): 

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach with the flexibility to explore various interests within the architectural realm.

Duration: 4-years 

NAAB accreditation: Available

Fees: $59,750 /Yr

  1. Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

There are no official specialisations, but students can customise their coursework to fit particular passions.

Duration: 2.5-3.5 year

NAAB accreditation: Available

Fees: $59750/Yr

  1. Master of Science in Architecture Studies (M.S. Arch.S.):

Provides specialisations in some fields, including Urban Design & Development, Design & Computation, and Architectural History & Theory. 

Duration: 2 years

NAAB accreditation: Available

Fees: $59750/Yr

2. Harvard University

Harvard's Graduate School of Design (GSD) provides an esteemed architecture programme. According to the QS Best Architecture Colleges Ranking 2024, Harvard University ranks 5th in the world.

Harvard University was founded in 1847 and is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It is consistently ranked among the top in the world.

Let’s check out the best architecture courses provided by Harvard University:

  1. Master of Architecture (MArch):

This degree is for individuals with a rigorous curriculum encompassing design, history, theory, technology, and professional practice.

Duration: 3-year programme

NAAB accreditation: Available

Fees: $64,800/year

  1. Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA):

Duration: 2-year programme

NAAB accreditation: Available

Fees: $64,800/year

  1. Master in Urban Design (MUD):

This degree explores urban form, infrastructure, and social equity for urban planners and designers.

Duration: 2-year programme

NAAB accreditation: Available

Fees: $64,800/year

  1. Doctor of Design (DDes):

This is a research-oriented programme for advanced study in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and design studies.

Duration: 5-year 

NAAB Accreditation: Not available

3. University of California, Berkeley

UC Berkeley isn't just known for its outstanding educational institutions; it flourishes as a clamouring community. Reliably positioned among the top state-funded colleges internationally, it offers a different scope of more than 350 fields to dive into. Research amazing open doors have large amounts of its various labs, while 600+ student bunches guarantee your social and extracurricular requirements are met. 

  1. Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Architecture

This programme focuses on a broad introduction to architecture, covering design, representation, technologies, history, culture, and society.

Duration: 4 years

NAAB accreditation: Available


  1. Master of Architecture (M.Arch.):

This programme is designed for students wishing to pursue architecture as their first professional degree.

Duration: 2-3 years 

NAAB accreditation: Available

  1. Master of Science (MS) in Architecture:

This programme focuses on research and exploring theoretical and historical aspects of architecture. Offers specialisations in areas like Urban Design, Architectural History & Theory, and Historic Preservation.

Duration: 2 years

NAAB accreditation: Not applicable to research-oriented degrees

4. Columbia University

Columbia University boasts a prestigious architecture programme through its Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). Here's an information breakdown following the same format:

This university is consistently ranked among the top architecture schools in the world. It was founded in 1881 and is located in New York City. Columbia University is one of the top architecture schools in the US. 

  1. Master of Architecture (M.Arch):

This professional degree programme has a rigorous curriculum covering design, history, theory, technology, and professional practice.

Duration: 3-year

NAAB accreditation: Available 

Fees: $60,000-$70,000 per year

  1. Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (M.S.AAD):

This intensive programme is for professionals with a first professional degree, focusing on critical thought and design speculation.

Duration: 3-year

NAAB accreditation: Not applicable 

Fees: $  

5. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

The architecture programmes offered by UCLA's School of Arts and Architecture are highly regarded and consistently ranked among the best in the world. UCLA Arts is ranked 12th in the world in the QS Best Architecture Colleges Ranking for 2024. It was founded in 1919 and is located in Los Angeles, California.

  1. Master of Architecture (MArch):

This programme is ideal for recent graduates without architecture experience. It focuses on design, history, theory, technology, and professional practice within the unique context of Los Angeles.

Duration: 3-year

NAAB Accreditation: Available

Fees: $36,433 per year (California resident), $54,479 per year (non-resident)  

  1. Master of Interior Architecture (MIA)

The Master of Interior Architecture (MIA) programme at UCLA is not offered directly by UCLA itself but rather as a collaborative effort between UCLA Extension and Cal Poly Pomona. This unique programme is designed for working professionals who want to pursue a career in interior design without having to quit their day job.  

Duration: 3-year

Accreditation: CIDA-accredited 

Fees: $36,433 per year (California resident), $54,479 per year (non-resident

What Things to Check for the Best Architecture Schools in the US:

You can’t just go and get admission to any institution. Please check all the information about the university, the course, and whether it is good for you or not. You can just go through the given list of questions and find the perfect one at the best architecture school in the US.

  • NAAB accreditation to become a licenced architect.
  • Does the programme align with your architectural focus and learning style?
  • School faculty
  • Location and premises
  • Tuition, fees, and living expenses.
  • Existing students' opinions about the place
  • Scholarship and grant options available or not
  • Are job placements available or not?
  • Can they open doors for your future career?

What are the Employment and Salary Opportunities for Architects in the USA?

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment for architects in the USA is projected to grow by 1% from 2019 to 2029, which is slower than the national average. 

However, advancements in Building Information Modelling (BIM) and technology are expected to enhance architects' productivity.

As of May 2020, the average annual salary for architects in the USA was $82,320. California had the highest employment opportunities for architects in 2021.

Top Job Roles of Architects in the USA and Their Salaries

Do architects get paid well in the USA? Let’s check:

Job Role

Average Annual Salary (USD)

Architectural Engineer

$47,635 to $130,167

Architectural Historian

$43,105 to $86,828

Art Director

$52,160 to $165,033

Interior Designer

$43,500 to $122,000

Landscape Architect

$40,710 to $114,354


Why the USA?

Yeah, I know, there are plenty of good universities and colleges available in India, and they are really good. But there is no competition; why not choose the US? Wondering if the USA is good for studying architecture? The USA has many ancient buildings and even good stuff to start your practical study. 

  • Good education with top QS-ranking universities
  • Diverse architectural styles
  • Opportunities for specialisation include urban architecture, historic preservation, and landscape architecture.
  • Unique combination of unique and ancient US architecture
  • Internship opportunities with global leaders

If you find yourself still confused, then you can book a counselling session for your perfect decision.


Studying architecture in the USA offers a wide range of opportunities for students interested in the field. With top-ranking universities, specialised programmes, and promising career prospects, pursuing an architecture education in the USA can be a rewarding experience.

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