Editor's Choice 2004 Value Picks for Architecture Education

November 15, 2003 · by DesignIntelligence

Rankings are based on a 100-point scale. Basic requirements are NAAB Accreditation and non-resident tuition below $19,999 per academic year.

In our experience as consultants and editors, one of the most frequent questions that we get asked at conferences and informal meetings is “where should a good student go if they cannot afford the common high tuition in architecture?” This set us on a new path to analyze colleges of architecture on the basis of value criteria. We checked with organizations such as AIAS and Archvoices, and we called schools and colleges, and they all agreed that this question was important to go along with the professional practice rankings that we have been conducting for five years. We found agreement, which put us on a path to establishing a new value criteria.

We have both unscientific feedback and data. We interviewed many students, teachers, administrators, and practitioners who are committed to improving higher education. Our conversations confirmed that a great many in the design industry are absorbing and acting on the improvement of education in architecture, design and construction. Moreover, DesignIntelligence research strongly suggests that it is possible to get a great education without attending the most expensive schools. In fact, vitality and value are alive and well, sometimes where we least expect it. It is amazing the wide diversity of programs in this list, and other schools that are making rapid progress toward the top. We’re convinced that quality education can be attained at any one of the 125 accredited programs in North America. But the following programs represent our exceptional Value Picks for 2004:

Rankings are based on a 100-point scale. Basic requirements are NAAB Accreditation and non-resident tuition below $19,999 per academic year. Of course, many schools of high repute have tuition above, sometimes well above, our arbitrary cut off level. Keep in mind that some of the most expensive schools also have generous scholarship programs. Also, in-state tuition is an attractive bargain at some of the best schools, such as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Michigan and others. Therefore, don’t limit your “frugal” analysis to only these selections.

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