The eighth annual America’s Best Architecture Schools study ranks accredited undergraduate and graduate architecture programs from the perspective of practitioners.

The eighth annual America’s Best Architecture Schools study ranks accredited undergraduate and graduate architecture programs from the perspective of practitioners. The survey, conducted in mid-2006, tapped architecture firm leaders who, during the past five years, have had direct experience in the hiring and performance of recent architecture graduates. Respondents were queried about which accredited programs have best prepared students for today’s real-world practice. A cross-section of US firms with a disbursed geographic profile participated, including firms that are leaders in their market sector (i.e., healthcare, commercial, institutional) and that have won major national, state, local, and market-sector awards.

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) is the sole accrediting body for US professional degree programs in architecture. These programs include the bachelor of architecture (BArch) and master of architecture (MArch) degrees, as well as the doctor of architecture (DArch) degree. Schools may also offer pre-professional degrees, such as a BA or BS in architecture, or post-professional programs in specialized areas at the master’s or doctorate level. However, only the three professional degree programs, BArch, MArch, and DArch, are accredited by NAAB. Students should be aware that the requirements for becoming a licensed architect vary in each state; many states require that applicants have an accredited architecture degree.

Recently, a number of architecture schools have been phasing out the BArch degree in favor of an MArch. In such cases where a BArch program is no longer open to new students but existing BArch students have yet to graduate, the BArch program was still included in the undergraduate study. However, the degree matrix on pages 42 – 49 does not list the transitional BArch programs that are no longer accepting new students.

The 2007 study queried participants about many other issues as well, such as what educators they admire, how programs rate in various skill sets, and sustainability, the results of which can be found on subsequent pages in this year’s architecture schools issue.