I admit to having biased views on the subject, beyond the annual DI customer satisfaction survey. Somewhat reluctantly, I share them with you this month. Undoubtedly, there will be dissent.

This portion of the 2003 rankings was published in the November 2002 issue of DesignIntelligence. New rankings can be found in our Current Architecture School Rankings issue.

Intelligent people can easily disagree on what the best schools of architecture are. Frankly, I have never believed that school rankings should be tabulated like football rankings on the sports pages. Yet our readers have encouraged our independent analysis and research to report candidly on the subject.

I admit to having biased views on the subject, beyond the annual DI customer satisfaction survey. Somewhat reluctantly, I share them with you this month. Undoubtedly, there will be dissent.

Here are the six categories I used to weight the rankings:

  • Practice Survey Rank over the past four years. If a school has made the top 15 list four years in a row we give them 95 points, three top fifteen listings, 92 points and so on. I gave a half point credit to schools that have integrated interior design or industrial design successfully with architecture.

  • Selectivity of the schools is based on school reports, web sites, and ACSA reports. The most highly selective schools are given 95 points.

  • Accredited standing is based on NAAB reports. We have given this category a weight of 90 points across all schools that are accredited.

  • Learning environment for the students is based on site visits with 95 points given for the top ranking. The campus, the community at large, the maintenance of facilities, and integrated design opportunities were all factored in with a top possible score of 95 points. Schools not yet visited have not been included in the rankings.

  • Technology and library resources for students (based on interviews and reports from schools: 95 points possible)

  • Repute of the leadership and faculty including statistical analysis of the Topaz Medal and the ACSA Educator of the Year awards. We also interviewed practitioners toward finding out more about the deans who are building rapport between practice and education. These deans are helping schools to be more intelligent in the areas of strategic vision, heart, integrated design curriculums, knowledge deployment and transformational energy. The top score possible in category six is 95 points. The results follow:

More on Methodology: The highest point score in any category is 95. In category one, seven schools have been in the DesignIntelligence firm survey’s top 15 list for four years in a row. These schools were given 95 points. Other schools were ranked according to the number of times they have made the list and how high they ranked. For those schools not on the DesignIntelligence top 15 lists, we considered the top 50 over the four-year time spread. On selectivity we gave a 95-point rating to schools that select 10 percent or fewer of applicants and adjusted the points for other levels of selectivity. Regarding accreditation, we used the most recent NAAB accreditation reports. The editors’ own on-site visits determined the learning environment rankings. The Counsel House Research staff gave a judgmental 95-point rating based on research technology and library resources. The Loeb Library at Harvard and the Avery Library at Columbia received top 95 scores with descending points given to other schools based on statistics and experience. Practitioners were interviewed on “which university deans and department chairs have the best rapport” with leading firm practitioners. The editors want all readers to know that we believe that we have a biased point of view and there likely will be new knowledge, which will significantly affect our ratings next year. We also acknowledge that over the past 30 years, editors have had had or currently have relationships including teaching, lecturing, research, advisory boards, commencement speeches, degrees, and other closely-held, non-arms length relationships with the following schools: Virginia, Harvard, Yale, Hawaii, Minnesota, Nebraska, Idaho, Auburn, Clemson, University of California Berkeley, MIT, Cal Poly SLO, and Georgia Tech.

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