Let’s face it: a good part of the students who enroll in architecture studies, have in their drawer, the dream of following in the footsteps of Renzo Piano or some other Archistar. A course of study in Architecture is a very fascinating prospect, mainly for one reason: architecture is a discipline that combines technical skills in physics, mathematics, and materials engineering with refinement and an aesthetic taste for beauty and elegance worthy of a faculty of cultural heritage.
To clarify which are the best universities in the world where to study architecture and design, the QS World University Rankings 2023 arrives on time again this year. Specific to 54 disciplines, the lists drawn up by the British company QS-Quacquarelli Symonds according to a methodology on academic reputation, credibility in the industry, and contribution to research also delve into the section “Architecture / Built Environment”.
At the top of the list, we find the UCL in London, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge steps down in second position this year, followed by the podium by the Delft University of Technology and UCL in London. Also defending its position within the top 10 with clenched teeth is the Politecnico di Milano, a faculty that is also in 8th position for “Art & Design” subjects. In the ups and downs, 38 architecture institutes have therefore improved their position, 49 have dropped in rank while 125 have remained unchanged compared to the ranking of the twelfth edition of 2022.
Among the most particular cases, worthy of an extra mention, is the dizzying climb toward the top of the Manchester School of Architecture, which appeared in the top five positions for the first time since 2016, while it is the University of Cambridge that slips out of the best to fall into eleventh place.
Academic Requirements for Studying Architecture
Each university has its own qualifications and requirements for incoming architecture students. They typically have a set number of spots available and they choose the top students among their applicants to fill them, so the necessities may vary from year to year. The top criteria are your high school grades and your test scores.
It also varies by country, as you’ll need certain credits and prerequisites to apply.
For example, in the UK, universities will require five GCSEs between A* to C, and those must include English, Math, and Science. You also need a set of at least three A-levels in any subject.
Key Considerations for Choosing the Best Architecture Program
As you shop around for architecture universities, there are certain top factors to consider. Each person has their own priorities, but keep these critical criteria in mind.
Type of Program There are two key types of architecture programs: a BArch (a five-year bachelor degree) and a MArch (a master’s degree you receive after an undergraduate degree in another subject). A BArch is more efficient while a MArch is better if you don’t decide on architecture until you’ve started your degree.
Cost Cost is always a critical factor in college. The top colleges cover a wide span of price ranges, so consider what you can afford and what you can finance with loans.
Class Sizes In general, smaller class sizes will give you a better education. However, everyone has their own comfort level as well.
Best Universities for Studying Architecture
There are many terrific universities around the world for studying architecture, though they all have their advantages. These are our picks for the top universities to consider.
1. UCL - 97.9
London, United Kingdom
UCL is a varied community, where one is free to challenge, argue an idea and just think differently! UCL works, through its academic impact, on having a positive impact on what are today’s real-world issues. Among the best 10 universities in QS’s 2022 rankings, it boasts an incredible 30 Nobel among its ex-students and staff members.
UCL focuses very much on research and students that decide to enroll can actually have the opportunity to work on something that can actually contribute to the field.
Domestic Students 9,250GBP/year
International Students 24,000GBP/year
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 96.2
Cambridge, United States
The scope of MIT, since its founding in 1861 is to advance science and technology in all the fields that can help towards creating a better world.
With over 1,000 professors and over 11,000 students, MIT is an independent institute with private funding, divided into 5 different schools for the different disciplines and fields of study. Innovation is at the core of MIT’s educational philosophy, their researcher the pioneers of AI, climate challenges as well as humanitarian and medical procedures.
We must credit MIT for its discoveries in the concept of the universe in expansion and the development of the radar as we implement it today. Not only science and technology but also a huge sports program, with 33 different sports teams, an average of 1 student every 5 joins a sports team. But also a vibrant arts scene with a dozen galleries and museums right on campus, the MIT Museum hosts over 100,000 visitors a year.
The MIT campus itself hosts many features designed by an arch stars such as Alvar Aalto and Frank Gehry.
3. Delft University of Technology - 93.1
Also known as TU Deft, this Dutch university is the oldest technology school in the Netherlands. With good entry rates and more reasonable tuition fees than the previous two, especially for domestic students.
Domestic Students 2,060EUR/year
International Students 10,384EUR/year
4. ETH Zurich - 93.1
The ETH in Zurich was founded in 1855 and is a very well-respected university in the field of technology, science, architecture, mathematics, and engineering. In these fields is the very best in the central Europe alpine country. Albert Einstein studied here and for its great research opportunities, it’s considered one of the best schools to study in Europe, with one of the most advanced architecture programs in the world.
You’ll learn subjects like the history of architecture, functionalism, and environmental psychology in order to understand how people interact with their surroundings.
The admission process and requirements differ according to the country of origin (there is an admission exam, although not all applicants are required to take it).
Domestic Students 1,460CHF/year
International Students 1,460CHF/year
5. Manchester School of Architecture 89.3
Manchester, United Kingdom
The Manchester School of Architecture is one of the top architecture schools in the UK and is currently one of the best in the world. The University welcomes local and international students from all over the world.
Located right in the heart of Manchester, this course of study it’s actually a joint project of two universities (Manchester University and the Manchester Metropolitan), the result is simply one of the biggest and most prestigious university schools in the country.
With this capacity and funding, the school recently went through a massive renovation project that brought in new materials and reinforced collaborations with other national and overseas universities.
Domestic Students 9,250GBP/year
International Students 24,000GBP/year
If you feel you have the skills to pursue a career in this field then there are many high-quality teaching opportunities around the world; these are simply the best of the best on the list. Much more important is your drive and determination and of course the creative sparks of your mind. If you have all that, your success in architecture will be defined by you and not by your choice of university.
Keep reading the articles on our blog for more insights on the architecture and design industry and the software you’ll learn in your architecture studies.
You can also check out our list for Architecture Universities in 2020 below, to find out what has been changed since then!