Rankings Rate Architecture School’s Grad Programs Among Nation’s Best

Cambell Hall is home to the University of Virginia's School of Architecture.

The University of Virginia School of Architecture’s graduate programs in architecture and landscape architecture rose in this year’s DesignIntelligence rankings of “Most Admired Schools” – with architecture moving up to No. 11 (from No. 18 last year) and landscape architecture jumping up from No. 7 last year to No. 5 for 2019-20.

In addition, the graduate programs earned accolades for launching students into the workforce. Both UVA’s architecture and landscape architecture programs were ranked No. 2 this year (from No. 13 last year for architecture) among peer schools with a similar number of graduates for “Most Hired-From Architecture Schools” and “Most Hired-From Landscape Architecture Schools” – behind No. 1 Yale University (architecture) and No. 1 Louisiana State University (landscape architecture), respectively.

Despite identifying as a small program in comparison to other peers, UVA’s landscape architecture program also ranked especially high in specific focus areas: design theory and practice (No. 3), research (No. 3), interdisciplinary studies (No. 4) and sustainable built environments/adaptive design/resilient design (No. 4).

In addition to the graduate program rankings, each year, DesignIntelligence honors excellence in architecture and design education, and education administration, by naming outstanding professionals from these fields. “The Most Admired Educators” are selected by DesignIntelligence staff with input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads and deans, and students.

Two professors, landscape architecture professor Elizabeth Meyer and architecture professor Peter Waldman, were among those honored.

Waldman was described as, “... [a truly] inspiring, great man. He is an adviser, teacher and friend.” Meyer was selected for her “commitment to academic rigor, devotion to theory, history of practical application ... [and for being a] great teacher.”

“The School of Architecture has always been committed to excellence and to truly making design that matters, that makes a difference in the world,” Dean Ila Berman said. “Our professional graduate programs in architecture and landscape architecture are among the very best in the nation. This year, we’re also particularly pleased to have two of our faculty, Peter Waldman and Beth Meyer, honored and recognized among the list of most admired educators in our fields.”

DesignIntelligence’s annual rankings, reported by Architectural Record, are based on survey responses from current students, alumni and hundreds of leaders at architecture and design firms who have had direct experience hiring and judging the performance of recent graduates in architecture, landscape architecture and interior design.

Participants are asked which schools they most admire for a combination of faculty, programs, culture and student preparation.

The surveys also compile more nuanced rankings based on focus areas and career preparation. For the “Most Hired-From Architecture Schools” and “Most Hired-From Landscape Architecture Schools” rankings, schools were grouped into size categories based on the average number of graduates in their programs.

Felipe Correa, Vincent and Eleanor Shea Professor and chair of the Department of Architecture, attributed the success to the program’s focus on addressing major 21st-century issues through design.

“The most recent DesignIntelligence rankings reflect the commitment of the department and the alumni of the M.Arch program to how and why thoughtful design is integral in addressing the most pressing issues of the 21st century and improving quality of life in the built environment,” Correa said.

Bradley Cantrell, professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, said the department was, “happy to be recognized for the longstanding commitment to excellence displayed by our students and faculty that allow us to rank so highly, even as a relatively small program compared to our peers.”

“As a department our gains in the rankings show our competence in many core areas and the relevance of our recent graduates in the job market,” he said, also noting Meyer’s “outstanding” contributions. “Thank you to all of our faculty, students, and alumni who helped us achieve this significant recognition.”

Berman added, “Both the rankings and the specific recognition of our dedicated and distinguished faculty are a positive reflection of UVA School of Architecture’s excellence among our peer schools across the nation, and a testament to our talented students, committed faculty and exemplary graduates.”