U.Va. Architecture School Programs Ranked in Top Three Among Public Universities

November 12, 2014

The University of Virginia School of Architecture’s Master of Architecture and Master of Landscape Architecture programs both rank among the top three graduate degree programs offered by public institutions, according to the just-released 2015 Design Intelligence rankings of “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools.” Both programs also rank in the top 10 overall, including both public and private universities.

The undergraduate architecture program is a bachelor of science, non-professional program and is not eligible for ranking, and the school does not offer an undergraduate landscape architecture degree program.

The Design Intelligence rankings are issued by the Design Futures Council, a global network of design community professionals founded in 1995.

The council annually ranks the top 20 American undergraduate and graduate architecture programs and assesses key skills in several areas. The survey covers architecture, landscape architecture, interior design and industrial design programs, and queries CEOs, managing partners and human resources directors to determine the preparedness of the graduates entering their practices.

According to the report, participants were asked: “In your firm’s hiring experi­ence in the past five years, which of the following schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?”

When James P. Cramer, co-chair of the Design Futures Council and editor of Design Intelligence, was asked by Architectural Record about this year’s survey, and specifically the biggest changes in the rankings, he noted, “The University of Virginia climbed from number 18 to 9 in the (architecture) graduate school rankings. The school has put an increasing emphasis on communicating with the profession.” He also added that, “The U.Va. students themselves report a high satisfaction … (with) an impressive 98 percent (ranking the school) as excellent or above average” in preparing them for the profession.

“It is heartening when our students’ excellent work, evident in their portfolios and capabilities in practice, is recognized by our professional and academic peers,” said Elizabeth K. Meyer, dean of the School of Architecture and Merrill D. Petersen Professor of Landscape Architecture. “Our new faculty colleagues – about 40 percent of our staff – under the outstanding, visionary leadership of department chairs Iñaki Alday and Teresa Galí-Izard, are adding new dimensions, as well as reinforcing enduring strengths, in our curriculum. The alchemy of new and old is indeed transforming U.Va.’s A-School. The effects are palpable in the studios, on the walls of Campbell Hall and in the classroom.”

Graduate Architecture

U.Va.’s graduate architecture program ranked second among public Master of Architecture programs and ninth overall. U.Va. is also the No. 2 program among both public and private universities in the South, and it is the program to have shown the most improvement overall in this year’s rankings. It is also one of only eight university programs to appear in the top 20 overall every year since Design Intelligence began ranking graduate programs in 2004.

Graduate Landscape Architecture

The graduate landscape architecture program is ranked third in master’s programs at public universities and sixth overall, trailing only Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, the University of California, Berkley and Louisiana State University. It ranks second among schools in the South.

In a survey of deans and administrators, U.Va.’s program ranked fifth overall, cited for “its national reputation and the caliber of its students and faculty.” In a skills assessment from practitioners, the Master of Landscape Architecture program is ranked fifth for design skills education.

The program has remained in the top six of public programs and top 15 overall since 2005. It is one of only four public programs and of seven total programs to do so.

Rankings by Students

Students also rated the programs. A survey of U.Va. architecture graduate students showed that 100 percent said they “believe they will be well-prepared for their profession upon graduation,” and 98 percent said the quality of the program overall was excellent or above average.

Graduate landscape architecture students unanimously graded the program excellent or above average, and that same 100 percent believed they would be well-prepared for the profession upon graduation.

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