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Which are the world’s 10 best universities to become a great architect?

According to the World University Rankings, the best architecture schools are in the US, Europe, and Asia

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Which are the best universities in the world for architecture? According to the World University Rankings drafted by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) — a private institute that every year draws up one of the most trusted international classifications of higher education institutions — the best schools for architecture in the world in 2017 are located in the US, Europe, and Asia.

In the last spot of the top ten, we find the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the city’s oldest university. The Department of Architecture offers its students a multidisciplinary curriculum covering technology, history, culture, and green design, training future planners for professional experiences at home and abroad.

Ninth in the ranking is the National University of Singapore (NUS), the country’s largest university in terms of courses and enrolled students. The Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment offers various subspecialties in the main areas of architecture, landscape, design, and urban planning. Four-year PhD programmes are also available to study specific fields in more depth. 



In the eighth spot, we find the renowned University of Cambridge, UK’s second oldest university — after Oxford — and fourth in Europe. The Department of Architecture was established only in 1912, much later than other such departments in continental Europe and the US, but it is regarded as one of the most advanced in terms of the research being conducted there.

One spot above is Harvard University, the oldest university in the US, named after its patron, John Harvard. The architecture curriculum includes design laboratories, theory, visual arts, technology, and professional practice.

In sixth place is Sir Norman Foster’s alma mater, Manchester School of Architecture, which offers all three possible degrees in architecture. A bachelor’s degree (BA Hons), which allows access to the first examination to join the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA); a Master’s programme (M.Arch), through which one can take the second RIBA examination, and, finally, a series of additional Master’s and PhD programmes.



Halfway in the top ten is ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), whose Department of Architecture was established in 1854. It offers to about 1900 students the chance to train in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design.

In the fourth spot is the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). The architecture curriculum covers all the fields of theoretical and practical design: history of architecture and urbanism, building science, sustainability, structures and construction, social and cultural processes, urban design, environmental design in developing countries, digital design of virtual environments, and visual arts.



Silver medallist is the Bartlett School of Architecture | UCL (University College London), the first architecture school to be established in the United Kingdom, where Frank Gehry was a professors. UCL is engaged in research in the field of the built environment, and it is known as the institution where the space syntax theory was developed.

For the third year running, the top spot of the podium belongs to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the US. Deemed the global leader in all fields of design, it has trained a number of world-famous architects. Among its most renowned professors are Kenzo Tange and Alvar Aalto, who designed also MIT students’ dormitories.

What about Italian universities? Our higher education institutions fared very well in the ranking. The Politecnico di Milano and the Politecnico di Torino are in the top 50 best universities of architecture in the world.


by Mariateresa Campolongo / 20 March 2017


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