RANKINGS: NOT WORTH IT?
Most recently, we have presented essays on the process of selecting an architecture program; see below for the topics and links to the essays.
Today, we will focus on Rankings and discuss their merits; ultimately, are they worth it?
Resources for Program Research
Resource: Architecture Programs
2022 Career Days / College Fairs
RANKING OF ARCHITECTURE PROGRAMS
One potential resource not discussed in the essay on Resources for Program Research was Rankings. Many individuals and institutions will promote rankings to determine how best to select an architecture program. But we would caution you on using rankings as a major resource for selecting a program.
And we are not alone; just last month, 16 deans from architecture academic programs from across the country authored a letter providing criticism of the school rankings by DesignIntelligence. For more details read the article from Archinect and the actual letter.
16 architecture deans criticize and opt of DesignIntelligence (DI) school rankings
Dean’s Statement on DI school rankings
While rankings are a popular method of assistance in selecting an architecture program, be CAREFUL. Do you know what criteria the book or magazine article uses when ranking programs? Are the criteria used important to you?
You should use your own set of highly subjective criteria when determining which program is best for you. Consider that none of the associations involved with architectural education attempt or advocate the rating of architecture programs, beyond their term of accreditation. Qualities that make a school good for one student may not work that way for another. You should consider a variety of factors in making your choice among schools.
Although few would argue that certain programs, particularly those at the Ivy League schools, are excellent, the fact is that if a degree program is accredited by the NAAB it is valid for you to consider.
America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools
DesignIntelligence (di.net) previously published America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools, (https://www.di-rankings.com/); A few years ago, DesignIntelligence shifted from title to America’s Most Hired From and Most Admired Design Schools, recognizing that a BEST school does not exist as each student’s needs are unique and each subjectively view “best” as what’s best for them.
Over the past year DesignIntelligence designed a new, more relevant study to highlight the strengths of every design education program across the US. This new program shifts from Rankings to Ratings. Our newly created surveys will focus on program differentiators and will discourage direct comparisons of programs.
For the publication, the professional practice survey posed participants the question, “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for a future in the profession and designing a sustainable future?” Thus, if you wish to base your decision on the above question, you may wish to pay attention to these rankings, but we would argue that your own selection criteria will want to be much broader.
Best Colleges for Architecture
Another available ranking is Best Colleges for Architecture (https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-architecture/) that we found thru a simple web search. The ranking is based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni.
As stated on their website, the factors with different weights considered include the Overall NICHE Grade, Architecture Student SAT/ACT Scores, Percent Majoring in Architecture, Architecture Program Demand, Percent of U.S. Architecture Graduates, Architecture Student Surveys, and Architecture Test Scores Compared to Schools.
As with the rankings by DI, do you fully understand the factors used in these rankings. Probably not. As such, I would NOT put too much consideration into this ranking.
QS World University Rankings
Recently released, the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022 features 231 of the top higher education institutions to study architecture around the world. The Rankings are based on five indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar) and International Research Network (by broad-faculty area. For more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings, visit the following
Of the 231 schools featured in the architecture subject rankings, 40 of these universities are found in the U.S., including 11 featuring in the top 50 worldwide. For the full listing of ranked institutions, visit the following:
As already stated, pursue the rankings with some trepidation; for example, Stanford University is listed at #34 and they do not have an NAAB accredited architecture program.
Best Architecture Master (BAM) Rankings
Still another is Best Architecture Masters Rankings. As stated on their website – “Master’s Degree programs from 21 Universities around the world were selected to be part of the 2022 edition of the BAM Ranking by our Expert Committee, formed by 13 professors from some of the best-ranked Universities. This approach allows us to make an international-comparative study, that reflects the best architecture master’s programs from almost all over the world.
The 22 Master’s Degree programs were compared and evaluated through the BAM Methodology, formed by universal indicators for the evaluation of educational performance, and validated also by our Expert Committee.
The Expert Committee have had the task of developing the list of 10 educational-performance indicators and 45 sub-indicators during all the phases of the BAM Ranking 2022 study. These indicators are yearly updated to keep them aligned with contemporary issues related to the architectural academy.”
With BAM Ranking, do you have the same thought process as their 13-member Expert Committee? Also, be sure to review their 10 indicators to ensure they coincide with your indicators. If they do not, why use their rankings?
Instead of relying on rankings, rely on your own criteria to develop your own ranking. In future essays, we will discuss criteria to consider for your decision among other topics related to your process of selecting an architecture program.
Let us know your thoughts on Rankings — email@example.com