Bachelor of Environmental Design (B.Envd or B.E.D.)
A non-professional degree typically takes four years to complete (as opposed to five years for a Bachelor of Architecture) and may be part of the later completion of professional degree (A "4+2" plan comprises a 4-year BA and a 2-year Master of Architecture). The 5-year BArch and 6-year MArch are regarded as virtual equals in the registration and accreditation processes. There are also M.Arch programs for those with undergraduate degrees in areas outside architecture; these program typically take six or seven semester (3 or 3.5 years) to complete.
Other programs (such as those offered at Drexel University, Boston Architectural College and NewSchool of Architecture and Design) combine the required educational courses with the work component necessary to sit for the professional licensing exams. Programs such as this often afford students the ability to immediately test for licensure upon graduation, as opposed to having to put in several years working in the field after graduation before being able to get licensed, as is common in more traditional programs.
Some architecture schools, such as Florida International University, offer the Master of Architecture degree in an accelerated five-year or six-year format without the need of a bachelor's degree. There is currently an ongoing debate to upgrade the 3.5 year M.Arch title to D.Arch both for current students and retroactively for 3.5 year M.Arch graduates.
Each year, the journal DesignIntelligence ranks both undergraduate and graduate architecture programs that are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. These rankings, collectively called "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools" are obtained by surveying hundreds of practicing architecture leaders with direct and recent experience hiring and supervising architects. They are asked what programs they consider to be best preparing students for professional success overall. They are also asked to cite the programs they consider to be the best in educating and training for specific skills. These skills rankings are also published in "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools."
Founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) represents all accredited programs and their faculty across the United States and Canada, as well as nonaccredited and international affiliate members around the world. The ACSA collects detailed information from these schools for its "Guide to Architecture Schools," which exists both as a book and as a free online searchable database at archschools.org. These publications are the only complete directories of all accredited professional architecture programs in North America and are used as a reference for prospective students, graduate students, educators, administrators, counselors, and practitioners. The ACSA Guide to Architecture Schools features detailed program descriptions, an index of specialized and related degree programs, an overview of the profession of architecture and the education process, advice on how to select the right school, and scholarship and financial aid information.
In addition, "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools" each year presents Architect Registration Examination pass rates by school, a historical review of top architecture schools, how current architecture students rank their schools, and a directory of accredited programs.
The following schools are top 10 graduate schools, in order, according to "America's Best Architecture & Design Schools 2014": Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University tied with Rice University, University of Michigan, Kansas State University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Texas at Austin.
List of architecture schools in the United States