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11 Best Colleges to Study Architecture

Written by:
Nicole Hardy

Studying architecture is a profound decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. One crucial aspect is choosing the right college, as it significantly influences the quality of education and the overall experience. In this article, we will delve into the 11 best colleges globally that stand out for their exceptional architecture programs. You might also want to check out affordable online colleges if moving to another country or even continent isn’t an option.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – USA

MIT consistently ranks as one of the top institutions for architecture. The School of Architecture and Planning at MIT offers cutting-edge programs that blend technology, design, and research. Students benefit from state-of-the-art facilities and a faculty renowned for groundbreaking contributions to the field. The emphasis on collaborative learning and real-world applications sets MIT apart, providing students with a holistic education that prepares them for the challenges of modern architecture practice.

ETH Zurich – Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, known as ETH Zurich, boasts an international reputation for excellence in architecture. The program emphasizes a holistic approach, incorporating theoretical and practical elements. With its picturesque campus and a strong emphasis on sustainability, ETH Zurich provides a unique and enriching educational experience. Students at ETH Zurich have the opportunity to engage in global research collaborations and gain exposure to a diverse range of architectural styles and methodologies.

Harvard University – USA

Harvard's Graduate School of Design is a pioneer in architectural education. Renowned for its interdisciplinary approach, Harvard encourages students to explore the intersections of architecture with other fields. The design studios, renowned faculty, and extensive resources contribute to Harvard's status as a top choice for aspiring architects. The program at Harvard not only focuses on the technical aspects of architecture but also places a strong emphasis on the cultural, social, and historical context, fostering well-rounded professionals.

Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) – UK

Situated in the heart of London, the AA School of Architecture is known for its avant-garde approach to architectural education. The school promotes experimental and innovative design thinking, attracting students with a passion for pushing boundaries and challenging traditional norms in architecture. The unique atmosphere at AA encourages students to explore their creativity freely, fostering a culture of bold experimentation and pushing the boundaries of conventional architectural design.

Delft University of Technology – Netherlands

The Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Delft University of Technology offers a diverse and inclusive environment for aspiring architects. With a focus on research-driven design, the program encourages students to tackle real-world challenges and envision sustainable solutions. The strong emphasis on collaboration and hands-on experience sets Delft apart. Additionally, Delft University's strategic location in the Netherlands provides students with exposure to innovative European architectural practices and a deep understanding of historical influences on modern design.

University of California, Berkeley – USA

UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design is a hub for aspiring architects seeking a dynamic and progressive education. The program combines design studios with a focus on social and environmental responsibility, fostering a community of architects committed to making a positive impact on the world. Berkeley's proximity to Silicon Valley also provides students with unique opportunities to explore the intersection of architecture and technology, preparing them for the evolving landscape of the profession.

Polytechnic University of Milan – Italy

Italy's Politecnico di Milano, or Polytechnic University of Milan, is renowned for its architecture programs. With a rich history and a commitment to blending tradition with innovation, the university offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of architecture, from historical preservation to cutting-edge design. Students at the Polytechnic University of Milan benefit from the rich architectural heritage of Italy, gaining inspiration from historical structures while exploring the latest advancements in contemporary design.

University of Tokyo – Japan

The University of Tokyo's Faculty of Engineering stands out as a leading institution for architecture education in Asia. The program combines Japanese architectural traditions with a global perspective, preparing students for the challenges of the rapidly evolving architectural landscape. The University of Tokyo's strong connections with architectural firms and research institutions provide students with valuable opportunities for internships, research projects, and exposure to diverse perspectives within the field.

Columbia University – USA

Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) is celebrated for its diverse faculty and curriculum that encourages critical thinking. Located in the vibrant city of New York, GSAPP provides students with unique opportunities to engage with the city's rich architectural heritage and contemporary design challenges. The program's emphasis on urban planning and preservation equips students with a comprehensive understanding of the built environment, preparing them to address the complex issues facing cities worldwide.

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) – Switzerland

EPFL's School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering offers a multidisciplinary approach to architectural education. With a focus on technology and sustainability, the program equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to address the complex challenges facing the built environment. EPFL's commitment to research and innovation ensures that students are at the forefront of emerging trends in architecture, allowing them to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of the field.

National University of Singapore (NUS) – Singapore

NUS School of Design and Environment is a prominent institution in Asia, known for its forward-thinking approach to architecture education. The program emphasizes sustainability and urban design, reflecting the growing importance of these aspects in the contemporary architectural discourse. NUS's strategic location in Singapore provides students with exposure to diverse architectural influences, from traditional Asian designs to cutting-edge sustainable practices.


Choosing the right college for studying architecture is a crucial step in shaping one's career and contributing to the evolving field. The institutions mentioned above represent the pinnacle of architectural education, offering diverse perspectives, innovative approaches, and a commitment to shaping the future of the built environment. Aspiring architects should carefully consider their goals, preferences, and the unique strengths of each institution before embarking on this exciting educational journey. The global perspective gained from these top-notch institutions ensures that graduates are well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the ever-evolving field of architecture.

By Liliana Alvarez

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