America's Best Architecture & Design Schools Survey Methodology

November 5, 2009 · by DesignIntelligence

The 11th annual America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools study by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council ranks accredited undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of leading practitioners. The survey, conducted in mid-2009, tapped professional practice leaders who have had direct experience in hiring and evaluating the performance of recent architecture and design graduates.

Leading firms were queried about which college and university programs have best prepared students for professional practice. A cross section of U.S firms with disbursed geographic profiles were invited to participate.

All told, 381 professional practices were included in this research, which includes some of the largest architecture and design firms in the United States. Also responding were small- and medium-sized firms that rank among the most respected design organizations.

The professional practice study queried participants about many issues in addition to preparedness for practice, such as admired educators, how programs rate in teaching various skill sets, and sustainability education trends.

The rankings are compiled using data from surveys conducted and analyzed by Design­Intelligence with supplemental information from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the National Architectural Accreditation Board, the American Institute of Architecture Students, and design organizations in each discipline.

In addition to the best schools study, deans and chairs from 166 academic programs participated in their own separate survey.

There were also 1,978 architecture students who completed surveys about their satisfaction with design education. This is more than twice the response accumulated in last year’s architecture student survey.

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