The best architecture schools will stretch your artistic skills and test how far your aptitude can influence the built environment.
From iconic towers to smaller buildings, architecture is a beautiful part of our history and civilization. As an architect, you have a rare opportunity to leave a long-lasting legacy. You can bring to reality an idea that outlives you. Sometimes surviving so many decades.
The profession is truly a fascinating one. You will enjoy the ride if you have good analytical and artistic skills and choose the best schools that will stretch your creativity and spatial aptitude.
Interestingly Europe is a choice place of study. The continent has made one of the best architectural strides in the world. Its academic institutions are also reputable in terms of research and faculty.
In this article, we will help you explore the best colleges for architecture programs in Europe. The schools in this list are ARB and RIBA certified. In other words, if you earn your undergraduate degree in any of these schools, you will skip some parts of your professional examinations.
There is no distinction in this list between undergraduate or post-graduate programs offered in these schools. Our selection is based on research strides, academic reputation, and world ranking.
What is architecture?
Now, for a second imagine a world without buildings? Can you still see your home, neighborhood, and city?
Architecture makes a huge difference between a non-existent structure, an ordinary house, and a sacred cathedral. As a result, it serves both functional and aesthetic values.
Whether we see it as an art, process, technique, or final product, it seeks to create an appealing product while embracing the precision of science.
Architecture is a very diverse concept. Indeed, few fields of study uniquely combine the arts and science as architecture does.
Simply put, architecture is the art, process, and technique of planning, designing, and building physical structures.
Its purpose is to improve human life by creating joyous spaces for all activities of life. This is achieved through satisfying two values – physical appeal and function.
Why Study Architecture in Europe?
Top architecture schools in Europe offer quality programs, hands-on experience, modern facilities, and unique perspectives on architecture trends. In addition to this, most of the programs are versatile. They consider future career opportunities in their course options.
So whether you are drawn to ancient styles or modern principles, you will certainly find a school out of 4000 higher institutions that meet your academic needs.
Architecture Job Description
Architects use their technical and creative skills to design structures that meet the needs of their clients. It could be individual buildings or large-scale redevelopment schemes. It could even extend to the design of surrounding landscapes and spaces. Not only that, the reconstruction of old spaces and buildings is still part of the job.
As professionals, their role is to ensure that such structures are functional, safe, economical, and meet the requirements of the users. Architects start the design process of a project at the planning stage of development. Firstly, they get in talks with the clients regarding project requirements and specific needs. At this point, several factors come into play. Factors like environment, culture, and history can have a significant impact on the design plan.
Secondly, the architect would consider the type of building materials that fit the client’s needs and budget. When creating designs, architects can make use of advanced computer programs. These include 3D software programs—BIM (Building Information Management) and AutoCAD (computer-aided design)—as well as cloud-based technologies.
In the course of the project, the architect will consult with the client and other key players. He tries to ensure that heating, ventilation, air conditioning, as well as structural components are properly infused into the designed structures.
The Roles of Architects
In essence, the roles of architects include the following:
- Developing building concepts and designs.
- Preparing drawings and specifications.
- Designing commercial and industrial building projects
- resolving issues that arise during construction
- ensuring management of the environmental impact of the project.
- Consulting with clients to determine their building needs
- Coordinating major changes and alterations to existing structures and sites
- Organizing and managing permit documents and working with subcontractors.
- Resolving complex design issues with innovative solutions
- Giving technical advice on the restoration and conservation of old properties.
- Liaising with other contractors, engineers, and surveyors on building and control.
- Ensuring that the project goes as planned within the agreed period and budget
15 Best Architecture Schools in Europe
This article will walk you through the top architecture schools in Europe. In these schools, you will have the chance to choose top architecture programs all the way to your Ph.D.:
- Architectural Association of Architecture
- The University of Oxford, The UK
- University of Cambridge, The UK
- University College London (UCL), The UK
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, The Netherlands
- The Delft University of Technolgy, The Netherlands
- Manchester School of Architecture
- Politecnico di Milano
- University of Huddersfield, England
- Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
- Roma Tre University, Rome
- Universidade do Porto, Portugal
- Politecnico di Torino
- Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
- University of Sheffield
1. Architectural Association School of Architecture
On architecture schools ranking, AA is amongst the top schools for architecture. It is the oldest independent architectural school in Europe. AA has earned a central position for its broad programs, symposia, conferences, exhibitions, and lectures. Moreover, its respectable publication which is largely influenced by the school’s activities has a great impact on contemporary architecture in Europe and the world at large.
AA offers a one-year foundational program, a five-year ARB/RIBA recognized course in Architecture, and postgraduate research programs.
Apart from its unique operations and several arms under the Institute, which include charity, publications, and many more, the AA offers scholarships and bursaries irrespective of age or nationality. In fact, a large percentage of the student body comes from abroad and funding is awarded to students who show exceptional promise or need assistance.
AA has a wide range of exchange programs that will broaden the scope of your imagination. In addition to this, it has a network of architecture firms that will give you internship opportunities and an increased likelihood of jobs.
You should waste no time in checking out this school which is located in Bedford Square.
2. University of Oxford
The School of Architecture at Oxford is an active community. It is a highly prestigious school in The Uk and globally. If you meet all the requirements to become a student, then count yourself many steps ahead of your contemporaries in the field of architecture.
This school will encourage you to develop your own unique style. Moreover, The faculty members in Oxford are leading world-class research on social and environmental issues affecting architecture.
The courses are accredited by RIBA and ARB. The part 1 and 2 courses are also accredited by LAM ( Malaysian Board of Architects). You will also partake in regular exhibitions and live projects. The University of Oxford has modern and traditional facilities available without additional charge. the school espouses the tenet of sustainability in design.
No matter the level of your academic vision, this school will equip you to become a leader in the field. Academic programs are available from the undergraduate level up to the Doctorate degree.
3. University of Cambridge, the UK
The Department of Architecture at Cambridge has been lauded as one of the best schools for architecture. It is ARB and RIBA certified. This means that you will skip part one of the architectural exams procedure. The school has an innovative design program that is well-balanced. To be at par with this program, you must come with a good dose of creativity and curiosity.
The University of Cambridge has a small class size. This is very intentional as this school seeks to focus exclusively on each student. As a matter of fact, if you gain admission into Cambridge, you will have your own workshop.
The BA (Hons) is a full 3-year course that aims to foster the skills necessary for practice throughout your future career. It also offers 11 Master’s degree programs with a wide range of options.
Admission into the University is not a walk in the park. You will be required to submit a portfolio, take a drawing test, submit an essay and go through a panel interview. But getting into Cambridge translates to having a leg up in your career. So, if you have excellent maths and arts grades, applying to Cambridge is a great idea.
4. University College London (UCL), the UK
The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL is a renowned architecture school. It has a long-standing culture of innovation, research, and world-class study methods.
This college has been rated as the 2nd best department in the world for Architecture. Its Barlett Manufacturing and Design Exchange (B-MADE) facility is a leader in the field. Not only that, some of the design teachings involve one on one tutorials with frequent review sessions.
Aside from the academic side at UCL, the full 3-year course acts as a vocational preparation by introducing students to the wider forces which affect the practice of architecture.
There are four undergraduate and 14 postgraduate programs in this department. In addition to this, this school uses the latest tech tools like day and night emulators and 3-D printers. All these allow students to visualize projects in real life.
Little wonder this is one of the top architecture schools, the largest companies have their offices here and there’s an exhibition that hosts thousands of visitors every summer, and every student is expected to be actively involved. So if you are up for a challenge and the accompanying rewards, add this school to your list.
5. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
What’s a list of best architecture schools without the Swiss Federal Institute? This school presents a great option to study architecture using modern techniques.
But the application to this school is usually massive. It admits 1,060 students on average yearly. This number can be intimidating for those who might prefer a smaller class, but it allows for valuable interactions throughout the school years. Moreover, it has a variety of undergraduate and rigorous master’s programs.
ETH Zurich is a prestigious school known worldwide for its long-standing high quality. The architecture faculty is large with 2,000 students annually. Also, ETH Zurich has one of the finest STEM institutions in the world. It adheres to the two-tiered Bologna Process. As a result, you can complete your undergraduate and Master’s degrees consecutively.
The main focus is on theoretical study rather than application and there are a wide variety of courses at any level of your degree pursuit.
Some of its specializations are:
- Technologies in architecture
- Conservation of architectural heritage
- Architecture: theory and history
- Urban environment;
- Landscape design.
The school collaborates with other schools like Harvard and Delft University. These alliances with prestigious schools will give you an edge in learning. Meanwhile, its admission requirement varies depending on your home country.
Interestingly, the school has well-renowned alumni and Noble Field Laureates, the most famous being Albert Einstein.
6. The Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
This list is incomplete without Delft University. It is in the league of reputable associations of Science and technical Universities in Europe. What makes it a top choice is its faculty and highly acclaimed programs. It receives about 450 students yearly in both its undergraduate and graduate levels
The University’s main focus is on architectural design and this forms a basic part of all academic research in this field. This also means that urbanism is given much attention. The prestigious urban condition of the Netherlands and its focus on urban planning would have a lot to do with this.
But this doesn’t take away the fine combination of humanities and science that this faculty blends so nicely.
You just have to carry along your diploma or its equivalent, be proficient in English and Dutch, and have the resilience for learning.
7. Manchester School of Architecture
This college is well known for its strides in the field of architecture. Being a merger of two schools, it fosters the synergy of creativity and design. Consequently, what you have is one of the most prestigious architecture colleges in England. QS ranking places this school as No7 in the world for architecture school rankings.
Its wide range of options includes urban, conservation of historic sites, environmental and landscape design, history, and urban planning. Its research endeavor borrows from the works of famous English architects and specialists.
Part of the admissions requirement is the submission of a portfolio to demonstrate creative aptitude. Manchester School of Architecture is RB and RIBA certified. It offers a strong collaboration, many field trips, and a world-class studio.
In addition to submitting a portfolio, you will be required to submit a short statement about your interest in architecture
Italian Architecture has earned a respectable place in the world. And Politecnico di Milano with its strong research background is one of Europe’s most renowned engineering schools.
8.Politecnico di Milano
The 3 – years bachelor’s program offers workshops and a variety of study trips. If you’re going for a Master’s degree, there are several options for you. You may choose general architecture, construction, architectural design history, or urban design.
The employability ranking is also high with an extensive alumni network of over 45000 members. Several opportunities exist for conferences and exhibitions. It also offers external internships in the final year
Its architecture school is relatively affordable, and good in quality being actively funded by the European Union. It also has a good international appeal having the BSc in Architectural Design taught entirely in Italian and English.
9. University of Huddersfield, England
Huddersfield is a center for creative excellence. Students are accepted from different backgrounds. Acceptance into this university requires passing through the interview stage and submitting your portfolio.
This is expected to contain about 10-15 items of your work. Huddersfield’s degree is validated by RIBA and students will receive an exemption from parts 1-3 of the professional exams. Graduating from this school will also earn you the Global Professional Award. This award is accredited by the chartered management institute. That is to say, you will automatically earn the skills admired worldwide by most employers.
In short, if you’re searching for an innovative institution, Huddersfield University answers your question. This school will prepare you to take in new perspectives and fresh ideas. With trips to different regions, diverse possibilities will become open to you.
10. Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
Chalmers University provides great scholarship options in addition to quality architectural programs. In architecture university rankings, it performs impressively. Some of the facilities are A-studio, CAD-lab, Robot lab, Center for healthcare architecture, center for housing, Architecture Library, and others. Studies here are theoretical and well as practical.
If you’re interested in sustainable development, urban design, building project management, building engineering, and technology, then you should check out this school.
11. Roma Tre University
Roma Tre University is located in Rome. It seeks to harness the past and present in unique architectural strides and research.
Consequently, it focuses on three key areas which are urbanism, architectural design, and restoration. This can be seen in its effort to harmonize the history of the city with current architecture. It also forms the bulk of its Masters’s program.
Each year about 230 students are admitted into its faculty after fulfilling the requirements. In case you see a future in Roma Tre University, a High School Diploma or an equivalent with fluency in the Italian language is all you need. Its vast network will afford you the opportunity for exchange programs, jobs, and internships.
12. Universidade do Porto
This school is located in the city of Porto, Portugal. Its programs provide students with a wide range of different architectural programs.
It offers a full five-year academic program that leads to a Masters’s thesis. University do Porto adopts a unique style of teaching which in turn produces versatile architects. With participation in the Long-life Learning Program, you will be enriched with valuable skills. This school also has alliances with other countries such as Brazil, Chile, Australia, and Mozambique.
From freehand drawing and traditional methods to software programming during the third year, you can be assured of one thing: value.
The competition for admission is high but the requirement is quite friendly. If you like practical and hands-on learning which also means exploring the city architecture, we suggest you look at this one closely.
13. Politecnico di Torino
The Politecnico di Torino School requires no introduction. It has earned its position amongst the best schools for Architecture and rightly so. This school uses a learning framework that bridges the gap between context and design. In doing this you will gain useful insight to become a valuable architect of the future.
It admits about 630 students yearly and challenges them to focus on their interests while maintaining the overall view of architecture. It has great exchange programs and promotes student interactions and teamwork. The BSc program is a full 3 academic years which is fully recognized.
14. Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts is a popular one amongst architecture enthusiasts and for good reasons. It offers great and modern options at different academic levels. The admission rate is also favorable. The school’s network of architecture firms provides a valuable tool for hands-on training in this field.
If the combination of architecture and other art inspires you and you are not one to shy from adventure, then we recommend this school.
15. University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield offers many great dual programs at the undergraduate level. It has a great facility and encourages the studio culture. Furthermore, students are exposed to field trips and a great collection of academic resources. You can pursue your passion up to the highest level of academic attainment which is the doctorate degree.
Professional Requirements for Architects
To become an architect, there are three common requirements:
- A university degree or advanced education
- Internship or training
- Registration with a jurisdiction
Architecture Masters Programme
- Master in Architecture and Urban Design
- Architectural Design MA
- Building Engineering – Architecture: Architectural Engineering
- MSc in Architecture – Building Architecture
- MSc in Architecture and Urban Design
- Master in architecture Curriculum: architectural Design
- MSc in Building and Architectural Engineering
- Master in Architectural Lighting Design
Undergraduate Architecture Programs in Europe
- Bachelors in Architecture And Construction
- BSc in Architectural Design
- Building Construction Engineering
- BSc in Architecture
- Interior Architecture and Design
Top Undergraduate Schools in Europe
- University of Oxford
- Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
- Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
- Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden
- Catholic University of Leuven
- Federal University of Technology, Lausanne
Best Graduate Architecture Schools in Europe
- University College London
- Vienna University of Technology, Austria
- Sapienza University of Rome
- Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
- University of Bologna, Italy.
Architecture Masters Programs ranking in Europe
Using the latest international ranking, here are the top 10 universities for a master’s degree in architecture:
- University of Cambridge, the UK
- University College London (UCL), The UK
- The University of Edinburgh, the UK
- Leiden University, The Netherlands
- KU Leuven, Belgium
- The Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
- Lancaster University, the Uk
- ETH Zurich, Switzerland
- The University Of Manchester, the Uk
- The University of Glasgow, the UK
Architecture Salary in Europe
Employment in Architecture depends largely on the building and construction industry. This industry can also be said to depend on the economic tides. Therefore architects have a surge in jobs when the economy is booming and vice versa. However, the salary paid to architects also varies depending on location, rank, and experience. Other costs like tax, insurance, and legal costs have an impact on salaries.
Good enough most European countries enjoy decent growth in their economy. For instance, architects in Switzerland earn about $78000. Those in Japan, the UK, and Norway earn $57000, $60000, and $72000 respectively. Take a look at salaryexpert.com to view architecture salary by country.
Architecture Job Prospects in Europe
The job outlook for architects is favorable in countries that enjoy stable economies. Also, it is influenced by the architecture school you attend. Additionally, you will enjoy continued job progression if you gain chartered membership in RIBA. A fellow status will be awarded if you show excellent performance in your practice.
Larger private firms also offer opportunities for growth. And depending on the responsibilities of the public sector, your career outlook will be impacted.
Nearly half of architecture graduates work as architectural and drawing technicians one year after graduation, the rest become chartered architectural technicians and planning officers.
Overall, if you engage in growing your portfolio in the architecture practice, you will enjoy a rewarding career.
Here are the career options after graduation and a Master’s degree
- Landscape architect
- Structural engineer
- Building contractor and researcher
- Architectural historian
- Land developer
- Architectural engineer
- Highway engineer
To sum it up, architecture does not only address building and design issues. In recent times, it seeks answers to the current cultural and environmental challenges. To gain an edge in the job market and a have fulfilling career, you should aim to attend one of the best architectural schools in the world. Meanwhile, you can also begin your career pursuits by getting a Diploma in architecture. Remember the goal, in the end, is to arrive at your destination.
What is the number 1 architecture school in the world?
The best architecture Universities offer an array of programs most of which provide similar options. Below is the QS ranking for the top 10 architecture schools in the world in 2022
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University College London
- Delft University of Technology
- ETH Zurich -Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
- Harvard University
- National University of Singapore (NUS)
- The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
- Tsinghua University
- University of Cambridge
- Politecnico di Milano
How can I become an architect?
There are alternative entry paths into the field. For instance, you may begin with an architectural apprenticeship. But a more formal route is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Architecture (BA. Arch.) This route is usually followed by at least two years of practical experience. Some programs offer a consecutive master’s program. As with other professions becoming a member of a registered body in your country is usually very rewarding.
What is the best architecture programs?
Here are some of the top master’s degree programs in architecture from the best architectural schools in the World.
- Master of Architecture 2 – Harvard University
- MSc Advanced Architectural Design – Columbia University
- Post-Master in Architecture and Urban Design – Delft, The Netherlands