ISU's architecture and landscape architecture programs rank in top 11 nationally

DI rankings seal

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University’s undergraduate programs in architecture and landscape architecture received high rankings in a new survey of practitioners by DesignIntelligence. The undergraduate architecture program ranked ninth and landscape architecture program ranked 11th in the United States.

DesignIntelligence is a bimonthly publication for leaders in design professions. The magazine’s annual report, "America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools," is the only national college ranking survey that focuses exclusively on design. Rankings cover accredited programs in architecture, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture. Published in the November-December issue of DesignIntelligence, the 13th annual survey was conducted in mid-2012 on behalf of the Design Futures Council. 

In addition, Heidi Hohmann, associate professor of landscape architecture, was named one of the 30 most admired design educators in the nation for 2013 (see sidebar).

“These rankings reflect the hard work of our faculty and staff, and the dedication of our students to meet tomorrow’s design challenges,” said Jonathan Wickert, Iowa State’s senior vice president and provost. “I am particularly pleased that both our undergraduate and graduate programs were ranked highly, and that employers continue to place great value on our students.”

The DesignIntelligence survey ranks programs from the perspective of leading practitioners. The publication contacted leaders in more than 300 professional firms and organizations who have direct experience with the hiring and performance of recent graduates. They were asked the following question: In your firm's hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?

Architecture program

Architecture student work.

Museum design by architecture student Jake Groth.

There are 145 accredited professional architecture programs in the United States and Puerto Rico; 50 undergraduate and 96 graduate (one doctoral and 95 master's). Iowa State’s undergraduate architecture program also ranked 9th last year, and has ranked in the top 20 nine out of the past 10 years. Other programs in the top 10 this year included Cornell University (1), Southern California Institute of Architecture (2), Rice University and Syracuse University (tied for 3) and the University of Texas at Austin (6).

Iowa State was ranked No. 1 when all firms participating in the national survey ranked the Midwest's top schools for undergraduate architecture. In this survey, the Midwest includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

"It's a tremendous tribute to our architecture department that firms nationwide consider ISU architecture graduates to be the top recruits from the entire Midwestern region," said College of Design Dean Luis Rico-Gutierrez.

Iowa State's program also was No. 1 when ranked only by participating Midwestern firms. According to DesignIntelligence, it is not uncommon for firms to prefer recruiting from outside their own geographic regions.

Work by architeture student

Museum design by architecture student Asa Houston.

"This is not the case for the Midwest," Rico-Gutierrez said. "Midwestern firms selected Iowa State as their school of first choice when hiring architecture graduates. They don't feel like they have to go to one of the coasts to hire."

For the first time since the survey began, Iowa State's graduate architecture program ranked in the top 20 in the U.S., tying for 18th with Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Harvard, Columbia and Yale universities were rated the top three graduate programs, respectively. 

In the professional practice survey, DesignIntelligence editors asked participants about the top schools' brand strengths in architectural education. Iowa State was named first for "Construction Leadership."

Iowa State's architecture program has 312 undergraduate and 53 graduate students enrolled in the accredited degree programs, and 35 full- and part-time faculty.

Landscape architecture

Student work

Work by landscape architecture student Eric Doll.

For 2013, Iowa State’s undergraduate landscape architecture program ranked 11th. Louisiana State University ranked first, followed by Virginia Polytechnic and State University and Pennsylvania State University. Iowa State's undergraduate landscape architecture program has ranked among the top 15 programs for eight of the past nine years. (DesignIntelligence began ranking landscape architecture programs in 2005.) There are 47 accredited undergraduate landscape architecture programs in the U.S.

In the DesignIntelligence survey of landscape architecture students from Iowa State, 95 percent said they "believe they'll be well prepared for their profession upon graduation." When asked how they grade the quality of their program overall, 51 percent said "excellent," and 46 percent said "above average."

The landscape architecture department has 145 undergraduate majors and 12.5 full- and part-time faculty. 

Landscape architecture and architecture are in Iowa State University’s College of Design.