MIT holds onto number one in the 2022 QS World University Rankings of top architecture schools


The 2022 edition of QS World University Rankings by Subject is out and as expected, there’s little movement—and no major upsets—within the top tier of architecture school rankings. For a third consecutive year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and its Hashim Sarkis-led School of Architecture and Planning has claimed the number one spot. Aside from spending 2019 in second position when University College London (UCL) inched up the rankings to first, MIT has ruled at the very top of the list almost every year since 2015.

This isn’t to say that there’s has been no movement within the top ten. Last year’s third-place contender, Delft Institute of Technology, has swapped places with UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, bumping the former first-placer out of its number two position. ETH Zurich, Harvard University, and the National University of Singapore haven’t budged from their fourth, fifth, and sixth spots, respectively, while the Manchester School of Architecture, which ranked 11th in 2021, has climbed four spots up the list, reentering the top ten and landing in seventh. Rounding out the top ten are the University of California, Berkeley (dropping from seven to eight); China’s Tsinghua University (dropping from eight to nine), and Italy’s Polytechnic University of Milan, which has taken tenth place for the second year in a row.

Architecture & Built Environment is one of 51 subject areas ranked this year by U.K,-based higher education analysis firm QS Quacquarelli; the subject-based rankings consider each school/department’s academic reputation and employer reputation as well as each respective program’s research impact. (The full ranking methodology can be read here.)

In total, 230 universities representing 47 countries appear on the 2022 Architecture & Built Environment subject rankings.

As noted by QS, a total of 38 architecture schools/departments enjoyed a leap forward this year, while 125 remained in the same spot and 49 declined in their respective rankings. While not (yet) within the top ten or 20, the world’s most improved architecture school per the QS World Rankings by Subject is at China’s Tianjin University, which jumped 13 spots from its previous position to land in 37th.

In addition to MIT, Harvard, and UC Berkeley, other top 20-ranking schools located in the United States include Columbia University, which fell from the 14th best-ranked to 16th, and the University of California, Los Angeles, which experienced a similarly slight decline, dropping from 17th to 18th on the list. Further down the list are Cornell University (23), Georgia Institute of Technology (26), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (32), Stanford University (34), University of Pennsylvania (40), University of Texas at Austin (42), and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (50). Other North American universities within the top 50 include the University of British Columbia (35) and the University of Toronto (47).

The U.S. can claim the highest number of architecture schools ranking within the top 100 with a total of 20, followed by the U.K. (10), Australia (eight), mainland China (eight), and Germany (five). In addition to the top-50-placing schools mentioned above, other U.S. institutions ranking within the top 100 include Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania State University, Princeton University, Texas A&M University, the University of Southern California,  the University of Washington, Virginia Tech, and Yale University.

When examining all 51 subject areas ranked this year by QS, U.S.-based institutions lead in 28 of them, with Harvard and MIT remaining the strongest performers, each ranking first in a total of 12 subjects.

Stepping away from the main list to examine individual scores within the four core ranking indicators (Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Citations per Paper, and the research-based H-indicator), there are a few high-performing schools that don’t appear within the larger top ten. For example, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (15) received a perfect H-indicator score of 100 alongside ninth-place contender Tsinghua University. Placing 11th in the overall rankings, the University of Cambridge had the third-highest Employer Reputation score in 2022, beating out MIT by just couple of points and trailing Harvard (a perfect score of 100) and the Manchester School of Architecture. The Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, which ranked 51 overall, also scored highly on the Employer Reputation metric.

The full QS World Rankings by Subject–Architecture & Built Environment report can be found here.





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