America’s Top Architecture Schools 2013

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Cost of Education

Architecture-school tuitions are high, especially considering the likely compensation upon graduation. Data from the “Architecture School Tuition & Fee Report 2011–2012” and the “2012 Compensation, Bonus & Benefits Survey” by DesignIntelligence offer interesting comparisons. For example, the average tuition and fees for B.Arch. programs, where public and private tuitions are combined, go from $19,791 a year (in which in-state schools are included) to $26,252 a year (where out-of-state tuition for public schools is counted). M.Arch. degree programs have very similar tuition and fee statistics. Private schools are somewhat more expensive as a group, averaging in the low $30,000s.

Overall, costs have increased about 4.2 percent in the past year. While the average starting annual salaries for a B.Arch. ($40,122) and an M.Arch. ($43,645) seem low— depending on the region—the average debt of the architecture graduate is $38,175, total. After three years of entry-level salaries, emerging architects start to see a noticeable increase, depending on the level of responsibility. Over the course of a career in architecture, the average base compensation will be $108,859 annually, and the total compensation from internship to retirement will be approximately $4,508,985.

An architecture education may be expensive, but the cost is well justified in the long run. — J. P. C.


Tuitions Compared
Tuitions Compared
Skills Assessment


James P. Cramer is founding editor of DesignIntelligence and cochair of the Design Futures Council. He is chairman of the Greenway Group, a management consultancy.


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