Ball State University
College of Architecture & Planning
Department of Architecture Muncie, Ind.

B.S. or B.A. Arch., M. ARCH.

Ball State’s architecture and planning school is regarded on campus, says one faculty member, as “the university jewel-in-the-crown … Our pedagogic methods (experiential learning) have been adopted as the university signature for redefining education.” Among the school’s several active research centers are the Building Futures Institute; Community-Based Projects, which has worked with more than 70 Indiana communities since 1969; and the Institute for Digital Fabrication. The program includes a multidisciplinary freshman year and an annual Fieldtrip Week, when students visit onsite projects around the country. Ball State coordinates the Las Americas Digital Research Network and Virtual Design Studio, involving 30-plus architecture schools across the Americas.

Undergraduate Admissions: Avg. SAT: 1210; Avg. ACT: 26; Avg. GPA: 3.5; Applied: 552; Accepted: 249; Enrolled: 136
Undergraduate Demographics: Minority: 14%; Female: 42%; International: 2%; Financial aid: 85%
Graduate Admissions: Avg. GRE: 1010; Avg. GPA: 3.4; Applied: 132; Accepted: 92; Enrolled: 42 (M.Arch)
Student/Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Tuition: $7,228 (resident), $19,796 (nonresident)

Southern California Institute of Architecture
Los Angeles

B.ARCH., M.ARCH., Master of Design Research in City Design, Planning and Policy, Master of Design Research in Architecture and Media Art

The most theory-inclined of the schools in this category, and one of the few independent architecture schools in the U.S., SCI-Arc prides itself on being a different kind of place to learn: less hierarchical, more experimental, and engaged with the wider visual culture to which architecture belongs. The one-year MediaSCAPES Master of Design Research degree lets students recombine architecture, media, art, and technology by creating interactive spaces that are part visual, part physical. Far from being an ivory tower, SCI-Arc is an active participant in LA’s downtown arts community. Its gallery showcases avant-garde work, with an emphasis on new media, and special lectures are free, open to the public, and even broadcast online.

Undergraduate Admissions: Avg. SAT: 1070; Avg. GPA: 3.0; Applied: 171; Accepted: 135; Enrolled: 75
Undergraduate Demographics: Minority: 27%; Female: 28%; International: 18%; Financial aid: 62%
Graduate Admissions: Avg. GRE: 1040; Avg. GPA: 3.2; Applied: 542; Accepted: 234; Enrolled: 94
Student/Faculty Ratio: N/A
Tuition: $25,350

University of Michigan
Taubman College of Architecture and Planning
Department of Architecture
Ann Arbor, Mich.

B.S. Arch., M. ARCH., M.S., Ph.D.

Even more so than the other schools in this guide, Michigan’s Taubman College defies categorization: Its hallmark is a wide scope of research and teaching emphases, viewed through a transdisciplinary lens. “Our signature is multiple signatures and intensities,” comments one faculty member. Within a learning environment that’s strong in (for example) urban design and planning, environmental technology, and architectural history, Michigan offers its students robust technological resources—software programs from CAD to Generative Components are available for everyday use. The Digital Research Lab has a large robotic arm, two large CNC routers, an array of rapid prototyping machines, and more. The Spatial and Numeric Data lab (SAND) offers unlimited access to spatial data, numeric data, and statistics in conjunction with advanced software for integrated analysis and modeling.

Undergraduate Admissions: Avg. SAT: 1974 (out of 2400 points); Avg. ACT: 29; Avg. GPA: 3.8; Applied: 99; Accepted: 50; Enrolled: 29
Undergraduate Demographics:Minority: 23.7%; Female 47%; International 8%; Financial aid: 68%
Graduate Admissions: Avg. GRE: 1138; Avg. GPA: 3.4; Applied: 562; Accepted: 277; Enrolled: 94
Student/Faculty Ratio: 8:1
Tuition: Undergraduate, lower division, $5,735 (resident), $17,374 (nonresident); Undergraduate, upper division, $6,476 (resident), $18,600 (nonresident); Graduate, $10,683 (resident), $16,513 (nonresident)