2024 Top Online Schools for Architecture

Scroll down to see the top not-for-profit colleges offering architecture degrees online.

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Evaluating Online Architecture Degrees

Since architecture is a hands-on discipline, there are almost no undergraduate programs offered online. You will, however, find a number of hybrid programs that combine online classes (e.g. general education credits) with in-school labs and coursework. Online graduate programs/certificates for architects who already have work experience or licensure are much more common.

In your initial search, avoid for-profit schools with low completion rates and high student loan default rates. Instead, we recommend you look for a university with:

  • Regional accreditation
  • NAAB accreditation for professional architecture degree programs
  • A College or School of Architecture with a strong “brick and mortar” reputation (e.g. high rankings, groundbreaking research, award-winning professors, business/government partnerships in your discipline, etc.)
  • Internships, co-ops and/or hands-on labs organized in your local area
  • The same faculty teaching both the on-campus and online courses
  • Dedicated distance learning support services
  • Career centers with strong job placement figures

School Selections

Chatham University

The College for Continuing and Professional Studies at Chatham University offers a Master of Science in Interior Architecture (MSIA) degree that can be pursued entirely online. Full-time students can complete the program in just one year; the degree can also be earned following a part-time plan of study. The program consists of 30 credits and offers an emphasis on design theory. It is intended for students with an undergraduate degree in architecture or interior design. Qualified graduate students are considered for the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program. PLA credits may be awarded after a critical assessment of a student's portfolio or after passing a challenge exam. Online students have the option of defending their thesis in residence at the university.

Lawrence Technological University

Lawrence Technical University offers an online Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree with a concentration in architectural design and practice. The 15-month program is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). The curriculum includes courses in design theory, professional practice, ecological issues, and research methods. Students who graduate from the program are eligible to sit for the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) Architectural Registration Examination to become licensed architects. It is possible to complete all the required courses for the M.Arch. degree online, with the exception of the Critical Practice Studio class. Students have to come to campus during the summer semester to take the class, which consists of five intensive weekend sessions and includes a field trip.

Philadelphia University

Students accepted to the online Master of Science in Sustainable Design (MSSD) program at Philadelphia University can earn the degree in two years following a full-time plan of study. The required courses for the degree are structured to provide students with an integrated experience that balances instruction with practical hands-on training. Students enroll in classes that cover topics such as adaptive design, green materials and life-cycle assessment, and the principles and methods of sustainable design. MSSD students have access to the Center for Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design (SEED), a multi-disciplinary space that offers specialized training in green product integration and sustainable building design. A nine-credit, self-directed thesis project must be completed by each student in order to graduate from the program.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) offers an online Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree that is accredited by the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB). Applicants must have completed at least 126 hours of credit in their undergraduate program. The M.Arch. degree is a cohort-based program that is comprised of 42 graduate credits and can be completed in 16-20 months. Some courses may require periodic on-campus sessions, which are typically scheduled on weekends (no more than one weekend in a month). The program includes both asynchronous and synchronous courses. All coursework for the degree must be earned at SIUC. The curriculum includes courses that cover a wide range of topics such as global traditions in architecture, architectural theory, and environmental behavior studies in architecture.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

17,292 Students

University of Arizona

Two UA Online programs might interest architects. The most obvious is the BS in Sustainable Built Environments with an emphasis in Sustainable Buildings. As underclassmen, students explore algebra, biology, chemistry, statistics and physics while dipping their toes into issues of sustainability. As upperclassmen, they dive into issues of energy use and design, before finishing up with an internship and capstone project. Many graduates go on to advanced degrees in architecture. The Master of Real Estate Development also emphasizes sustainability. The program, which attracts urban planners, realtors and architects, provides a foundation in real estate and finance so that graduates can responsibly develop properties.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

42,595 Students

University of Florida

The Master's in Sustainable Design at University of Florida is a 36-credit program that combines architecture, construction, preservation, design, and urban planning. Successful applicants will have a baccalaureate and some professional experience. However, given the program's interdisciplinary nature, prior design work is not necessary. The program, which starts in August, uses a cohort structure. Semester 1 covers topics such as Ecological Issues in Sustainability and International Sustainable Development. Students continue with these themes into the second semester, adding in a studio experience and working on a proposal for their capstone research project. That project is the focus of the last semester. Online students must trek to campus twice and go on one international trip (with accommodation costs covered by tuition).

  • Advanced Placement Credit

50,645 Students

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The University of Nebraska in Lincoln offers a Master of Science in Architecture degree with a specialization in interior design that can be completed entirely online. This is a 36-credit program that provides students with the opportunity to study subject areas such as the behavioral and social factors in environmental design behavior, architectural preservation, environments for special needs, and housing issues in contemporary architecture. Students are required to complete a field research or internship program, as well as write a thesis, in order to graduate with the degree. Although courses are offered asynchronously, students are expected to complete classwork, interact online with their instructors and peers, and submit all degree requirements in a timely fashion as they progress towards the degree.

  • Advanced Placement Credit

25,260 Students

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Budding architects with a background in commercial construction and a familiarity with materials and blueprint reading might get something out of UW's Certificate in Construction Management. Coursework covers the entire scope of a project - from planning and budgeting to safety and quality control. The MS in Construction Management expands upon this curriculum, adding courses on laws and regulations, energy infrastructure, and procurement. The Master of Infrastructure Planning and Management, meanwhile, is more big-picture. Designed for students who understand geographic information systems and have worked in infrastructure development, the program explores how the future world will come together. Courses cover topics like risk analysis, emergency management and epidemiology.

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