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The Built Environment

Cal Poly Architecture and Landscape Architecture Programs Place High in 2018 DesignIntelligence Survey National Rankings

Written By Shannon McOuat

Black and white photo of architecture professor Umut TokerArchitecture Faculty Member Also Recognized in Annual Report

Cal Poly offers the No. 2 undergraduate bachelor of architecture program in the nation, according to the 2018 DesignIntelligence ranking of the country’s 25 best public and private architecture and design schools. Among public universities, Cal Poly’s program was ranked No. 1 in the U.S.

Cal Poly’s architecture program also ranked in the top 10 in all 11 design education focus areas in the annual survey of hiring professions who identified graduate and undergraduate schools that are best preparing students for a future in the profession. Cal Poly’s program placed first in six of the categories: construction materials and methods, engineering fundamentals, healthy built environments, project planning and management, practice management, and sustainable built environments/adaptive design/resilient design.

In addition, Cal Poly’s bachelor of landscape architecture program earned the No. 4 spot in the national ranking. In eight design education focus areas, the program was one of the top five — among graduate and undergraduate programs combined — in the nation. 

“Year after year, our architecture and landscape programs have been rated best on the West Coast in this definitive school ranking,” College of Architecture and Environmental Design Dean Christine Theodoropoulos said. “This extraordinary achievement is a testament to the efforts of our dedicated faculty and staff, the steadfast support of our industry partners, and the passion of our talented students.”

In a survey of architecture and landscape architecture deans, chairs and other leaders, Cal Poly’s architecture and landscape architecture programs were also named the No. 1, most admired undergraduate programs in the U.S.  The architecture program placed first in the U.S. for its “strength across entire curriculum, interdisciplinary approach and strong practice orientation.” Cal Poly’s landscape architecture program was lauded as a “well-rounded program with comprehensive focus on technical skills and theory.”

“We have an extensive and strong five-year curriculum as well as a highly qualified faculty with diverse expertise in all aspects of the profession,” Landscape Architecture Department Chair and Professor Omar Faruque said. “It is no surprise that our program is ranked so high.”

In addition to the program rankings, the DesignIntelligence annual report honors excellence in education and education administration by naming 25 exemplary professionals. This year, Cal Poly architecture Professor Umut Toker was recognized as a Most Admired Educator.

According to DesignIntelligence, “Toker’s knowledge in the areas of architecture, community planning and digital fabrication give him high marks among his students. His dedication inside and outside the studio is unrivaled. He creates an atmosphere of excellence as he seeks to bring out the best in each student.”

“The Cal Poly architecture program’s consistent top ranking demonstrates that the university’s Learn by Doing education successfully prepares our graduates for professional careers in a wide spectrum of areas including sustainability, resilient design and making, as well as planning and practice management,” Architecture Department Head Margot McDonald said.

The ranking results are published in the 2017-18 edition of “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools” and are based on a survey conducted by DesignIntelligence. Data for the 18th annual survey was gathered from 2,654 hiring professionals at more than 1,920 professional practices that hire and supervise graduates of architecture, landscape architecture and interior design programs.