Criteria for Choosing a School of Architecture to Study by John Henning

I am currently thinking about what criteria are most important when choosing an educational institution abroad.
The question is quite complicated — there are a lot of criteria.
For example, it seems that you can not consider those countries in which the state language is not English — most likely and in high schools teaching will not be in English.
Given that training in another country and in English is difficult in itself, to learn and what is a rare foreign language — still a bit of a stretch.
But the truth is that almost every country in Europe, and often in Asia, has departments in English at universities.
Last month, I found the website of a young architect, John Henning, who wrote an article about how he chose the School of Architecture.
I contacted him to clarify what criteria he used to choose his School of Architecture, and he responded:
My letter:
Good afternoon)
In his article
you mentioned that you spent more than 2 years studying the best architectural schools
Please tell me — do you have any table where you would compare these schools (if you of course kept such a table)
thank you
with respect
Hi Egor,
Sorry for the late reply! It’s been a busy week for me.
That’s correct, I spent 2 years trying to figure out the best architecture school to attend in my downtime, since I was working full-time and working on my associate degree at the time. I do not have a table that compares the best architecture schools (but you’ve given me a good idea!) However, I can tell you a little bit about how I made my decision. My selection criteria was very technical I think, and I didn’t have a ton of financial freedom when I selected the architecture program I attended.
Here are the questions I’d suggest you consider:
1. Do you plan to become a licensed architect? Assuming you are, then you’ll need to decide if you will become licensed in the US. If you’re planning to become licensed in the US, head over to and look at this «pathway to licensure» content
2. Licensure: To be eligible to become a licensed architect, you will need to earn an architecture degree that is accredited by the NAAB:
3. B.Arch vs. M.Arch: Accredited degrees are either a 5-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch), or a Master of Architecture (M.Arch). The pathways to achieving these degrees vary, in that you can opt for a «4+2» program to achieve the M.Arch. A «4+2» program is one that offers a 4-year degree (not accredited) in architecture/design — often called something like a «Bachelor of Science in Architecture» or something related. Then after earning that degree, you would move on the pursue a Master’s in Architectuer (M.Arch)
4. Choosing the B.Arch Program: Basically, that’s where I started when I was choosing the best architecture school to suit my needs. I wanted to earn an accredited degree as quickly as possible, so I started looking at B.Arch (5-year) programs.
5. Cost: The next criteria for me was trying to select a school that was cost-effective to save money on my education. Since I didn’t have any college savings, this was an important deciding factor for me. This ultimately ruled out any prospects of looking at «ivy league» schools, as they are extremely expensive programs comparatively.
6. City vs. Rural Setting: Another criteria was choosing a school in a large city. This was important to me as well, because I wanted to put myself in proximity to a place that has a lot of development and construction happening. I wanted to move to a large city in hopes to expose myself to as many opportunities as possible. There are plenty of fantastic schools that are not in large cities, however, I took a more holistic view of choosing where I wanted to go to university — and there are always plenty of opportunities to be found in large cities.
7. Scholarships: Continuing on the cost-saving part, I looked at schools that offered entry-level scholarships. The program that I joined offered a huge savings on out-of-state tuition (over $14,000), which was ultimately a big decision-maker for me.
8. Program Type (my opinions only!): There are so many different program «focuses» to choose from when selecting the best architecture school to attend, and I often break them into two parts: «practical» vs. «theoretical». To give you an example, Sci-Arc is a very «theoretical» program, in that many of the work that comes out of that school is forward-thinking, innovative, and in my opinion, somewhat detached from practicality. While that type of thinking is important in any creative field, I wanted to join a program that was more grounded in reality. I wanted to choose a school that was more hands-on (physically), and allowed me to actually build things physically rather just have my designs live in my computer indefinitely.
9. Design Intelligence Magazine: If you want a side-by-side comparison of some of the best architecture programs available in the US, go ahead and check out the «Design Intelligence» magazine. This publication highlights all of the top programs in the US, and provides data on these schools — such as cost, enrollment size, location, etc.

These are just a handful of things that I could think of off the top of my head, but I hope they help you! I really appreciate you reaching out. It helps me get a better understanding of what kind of content I can provide to help people.
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If you have any other questions, just let me know. Happy to help in any way that I can.
Cheers my friend, Jon Henning

This article in Russian→