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UC Is Head of the Class: Design Programs Rank No. 1 and 2 in the Nation

The nation’s 2007 design rankings are out. UC’s interior design program was ranked No. 1 (for the 8th straight year)! The industrial design program and graduate architecture program were both ranked at No. 2.

Date: 12/6/2006 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover and Andrew Higley

UC ingot  

Results are just in from the annual survey of the nation’s architecture, design and engineering employers (as well as deans and chairs of design programs) by DesignIntelligence magazine.

Stacey Schield
Interior design student Stacey Schield at work.

The survey credits the University of Cincinnati as having the nation's number one undergraduate program in interior design. This marks the eighth-straight year that UC’s interior design program – part of the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning – has held that number-one ranking. The program was ranked ahead of such rivals as Cornell University and Pratt Institute.

That same survey ranked UC’s graduate architecture program as number two in the country.  With its number-two architecture ranking, UC was listed just behind Harvard University but ahead of every other program in the nation. This is the second year in a row that UC’s graduate architecture program has held the nation’s number-two ranking.

Also, the university’s undergraduate industrial design program was ranked as number two in the nation. Again, this is the second year in a row that the program held that designation, beating out rivals like the Rhode Island School of Design, Pratt Institute and others. In the survey’s regional rankings, the UC industrial design program was ranked first in the Midwest.

Molly California and Dennis Mann
First-year architecture student Molly California with Dennis Mann, professor of architecture.

The rankings come as a result of an annual survey by DesignIntelligence, a design industry publication of the Design Futures Council. For eight years, DesignIntelligence has surveyed organizations throughout the United States to determine which schools produce graduates who meet and exceed the demands of the profession. Hiring managers from the nation’s top corporations, organizations, municipalities and design firms evaluate recent new hires for practice readiness in a range of disciplines and skills. This DesignIntelligence survey is in line with other rankings. For instance, BusinessWeek magazine’s Oct. 9, 2006, issue listed the world’s top design schools. That listing included UC’s School of Design.

As part of its in-depth annual report, DesignIntelligence asks employers and deans to rank the nation’s design programs according to their ability to teach certain skills. Not surprisingly, UC’s interior design program was routinely ranked number one for teaching innovation in design, quality of graphic presentation, cross-disciplinary experience, computer applications, presentation skills, and professional practice (cooperative education).

The qualities most admired in regard to the interior design program, according to deans and chairs of other design program, includes UC’s strong technology base, the close relationship at the university between interior design and architecture, and the program’s active connections to the profession in the form of its excellent cooperative education system.

UC’s leading position in professional practice (cooperative education) is a natural since the university is the global birthplace of cooperative education, having founded the practice in 1906. UC’s co-op program – which requires students to alternate academic quarters with quarters of paid, professional experience around the world – is ranked among the top ten by U.S. News & World Report.

Via co-op, the university’s architecture, interior design and industrial design students regularly work in design firms nationally and internationally – throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Asia and Latin America – and graduate with about 18 months of practical experience.

Amy Johannigman
Industrial design student Amy Johannigman at work.

There were other areas of design education where UC excelled, according to the DesignIntelligence report. In terms of industrial design, UC was number one in teaching research and analysis; materials, processes and engineering-related issues; academic balance (math, writing, liberal arts and sciences) and collaborative learning with business, engineering and other disciplines.

A complete report of more than 100 pages is available from DesignIntelligence. The full report includes salary data for entry-level and more advanced architects and designers, accounts from recent graduates regarding internships, and student demographics. 

Below are partials listings of DesignIntelligence’s 2007 findings

Undergraduate Interior Design Programs

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Cornell University
  • Pratt Institute (New York City)

Graduate Architecture Programs

  • Harvard University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Yale University

Undergraduate Industrial Design Program

  • Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Rhode Island School of Design