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2009 Design Rankings Just Out: UC Recognized for Prized Programs

UC’s prestigious programs in architecture, interior design and industrial design have earned (yet again) top rankings in an annual national survey of architecture and design employers (the people who do the hiring).

Date: 12/11/2008 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Andrew Higley, Lisa Ventre

UC ingot  

The nation’s 2009 “report card” for design programs is just out, and the University of Cincinnati’s architecture, interior design and industrial design programs continue to build a national following in the DesignIntelligence annual poll of employers.

Across the board in architecture, interior design and industrial design, employers consistently placed these UC programs among the nation’s Top Three in their respective disciplines when it comes to preparing students for professional practice.

DesignIntelligence cover


The 2009 DesignIntelligence special report also includes a lengthy feature on pioneering partnerships integrated into a UC design education in the university’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. This “Partner and Prosper” article, written by a UC architecture faculty member at the invitation of DesignIntelligence, examined recent and ongoing collaborations between national industry and UC’s design programs, as well as collaborations between design and other academic disciplines at UC.


Below is a summary of UC’s placement in the 2009 rankings:

UC’s graduate architecture program moved up in the rankings. It now holds the No. 2 spot in the nation, right behind Harvard University. Last year, UC’s graduate architecture program stood at No. 7.

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of Cincinnati
  3. Columbia University

While the rankings from DesignIntelligence, a publication of the Design Futures Council, are based on employers’ hiring experiences, the survey also asks students from each ranked school about the quality of their respective programs. An extremely high percentage of UC students in the graduate architecture program – 98 percent – “believe they’ll be well prepared for their profession upon graduation,” and 90 percent give very high marks to the quality of the UC program relative to educational costs.


UC’s undergraduate interior design program is ranked at No. 2 in the nation, tying with Pratt Institute in that slot. Previously, UC’s interior design program had ranked No. 1 in the nation for nine straight years.

  1. Kansas State University
  2. University of Cincinnati (tied with Pratt Institute)
    Sydney Moeller
    Interior design student Sydney Moeller works on an innovative project: creating a musical instrument from an old appliance.

  3. Cornell University

Again, while the DesignIntelligence ranks are based on employers’ views, the publication also surveyed the deans of design programs. These educational leaders made particular note of the strength of UC’s cooperative education program, ranked Top Ten in the nation by U.S. News & World Report; UC’s model campus, which is home to a rare collection of internationally renowned architecture; and the integrated design curriculum at UC.


With its No. 3 ranking, UC’s undergraduate industrial design program tops a number of national programs. The same is true of its No. 8 graduate industrial design program ranking (tied with North Carolina State University).

Undergraduate industrial design programs

  1. Art Center College of Design
  2. Carnegie Mellon University
  3. University of Cincinnati
    Industrial design students
    Design students at work in UC's Live Well Studio, a pioneering university-business partnership model.

Again, DesignIntelligence also asked educational leaders, the deans of design programs, about the top programs in the country, and UC’s industrial design program was noted for the strength of its co-op program, the well-rounded design education that UC delivers and the design excellence of UC programs.

Co-op is the practice wherein students alternate academic quarters with quarters of paid, professional work related directly to their majors. UC is the global birthplace of co-op, having founded the practice in 1906. UC’s design students co-op with firms around the world and gain about 18 months of paid, professional experience upon graduation.

Of these UC co-op students, Architect magazine has stated: “Not surprisingly, they emerge [from school] highly employable… .