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Excellence Achieved Again! University of Cincinnati Design Programs Are Tops in the Nation!

The just-released annual survey of architecture, design and engineering employers credits the University of Cincinnati as having the country’s number one undergraduate program in interior design. This marks the seventh straight year – in the survey by DesignIntelligence magazine – that UC’s interior design program has been ranked number one in the nation.

That same survey ranked UC’s graduate architecture program as number two in the country in terms of overall quality while the university’s architecture program ranked first among the Top Ten Most Innovative Architecture Programs in the U.S. In this Top Ten list for innovation, UC beat out Harvard University, Cornell University and Columbia University among others.

With its number-one undergraduate interior design program, UC beat out such rivals as Pratt Institute, Cornell University and the Rhode Island School of Design.

For the first time this year, the 2006 blue-ribbon rankings also included industrial design programs. UC’s program ranked

number two

in the nation, outclassing other programs, including those at Pratt Institute, the Rhode Island School of Design and Carnegie Mellon University.

The rankings come as a result of an annual survey by DesignIntelligence, a design industry publication of the Design Futures Council. Its December issue annually examines the quality of U.S. design education. In the latest survey of firm owners in the fields of architecture, interior design, engineering, industrial design as well as corporate practitioners in these fields, the magazine simply asks, “In your hiring experience during the past five years, which programs best prepare graduates for real-world practice?” The survey targets those having direct experience with the hiring and performance of graduates.

Michaele Pride Wells, director of UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design – housed within the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning – said that the programs’ high marks from employers are due to a demanding curriculum coupled with UC’s nationally ranked cooperative education program, which is ranked among the Top Ten in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

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“UC’s design programs really are different from similar programs at other schools,” she said, adding, “We closely link theory and practice. Yes, our students are immersed in academics and research and are accustomed to working collaboratively in the studio classroom. They are also required to co-op extensively, fulfilling professional, paid, challenging roles …that might include helping to build the tallest skyscraper going up right now in Beijing or helping to design an entire Korean city. Few programs can boast the resources and opportunities we offer our students.” 

Because of co-op, Pride-Wells opined that UC’s students are professionally mature by the time they graduate. Most will graduate having worked in three different professional offices in three different cities. “This makes them professionally nimble since they’ve been exposed to different office cultures, practice types and geographic and social settings,” she added.

“Co-op” or cooperative education refers to the practice wherein students are required to alternate academic quarters with paid, professional work directly related to their majors. Via co-op, the university’s architecture, interior design and industrial design students regularly work in design firms around the globe – Europe, Asia, Latin America and the U.S. – and graduate with about 18 months of practical experience. Most people don’t know it, but UC is the global birthplace of co-op, having founded the practice in 1906.

To order and obtain a complete Top Ten national lists, regional lists and more on the 2006 rankings of architecture and design schools go to http://www.di.net/archschools/schools.html

Below are partial listings from 2006 DesignIntelligence rankings

Undergraduate Interior Design Programs

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Pratt Institute
  • Cornell University

National Top Ten of Most Innovative Architecture Programs

  • University of Cincinnati
  • Harvard University
  • Cornell University

Graduate Architecture Programs

  • Harvard University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Virginia

Undergraduate Industrial Design Programs

  • Art Center College of Design (Pasadena, Calif.)
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Pratt Institute (New York City)

Listings courtesy of DesignIntelligence