The 10 Best Architecture Schools in Canada

From the marble columns and sculptures in ancient Greece and Rome to the towering structures of concrete, steel, and glass found in Dubai and New York City, few works of art are seen by so many people every day as those produced by architects. 

Combining art and engineering, architects use standard building materials to design the functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces that many millions of people work and live in daily. 

Such buildings both shelter and inspire their occupants as they stand as testaments to the ingenuity and aspirations of humankind. 

Whether utilizing such spaces every day or having only seen images of these buildings on the internet or through television, the architectural marvels of a particular city are one of the first things that come to mind when thinking of another country or locale.  

Architects of today, as well as those of the future, now face the challenge of designing places of living, working, and learning that incorporate elements of sustainability into the structure to combat the challenges to the world posed by climate change. 

Considerations such as the renewability of energy along with ethically and sustainably sourced labor and construction materials must be taken into account when designing the structures of urban landscapes, and architects, along with government leaders, city planners, and engineers, are at the forefront of meeting these challenges. 

To meet these challenges, prospective architects must seek out the best educational options available, and universities across Canada offer students some of the best programs to be found. 

Here are our picks for 10 of the best architecture schools in Canada. 

University of Waterloo School of Architecture (Cambridge, ON)

University of Waterloo School of Architecture
JustSomePics, UW School of Architecture 1, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Waterloo School of Architecture has been rated as having the greenest curriculum among architecture schools in Canada. 

It also has the distinction of having the only permanent international presence in Rome, Italy, among all architecture programs in Canada. 

The undergraduate program at the School of Architecture is a pre-professional program that provides students with the fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to begin a master’s program and enter the field professionally. 

The program is organized around five thematic areas of study covering design, culture, and tools and materials, among others, and culminates in a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree. 

Students who have attained a BAS or similar degree are admitted into the university’s Master of Architecture program, which can be completed in three to six academic terms depending on the student’s previous level of training.

University of British Columbia School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (Vancouver, BC)

The Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urbanism program offered by the University of British Columbia School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture provides students the opportunity to study design in many spaces. 

Students also have the opportunity for experiential learning through the school’s Co-operative Education Program and Coordinated International Experience Program as they complete this pre-professional degree to prepare themselves for the next phase of their design careers. 

The school’s graduate architecture program offers master’s degrees in architecture and landscape architecture in addition to a dual-degree program in which students gain interdisciplinary training in both fields. This dual-degree program is the first such program offered in Canada. 

Also offered are additional master’s degrees which enable students to further research in architecture or study advanced topics in the field. 

University of Toronto John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design (Toronto, ON)

Undergraduate architecture students at the University of Toronto begin their introduction to the field by studying its fundamental aspects: design, history, and technology. 

Once students have gained a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals, they have the option to pursue one of four streams for the latter half of their undergraduate studies. 

These streams allow them to further their education in different fields, like design, history and theory, and architectural technology. 

For those interested in becoming professionals in the field, the school offers master’s degrees at both the professional and post-professional levels in architecture and in landscape architecture.  

The school offers students the opportunity to further advance research and practice in the field of architecture through its Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture, Landscape, and Design Program

The program’s curriculum requires students to pursue independent research while presenting their findings to other members of the program’s interdisciplinary cohort.

McGill University Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture (Montreal, QC)

McGill Macdonald Engineering Building
McGill Faculty of Engineering, Macdonald Engineering Building, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University prepares students for future careers in design with a Bachelor of Science (Architecture) Degree

The degree is non-professional, but it provides students with the foundational knowledge and expertise necessary to attain a professional-level degree in architecture over the course of three years. 

Upon completion of their undergraduate studies, future architects at McGill undertake a two-year long course of study in design culminating in the school’s Master of Architecture – Professional Degree. 

Students in the program can use elective courses in the program to either focus on a specialized area in the field or gain a broader understanding of the field as a whole. 

Both the Canadian Architectural Certification Board and the National Architectural Accrediting Board in the United States recognize the degree’s accreditation. 

University of Calgary School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (Calgary, AB)

Although the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape at the University of Calgary does not offer a specific undergraduate degree in architecture, students interested in the discipline are encouraged to obtain a degree in a related field and supplement it by studying in the school’s Minor in Architectural Studies program. 

Admission into the program is competitive, but it replaces the first year in the school’s Master of Architecture program. 

Students entering the Master of Architecture program without the school’s Minor in Architectural Studies or its equivalent attain their master’s degree over three years, with the first year providing the fundamentals for further study. Students on the accelerated course will complete the program in two years to attain their master’s, which is accredited in Canada and reciprocally recognized in the United States and Europe. 

Dalhousie University School of Architecture (Halifax, NS)

Dalhousie University
Citobun, Dalhousie University Medjuck Building, CC BY-SA 4.0

Dalhousie University divides its architecture program into three parts, resulting in both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. The school considers the first two years of university courses as the first of three parts. 

The next phase of the school’s program is attaining the Bachelor of Environment Design Studies degree. 

This two-year program provides students with a solid foundation in the basics of architecture in order to prepare them for the final, master’s level phase of study. 

Admission into the BEDS program is competitive, with the school prioritizing students’ academic achievements and design abilities when considering admitting a student into one of the 65 spots in the program. 

The fifth and sixth years of the program enable students to focus their studies on specializations in the discipline and are capped with a design thesis in the last year.

Toronto Metropolitan University (Toronto, ON)

Toronto Metropolitan University holds the distinction of having the only undergraduate architectural program in Canada combining the disciplines of project management, architecture, and building science into one degree. 

The program provides its students with modeling labs, fabrication facilities, and studio space in which to pursue their architectural education.  

Undergraduate students can attain a Bachelor of Architectural Science degree in four years or take an additional year for completion to participate in a co-op program to gain real-world experience. 

Graduate students in the architecture program will collaborate with other graduates and undergraduates in two design competitions.

Along with the collaborative competitions, students will independently research a topic in architecture and develop a thesis document as well as a jury-reviewed thesis project to complete their studies. 

Students may take as few as five semesters or as many as nine semesters to complete the program of study. 

Carleton University Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism (Ottawa, ON)

The undergraduate architecture program at Carleton University is another unique program of study among Canadian architecture schools. 

It offers students the chance to major in one of three aspects of architecture as they attain a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree. 

When applying to the program, students choose to major in either conservation and sustainability, urbanism, or design. 

Undergraduate students can further enhance their architectural education by studying abroad or participating in an experiential learning program. 

The accredited Master of Architecture program is centered on studio design and research in the field and culminates in a thesis project spanning two semesters. 

Those interested in pursuing further architectural degrees at the school can choose to apply to the PhD in Architecture or Master of Architectural Studies programs to contribute further research or attain an academic position in the field. 

Laurentian University McEwen School of Architecture (Sudbury, ON)

Laurentian University’s McEwan School of Architecture was founded in 2013, and its undergraduate architecture program prides itself on incorporating three different cultural backgrounds into its architecture curriculum. 

Seeking to create a northern design culture, the program combines experiential learning with sustainability ethics as students study for its Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree. 

The graduate architecture program takes the program’s intent further with its approach toward designing for a northern environment. 

The program spans two years and couples an intensive research component with the experiential learning begun in the undergraduate program. 

Coupled with its design thesis, this program graduates architects who will be among the leaders in developing sustainable and respectful structures in the future.  

University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture (Winnipeg, MB)

Aspiring architects in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture begin developing a multidisciplinary educational background upon admittance into the school’s Bachelor of Environmental Design program. 

The first two years of study have undergraduate architects learn alongside future city planners, landscape architects, and interior designers before moving in either a landscape and urbanism, architecture, or interior environment stream. 

Upon attaining their Bachelor of Environmental Design degrees, students are positioned to apply for acceptance into one of the four master’s-level graduate programs under the auspices of the Faculty of Architecture. 

Master’s degrees in city planning, landscape architecture, and interior design are offered alongside the school’s Master of Architecture program. 

The two-year program provides multiple making and creating labs and work in the design studio before culminating in a design thesis.