Architecture Graduate Survey

January 2016
The Architecture Graduate Survey, a large data-gathering effort that ACSA has developed in collaboration with member schools since 2013, is now ready to launch. The project employs a 10 minute online survey to be delivered to recent architecture graduates from participating schools, in order to build our shared knowledge of architectural education career outcomes and provide participating schools with a powerful benchmarking tool. There is no charge for ACSA member schools to participate.

Focusing on graduates 6 to 12 months after completion of degree requirements, the survey asks about graduates’ goals and priorities, current occupation or activities, plans and progress on licensure, and demographic characteristics. ACSA will analyze and report on the resulting data aggregated across a wide range of characteristics related to schools (such as size, funding type, Carnegie Classification, and programs offered), as well as demographic and other characteristics related to individual graduates. 

All ACSA member schools are invited and encouraged to participate in this 2015-16 round of surveys. This page includes documentation for school administrators to assess their school’s participation, and details on how to get involved. You can also read more background about this project here. If you have any questions, please contact Kendall Nicholson, Director of Research + Information, at or 202.785.2324.


(For school administrators and staff)

Benefits to Participating Schools

The data collected through this survey will greatly inform ACSA’s efforts to communicate back to the profession and other constituencies about the larger outcomes of architectural education. For years, people have used rules of thumb or anecdotal data about how many students go into or leave the profession. Your participation will directly influence what we know about student outcomes and will help you communicate with your own community of stakeholders.

All participating schools will have full and prompt access to their own raw data, and will also receive a confidential, individual report comparing their school’s results with those of others in the project’s North America-wide dataset. Data pertaining to individual schools or graduates will not be made identifiable, as ACSA will publicly report based on aggregated characteristics, such as degree level, funding, and region. As our data allow, more detailed benchmarking reports and other custom analyses will also be available on a fee basis.

This effort is not a ranking system. The survey avoids simplistic “thumbs up/thumbs down” style questions in favor of questions that describe and sort the qualitative differences between graduates’ experiences. This approach aims to create actionable and context-specific data for every school in ACSA’s diverse membership.

Participating should not represent a significant departmental burden for schools, as ACSA will manage the survey deployment and reporting. The primary requirement for schools is to generate email lists of recent graduates and send email invitations for the survey, as described below.

Survey Deployment

There are three ways that schools can participate.

Emails sent by Institution: Based on our past experience, most schools will not be able to share email lists with ACSA to send on your behalf. Therefore, we can provide a discrete survey URL and sample text for the survey email invitation, which you can edit and deploy using your institution’s standard branding.  

 You will need to organize email lists for your graduates from the last 6 to 12 months--that is, for your December 2015/January 2016 graduates and for your May/June 2016 graduates. Lists should be separated by degree program as well as by the month and year in which each cohort completed their degree requirements. We will generate a discrete URL for each of these email lists and help you set up a schedule for the invitation and reminder emails. To get started, please register.

Emails sent by ACSA: If your school is able to share with ACSA a basic email list (emails and first name, or emails only) for each participating cohort, the process is even easier. With your input and approval, ACSA will draft and deliver email invitations, as well as automated reminder emails sent only to those who have not yet completed the survey. ACSA will keep email lists strictly confidential and will use them only for this survey. To get started, please register.

Open survey: This is an option if your school does not have access to email lists. ACSA will create and post a version of the survey that can be freely shared and distributed to recent graduates from any school (for example, on a Facebook page or blog). This data will be analyzed and, where appropriate, included in the wider project findings. However, ACSA will not be able to send schools raw data or individual reports based on data from the open survey.

Going forward, we will work with you to deploy the survey on a rolling basis for future cohorts of students.


Survey Content

A preview copy of the online survey interface is available here for you to explore. Note that data is NOT being collected from this preview; see the above notes to learn how your school can deploy the survey.

Below is a list of sections and questions in the survey. The interface employs a dynamic branching structure that presents questions to each respondent based on their previous answers. As such, no respondent will see all of the sections or questions in this list.

     Degree earned
     Date of degree completion (month/year)

     Personal career values
     Preferred current occupation      
     Helpful resources during degree

     Current occupation/activities (primary, second, and third activity)

[Branching section based on primary activity]
     Field (and detailed field, for design and building industry fields)

     Number of people in organization
     Date position was accepted
     Primary role
     Tenure-track or tenured (for instructors in higher ed only)
     Architecture degree as job requirement
     Architecture education helpful in job
     Personal career values most satisfied
     Compensation (except for those volunteering/job without pay)

[Branching section based on primary activity]
     Type of self employment
     Number of people in organization
     Date position began
     Primary role
     Architecture education helpful in role
     Personal career values most satisfied
     Compensation (except for those in unpaid jobs)

[Branching section based on primary activity]
     Full- and/or part-time
     Field(s) (and detailed fields, for design and building industry fields)
     Date job search begun

[Branching section based on primary activity
     Currently studying, planning to study, or studying informally
     Level of program
     Field of program
     NAAB (or CACB in Canada) accredited (for architecture only)
     Architecture education helpful in studies

     Current licensure status (U.S., Canada, or other country)
     Likelihood of becoming licensed
     Participation in IDP (IAP in Canada)
     Progress on ARE (ExAC in Canada

     Other degrees (level and area of study)
     Parental educational attainment
     Geographic location (ZIP/Postal code or country)

     Advice for current students
     Feedback about survey




Please click here to get started.




Can I preview the survey?

Yes! Please click here. Note that this is a preview only and is NOT collecting data.

How was this survey developed? Can I suggest a question?

ACSA developed and tested the survey with the input of a Data Collection and Research Advisory Committee composed of ACSA members. We are open to your input on the survey, and always looking for volunteers to test or consult on research or to participate in the advisory committee.

Can we add or change survey questions?

During this pilot round, we ask that the survey remain the same for each group of students at each institution, as consistency of experience provides more valid and consistent results.

Do we have to share our email list with the ACSA?

You do not have to transfer your email list to ACSA. We can help manage the distribution of the invitations, however, and will keep any information provided confidential. Please see above.

What if we don’t have email addresses for our recent graduates?

We are preparing an “open” survey for respondents to take. You could, for example, post notice of the survey on your website or Facebook page. Although we want as much participation as we can get, we prefer to have preset lists of students to contact, so that we may track the response rate and know with certainty which students went to which institution. This provides for lower margins of error in our survey results and allows us to share your school’s raw data and report with you.

What about a longitudinal survey?

We plan to continue the survey over a number of years, tracking each new cohort of graduates. At this point, however, we are not involved in tracking graduates as they move through their careers post-graduation, which would be a true longitudinal survey.

Which schools and programs are eligible?

ACSA member institutions in the United States and Canada are invited to participate. Eligible architecture and architectural specialization degree programs include the B.Arch, M.Arch, and D.Arch, four-year pre-professional undergraduate degrees, and Master's level non-professional degrees. There is no cost to participate.  

Will our school’s data be kept confidential? Will our graduates’ data be kept confidential?

We will publish results of the survey only in aggregate, so that schools and individuals will not be identifiable. You will confidentially receive the raw data from your school’s survey after it closes. At the end of the survey, we ask respondents if they wish to supply their email address to receive updates on the results; this response is optional.

When should my school register?

We encourage you to register as soon as possible, regardless of when your next cohort will graduate, so we can work with you to make the deployment easy and efficient.

How can I get my school to participate?

Talk to your program’s lead administrator or the staff responsible for development or advancement or alumni relations. Tell them this is important knowledge for the school and will contribute to data that will help all schools.

Other questions?

Please contact Kendall Nicholson, Director of Research + Information.

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