Professor and Administrator Salaries in Architecture

June 2015

Tenured and tenure-track architecture professors at four-year colleges in the United States are doing well in terms of median salary, if you compare them with their counterparts in other departments across all institutions.

Based on 2014-15 data from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), the median salaries for architecture associate professors ($82K) and full professors ($108K) ranked fifth–below only law, business, engineering, and computers and information. These salaries are also above the median for all disciplines. For assistant professors, architecture ranks somewhat lower ($67K), just below the median for all disciplines. To sort the below chart by assistant professor salaries, hover over the ‘Assistant Professors’ header, and click on the graph icon that appears.

If you think this finding can’t be the whole story, you’re right. Most architecture professors are at research and doctoral-level institutions, rather than bachelor’s and master’s level ones. Their pay is above average compared with professors across all types of institutions, but below average within the context of their higher-paying research and doctoral-level institutions. If you toggle through each institution type by using the filter at the bottom of the chart, you’ll see that within research and doctoral-level institutions, architecture salaries are more on par with more modest salaries in the humanities, rather than most of the higher paying STEM, STEM-related, and professional fields.

CUPA-HR reports that across all majors, the median base salaries of these tenured and tenure-track professors increased by 2% in 2014-15 over the year before. This growth rate is down 0.1% from the previous year. Salary increases were greatest at public colleges, where salaries rose by a median of 2.1%, as compared with 2% for private colleges.

This is based on salaries of professors at 756 colleges nationwide. Where there was not enough data for CUPA-HR to report it, bars are left empty.

What about deans? The below chart ranks deans of various majors, as well as (in yellow) a few institution-wide positions such as CEO, Provost, and chief campus architect.

The median salary for architecture deans in 2015 was $210K. Counting all institution types, the salaries of architecture deans rank in the upper half, as the next chart shows. The median salary of architecture deans is lower than in several STEM and professional fields, such as medicine, law, and engineering, but higher than in arts, humanities, and social sciences.

That said, the same pattern that we saw in the above chart likely applies. Because architecture is most often taught at research and doctoral-level institutions where salaries are higher, architecture deans seem to have strong earnings when compared with deans at all institutions, but likely rank much lower within other institutions similar to their own.

While architecture deans slipped in salary rank in 2014-15, losing out to consumer science, note that the actual median salary increased from the previous year, from $201K to $210K. In other words, architecture deans did get raises, but they were smaller raises than those of their peers in other majors. To see the actual median salaries, mouse over each line on the graph.

CUPA-HR reports that in the most recent two years, salary growth for senior administrators was higher at public colleges (2.5%) than private colleges (2.3%). This is based on data from 1,227 colleges and universities across the United States.

Thanks to CUPA-HR for allowing ACSA to republish this data. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please contact ACSA Research.


Kendall Nicholson
Director of Research + Information