Trends in International Student Enrollment in Architectural Education

December 2016

As a core tenet in ACSA’s beliefs and a priority of the ACSA strategic plan, diversity in education continues to be a topic of investigation for the academy of architectural education.

Featured below is the first part of an investigation of diversity in architectural education by way of the international student. In collaboration with the National Accreditation Architectural Board (NAAB), ACSA reveals the trends in enrollment of non-resident/foreign students.

Since 2009 architecture schools have seen a consistent increase in the number of international students. With a total population in 2015 of 5,937 foreign students, students coming from outside of the United States made up 24% of the total student population at NAAB accredited and candidate schools.

Additionally, the graphic shows a larger average percentage of international students enrolled at the private institutions than at public institutions. Moreover, when delineated by Carnegie classification, Special Focus schools (those based in the arts, architecture and/or engineering) were found to have the highest percentage of international students on average.

See the graphic below to dive deeper.

Looking further into the enrollment data, the graphic below shows that the majority of international students are pursuing professional degree programs.  It also shows that there has been a consistent increase in the number of international architectural students as indicated by the line graphs for Pre-professional, B.Arch and M.Arch/D.Arch programs over the pass seven years.


Kendall Nicholson
Director of Research + Information