Vital Statistics on Canadian Schools of Architecture

January 2015

Canada has twelve schools of architecture, in six of the country’s ten provinces, with over 4,000 architecture students–and these schools have some distinct characteristics compared with ACSA’s U.S. based members. For example, whereas just over 40% of U.S. based ACSA member schools are at private institutions, Canadian schools of architecture are all in publicly funded institutions. All twelve schools offer the M.Arch rather than the B.Arch as the professional degree, even though the B.Arch is also eligible for professional accreditation in Canada. Two Canadian schools (Université de Montréal and Université Laval) teach primarily in French, while Laurentian University is designated as English-French bilingual, and other English-speaking institutions (such as McGill University) offer accommodations for French-language students. In ACSA’s Admissions Survey in spring 2014, Canadian schools reported different trends in applications and deposits than most U.S. regions. And finally, the gender balance in architecture school leadership may be more equitable north of the border.

ACSA member programs in Canada receive their accreditation from the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) rather than U.S. based NAAB, and Canada’s licensure process and voluntary professional organization are distinct from NCARB and the AIA. As such, data on ACSA’s Canadian member schools are often not available in a way that is fully comparable with our U.S. membership. The data presented on this page were therefore shared directly by the Canadian schools, each of whom responded to a survey conducted jointly by ACSA and Canadian Architect magazine earlier this year. A narrative summary of these results, and of a series of interviews conducted with the Canadian heads of architecture schools, is published in Canadian Architect’s October 2014 issue.

Programs, Enrollment, and Faculty

This map of Canada’s twelve schools of architecture shows the concentration of institutions in the country’s population centers in southern Ontario and Québec. All of Canada’s architecture schools offer the professional M.Arch instead of the B.Arch.

As Laurentian University’s first M.Arch class began in September 2013, the school is applying for candidacy status in order to work towards CACB accreditation.

There are just over 1,200 students enrolled in professional M.Arch programs, compared with over 3,000 students enrolled in pre-professional and non-professional undergraduate programs across Canada. In several schools, the pre-professional undergraduate and professional M.Arch program together comprise the professional course of study accredited by CACB.

Post-professional (non-professional graduate) programs are offered at only a handful of Canadian institutions and tend to be small, with a total of 123 students nationwide.

Laurentian University is aiming for a total of 280 Bachelor of Architectural Studies students and 120 Master of Architecture students.

While full-time faculty counts are more unambiguous, schools may count part-time faculty in slightly different ways, which may account for some of the variation in part-time faculty counts shown here.

Laurentian University’s program is continuing to grow and is intended to reach a total of 21 faculty members.

Nine of twelve schools of architecture reported that 50% or more of their student bodies are female, and none reported an architecture student body with fewer than 30% female students.

Eight of twelve architecture schools reported that fewer than 10% of their architecture student body is international.

Tuition and Fees

International student tuition in Canada is often much more expensive than tuition for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. In Québec, out-of-province students often pay more tuition than in-province students.

While no tuition for undergraduate architecture programs in Canada exceeds $10K for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, the median cost for international students is over twice this amount.

At the graduate level, the median international tuition is lower, at just over $15K.

Areas of Focus

The areas that most schools indicated as a particular focus were ecological design; history, theory, and criticism; building technologies; and digital fabrication.

Each school was asked to indicate up to eight areas of focus from a list, as shown here.

Areas of focus are sorted top to bottom from most often to least often selected; and schools are sorted left to right from most to least similar to other Canadian schools in their selections. In other words, University of Calgary included the five most selected areas of focus in its list, whereas Université de Montréal most often selected less common areas.

Activities and Student Opportunities

Every Canadian school of architecture indicated that they offer exhibitions/gallery space, a lecture series, and teaching assistantships.

Only four indicated that they offer online non-studio courses, and none indicated that they offer online studio courses (not shown). However, note that this survey did not include Athabasca University, an open, online/distance learning institution in Canada that offers two non-professional degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Architecture.

Each school indicated which activities and opportunities they offer, from a list. Activities and opportunities are sorted top to bottom from most often to least often selected.

Every school has activities and opportunities that were not included in this list. For example, Laurentian University, which serves Canada’s north and emphasizes cultural exchange between French, English, indigenous, and international communities, features elders in residence. University of Calgary, Université de Montréal, and Dalhousie University mentioned short workshops, charrettes, and courses that strategically enhance the student experience in different ways.

Digital and Fabrication Facilities

Every Canadian school of architecture indicated that its digital and fabrication facilities include a computer lab, individual workspaces, large format printer(s), laser cutter(s), and a woodshop.

Each school indicated which digital and fabrication facilities it offers, based on a list.

Many schools have facilities that are not included here; for example, Dalhousie has a concrete and plaster lab and Laurentian has a web lab for working with earth.

ACSA thanks the Canadian schools of architecture for their participation in this data-gathering effort.


Kendall Nicholson
Director of Research + Information