About CAUS

THE MISSION of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies is to understand, through acts of creation, design, construction, and analysis, the forces that give meaning and value to the built environments that shape our lives.

Our highly ranked and competitive undergraduate and graduate degree programs are taught by internationally known faculty who care about student success.  Through our four schools, we offer 11 undergraduate majors, 7 minors, and 13 graduate degree programs.

Throughout the curriculum, students are exposed to a variety of interdisciplinary and collaborative experiences. Our students gain hands-on experience through research, field studies, internships, and class projects that expand skills and broaden horizons.

Our degree programs are based in Blacksburg and Alexandria, Virginia, and the School of Public and International Affairs offers courses in Richmond, Virginia. We also have an international location in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland through Virginia Tech’s Steger Center for International Scholarship.

Many more international experiences are available through an average of 10 available study abroad opportunities each year as well as a diverse, international faculty, and a student body that hails from more than 30 countries.

A student works on a drawing

The School of Architecture + Design

Architecture, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture

With degree programs that are regularly ranked among the best in the country, the School of Architecture + Design provides design education from bachelor’s through Ph.D. We offer Architecture and Landscape Architecture graduate degree programs through the Blacksburg, Virginia, campus as well as our Old Town Alexandria location, the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center. We offer bachelor’s degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, and interior design in Blacksburg.

Top ranked among “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools”
(2017-18 DesignIntelligence undergraduate programs):

  • #4 Architecture program (undergraduate)
  • #5 Interior Design program (undergraduate)
  • #15 Landscape Architecture program (undergraduate)
  • #11 Architecture program (graduate)
  • #3 “Most Admired by Architecture Deans and Department Heads”
  • 3 of the nation’s “25 Most Admired Educators”

The Myers-Lawson School of Construction

Building Construction, Construction Engineering and Management

The Myers-Lawson School of Construction encompasses programs from the top-ranked College of Architecture and Urban Studies and College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and offers a variety of graduate and undergraduate construction-related degrees that come together and allow for exchange and communication across college, department, and program boundaries to prepare graduates for careers in the construction industry. The school is the administrative home to Construction Engineering and ManagementBuilding Construction, the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program and is closely tied to the Program in Real Estate, which spans six colleges.

  • 100% student job placement before graduation
  • Construction job growth fastest of all occupations (U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics)
  • High average starting salaries for graduates: $66,350/year
Students in a classroom

The School of Public and International Affairs

Environmental Policy and Planning, Government and International Affairs, Public Administration and Policy, Urban Affairs and Planning

The School of Public and International Affairs is preparing students to model the practice of good governance that we expect of government, to offer insight and support for the most pressing policy questions of our time, and to be a voice for public service and the importance of research and knowledge in the policy-making process.

The school is composed of three dynamic academic programs, Center for Public Administration and PolicyGovernment and International Affairs, and Urban Affairs and Planning, across three Virginia locations: Blacksburg, Alexandria, and Richmond. Many SPIA courses take advantage of distance-learning technologies in order to make classes available in multiple locations.

Many of the graduate degree programs, especially in the National Capital Region, are designed to accommodate the busy schedule of the working professional.

  • #22 in the nation for Public Management Administration (U.S. News & World Report)
  • #34 nationally for Graduate Public Affairs (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Top 25 nationally in Urban Planning (Planetizen)
  • #15 Most Innovative Public Service School (Best Value Schools)
A female student works on an interactive sculpture project

The School of Visual Arts

Art History, Creative Technologies, Studio Art, Visual Communication Design

The School of Visual Arts offers an expansive undergraduate and graduate education in fine art, art history, creative technologies, and graphic design. Our programs enable students to combine technical expertise with critical and creative inquiry. The Studio Art and Graphic Design BFA programs offer an inclusive approach to educating artists and designers, implementing new and established technologies that are uniquely available at Virginia Tech. Our Art History BA educates students to place visual culture in its broader historical context. At the graduate degree level, we offer an MFA in Creative Technologies and a cross-departmental MA in Material Culture and Public Humanities.

  • #20 Top National Public Animation School (Animation Career Review)
  • #16 Top East Coast Animation School (Animation Career Review)
  • #18 Best Visual Communications Degree Program (Graphic Design Degree Hub)

Design Intelligence ranks architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture programs. U.S. News and World Report ranks public administration and public affairs programs. Graphic Design Degree Hub Highlights Top 20 Best Visual Communications Degree Programs and Animation by the Animation Career Review. Urban Affairs and Planning rankings by Planetizen. SPIA ranking by U.S. News and World Report.

CAUS Fact Sheet

Blacksburg, Alexandria, Arlington, and Richmond, Virginia, and Riva San Vitale, Switzerland


  • 22 degrees from 4 schools
  • Bachelor’s to Ph.D.
  • 11 baccalaureate degrees
  • 11 graduate degrees

2,285 students from 35 states and 30 countries; 275 faculty and staff from 16 nations


  • 77% of CAUS students receive some form of financial aid
  • 56% receive scholarships and grants


  • National top-ranked college by U.S. News and World Report and DesignIntelligence
  • National “Diversity Champion” for exceptional cultural diversity and inclusion (METROPOLIS)
  • Award-winning students, faculty, and alumni (e.g., American Institute of Architects, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, International Housewares Awards for Lasting Achievement, Public Service, Most Admired Educator, New Faculty Teaching, Design Innovation, and Young Architect)