See a sample YArch schedule

YArch runs for four weeks during the summer. The program has an intensive and rigorous, full-time schedule that includes weekdays 10am - 6pm and some evenings. Outside of meeting times, additional work is expected to be completed during open studio time or over the weekends. YArch activities are coordinated to provide a well-rounded experience; for this reason, no one may participate in less than the entire program.

Typically, mornings consist of tutorials, discussions, and portfolio development. During these sessions, faculty will introduce students to key concepts in the history and theory of architecture as well as analog modeling and digital graphic techniques. Most afternoons are dedicated to working in the studio. During the week, students attend lectures by School faculty, have pin-up reviews with guest critics, visit design firms, have group lunches, and take architecturally relevant field trips in and around Chicago. Participants are expected to work on projects and readings over the weekends.



Studio supplies: Upon arrival, each student receives a set of studio supplies. These materials equip students for basic drawing and 3D exercises. (Please note that students may find it necessary to purchase additional materials for individual studio projects.)

Books and readings: A required and recommended reading list will be provided to students before YArch begins. During the course of the program, faculty will assign required or optional readings as handouts or provide access to these materials through the UIC library.

Printing: School of Architecture printers and large-format plotters will be available to YArch participants when printing is required.

Events: YArch tuition also includes tickets to all scheduled tours, events, and lectures. Lunch or dinner will be provided in conjunction with these activities one to two times each week.


Additional Costs and Considerations

Sketchbook: Participants should purchase a sketchbook for drawing exercises and notetaking. The sketchbook should be securely bound, have plain paper pages, and measure no larger than 8.5"x11" and no smaller than 4"x6". Moleskine sketchbooks are popular with both students and faculty.

Transportation: The UIC School of Architecture is located just southwest of Chicago's downtown, the "Loop." The campus is easily accessible via the CTA's Blue Line (UIC/Halsted stop) as well as many city buses. Additional field trips, firm visits, etc. will take place off campus. Participants should expect to travel to these sites via public transportation. Students will sometimes travel as a group and sometimes be responsible to arrive at a site independently. Although parking is available on campus, YArch cannot waive parking lot or garage fees. A monthly pass for campus parking is currently $94 (subject to change). Additional information about parking on campus is included in the packet of information sent to each admitted student.

Materials: Participants may need to pay for some additional materials as needed for their studio work.

Software and computing: Students will need to utilize a personal laptop equipped with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign for the duration of YArch. Other software may be required. Student discounts are often available to purchase this software. Additional details will be provided after students are admitted.

Housing: YArch does not provide housing, but participants often take advantage of UIC's on-campus Intern Housing Program. Applicants who would like guidance for finding other housing in Chicago should contact YArch administration as soon as possible in the application process.

Meals: Lunch or dinner will be provided one to two times per week. Dining options on and around the UIC campus are plentiful, and a refrigerator and microwave are available for YArch use in the studio. Admitted students will be provided with a list of recommended dining options in the area.


Withdrawl and Refund Policy

The School will give a 50% refund to YArch participants if they wish to withdraw on or before the third day of the program. After the third day, no refunds will be given.


Frequently Asked Questions

I don't have any architecture experience. Can I participate?
Absolutely! YArch is designed for those without previous architecture experience, including current college students and working professionals. The only prerequisite is your interest.
I do have architecture experience. Can I participate?
Yes. Students who have taken some architecture courses during undergraduate studies or even those who are majoring in architecture are included in YArch as well. In the past, we've seen current undergraduate students who had taken a few architecture courses and chose to do YArch before deciding whether to change their majors; we've seen undergraduate architecture majors who wanted to keep up their work through the summer break; and we've seen participants with some architecture experience who wanted to get a feel for UIC's approach to the discipline.
What are you looking for in the examples of creative work within the application?
YArch aims to put together a diverse group of participants from various backgrounds. Applicants should submit work that represents their best creative output, work that demonstrates aptitude, and work that demonstrates their interests and personality. Don't worry about including anything related to architecture or advanced-level creative work if you don't have that kind of experience. We just want to get some sense of who you are! We'll accept almost any kind of creative work--drawing, painting, photography, graphic design, sculpture, woodworking, jewelry making, etc.
Are any specific math or engineering skills necessary? What about computer software skills?
No. The anchor of the YArch program is a studio that builds upon studies and exercises to create a final project. Focus will be on design and communication and not technical skills, although technical issues may be discussed in lectures and case studies. While familiarity with software such as the Adobe Creative Suite may be helpful for participants, faculty will provide tutorials for all computer programs used in each assignment.
Can I work while attending the program? What if I have to miss an event?
The School encourages participants to focus exclusively on YArch for the duration of the program in order to gain its full benefit. Your presence in studio and other activities will help solidify the relationships with your fellow participants and YArch faculty that are a crucial component of the program.
What will I get out of YArch?
YArch provides an introduction to architectural education and practice. YArch's workshops and lectures will offer hand and computer drawing tools for improved graphic communication, exposure to Chicago firms and architects. At the end of the program, participants create pages of a portfolio that can be incorporated into an application for graduate study in architecture or added to an existing body of work.  Students also receive personal evaluations from faculty.
Is there any financial assistance available for YArch?
Unfortunately, the School does not have any scholarship or financial aid available for the YArch program. We try to keep the cost of the program as low as possible to allow greater participation (compared with other equivalent programs). YArch tuition includes most of the required supplies and materials and tickets to scheduled tours, events, and lectures. Lunch or dinner will be provided in conjunction with these activities one to two times per week. The School also offers a weekend architecture program, called TryArch, which costs $200.
Gwen Fullenkamp