1. I do not have a background in architecture. Can I apply to the MArch program?
Yes! The MArch is open to students from any academic background. To qualify for the program, students must have a bachelor's degree in any field (completed or in progress) and three prerequisite courses completed. In some cases, promising applicants who would benefit from some introductory study may be admitted to the program with the recommendation to complete our YArch summer program before beginning graduate coursework.
2. How do I fulfill prerequisite requirements for the MArch program?
Students with an undergraduate degree in architecture do not need to complete any additional prerequisite courses. Students with an undergraduate degree in another field should visit our Graduate Prerequisite Requirements page for further information about the three courses required.
3. If I have a bachelor’s degree in another field, should I apply to UIC’s undergrad architecture program to pursue a second bachelor’s degree or should I apply directly to the graduate program?
We don’t admit students to pursue second bachelor’s degrees in architecture at UIC. Because our undergraduate degree is pre-professional, students who complete it still need to go on to a graduate program to earn a professional degree. We encourage all students who already have a bachelor's degree to instead apply directly to our professional MArch degree, as this is a much shorter path into the profession. Our 3-year MArch degree is open to students from any background. By applying directly to the MArch, you can earn a professional master’s degree in 3 years instead of pursuing a second bachelor’s followed by an MArch, which could take up to 6-7 years in total.
4. I already have a bachelor’s degree in architecture. Can I get advanced standing in the MArch program?
Advanced standing is granted to very few applicants. Those with a prior degree in architecture may be considered for advanced placement into the second year of the MArch if they have a background that includes a minimum of six design studios (eight preferred), upper-level coursework in theory and history equivalent to Arch 531/532, at least one year of architectural and environmental technology, and one year of structures. View the form used to evaluate prior coursework at this link.
Placement in the MArch program is determined on an individual basis with each applicant's portfolio of academic work playing a significant role. The portfolio should include creative design work from previous studios and must demonstrate work that is at a level commensurate with advanced placement. Placement is also based on how well work undertaken at previous schools has covered the content and experience provided in the first year of our program. Through the portfolio review, the admission committee evaluates an applicant's aesthetic sensibility, conceptual thinking, ability to construct a visual or graphic argument, and the quality and sophistication of the work.
Advanced placement is never guaranteed; only 10 percent of applicants with a prior degree in architecture will be placed in the second year of the program. Students are placed where the admission committee thinks they have both the greatest chance of success as well as the greatest chance for future financial support.
5. Can I enroll in the MArch program as a part-time student?
No. The courses in the MArch program are closely intertwined and sequential. Course offerings are arranged for full-time students with most required courses only offered one time per year. Additionally, several course pairings (such as the Arch 553 Studio and Arch 555 Design Development course) must be taken in tandem across one academic year. Because of these factors and others, it's simply not possible to accommodate part-time students in the program.
6. UIC is my first choice. What can I do to compile a strong application?
First, be sure to read through our admission requirements page, which contains specific guidance about how to prepare some of your application materials. The admission committee carefully reviews all application materials to identify each applicant’s potential to succeed in the graduate program. Before applying, you should research the program, seeking to gain an in-depth understanding of how your interests and aesthetics fit the strengths and focus of the school. This knowledge should inform your approach to the application, including how you write your personal statement, what kind of work you choose to include in your portfolio, etc. There are many graduate architecture programs; we want to know why UIC is the right match for you!
In getting to know the program, prospective students are encouraged to attend events at the school, such as the evening lecture series, graduate reviews, spring Portfolio Day, Year End Show, and graduate open houses. It can also be useful (though not required) to plan a one-on-one visit.
7. I have an undergraduate major or some coursework in architecture. Can I transfer credits into the MArch program?
The MArch program does not accept transfer credits. Three-year MArch students must complete 100 credits at UIC; Advanced Standing MArch students must complete 64 credits at UIC. However, if a student has taken a particular course before (usually structures), they may submit a course syllabus, coursework, and transcript to the professor to be considered for a course waiver. Course waivers are rare; they are never granted for studio courses and are unlikely for theory or technology courses.
8. What is the class typical schedule for a graduate student?
View sample schedules for each program below.
9. Can students work while in the program?
Almost all graduate architecture students at UIC take a rigorous full-time course load. When students do work outside of the program, we recommend limiting to 10 hours per week. When possible, we encourage new students to get a feel for the workload in their first semester before committing to any outside work. By focusing fully on school during the academic year, students can make the most of their time in the program, become more competitive for assistantships and scholarships, and further develop themselves as designers. Many students pursue full-time employment or internships during the summer breaks.
10. Does the School of Architecture offer internship or job placement?
The UIC Career Services office offers many resources for students, including an online job board. Within the School of Architecture, we host a Career Fair with approximately 20-30 firms each spring for all School of Architecture students. There are many additional opportunities to network and share work with alumni and professionals in the field during School of Architecture events throughout the year. Faculty are also a good resource for making connections in the field; some students even work or intern directly with faculty members.
11. What do School of Architecture alumni go on to do after graduation?
View a list of recent alumni employment and professional activities.
12. Are your graduate programs designated as STEM programs? Are international graduates of the School of Architecture eligible for STEM OPT extension?
No, none of our graduate degree programs are designated as STEM degrees by the Department of Homeland Security. Graduates of our program may be eligible for up to 12-months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) after graduation. They are not eligible for the extended STEM OPT.
13. Can my graduate application fee be waived?
Fee waivers are only available in a few specific instances, as explained on the Graduate Admissions page. Unfortunately, the University does not provide graduate application fee waivers for financial hardship.
14. What is the acceptance rate for the graduate program?
Admission to the program is competitive. Approximately 40-60 percent of applicants are admitted each year.
15. Is there a minimum undergraduate GPA required for admission?
A minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale is preferred, but this is not a minimum requirement. Students with lower GPAs will be evaluated and may be admitted when other parts of the application are strong. Admitted students with a GPA below 3.00 will typically have one probationary semester to achieve at least a 3.00/4.00 graduate GPA and gain full standing in the program.
16. Are there required minimum scores for the GRE?
The GRE is optional. Applicants are not required to submit scores. When applicants do choose to submit, recommended scores are 153 on both the verbal and quantitative sections and 4.5 on analytical writing. Scores that meet or exceed these minimum recommendations will be a positive component of the application, but lower scores will not discount admission.
17. When will I receive an admission decision? How are decisions communicated?
Decisions are released on a rolling basis beginning in early February through early April. Decision notifications are sent by email and updated in the online application portal.
18. How can I apply for assistantships, tuition waivers, or other scholarships from the School of Architecture?
All applicants who meet our priority January 15 admission deadline are given priority consideration for financial support. A separate aid application is not required. Learn more about this process on our Tuition and Aid page.
19. How do I find out if I have received any financial support?
When applicants are awarded financial support from the School of Architecture, this will be communicated in the initial admission decision email. For students who submit a FAFSA, the Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) typically begins releasing information about federal aid in March.
20. If I'm denied admission, can I receive specific feedback from the admissions committee to improve my application and portfolio?
In some cases, we will provide recommendations for improvement to applicants who were not admitted to our program. However, because the admission season is quite busy, we are typically unable to provide any feedback until after the April 15 decision deadline. Direct feedback to denied applicants is not guaranteed.
21. I am currently an out-of-state resident. Is it possible to change my residency status?
To be considered a resident, you must live in Illinois for non-education purposes for 12 consecutive months prior to enrolling at UIC. Students who believe they were incorrectly categorized may petition for a residency change. Learn more on the Admissions website.
22. If I am admitted but cannot attend for the fall term, can I defer my admission?
Admission deferrals are granted only when there is a legitimate need to defer. Deferral requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Financial aid offers cannot be deferred and will be reconsidered on an annual basis. Students who are granted a deferral can only defer to the following fall semester. It is not possible to begin in the spring semester.