Fall 2024 Application Requirements

All required materials must be submitted through the online application.

1. Online Application

On the application page, enter your program of interest into the search box. Select the program and click "Apply." Please be sure to select the correct degree program:

Master of Architecture (MArch): 3-year or advanced standing professional degree, applicants may have an undergraduate degree in any field. 

Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch): 1-year post-professional degree, applicants must already have a professional degree in architecture.

Master of Arts in Design Criticism (MAD-Crit): 2-year academic degree, applicants may have an undergraduate degree in any field. 

If applying to the MArch/MAD-Crit or MSArch/MAD-Crit joint degree program, two applications must be submitted, one for each program. Indicate the joint program on the "Supplement" page of each application. You will only need to pay the application fee once.

2. Statement of Purpose (750 words maximum)

The statement should address your academic interests and objectives and why the specific approach at UIC is the right match for your graduate study. Tell us what fascinates you, why it fascinates you, and how we can help you learn more about it.

Statement Do’s:

  • Refer to our website, especially the Director’s message, program curriculum and courses, and student work, before writing the statement to determine how what we offer can support your interests.
  • If switching from one academic or career path to another, tell us why.

Statement Don’t:

  • Write an autobiography. We want to know what you think about and how you think, not what you’ve done. If you’d like to share what you’ve done, append a brief resume or CV to the statement.

3. Short Response (500 words maximum)

Write a response to a question related to your ideas about architecture. There are multiple questions to choose from; you may select which one you would like to respond to. View short response prompts here.

4. Three letters of recommendation

For applicants with architecture backgrounds, we prefer that at least two of the three required letters come from architecture faculty. For applicants with non-architecture backgrounds, letters from faculty who can assess academic abilities and potential for graduate school are the most useful. Letters from employers are also acceptable, though not preferred.

Applicants must enter the name and contact information of each recommender in the online application. This will prompt an automated email to each recommender with further instructions. Applicants can re-send these prompts and monitor the status of their recommendations through the application portal.

5. Transcripts and prerequisite courses

Academic records from all previous schools attended must be uploaded in the application. Specific requirements are outlined by the Graduate Admissions Office. Applicants with international transcripts should review the International Admissions page. Questions about transcripts should be sent to Graduate Admissions.

Additional prerequisite courses may be required for students from a non-architecture background. See our prerequisites page for more information.

6. Nonrefundable $70 application fee

Fee waivers are only available under specific circumstances. Unfortunately, no waivers are available for financial hardship. An additional international credential evaluation fee will be required for any applicant submitting international coursework.

7. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test results (General Test only)

GRE scores are not required but will be accepted for applicants who believe them to be beneficial to their overall application package. Learn more at www.gre.org.

8. International applicant requirements

If you are an international applicant or if you earned your undergraduate degree outside of the United States, visit our International Admission page for further instruction.

9. Portfolio

The admission portfolio must be submitted digitally as a single PDF uploaded to the online application. Portfolios may not exceed 32 MB. View the Admission Portfolio Guide for further guidance.

MArch and MS portfolios:

The portfolio gives the admissions committee a sense of each applicant’s aesthetic sensibility and intellectual curiosity. It may include any visual, design, or creative work, such as paintings, collages, freehand drawings, sketches, photographs, sculpture, furniture design, and so on. Applicants with architecture backgrounds should focus on studio work completed in an academic setting, even if the applicant has professional work experience. Both in the works themselves and in the inquiry or argument framed through their presentation, applicants should exhibit their potential to develop original design work.

Individual work is preferred, but when including group work the applicant's role and contribution should be carefully noted. The portfolio should not document CAD drafting skills or technical coursework that is independent from design work. Work from an architecture office, such as construction drawings or renderings, should not be included unless the applicant had a significant role in the design process.

Applicants without an architecture background may consider attending programs like our TryArch workshop or YArch Summer Program to build upon or strengthen the portfolio.

MAD-Crit portfolios:

The portfolio should primarily contain written work and demonstrate variety and range. Include at least one academic writing sample with footnotes. Other samples can also be academic, or they may include reviews, interviews, creative writing, or other types of written and/or visual essays.

The overall design of the portfolio should demonstrate a level of thinking, care, and consistency that is commensurate with the applicant's written work. Aspects of the portfolio that should be carefully considered and consistent throughout include page size and proportion, orientation, layout, font style, title pages, use of color, and so on. Design work or other kinds of creative work may be included as a supplement to the written work.