For answers to common problems that applicants come across, go to our troubleshooting page.
ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY
Q: I won't graduate from my undergraduate college until May 2014. Can I still apply for Fall 2014?
A: Yes. If you are admitted, you will need to send us a final transcript from your undergraduate school showing your undergraduate degree received before matriculating in the fall.
Q: Do I need a background in Architecture to apply to the Master of Architecture program?
A: No. Our three-year Master of Architecture professional degree does not require a previous background in architecture, although you must hold a four-year bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree before entering the program. It is a good idea to take some drawing and/or design studios prior to applying in order to put together a portfolio, which is an important part of your application. (see Architecture Portfolio Requirements)
Q: Do I need to take specific undergraduate courses before entering my degree program? Can I apply for admission if I haven't yet taken these courses?
A: The Master of Architecture professional degree does require that you take specific courses before entering the program. If you haven't taken the prerequisites during your undergraduate program, you can take them at any accredited college or university. If you have not taken the required courses at the time you are admitted into the Master of Architecture program, you would be admitted on the condition that you fulfill the prerequisite(s) before entering the program in the fall. Students entering the Master of Science in Historic Preservation should possess drafting proficiency; those electing the concentration in building and material conservation should have at least one college-level course in chemistry. For more information, please review the prerequisites on the Prerequisites page.
Q: What are the application deadlines and fees?
A: The deadline for application for the MS in Architecture and the PhD programs is December 13. The deadline for application and supporting materials for the Master of Architecture programs is January 2. The deadline for all other programs is January 14. The fee for applications is $80.
Q: Is there a different application for international students?
A: There is only one application, which can be used by U.S. citizens, permanent residents and international applicants.
Q: When should I take the GRE?
A: GRE scores must be received by the Office of Admissions on or before the deadline for the program to which you are applying. Please allow sufficient time for scores to reach us. We have no preference for the old or new GRE.
Q: Where should my test scores be sent?
A: These scores must be sent directly from IELTS or ETS to the School of Design Office of Admissions. The institution code for the GRE is 2926 and the TOEFL is 2926 as well.
Q: Is there a cut-off score for the GPA, GRE, IELTS Academic or TOEFL exams?
A: We do not have a cut-off for the GPA or GRE scores although we prefer to see at least a 3.3 or above for the GPA, 160 or above for the verbal GRE, 148 or above for the quantitative section, and 4.5 or above for the analytical writing section. Most departments require a TOEFL score of 100 or higher (internet-based) or 600 or higher (paper-based) in order for candidates to be admitted unconditionally or a band score of 7.5 for the IELTS Academic. You should note that many factors are taken into consideration during the admissions process, not just test scores or grades.
Q: Do official transcripts need to arrive at the School of Design or be postmarked by the deadline?
A: All application materials and supporting documents must be received by the Office of Admissions on or before the appropriate application deadline. This is NOT a postmark deadline.
Q: I'm currently enrolled in another graduate school. Can I transfer credits?
A: We do not allow degree credits to be counted for work completed at another institution; however, you may apply for advanced standing into the Master of Architecture professional degree program if you have completed the equivalent of our first year of the M.Arch. program in another graduate architecture school. The amount of advanced standing, if any, would be determined by the Admissions Committee during the admissions process.
Q: Does the School of Design have any sample portfolios?
A: No, we do not have any sample portfolios. A wide variety of design work and portfolio styles are submitted; there is no one type of correct or successful portfolio. In the case of Architecture and Landscape Architecture applicants, the portfolio is considered a design project.
Q: Are interviews required?
A: Interviews are not required, although you are welcome and encouraged to visit the school. You should contact the office of the program or department to which you are applying to set up an appointment to meet with faculty and/or students.
Q: Can I apply for more than one program in the School of Design at the same time?
A: Yes. With our on-line application, you can apply to a dual degree program or a degree program with a certificate. You do not need to submit more than one form and fee, nor do you need to submit duplicates of your supporting materials.
Q: May I have my application materials returned to me?
A: The application and supporting material submitted to the School of Design become our property and will not be returned to the applicant under any circumstances with the exception of Fine Arts DVD portfolios which may be returned to applicants if return postage is provided.
Q: When will I receive my notification?
A: Admissions decisions will be available on line on March 14 at 12 noon EST. Financial aid information is included in the on-line notification letter. Students must let us know if they accept our offer of admission by April 15.
Q: Is it possible to defer?
A: Some departments will permit you to defer under certain circumstances; however, you should check with the individual department to determine its policy. The Departments of Architecture, City Planning and Department of Fine Arts do not permit deferrals and you would be required to reapply if you are admitted but unable to attend. If you reapply within two years of the original application, your application materials will still be on file.
Q: When would I hear about financial aid?
A: If you submit all the appropriate financial aid materials, your financial aid package will be included in your notification letter, available on-line on March 14.
Q: I've been put on the Wait List; what does this mean?
A: We are often not able to admit all of our qualified applicants into each degree program. We admit a certain number of applicants straight into the degree program, then put some on a wait list. After April 15, when we have heard from the first group, we will start to admit people from the wait list if necessary to attain full enrollment.
Q: Where do most students live? Are there dorms?
A: Most students live off-campus, either in West Philadelphia (University City) or in downtown Philadelphia (Center City). The University of Pennsylvania Office of Residential Living has dormitories available to graduate students. For more information, go to www.business-services.upenn.edu/housing.