Graduate Admissions

ADMISSIONS FAQS

Before You Apply

I won't graduate from my undergraduate college until May 2022. Can I still apply for Fall 2022?

Yes, as long as you will graduate before courses start, you can apply before graduation. If you are admitted, before matriculating in the fall, you will need to send us a final transcript (or course-by-course evaluation) from your undergraduate school showing your degree received.

Are your programs considered STEM fields of study?

“STEM” refers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, an acronym popularized by the National Science Foundation. Several of our programs are STEM designated. They include the Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Design (Advanced Architectural Design, Environmental Building Design, Historic Preservation, and Robotics and Autonomous Systems), Master of Environmental Building Design, Master of City Planning, Master of Science in Historic Preservation, Master of Landscape Architecture, and Master of Urban Spatial Analytics programs.

Do I need a background in Architecture to apply to the Master of Architecture program or in Landscape Architecture to apply to the Master of Landscape Architecture program?

No. Our three-and-one-half year Master of Architecture beginning in the summer and three-year Master of Landscape Architecture first professional degree programs do not require a previous background in those fields 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 essential part of your application. (see Portfolio Requirements)

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?

ARCHITECTURE
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 or online. 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 successfully complete the prerequisite(s) before entering the program in the fall. For a list of the prerequisites, go here. We strongly recommend that you fulfill as many of these prerequisites as possible before you are admitted. It is difficult to take multiple courses during the summer, especially Physics and History of Architecture.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Before entering the Master of Science in Historic Preservation, students must have proficiency in computer-aided drafting (AutoCAD). Those electing to pursue the concentration in architectural conservation should have at least one college-level course in chemistry or equivalent before beginning the curriculum. Please contact the Chair with any questions.

Will the AP classes I took in high school fulfill these prerequisites?

If you have received college credit for these courses (scored a 4 or 5 on the AP exam) and the credits appear on your undergraduate transcript, we will allow these classes to fulfill the prerequisites.

Application Process

What are the application deadlines and fees?

The deadline for application to be submitted and supporting materials to be received for the M.S. in Architecture and the Ph.D. programs is December 15. The deadline for application and supporting materials for the Master of Architecture, MSD in Advanced Architectural Design, MSD in Environmental Building Design, MSD in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, and MEBD is January 4. The deadline for all other programs is January 11. The fee for applications is $80.

Is there a different application for international students?

There is only one application which can be used by U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international applicants.

When should I take the GRE?

Normally, GRE scores must be received by the Office of Admissions on or before the deadline for the program to which you are applying, and you should allow sufficient time for scores to reach us. Go here for a list of programs that require the GRE.

Where should my test scores be sent?

Your test scores should be sent directly to the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design Office of Admissions. The institution code for Penn, for both the GRE and the TOEFL, is 2926. Be sure to select GRADUATE school! To submit your IELTS scores, please email a copy of your score report or TRF number to admissions@design.upenn.edu. We will verify the scores with IELTS and add the report to your application record; you do not need to have a hard copy sent to our office.

Is there a cut-off score for the GPA, GRE, IELTS, PTE Academic, or TOEFL exams?

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, a PTE Academic score of at least 68, or a band score of 7.0 for the IELTS Academic. You should note that many other factors are taken into consideration during the admissions process, not just test scores or grades.

I don’t have a GPA from my undergraduate school OR my school doesn’t calculate GPAs. What should I put as my GPA?

We will look at your transcripts and/or course-by-course evaluations individually to assess your performance. You don’t need to fill in the GPA if you attended a school that doesn’t put your GPA on the transcript. And, if you are submitting a course-by-course evaluation from WES or Educational Perspectives, they will provide us with a GPA. If you'd like, you may try using the tools in these sites to help you calculate your GPA:
http://www.wes.org/students/igpacalc.asp (requires payment)
http://www.collegeboard.com/html/academicTracker-howtoconvert.html

I can’t upload my transcripts/resume/personal statement/writing samples! All I get are error messages.

It is possible your Upload File is larger than the specified size. If your file is either too large or has the wrong extension, please downsize the file or change the file extension. 2500 KB is the upload limit for transcripts/resume/personal statement/writing samples. Acceptable extensions are .doc, .docx, .gif, .jpg, .pdf, .png, or .tif format.

When I preview my portfolio, the pages are not in the correct format. Should I worry?

We are unable to view the portfolios for applications that have not yet been submitted. We recommend submitting your application even though your portfolio looks a little skewed. It's likely that it will look correct on our end. After you submit your application, let us know, and we will double check the appearance of your portfolio.

Do official transcripts need to arrive at the Weitzman School or be postmarked by the deadline?

We are only requiring that you upload transcripts into your application before you submit it. Then, if you are admitted and decide to attend Penn, we will ask for official transcripts and/or course-by-course evaluations to be submitted before you can register for classes.

My recommender wants to send the letter of recommendation through regular mail. Is this ok?

No, all letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically through the CollegeNET system. If your recommender refuses to use the online system, you might consider looking for an alternate recommender.

Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

If you'd like, you can submit an additional letter of recommendation for a total of four.

I know I submitted my GRE/TOEFL, but it is not showing up as received on my application checklist.

Our system matches up test scores sent electronically through ETS by your application name, birthdate, and gender 24 hours AFTER you submit your application. If there are any discrepancies in this information between your application and your test form, it may result in delays in matching as we will have to manually look up your scores. If you already know there will be a discrepancy, please let us know by email.

I’m reapplying to the Weitzman School. Do I need to resubmit all my application material?

If you are applying within two years of your original application, you must submit a new application form, application fee, portfolio (if applicable), letters of recommendation, and uploaded transcripts of any additional academic work completed since the last application was filed. We should be able to use the test scores you originally submitted. If it has been more than two years since you applied, you will need to submit all new forms and supporting material.

I'm currently enrolled in another graduate school. Can I transfer credits?

We do not allow degree credits to be counted for work completed at another institution; however, you may be considered 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.

Does the Weitzman School have any sample portfolios?

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 in and of itself.

Are interviews required?

Not all programs require or even allow video interviews; however, some of our programs have optional video or other types of interviews. The Master of City Planning, MSD-Advanced Architectural Design. MSD-Environmental Building Design, MFA, MUSA, PhD in City and Regional Planning, and Master of Landscape Architecture programs all encourage their applicants to submit an on-line interview through the ApplyWeb system. After you submit your application, you will receive an interview invitation. If you don’t receive an invitation after submitting your application to one of these programs, please check your spam mail before contacting us. You will need a webcam and mic to do the interview, which is recorded and reviewed by the Admissions Committee. For best results, we suggest using a computer with hard-wired internet connection, not wifi. While this interview is optional, we do strongly recommend it so that the faculty can get to know you better. If you encounter any technical problems please contact Help@applyweb.com.

Other programs may contact you for informal interviews, either through telephone, Skype, in person, or other method in order to learn more about your interests and skills.

Can I apply for more than one program in the Weitzman School at the same time?

Yes. With our online application, you can apply to a dual degree program. To do this, you must apply to the first degree program (preferably the one with the earliest deadline) and submit that application. Once this application is submitted, you can fill out and submit the second application. The application fee for the second program will be waived. Please note that applicants to one of the MSDs (Advanced Architectural Design, Environmental Building Design, or Robotics and Autonomous Systems) may not apply to another MSD program.

How about a degree plus certificate?

Once you are admitted to, and matriculate in, a degree program, you can apply for a certificate program after you arrive in the fall.

May I have my application materials returned to me?

The application and supporting material submitted to the Weitzman School become our property and will not be returned to the applicant under any circumstances.

How do I know if you received my application materials? (test scores, transcripts, etc)

Once you have submitted your application you will have access to a checklist. Please log in to Your ApplyWeb account and click ‘View My Checklist’. This will allow you to see what we have and have not yet received for your application. Please note that it may take a few days for materials such as test scores to be noted as received in the checklist.

Admissions Notification

When will I receive my notification?

Admissions decisions will be available online on March 10 at 12 noon EDT. If you are receiving financial aid, you can view and/or download your financial aid letter by clicking on the "Financial Aid" button after admissions decisions are available. Candidates must let us know if they accept our offer of admission by April 15.

Is it possible to defer?

Some departments will permit you to defer under certain circumstances; however, you should check with the individual department to determine its policy.

When would I hear about financial aid?

If you are being awarded a scholarship, your financial aid letter will be posted on March 10 along with your admission letter.

I've been put on the Wait List; what does this mean?

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.

Where do most students live? Are there dorms?

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 http://cms.business-services.upenn.edu/residential-services.

Financial Aid

How do I apply for financial aid?

Scholarships are given out based on merit. You do not apply for these scholarships; rather, you are considered for them during the admissions review. The exception is the Diversity Scholarship for which you apply in the admissions application. U.S. citizens and permanent residents who wish to be considered for Federal loans and/or work-study should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form no later than February 15.

I would like to apply for a Diversity Scholarship but the box doesn’t allow me to input my whole statement.

You will need to keep your statement as brief as possible. Please pay attention to the character counter and limit yourself to a short paragraph. No exceptions!

Do you offer financial aid to international students?

Yes, international students are eligible for scholarships.

What types of aid do you offer?

We offer scholarships to our students based on merit, determined by the faculty during the admissions review process. In addition, we offer special Dean's Diversity Scholarships to students whose backgrounds and experiences demonstrate the ability to contribute to increasing socioeconomic and multicultural diversity awareness at the Weitzman School of Design. he Moelis Scholars Program provides financial and other support to students in the field of urban planning, particularly those who intend to pursue careers in public/private development or community and economic development. For more information about scholarships, go here. Our scholarships are renewable for a student's entire career, provided full-time status and good academic standing are maintained in the Weitzman School of Design.

Will my loans cover living expenses as well as tuition?

If you are eligible for Federal loans and you show sufficient need, you can apply for loans to cover your tuition, health insurance, and living expenses including room and board.

Does tuition go up every year?

The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania set the tuition for the upcoming academic year in the spring. It does typically increase by about 4% each year.

I missed the February 15 FAFSA deadline. Am I now disqualified from being considered for Federal aid?

This is a recommended deadline. If you’d like to find out what Federal aid you are eligible for at the time that you receive your admission offer, you should aim for this deadline.

Where is my financial aid letter?

Your financial aid letter is SEPARATE from your admissions notification letter. If you are receiving financial aid, you should click on the "Financial Aid" button in your portal.

How can I get a Teaching Assistantship?

After you are admitted, you should contact the Chair of your department to request consideration for a teaching assistantship. Some departments offer TAships to entering students, others do not.

I have questions about loans. What should I do?

There are many resources if you have loan questions. We first suggest visiting Penn's Student Registration and Financial Services (SRFS) Loan FAQ website. Another great resource is the Federal Student Aid website. Finally, you can contact the Graduate and Professional Student Aid team at SRFS by email at graduateaid@pobox.upenn.edu and they can assist you with your questions.