Master of Architecture Admissions Requirements

Academic Preparation

1. In order to be considered for admission to the school, all applicants must have fulfilled a minimum of 45 credit hours of general studies in the arts, humanities and/or science at their home institution.

2. All applicants must have, at the time of first registration, an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Information may be obtained from the Graduate Record Examination, Educational Testing Service, Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08540 (Web site: www.gre.org/atglance.html).

3. Applicants who have no prior background in architecture must complete a course in architectural graphic presentation (this could be one term of architectural studio or a studio in the visual arts such as drawing, painting, or sculpture) as a prerequisite for the Core Studio Sequence, before first registering in the M.Arch Program.

4. To fulfill the prerequisite for the History/Theory Course Sequence, all applicants must have completed a 3-point survey course in architectural history at an accredited college or university dealing with any of the following periods: classical to Renaissance, Renaissance to modern, or modern.

5. To fulfill the prerequisites for the Building Technologies Course Sequence, all applicants must have completed a 3-point course in general physics or two 3-point calculus courses at an accredited college or university.

In addition, a reading knowledge of a modern foreign language is suggested.


DEADLINE:  December 15  (11:59pm EST) 

1. On-line application (https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=COL-ARCH)*
2. Application Fee ($75.00 US)*
3. Three letters of recommendation*
4. Personal Statement*
5. Transcripts in English*
6. Portfolio (submitted by mail, postmarked by application deadline)
7. GRE  (Minimum score:  150 Verbal)
8. International Students Only: TOEFL  (Minimum score: 100 IBT, 250 CBT, 600 PBT)
*  indicates materials that should be submitted online

Download the M.ARCH Checklist of Required Materials

Placement into Studio Sequence

Students who are admitted into the M.Arch. Program are informed in their letters of admission of the level at which they will enter the Core Studio Sequence. Based on the evidence submitted in the portfolio, the student’s status in relation to the prerequisites and requirements of the studio sequence is determined. Placement into a more advanced studio is not done by application or petition, but is determined by a faculty committee during the admissions process. A limited number of students may receive advanced standing points for Architecture A4001 and A4002—Core studio, I and II, thereby reducing the required studio sequence to two years. After the student’s status has been determined by the M.Arch. Committee on Admission, it is not subject to further review by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. No subsequent petitions for advanced standing in design studio courses are considered. Students who are placed into advanced studios should consult with the admissions office about their curriculum.

Transferring Academic Credit

Students who have completed acceptable architecture course work prior to entering the M.Arch Program may apply for advanced standing credit or course waivers in nonstudio courses. No requests for advanced standing credit are considered until official copies of relevant transcripts have been submitted to the Office of Architecture Admissions.

There are two situations in which one may receive advanced standing in the M.Arch Program:
(1) a student who is admitted into the second year of the M.Arch Program may receive advanced standing for the first-year courses including the two design studios (potentially 36 points);
(2) a student admitted into the first year with an undergraduate degree in architecture may receive credit for some courses; credit will be evaluated on an individual basis (maximum 9 points).

Information regarding the procedure for students who wish to petition for advanced standing or course waiver is available at the time of first registration in September. Students may receive the approvals from faculty or directors at any time after enrollment. Official transfer of credit by the Columbia University registrar, however, cannot be entered on the transcript until one year of full-time enrollment in the M.Arch Program has been completed. Advanced standing forms are available in the Office of the Dean of Admissions and should be returned there for review.

Petitions for advanced standing credit in nonstudio courses are normally reviewed by a faculty member teaching the equivalent course within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Advanced standing credit is awarded only for courses in which students have received a grade of C or better. In some cases, faculty members may ask to see examples of previous course work. Students are advised to have course descriptions and previous course work on hand at September registration to facilitate planning an academic program with an adviser.

Required documentation for advanced placement normally includes official course transcripts, catalog course descriptions, and at least one of the following: a course syllabus, complete course notes, or a complete set of tests, homework, and course-project documentation.

There are three circumstances under which courses can be waived:
(1) the student presents evidence of professional experience in related subject matter;
(2) the student passes a formal examination on the subject (with the approval of the course instructor)
(3) the student presents evidence of having passed relevant courses at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Because waivers do not carry point or course credit, elective courses must be taken to fulfill the point requirements for the M.Arch degree. (Students waived from AT2, AT3, AT4 or AT5 must take a Building Technologies elective for each course waived.)

Click here for the Online Application

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