Master of Architecture: Admissions

Admission is competitive and application requirements differ by degree program. We encourage applications from students with solid academic backgrounds who have earned or will earn at least a bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States, or the equivalent of this degree in another country. As a minimum admission standard, the University of Maryland expects candidates to have a "B" average, or 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, in a program of study resulting in a bachelor's degree.

You may apply for admission to the University of Maryland during or after your final year of undergraduate study, but you must furnish proof of graduation before the end of your first term of enrollment at the university.

Learn more about the Master of Architecture.

Profile of Applicants

The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation is a diverse and welcoming academic environment. Applicants to graduate programs come to us from many different backgrounds and walks of life. We celebrate this diversity and believe it contributes to our strength as an academic institution. 

Recent analysis of the school’s demographics illustrate that the gender breakdown in architecture is split 50/50 male/female, breaking long-standing trends in a profession that was historically dominated by men. Likewise, 40% of our students identify themselves as coming from under-represented groups. In recent years the state of Maryland has proven itself as a welcoming and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ community; the School and University are no exception. 

Many graduate students come to us directly from their undergraduate institutions. Others come to us after taking time to work in the design professions or in another field. It is not unusual for individuals to return to architecture school after an entire career in another field. We have had successful applicants from law, medicine, business, and even a NASA rocket scientist! Whatever your background you will find the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation to be an engaging and multi-faceted place to study.

Deadline

The deadline for Fall 2022 applications to the Master of Architecture was January 19, 2022.

We seek to notify applicants of their status by mid-March.

Fall 2023 deadlines will be announced in summer. 

Admission Requirements

Applications with these academic qualifications will be considered by the admissions committee:

  • Candidates with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree should apply to Path A - Advanced Standing program.

  • Candidates with a four-year baccalaureate in (B.A. degree in architecture, B.S. degree in environmental design, or other related degree type) should apply to Path A - Advanced Standing program.

  • Candidates with a four-year baccalaureate (B.A., B.S., B.F.A., etc.) degree in a major other than architecture from an accredited college or university who successfully complete specified prerequisites (see Path B Prerequisites below) should apply to the Path B program.

  • Candidates with a NAAB-accredited Bachelor of Architecture or Master of Architecture, who desire to engage in a post-professional degree should apply to the Master of Science in Architecture program.

The admissions committee reserves the right to evaluate all applicants for placement based upon prior coursework, transcript, and portfolio review.

 

Master of Architecture, Path A - Advanced Standing

The Path A Advanced Standing degree track is designed for students who have completed the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (or equivalent major) degree and meet coursework requirements listed below: 

4 - Architectural Design Studios (6 credits each)
1 - Building Materials and Assemblies Course (3-4 credits)
2 - Structural Systems Courses (3-4 credits each)
1 - Environmental Systems Courses (3-4 credits each)
2 - History of World Architecture Courses (3 credits each)

 

Applicants with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, or other non-professional degree engaging the discipline of architecture (who may have taken some, but not all of the above courses) are also encouraged to apply to the Path A program.

 

Master of Architecture, Path B

The requirements for candidates with a four-year degree in a major other than architecture are:

  • One semester of college-level calculus, or successful high-school advanced-placement (AP) calculus exam

  • One semester of college-level laboratory physics or successful high-school advanced-placement (AP) physics exam

  • Recommended: One college-level course in freehand drawing 

Prerequisites must be completed by the time of matriculation to the University of Maryland.

Applicants who have not yet completed the prerequisites should describe their plans to complete them in their Statement of Goals in the application.

Application Requirements

Apply via the graduate application website.

 

Read the latest instructions. When prompted, put in the four-letter code that identifies the program for which you are applying.

The online code for the Master of Architecture degree is: ARCH.


Fee

A non-refundable $75 fee is required for each program application. Payment of your application fee must be made on-line in order for your application to be submitted. Your application will not be processed until you pay your application fee and it is authorized. 

To find out if you are eligible for an application fee waiver, please click on the following link: https://gradschool.umd.edu/feewaiverinformation 

 

Transcripts

Unofficial copies of transcripts from each institution, including the University of Maryland, must be attached to your application. Applicants who are admitted will be required to request that official transcripts be forwarded to the Graduate Admissions Office from each institution where undergraduate or prior graduate work was undertaken. Official transcripts that meet the requirements below must be submitted by the end of your first semester in attendance at the University of Maryland.

Transcripts must bear the signature of the registrar and the seal of the granting institution and should include the years of attendance, courses taken, grades received, class standing, and any degree, certificate, or diploma received.

 

Letters of Recommendation

Three recommendations are required from professors or other individuals who can assess the applicant’s potential to succeed in this program. The online application provides an electronic recommendation form, which in most cases facilitates submission and receipt.

 

Statement of Purpose

(1000-2000 words)

Applicants must submit a statement of their goals and objectives in pursuing graduate study using the online application. The statement should give the reviewer a clear picture of why the applicant is choosing to pursue this degree and any specific area of interest.

 

Resume

Applicants must attach an up-to-date resume via the online application.

 

Portfolio

All applicants for the Master of Architecture degree (as well as any dual degree including the M ARCH) are required to submit a digital portfolio of design work. Applicants should think critically about the work they present and about how that work is presented in the portfolio. The portfolio serves as an illustration of the applicant’s interest in design. As such, the document should be graphically well composed and provide sufficient text* to clarify subject matter.

In general, portfolios should contain examples of creative work including drawings, paintings, photographs, sculpture, sketches, and/or architectural designs. Applicants to the Master of Architecture Path A (Advanced Standing) program should consider illustrating both design process as well as the products of their design studio work. Applicants to the Path A program may also identify how their designs respond to any NAAB SPC required for advanced standing status (see: Advanced Standing). Applicants to the Master of Architecture Path B (3.5-year) program should give primary attention to drawing, painting, and sculpture.

Digital portfolios permit hyperlinks to animations and other dynamic media. These links should not substitute for static images presented in the portfolio; rather they should serve to complement the understanding of such content. Hyperlinks (if used) should be integrated into the design of the portfolio. No more than three links to external material are to be provided and no video shall be longer than 1.5 minutes in length.

Portfolios will be reviewed on-screen and will not be printed. We recommend that the portfolio be formatted so that it can be viewed in a mode compatible with the landscape (horizontal) orientation of a computer screen. 

Portfolio Specifications:

  • Format: PDF (Portable Document Format)
  • Maximum Size: 15 MB (portfolios that exceed this size will not be uploaded)
  • Preferred Page Orientation: Landscape (horizontal)
  • Hyperlinks: 2-3 each no longer than 1.5 minutes in length
  • Upload to: Multimedia Uploads page of the online application 

Descriptive text should not exceed 150 words in length. Provide information about the title of the work, the context in which it was produced (university, course number, project duration, faculty member, and media), and a brief narrative describing the solution (where applicable). Path A applicants are to list any NAAB SPC satisfied in the project.

Example:

Sketchbook Study of Villa Savoye
University of YYY France Program 2012
ARCH 455P / 1 day exercise
Professor X
Graphite on paper

Affordable Housing
Baltimore, Maryland 2011
ARCH 942 / 6 weeks
Professor Y
Digital and hand-crafted media

* Sample text describing a project in the portfolio: This six-week project explored the Mt. Vernon context of Baltimore, MD, examined contemporary housing prototypes, and focused on technical issues of sustainable dwellings in an urban context. This proposal provides 125 market-rate apartment units based in part on Le Corbusier’s Unite de Habitation, in Marseilles. The design responds to the largely commercial nature of Charles Street, by providing retail at the base of the building. Common spaces on the ground floor and mezzanine of the building are designed to offset compact unit sizes. Individual units are equipped with sustainable features such as sun-shading, through ventilation, and balconies that incorporate vertical plantings serving each unit as herb gardens. The building is a concrete frame structure sheathed in a double-skin system. The green rooftops feature an array of solar collectors, green roofs, and cisterns that collect rainwater to be used in the building’s grey water system. NAAB SPC: A.1, A.3, A.6, A.7, B.3, B.5, B.8, B.9

Advanced Placement for the Master of Architecture Degree

 

How we determine advanced placement in the Master of Architecture program

Applicants to the Master of Architecture program come from different educational backgrounds. If you did not have a pre-professional baccalaureate in architecture, you will likely be placed in the seven-semester Path B program. If you have successfully completed (or are about to complete) the pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Maryland, you automatically qualify for advanced standing placement in the Path A program (four-semester / 60 credit hour degree track). If you have successfully completed (or are about to complete) a comparable degree from another architecture program, we will need to assess your prior coursework to determine placement. We work hard to give you as much advanced placement as is supported by your portfolio submission, transcript and a review of the course syllabi for each course in which you seek an advanced standing waiver.


Why we do this

The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) requires a review of pre-professional work for placement in the accredited professional degree curriculum. We seek to determine that you have mastered the same NAAB Student Performance Criteria (SPC) that are a component of our pre-professional Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree. The review is conducted in compliance with the following NAAB Condition for Accreditation (2014 Conditions for Accreditation, naab.org):


PART TWO (II): SECTION 3—EVALUATION OF PREPARATORY EDUCATION

The program must demonstrate that it has a thorough and equitable process for evaluating the preparatory or preprofessional education of individuals admitted to the NAAB-accredited degree program.

  • Programs must document their processes for evaluating a student’s prior academic course work related to satisfying NAAB student performance criteria when a student is admitted to the professional degree program.
  • In the event a program relies on the preparatory educational experience to ensure that admitted students have met certain SPC, the program must demonstrate it has established standards for ensuring these SPC are met and for determining whether any gaps exist.
  • The program must demonstrate that the evaluation of baccalaureate-degree or associate-degree content is clearly articulated in the admissions process, and that the evaluation process and its implications for the length of a professional degree program can be understood by a candidate before accepting the offer of admission. See also Condition II.4.6.


What you need to do if you think you should be receiving advanced placement

1. Use a copy of your transcript to determine if you have taken courses that have content substantially equivalent to the list of courses we require for advanced standing. We will also assess your performance in these courses as evidenced in your transcript:

☐ Architectural Design Studios (4 courses at 6 credits each)

☐ History of World Architecture Courses (2 courses at 3 credits each min.)

☐ Materials and Methods of Architecture course (1 course at 3 credits min.)

☐ Sustainable Systems in Architecture Course (1 course at 3 credits min.)

☐ Structural Systems Courses (2 courses at 3 credits each min.)

☐ Environmental Systems in Architecture Course (q course at 3 credits min.)

2. Gather all of the syllabi from the courses listed above.

3. Using a yellow highlighter, highlight the modules, lessons, assignments, etc in the course that will serve as evidence of your mastery of specific SPC. Some faculty members or schools may require a listing of SPC in the course syllabus. This will simplify the task. However in some cases the faculty member may describe the course components using language to describe course content, for example: forces, equilibrium, stress / strain, structural materials, shear and moment, trusses, beams, which all fall under SPC B.5 Structural Systems. Highlight references to these topics.

4. Complete the NAAB Verification Form following the instructions on the first page.

5. Print out the NAAB Verification Form and use it as a cover sheet for the entire package.  Include a copy of your transcript and the highlighted syllabi in the order in which you recorded them on the NAAB Verification Form.

6. Secure all of the documents with a binder clip or a rubber band.

7. Mail your completed petition and supporting documents to:
Brian Kelly, AIA, Professor
Director, Architecture Program
School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
University of Maryland
3835 Campus Drive
Building 145, Suite 1200
College Park, MD 20742
301-405-0325

8. If you have any questions, please direct them to Brian Kelly at: bkelly@umd.edu.

9. If you are a domestic applicant please forward a hard copy of your NAAB SPC verification form. If you are an international applicant, we will accept digital submissions. Keep in mind that the syllabi must either be written in English or translated into English.


1. Studio Placement

The admissions committee uses the portfolio to determine advanced placement in the studio sequence. Advanced placement is based upon evidence of the candidate’s mastery of architectural design in academic studio settings. Work in a professional office alone is not a substitute for demonstrating mastery of architectural design concepts in an academic setting. We are looking at your portfolio for work that is roughly the equivalent of the following studios:


ARCH 400 Architecture Design Studio I (6 semester credit hours)

Introduction to architectural design with particular emphasis on conventions and principles of architecture, visual and verbal communication skills, formal analysis, design process, spatial composition, architectural promenade, basic program distribution, and elementary constructional and environmental responses.


ARCH 401 Architecture Design Studio II (6 semester credit hours)

Continuation of ARCH 400 with introduction to building typology, urban and contextual issues, design of the vertical surface, and architectural interiors.


ARCH 402 Architecture Design Studio III (6 semester credit hours)

Architectural design studio with emphasis on building and facade typologies, the development of architectural promenade and sequence, public and/or civic infill buildings dependent upon the architectural promenade, and urban housing types of varying densities. The architect's obligations to urban context are explored in many dimensions including historical, typological, and physical.


ARCH 402 Architecture Design Studio III (6 semester credit hours)

Investigations into the relationship between the man-made and the natural world including introductory issues of assembly and material value. Design of the site and the building are combined into an integral process delimiting and probing the boundaries of each and exploring their reciprocal relationship. The architect's obligations to the natural and urban contexts are explored in many dimensions including historical, typological, environmental, and physical.


Novice designers are typically placed in ARCH 404 Graduate Architectural Design Studio I

Intermediate designers are typically placed in ARCH 406 Graduate Architectural Design Studio III

Advanced designers are typically placed in ARCH 600/611 Integrated Design Studio / Advanced Technology Seminar.


NAAB SPC Covered
A.1 Professional Communication Skills
A.2 Design Thinking Skills
A.4 Architectural Design Skills
A.5 Ordering Skills
A.6 Use of Precedents
B.1 Pre-Design
B.2 Site Design


2. History Courses

We require minimally a two-semester history of world architecture sequence. However, we do sometimes accept multiple courses (3 or more) in the history of architecture provided that the content of covers a broad geographical and cultural range. We are looking for equivalents to our two survey of history of world architecture courses:


ARCH 225/425 History of World Architecture I (3 semester credit hours)

Pre-1500 World Architecture survey course - History of Architecture structured to develop critical thinking and visual literacy with regard to the worldwide legacy of design thinking and cultural production through architecture.


ARCH226/426 History of World Architecture II (3 semester credit hours)

Post-1500 - World Architecture survey course - History of Architecture structured to develop critical thinking and visual literacy with regard to the legacy of design thinking and cultural production through architecture.


NAAB SPC Covered
A.1 Professional Communication Skills
A.3 Investigative Skills
A.7 History and Global Culture
A.8 Cultural Diversity and Social Equity


Technology Courses

We generally look for the equivalent of our five undergraduate courses in architectural technologies that are essential components of a professional degree in architecture and are pre-requisites for matriculation in the ARCH 600 Integrated Design Studio / ARCH 611 Advanced Technology Seminar. We review your course syllabi and transcripts to determine if you have taken the equivalent of the following courses during the course of your undergraduate education:


ARCH 462 Methods and Materials of Building Construction (3 semester credit hours)

Building Construction methods and materials are examined through case studies to explore the means and techniques applied to the material execution of buildings and BIM. Focus on an understanding of the organization of the design and construction process and awareness of building and zoning codes, material systems and types. The following topics are covered:
·   Accessibility and Egress
·   Zoning and Codes
·   Principles of Structural Systems
·   Building Methods and Materials
·   Building Assemblies and Components


NAAB SPC Covered
B.4 Technical Documentation
B.7 Building Envelope Systems and Assemblies
B.8 Building Materials and Assemblies
B.9 Building Service Systems
 

ARCH 463 Sustainable Systems in Architecture (3 semester credit hours)

Sustainable systems in architecture examines the nature of the global problem, environmental economics, understanding the local environment, bioclimatic design, solar control and shading, solar access zoning, residential scale energy design issues, commercial scale energy design issues and urban scale energy design issues. The following topics are covered:
·   Climate / Micro Climate
·   Solar Orientation
·   Sustainable Materials
·   Sustainable systems (passive and active)
·   Rating systems


NAAB SPC Covered
B.6 Environmental Systems

ARCH 464 Structures I (3 semester credit hours)

This course covers the basic principles of architectural structures, including the influence of geometric, sectional, and material properties related to flexure and shear in beam and framed systems; vector mechanics with application to analysis of trusses, catenaries, and arches; diagrammatic analysis of beams for bending moment, shear, and deflection as well as the study of structural framing systems for vertical and lateral loads. The following topics are covered:
·   Forces
·   Equilibrium
·   Stress/strain
·   Structural Materials
·   Shear and Moment
·   Trusses
·   Beams


NAAB SPC Covered
B.5 Structural Systems

ARCH 465 Structures II (3 semester credit hours)

The basic principles of elastic behavior for different materials such as wood, steel, concrete, and composite materials and compares the properties and applications of materials generally will be covered. It investigates cross sectional stress and strain behavior in flexure and in shear, and torsion as well as the stability of beams and columns. The qualitative behavior of combined stresses and fracture in materials is also covered. The following topics are covered:
·   Columns
·   Cables
·   Arches
·   Concrete Structures
·   Steel Structures
·   Wood Structures


NAAB SPC Covered
B.5  Structural Systems

ARCH 466 Environmental Systems in Architecture (3 credit semester hours)

Environmental systems in architecture presents the theory, quantification, and architectural design implications for heating ventilating and air conditioning, water and waste, fire protection, electricity, illumination, acoustics, and vertical transportation. The following topics are covered:
·   Heat Flow
·   HVAC
·   Plumbing
·   Lighting
·   Fire Protection
·   Electrical
·   Acoustics & Noise
·   Building Security


NAAB SPC Covered
B.6 Environmental Systems
B.9 Building Service Systems


Other Courses

We will consider courses other than the above on a case-by-case basis.


3. Courses that we do not waive

There are several courses that we do not waive because they form the foundation of the Master of Architecture degree at Maryland. All Master of Architecture students must take and successfully complete these courses:
ARCH600, Integrated Design Studio (6 credit hours)
ARCH611, Advanced Technology Seminar (3 credit hours)
ARCH601, Topical Design Studio (6 credit hours)
ARCH700 (407 for Path B / B+) Urban Design Studio (6 credit hours)
ARCH770 Professional Practice of Architecture (3 credit hours)
ARCH797 Thesis Proseminar (3 credit hours)
ARCH798 Thesis in Architecture (3 credit hours)
ARCH799 Masters Thesis Research (6 credit hours)

International Applicants

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents must submit additional documents. Updated information is available on the Graduate School website.

Technology Requirements

The School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation requires that all students studying architecture purchase a laptop computer. Specific requirements for students studying architecture are listed below for both hardware and software. In addition to these requirements, many students also purchase monitors so that they can expand their digital workspace. 

We provide the following technical specifications to define the baseline requirements. Many software applications are available to all matriculated students.  We recommend you check the following website to see a complete list, https://terpware.umd.edu/. A list of required and recommended software is listed below. Please take advantage of student discounts for software.

 

Preferred Hardware Specifications

VR-Ready PC laptop ~ $2,400.00 Total (Great for multi-purposes overall)

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or greater

  • Memory (RAM): 16 GB - 32 GB DDR4

  • Hard Drive: 512 GB SSD or greater for Operating System and 1TB for data storage

  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 or RTX2060 or greater

  • Extended warranty with accidental coverage.

MacBook Pro (16 inch model) ~ $2,700.00 Total (Great for graphic design, not for VR or modeling)

KEEP IN MIND: Some coursework software are NOT compatible or supported on macOS such as AutoDesk Revit, NavisWorks and Lumion. A BootCamp partition must be configured for Windows OS so that those applications can be installed on top of Windows.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7.

  • Memory: 16GB - 32GB DDR4.

  • Hard Drive: 1TB SSD or greater.

  • GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 8GB of GDDR6.

  • Apple Care is highly encouraged. 

Many students also purchase monitors so that they can expand their digital workspace. Additional external storage and peripherals are recommended for workability and backup purposes.

  • External monitor 27-inch 4K monitor or larger

  • University-provided cloud storage (Google Drive and/or Box) 

 

Software– Approximately $ 244.00 Total

The following are the required software applications for architecture students:

Adobe Creative Suite (or Adobe Creative Cloud) -- FREE through UMD TERPware program:

  • Adobe Photoshop

  • Adobe inDesign

  • Adobe Illustrator

 

Autodesk– FREE through Autodesk Education portal (https://www.autodesk.com/education/home)

  • Autodesk AutoCAD

  • Autodesk Revit

 

Microsoft Office– FREE through UMD TERPware program

Tuition and Fees

As a public institution we are committed to making higher education affordable. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has recognized our efforts, ranking Maryland No. 9 among "best values" in public higher education for Maryland residents and No. 14 for non-Maryland residents.

For current tuition and fees, please visit the Student Financial Services and Cashiering website.

Contact MAPP School Admissions
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