Graduate Applicants

All documents except for the portfolio will be submitted digitally through the UIC Office of Graduate Admissions online application portal. Applicants planning to apply for 2015–2016 should reference the application checklist below to begin their preparations. Applicants are encouraged to submit their initial online application as soon as possible, which will provide the maximum amount of time for applicants and recommenders to upload all other supporting credentials. If an application is submitted online on the day of the deadline, it will not allow enough time for all the application components to be processed before that deadline.

Graduate Programs

The School of Architecture's graduate degree programs are full-time only. Part-time and non-degree attendance is not available. We are currently accepting applications for the following graduate programs in the 2015–2016 terms as noted below:

The Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), and Master of Arts in Design Criticism (MAD-Crit) programs offer Fall admission only. Applicants are encouraged to submit materials beginning in October.

Financial Support

Financial aid awards available through the School of Architecture are merit based.

Applications are considered complete when all required documents have been received by the School of Architecture. Every completed application will be considered automatically for a scholarship, tuition waiver, or assistantship at the time of the admission decision. No separate application is required. Aid for incoming students is highly competitive, but admitted students have the opportunity each year in the program to apply for continuing student aid.

Please see our FAQs for more information on additional forms of financial aid available from outside the School.

Important Deadlines

University Fellowship

The School of Architecture may nominate up to four applicants each year for this university-wide competition. The University Fellowship is granted to only a few incoming students across all disciplines at UIC who are of the highest academic standing. This award covers the first year of graduate study and students who maintain good standing will be highly considered for a Teaching Assistant position in their subsequent years of study. For more info, visit:

University Fellowship Deadlines:
December 2: Online application submission deadline
December 15: Deadline for all supporting credentials (portfolio, letters of recommendation, statement of intent, test scores, and transcripts)

Please note that if these two deadlines are not met, the application will not be complete and will not be processed for the University Fellowship.

Priority Consideration for
Admission and Financial Awards

Applications completed by this deadline will receive priority consideration for admission and financial awards.

Priority Consideration Deadlines:
January 2: Online application submission deadline
January 15: Deadline for all supporting credentials (portfolio, letters of recommendation, statement of intent, test scores, and transcripts)

Please note that if these two deadlines are not met, the application will not be complete and will not be processed with priority consideration.

Submitting the Application Requirements

The application materials can be uploaded within 3–5 business days after submitting the online application. The UIC Office of Graduate Admissions will send an email acknowledging the receipt of the application, and indicate that application materials can be uploaded. That is also the time when recommenders' email addresses can be provided to initiate an automated request to upload their letters.

Note that all uploaded documents must be submitted as PDFs. The file size limit is 5MB. Please prepare an electronic copy of the required application materials so they are available when requested.

Please visit the UIC Office of Graduate Admissions website for more details on the document upload process:

1. Graduate College Online Application Form

Please read all steps and tips thoroughly before beginning the application and remember to write down your username and password as you will need it to log back into your application portal periodically throughout the admission process.

Please apply to the correct program to ensure that the application is correctly processed. Note that changes to the term or program cannot be made after an application has been submitted; students must reapply.

Master of Architecture (MArch) (3-year and advanced standing professional degree): MA Architecture

Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch) (1-year post-professional degree): MS Architecture

Master of Arts in Design Criticism (MAD-Crit) (2-year academic degree): MA Design Criticism**

**If applying to the MArch and MAD-Crit Joint program, please submit applications to both programs.

2. Nonrefundable application fee of $60.00

3. Transcripts from all schools attended

Applicants will need to obtain and scan copies of transcripts to upload into their application portal. All applicants should refer to the Office of Graduate Admissions for specific requirements.

Additionally, applicants with degrees from foreign institutions should review the UIC Admissions International Admission Requirements.

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

For information about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) call 866.473.4373 or visit To report scores to UIC, use institutional code 1851. A department code is not required.

Please see the FAQs for more information on recommended test scores.

5. Three Letters of Recommendation

For students from architecture backgrounds, the School prefers to see at least two of the three letters from architecture professors. For students from non-architecture backgrounds, letters from professors who can assess your academic abilities and potential for graduate school are the most useful. Note letters of recommendation written by friends or family will not accepted, regardless of their position, as they are not as credible or objective.

3–5 days after the application is submitted, applicants can enter their application portal and will be asked to provide the email address of references. This will prompt a request to be sent to the designated reference for a letter of recommendation.

If a recommender is having issues with the submission process, please refer them to the Reference Guide for Letters of Recommendation.

6. Statement of Intent (500 words)

The statement should discuss the applicant's academic interests and objectives, what the applicant would contribute to the program's environment, and most importantly, why the specific academic approach at UIC is the right match for an applicant's graduate study. Applicants should also explain how their architectural interests have been shaped by significant past experiences.

A PDF of the statement of intent can be uploaded to the application portal approximately 3–5 days after the online application is submitted.

7. Portfolio

As a designed book, the portfolio indicates an individual'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. 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.

Portfolios should not exceed 8.5" by 11" and one pound (sixteen ounces) in size, must be bound, and should not be on slides, CDs, or diskettes. Craft of the cover and binding should be kept to a minimum. Please see these basic portfolio guidelines (.pdf). Upon completion of the admissions process, the portfolio may be claimed in person or returned by mail if the student is denied or declined admission. Applicants who would like their portfolios to be returned by US mail should enclose a USPS stamped, self-addressed, appropriately-sized mailing container that weighs less than thirteen ounces. Do not send return envelopes from other courier services (FedEx, UPS, etc.). The School will not accept money or checks to cover postage.

Applicants to the Master of Arts in Design Criticism program should submit a formatted portfolio of written work rather than a design portfolio. The overall design of the portfolio itself 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 are: page size and proportion, orientation, and layout; font style; title pages; use of color; and so on.

Portfolios must be mailed to:
UIC School of Architecture
Attn: Graduate Admissions
845 West Harrison Street
Room 3100 A+D Studios, MC030
Chicago, Illinois 60607

Campus Visits

Prospective students are highly encouraged to visit the School and the campus. To schedule an information session and building tour of the School of Architecture, please call the School at 312.996.3335 or email Stephanie Niebuhr, Academic Advisor, at


Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Download a .pdf of the Graduate Programs Guidebook (3.5mb)

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