ADMISSIONS PROCESS & REQUIREMENTS
The School of Architecture graduate program welcomes applications from students with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The Graduate Admissions Committees seek to assemble a holistic picture of each applicant and so requires a variety of items for review. Application requirements are the same for the M.Arch, MADU, and MSHP programs.
The School of Architecture encourages all applicants to schedule a visit (link) and have an informational interview as part of the admission process. Prospective students who are not able to visit in person, are welcome to schedule interviews via Skype or phone.
Please note that while the online application site is hosted by Notre Dame's Graduate School, all application materials will be processed and evaluated by the School of Architecture's Graduate Admissions Committee.
Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
Statement of Intent
The statement of intent is an opportunity for the applicant to express themselves directly. Typically, statements are 3 to 5 pages in length. In crafting their statement, all applicants must answer the question: What has led you to apply to the Notre Dame School of Architecture in particular?
Applicants are also asked to include a response to at least one question from each of the following lists, a minimum of three total.
- Why do you want to study architecture? What do you specifically hope to gain from your studies at Notre Dame?
- What are your career ambitions and aspirations? What do you hope to do with your Notre Dame education in your professional (and/or academic and/or civic) life?
- The study of architecture at Notre Dame is a holistic endeavor addressing a variety of subjects and concerns. What capabilities and sensibilities do you bring with you that you believe will be important in your success as an architecture student and in your work as an architect? What areas will you seek to nurture and develop in your time at Notre Dame?
- What is your point of view on the relationship between urbanism and architecture?
- In your view, what is the role of tradition in architecture?
- What experiences do you anticipate that will enrich your path to becoming an architect as part of course travel at Notre Dame including the School-supported semester in Rome and other opportunities?
- Speak about a critical issue in the world today and the role that you see architects play in addressing that issue and determining possible solutions.
- Speak about an architect, writing, place, building, or city that is meaningful; why it is important to you and why it is important more broadly?
Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
At least one letter should be from a former instructor or academic advisor/mentor. If the applicant has worked in a design firm or similar professional environment, at least one letter should be from an employer or supervisor. In any case, these letters should be from persons who can speak directly to the applicant's character and abilities.
Recommenders are asked to submit the letter directly to the School online and are likewise asked to complete a short online survey, accessible once they are officially listed as a recommender by the applicant.
Portfolio of Work
All applicants are required to submit a PDF portfolio of work from their academic experience, professional experience, independent projects, etc. as appropriate to their individual experience. Three-year M.Arch applicants without an extensive body of work or experience in the discipline should submit materials that offer a sense of their logic/clarity of thought in terms of submission layout/organization and their ability to draw—or an ability to learn to draw.
- All portfolios must include some hand-done graphics (pencil, pen, watercolor, oil painting—any medium). Work in a variety of media, both manual and digital is welcome, but at least some of the work must be hand-done as it offers the admissions committee a greater indication of an applicant’s sensibility for proportion, form, line, etc.
- All portfolios should be formatted such that they may be printed as a booklet for admissions committee purposes.
- Applicants should clarify their role in academic group work and in professional projects included in the submission.
- There is no minimum or maximum number of images or pages—only a file size limitation.
Hard copy portfolios in addition to the PDF are welcome, but not required.
Portfolio PDFs may be sent via email firstname.lastname@example.org. If over 25MB, they should be shared via Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox, and must be less than 100MB total. Links to personal or professional websites may be included as a supplement to the PDF portfolio, but will not be accepted as a replacement for the PDF document.
Note: Any items uploaded to the online application will be printed on standard 8 1/2x11 bond paper and included in the application folder.
Sample of Academic Writing
Applicants may submit a writing sample on any subject matter. The writing sample should be an individual work (not from a group project) and must be in English or an English translation must be provided.
Transcripts from all undergraduate and previous graduate institutions
Applicants may submit unofficial transcripts for the purposes of admissions review, but will be required to submit an official transcript from all previous institutions prior to matriculation. International applicants with a foreign language transcript must include an original language copy and official (i.e. notarized) English translation of each transcript. Applicants still in the midst of a program of academic study should provide an official copy of their latest transcript with their application. If accepted, incoming students must then submit an official copy of their final transcript immediately after graduation and prior to enrolling in a School of Architecture graduate program.
The School of Architecture does not list a strict minimum GPA for admission, but does see an applicant's GPA in a previous course of study as one key indicator of future academic performance. Generally, the Admissions Committee seeks a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
GRE Scores - General Test (Verbal, Quantitative, Writing)
GRE scores are not required for admission to the School of Architecture Graduate Programs.
TOEFL or IELTS Scores
International Students only
The University of Notre Dame recommends a minimum score of 100 (TOEFL) or 7.5 (IELTS) and the School of Architecture graduate programs do as well. Students in the 2-year post-professional program must serve as teaching assistants, a duty which may include grading papers and written tests or offering design critiques for undergraduates. For those in the 2-year or 3-year professional degree or historic preservation programs, taking technical lecture courses can prove difficult for those without a high level of comfort in English.
TOEFL or IELTS scores reported must result from tests taken within the last two years. If access to a testing site for TOEFL or IELTS is not available, applicants are asked to submit the Duolingo English Test instead. The School strongly recommends a DET score of 120 or higher.
Students for whom English is a second language may avail themselves of a variety of courses and services from the English for Academic Purposes program on campus free of charge. This program is intended to improve select skills which may be required as a student or serving as a teaching assistant, but does not replace a fundamental strength in and comfort with the English language.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is required of all professional degree applicants (Path B and Path C) seeking financial aid. The School of Architecture addresses scholarships, stipends, health insurance and technology fees, etc. while all student loan questions should be addressed directly to the Office of Financial Aid.
Applications are due January 16
All materials other than the portfolio should be submitted online. Applicants should be sure to post their portfolio early enough to ensure that it will be received in the School of Architecture by the application deadline. The Graduate Admissions Committee conducts several rounds of application review. Applicants will be notified as to acceptance by e-mail and letter in the second or third week of March. Please note that applications, particularly portfolios, are reviewed in groups by program and path of study to ensure as equitable a comparison as possible.
For further information about graduate program applications, please contact:
Professor Samantha L. Salden Teach
Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies
Phone: (574) 631-0191
For additional information about our graduate programs, please complete the Grad Inquiry Architecture form and we will contact you.
All prospective students are encouraged to schedule an interview and visit the School before or during their application process. Those who are unable to visit the program in person are welcome to schedule a phone or Skype interview.
Transcript Review For Professional Degree Students
Students entering (the 2-year M.ADU program) with a previous professional degree have completed the educational requirements necessary to test for licensure in the U.S. or in another jurisdiction as certified by another institution.
Students entering the 3-year professional degree program do not have a previous degree in architecture and therefore are not assumed to have any previous coursework experience that would fulfill course requirements within the School of Architecture's curriculum. However, these students are welcome to apply for advanced standing in one or more courses.
Students entering the 2-year professional degree program have already completed a portion of the educational requirements necessary to test for licensure. As the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture will certify the professional degree for these students, careful review of the student's previous transcripts is critical.
All applicants must include a final transcript from all previous institutions with their application (or their latest transcript to be updated with their final one immediately after graduation before enrolling in the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture's graduate program). The Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies reviews each transcript in detail comparing them to the three-year professional degree curriculum and ensuring that a minimum of 26 credits of studio work have already been fulfilled (as the 24 credits within the 2-year professional degree program will complete the NAAB's required minimum of 50 credits). Syllabi for various courses may be requested from the student wherever a question may arise and faculty members may be called on to assist in their review. Any seminar or lecture courses whose contents have not already been covered (Architectural History, Building Technology, Structures, Environmental Systems, Professional Practice, etc.) will be added to the student's required curriculum. Several slots have been identified for that purpose in the curriculum outline. Any of these slots not needed for additional required coursework may be used for elective courses of the student's choice. Students requiring more courses than slots provided may be required to take more than the maximum course load given in a given semester and, if a course is not available in the semester needed, to take the course in an independent study format, depending on the availability of the instructor.
Students seeking advanced standing are asked to identify the lecture or seminar course(s) in question and provide the corresponding syllabus or syllabi from their undergraduate or previous graduate work to the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies. The ADGS will then review the documents with the appropriate instructors to determine whether the previous coursework does indeed fulfill the requirements of one or more courses in the curriculum. Advanced standing may be awarded to students who have completed some portion of their non-studio course work prior to admission, but the four- or six-semester studio sequence is required of all students. Students awarded advanced standing will not receive University of Notre Dame credit for the courses in question, but will simply have the corresponding number of credits deducted from their degree program minimum requirement. A student may then simply have a lighter course load for a given semester or have the opportunity to take additional elective courses. Students opting for a lighter course load in a given semester should ensure that their number of credits still meets the minimum requirements for full-time student status, their student loans, etc.