Master of Architecture Admissions, Advanced Standing and Advising Policy

Admissions Process Overview

The KCAD Master of Architecture program requires an earned baccalaureate degree as a condition of admission. We acknowledge and embrace the wide variety of preparation our students will bring, and believe the differences in students’ backgrounds and academic preparation will contribute to the diversity we seek to foster in the program and its community. Rather than requiring a standardized test such as the GRE, the program considers each candidate’s unique capacity to succeed based on elements such as an open-ended portfolio requirement and an interview, which allows students from a wide range of backgrounds to express themselves and their potential for graduate study in architecture.

At KCAD, graduate students admitted with a regionally accredited undergraduate degree in any discipline may study architecture for three years (90 credits) to achieve the first professional M.Arch degree. In addition, we offer a two-year (60 credits) course of study for those students who have completed a pre-professional degree in architecture. In both cases, the application and admission process is the same. Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Application to the program
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation - letters must be sent directly from the reference to KCAD through Slideroom
  • Statement of Purpose - 500-700 word statement that answers these three (3) questions: 
    • What is your interest in architecture?
    • Why are you applying to this program?
    • What unique qualities or perspective do you bring?
  • Portfolio
    • Portfolio must be a single PDF document, not to exceed 30 pages and 20MB 
    • PDF document must be titled in the following manner: last name, first name, portfolio, _2yr OR _3yr, depending on your desired placement in the program (for an applicant to the 2-year track, the portfolio document would be titled smith_carolyn_portfolio_2yr.pdf). 
    • Your portfolio will not be reviewed if you upload individual images.
    • Links to online portfolios and/or hard copy materials will not be accepted
    • All portfolios must have a cover page as the first page with the following information: 
      • first and last name
      • street address
      • city, state, postal code, country,
      • email address
      • telephone number

All applicants are required to submit official transcripts from the baccalaureate-granting institution. If the undergraduate degree program is still in progress at the time of application, admission is conditional upon degree conferral.

Applicants are evaluated for their potential to succeed in the rigorous, intensive, and nontraditional course of graduate study that is the KCAD M.Arch program. We ask all applicants to articulate their intentions and goals in undertaking a professional graduate architecture preparation in their statements of purpose. We also ask them to include some sample of visual communication in their portfolios. We encourage applicants to understand the portfolio as an opportunity to demonstrate their unique intellectual and academic potential as well as their communication skills in visual and verbal media.

When the applicant’s materials are complete and have been reviewed by the KCAD M.Arch Admissions Committee (faculty and administrators), an applicant interview with two to three representatives of the committee is scheduled. This 45-minute interview gives the opportunity for KCAD to learn more about the applicant and for the applicant to have their questions of the program answered. We have found this step of the process to be invaluable.

Shortly after the interview an admission decision is made by consensus of the Admissions Committee. The committee also makes a recommendation of merit-based financial award, if any. All KCAD M.Arch applicants who are accepted into the program are automatically considered for merit-based financial aid.

The KCAD M.Arch program seeks to provide learning experiences that support student success in professional graduate studies in architecture. The program does not seek to admit students who will not succeed. The admissions process as outlined here undergoes annual assessment to determine that it yields a strong cohort of graduate students who support each other, learn from each other, and complete their degrees – and to revise the process as necessary to better meet that objective.


Program Standing and Academic Advising

Applicants who have completed a pre-professional program in architecture may be awarded advanced standing in the program, entering at the level of the first semester of the second year (Year one of the “Two-Year M.Arch”). Placement is based upon review of the transcript and portfolio, with a follow-up applicant interview as needed. Students admitted to the two-year, 60 credit M.Arch are expected to fully follow the stated curriculum.

Students admitted to the three-year, 90 credit sequence (the “Three-Year M.Arch”) come from a wide variety of backgrounds. With their academic advisor, an individual course of study is developed. Students with substantial relevant academic or professional prior experience may place out of certain courses in year one only of the three-year M.Arch.

Those who are admitted to the program are assigned an academic advisor from among the architecture faculty or administration. This faculty advisor meets with the student prior to initial enrollment to discuss program expectations for engagement, standards for graduate-level academic achievement, the opportunities for developing special interests through electives and co-curricular activities, and the student’s own expectations for intellectual and professional development. At the end of each semester, the student and faculty advisor meet to discuss the student’s progress, to surface concerns about the program or about the student’s engagement in it, and to develop and revise the student’s academic plan in support of her/his individual interests and goals. A record of each semester’s advising session is placed in the student’s advising dossier so that the overall arc of the student’s education may be tracked.