All application materials must arrive at Cornell before the January 3 deadline. Complete applications must be received before an admission decision can be made. All applications must be accompanied by payment of a nonrefundable application fee.
The master of architecture (professional and post-professional), master of science in computer graphics, and the Ph.D. in history of architecture and urbanism, are applied through Cornell’s Graduate School. Applicants must apply online via the Graduate School website.
Requirements for Admissions
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Individuals must hold a bachelor's degree in any field. Some students may have previous backgrounds in a design discipline, or may hold pre-professional undergraduate degrees in a design discipline. The course of study is an intensive, three and a half year curriculum which includes study in design, visual representation, history and theory, technology, and professional practice. The design studio is the core of the curriculum, and integrates materials from the several disciplines into the resolution of architectural problems.
Admission with No Previous Architectural Education
Admission will be offered to individuals with no previous experience in design, also who exhibit talent and promise in a design-related activity or interest. Individuals who have completed a four-year bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree in a field other than architecture are eligible for admission to the professional degree program. Preference for admission is given to individuals who have completed a balanced undergraduate education, including studies in the arts, sciences, and the humanities.
To be considered for equivalency credit for previous coursework, applicants must submit course syllabi and transcripts from previous coursework for review by a faculty member charged with reviewing that area of study (history, building technology, professional practice, etc.). Faculty members will then determine if equivalency credit is appropriate. Please note that for ARCH 5511 Freehand Drawing, and ARCH 5512 Digital Drawing, you must submit a portfolio of relevant work done in those courses along with the course syllabi and transcripts.
Note on Professional Accreditation
In the U.S., most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board
(NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: bachelor of architecture, master of architecture, and doctor of architecture. A program may be granted a six-year, three-year or two-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.
Doctor of architecture and master of architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
In order to meet the education requirement set forth by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), an applicant for an NCARB certificate must hold a professional degree in architecture from a program accredited by the NAAB; the degree must have been awarded not more than two years prior to initial accreditation.
AAP's M.Arch.1 (professional) program was formally granted a three-year term accreditation effective January 1, 2009.
Master of Architecture (Post-Professional)
Students holding a professional bachelor of architecture degree (B. Arch.) or a professional master of architecture degree (M.Arch.1) may be admitted as candidates for the post-professional Cornell M.Arch. degree program. International students must submit an official certification that the degree held is a professional degree entitling them to practice architecture in their country.
Master of Science in Computer Graphics
In addition to an undergraduate degree, applicants are required to have prior knowledge in computer graphics and must submit scores from the GRE and the specific computer science test. For more information see the program website.
Doctor of Philosophy in the History of Architecture and Urban Development
Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in architecture, archaeology, history, history of art, anthropology, or an undergraduate degree in any area and appropriate experience in the field. Degree candidates must have proficiency in two languages other than English before beginning the second year of study.
Summary of Application Requirements
- All Cornell graduate student requirements
- Two recommendation letters
- Transcripts: Submit completed and official transcripts from each college or university previously attended to the field to which you are applying. If it is against an institution's policy to send transcripts to the applicant, the transcripts can be mailed by the school directly to the field to which you are applying.
- GRE general test for all, Department Code: 4401, Institution Code: 2098
- GRE subject test in computer science for computer graphics applicants
- TOEFL minimum score of 250 computer-based or 600 paper-based. The graduate architecture program has set the following minimum scores for the Internet-based test, which measures all four language skills important for communication:
- Writing: 25
- Listening: 25
- Reading: 25
- Speaking: 25
- Portfolio of creative work (professional and post-professional M.Arch. applicants only). The portfolio will be accepted on-line at https://cornellaap.slideroom.com (preferred) or in print format.
- Sample of academic writing. Strongly recommended for Ph.D. and recommended for post-professional M.Arch. Sample cannot exceed 10 pages, should relate to the area of research intent, and must be written in English.
- Statement of purpose for professional M.Arch., M.S., and Ph.D. applicants: A one- or two-page statement, preferably printed on white paper, outlining your research interests and intents for graduate study at Cornell. Please relate these intents to your previous design and academic experience, and to your future goals. Include your full name and your proposed field of study at the top of each page.
- Statement of purpose for post-professional M.Arch. applicants: A one- or two-page statement outlining your research interests and intents for graduate study at Cornell. Please relate these intents to your previous design and academic experience, and to your future goals. Please also indicate which of the following areas you may wish to pursue in the program: Architecture & Urbanism; Architecture & Ecology; Architecture & Discourse. Include your full name and your proposed field of study at the top of each page.
All applicants to graduate programs in architecture are required to take the GRE aptitude tests of the Educational Testing Service. Scores must be sent directly to the college or to the Graduate School as part of their application materials.
Information about the times and places or test administration may be obtained directly from the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541, (609) 921-9000.
Portfolio of creative work will be accepted on-line at https://cornellaap.slideroom.com
(preferred) or in print format. As part of the application, all applicants to the professional and post-professional master of architecture degree programs are required to submit a portfolio which should represent the applicant's best work and consist mainly of reproductions of 20 to 30 pieces of creative drawings, two-or-three dimensional work, and models.
If any project, drawing or model has been produced by several designers or if the design was produced in a professional setting, each drawing must be labeled, clearly stating the number of designers, which drawings were produced by the applicant, and a list of the names of all members of the group project. If the project was produced in an office, an office setting, or as an assistant to an author, then the office name, supervisor, and all members of the team must be identified.
Details for online submission (preferred):
If an applicant wishes to submit their portfolio online, they should go to https://cornellaap.slideroom.com and follow the step-by-step instructions.
Details for print submission:
Applicant’s name, address, date, and year must be clearly marked on the cover (and on any detachable contents). The contents of a submitted portfolio should measure no more than 8-1/2 by 11 inches in size.
The first page of the portfolio must contain the following: "This portfolio contains the design work of [applicant's name here]".
Send portfolio to:
Graduate Programs in Architecture
College of Architecture, Art, and Planning
235 Sibley Dome
Ithaca, NY 14853
Return Portfolio Request
U.S. applicants requesting the return of their portfolios should include a self-addressed stamped envelope of appropriate size. (Do not use postage meter tape, as date and mailing location will be incorrect.) Portfolios will not be returned until June. Applicants from outside the U.S. are encouraged to submit a portfolio which does not need to be returned.
Applicants whose native language is not English must take the National Council Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and have the official score reported to Cornell from the Educational Testing Service. Only students who have studied full-time for two or more years at a college or university where English is the language of instruction located in a country where English is the native language are exempt from TOEFL.
All foreign applicants must take the TOEFL by arrangement with the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541, (607) 921-9000.
The test scores must be reported by the testing organization directly to the Graduate School as part of the essential application information, and no final action on applications will be taken until the scores have been received. Information on times and places for administration of the test may be obtained from the address given above.
Since the test is diagnostic, admission to those applicants whose scores indicate unsatisfactory command of English may be denied or be made contingent upon evidence of improved ability in the language.
Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards
Outstanding applicants to the professional and post-professional master of architecture who request consideration for financial aid on their application form will be considered for scholarships that offer partial tuition. These scholarships are renewable each year, based on academic performance.
Prospective foreign students should investigate awards from the Organization of American States, the United Nations, United States Full Commissions in many foreign countries, and the United States Agency for International Development as well as awards offered by their own governments. The United Nations publication "Study Abroad" lists numerous scholarships and fellowships, many of them for study in the U.S. for citizens of other countries.
Third-year professional M.Arch. students may also apply for a limited number of partial teaching assistantships (see below).
Teaching assistants provide supplementary instruction and other assistance within the various areas of study offered by the college. Full teaching assistantships carry a stipend plus full tuition; partial assistantships are also offered. The Graduate School’s cost and funding website contains a wealth of information, as well as loans and assistantships for both entering and continuing students.
Students in the three-semester post-professional M.Arch. are eligible to apply for special teaching appointments that are granted upon the conclusion of the program in August each year. Teaching fellows are offered for the duration of one or two terms to outstanding candidates in the program. Fellowships come with a monetary award to support continuing design research work and for nominal teaching assistance during the fellowship period. At the end of this period fellows are required to publish their work in the form of an exhibition and/or lecture, and a print-ready folio.
Ph.D. and M.S. students are eligible for support ranging from scholarships to teaching assistantships.