Undergraduate Admissions: Architecture

In addition to the general requirements for applying to Cornell University, admissions requirements for the five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) program reflect the focused, professional nature of the curriculum. Applicants need to present evidence of creative ability and commitment to the field of architecture in addition to having strong academic credentials. The interview and portfolio requirements help the faculty assess strengths in these more subjective areas. Both the interview and portfolio requirements must be met for the application to be considered.

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Required Interview

The Department of Architecture requires a portfolio interview for every applicant to the B.Arch. degree program. The purpose of the interview is to explore an applicant's interest in architecture and to understand how that interest developed. A formal portfolio need not be presented at the interview, but the interviewers do expect applicants to bring samples of their artwork.

Important: The interviews are evaluative and carry significant weight in the admissions selection process. Please request an interview only if you are certain that you will be applying to the architecture major. First-year interviews are scheduled in the fall. Transfer interviews are scheduled in the fall and spring.

Interviews can be completed by:

  • Scheduling a virtual interview with a Cornell architecture faculty member
  • Scheduling a virtual interview with an architecture alum near the applicants home

The deadlines to complete an architecture interview are:

  • November 1 (early decision first-year applicants)
  • January 2 (regular decision first-year applicants)
  • October 1 (spring transfer applicants)
  • March 1 (fall transfer applicants)

The deadline to request an interview for first-year applicants was December 17 and we will be unable to accept any requests after that date. If you were not able to request an interview by that date, please complete the interview essay linked below. 

Please note: Due to a significant increase in interview requests during the fall 2021 semester, we are unable to offer faculty or alumni interviews for B.Arch. transfer applicants during the spring 2022 semester. All B.Arch. transfer applicants applying to be considered for fall 2022 must therefore complete the Architecture Interview Essay, described below and accessible in the SlideRoom portal.

Interview Essay Guidelines

Interview essays must be emailed directly to aap-admissions@cornell.edu.

Please note: Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network (CAAAN) interviews do not satisfy the B.Arch. interview requirement. The optional CAAAN interview "meeting" has a different purpose, format, content, and line of questioning as compared to the B.Arch. portfolio interview.

Portfolio Requirements

A portfolio is a required and critically important component of the application. All B.Arch. applicants must submit their portfolio online via Cornell AAP SlideRoom. The portfolio should contain several examples of freehand drawings including sketches as well as fully developed work. In addition to drawing, a range of artistic media needs to be demonstrated, but each applicant should emphasize the work where their skills and passion are expressed most strongly. Painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video, woodworking, and other crafts can convey artistic experience and aptitude.

Please submit 15-20 slides with no more than two dedicated to the same project. Images must be clear with no text on the page unless it is integral to the artwork. A carefully crafted caption for each slide should state the intent, elaborate on the process and method, and reflect on the outcome. Include a note that lists the size and medium of each piece, as well as whether the work was completed in class or independently. Any group projects should be credited accordingly and the task performed by the applicant noted specifically.

The deadlines for portfolio submissions are:

  • November 1 (early decision first-year applicants)
  • January 2 (regular decision first-year applicants)
  • October 1 (spring transfer applicants)
  • March 1 (fall transfer applicants)

Portfolios are added to the applicant's admissions file for review by the architecture department admissions committee. An application is not considered complete until all requirements have been received, including the online portfolio and the interview evaluation.

Standardized Test Information for 2021-22

  • The SAT/ACT is not required. SAT subject tests are also not required.
  • The TOEFL and/or IELTS is required of all international applicants whose first language is not English
    • The recommended minimum scores are:
      • TOEFL: score of 100
      • IELTS: score of 7

Transfer Students

Admission to the B.Arch. program is offered to a limited number of transfer applicants who have either completed a portion of their architecture studies in other schools or have developed a strong, well-thought-out interest in architecture but have no formal education in the discipline. Each applicant's case is considered individually. Placement is determined by the faculty admissions committee based on the applicant's portfolio and the amount of architecture coursework completed.

Credit for many courses can be transferred, but applicants must complete a minimum of 70 credits and four terms in residence. Thirty-five of the 70 credits must be taken in the Cornell architecture department.

Transfer applicants may submit a request for either an on-campus or an off-campus interview.

Transfer application interview request deadlines:

  • For spring semester: well before October 1
  • For fall semester: well before March 1

Important information for transfer applicants:

Students considering a transfer into the B.Arch. program should be aware that, if admitted, a transfer credit evaluation will take place. This process requires syllabi from any class for which an admitted student seeks credit, as well as a portfolio of work for any studio or visual representation classes. Applicants should prepare these materials in advance so they can be submitted promptly if an offer of admission is made. Admitted transfer students will have two weeks from the date of admission to submit all transfer credit materials. AAP will not accept transfer credit materials before an offer of admission is made.

Internal transfer is an option for current Cornell students who wish to transfer between colleges at Cornell. It is also an option for current AAP students who wish to transfer into a different AAP program.

Students interested in transferring into an AAP program must follow a college-specific internal transfer application process. To find out more about the undergraduate programs within AAP, and the process for transferring, you must meet with a member of AAP's Office of Admissions in 135 Sibley Hall.

Students may also transfer from outside of Cornell. Learn more about external transfer here.

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