2012 M.Arch Applicants, Commiserate Here!


It's already august and since nobody feel compelled to start the 2012 thread... (hope that means that there are less applicants this year)

I'm 20/F/BFA arch/Intl/currently volunteering


Schools I'm probably going to apply to:

gsd ap 1

u toronto


Schools I'm interested in:



things i need to prepare:
- gre(preparing for Sep)
- toefl(not worried)
- portfolio(editing)
- rec letters(don't know how to approach the recommenders)
- app forms(not available yet)


my back up plan(s) for next year:

...or marry a rich dude and open a casino

Aug 8, 11 6:59 pm

Hello! I am also applying for this next admissions cycle. (Thanks for starting this thread!)

21/M/BS arch/USA/No internship...

Top choices/Dream schools:  Berkeley CED, UCLA AUD, PennDesign, YSOA, GSD (I know, me and everyone else)

Debating whether or not to try for:  TCAUP, GSAAP

Progress so far:
-I took the GRE last month--won't be retaking it, thankfully.
-Still needing to put some more time into my portfolio
-Recs I have two professors in mind
-No applications yet. 

If none of this works out:  If I don't get into a program, I might consider reapplying depending on how close the decision is; ie, if i'm waitlisted or something. If not, I am thinking of taking some time to pursue old interests -- a BFA program in drawing/painting. 

Aug 8, 11 8:00 pm  · 

wow, that's a lot of schools you're applying to... they all seem to be very graphic, esp UCLA... I'm surprised you're not planning to apply to MIT...

Aug 8, 11 10:57 pm  · 
Nabila Tajrin

hey, i ve completed architecture, but got a poor GPA 2.5. im a 1st generation student. but i wana do graduation .. what can i there any well known university which will accept me? how can i get chance in any university with my poor GPA? plz any suggestion ???  :(

Aug 8, 11 11:21 pm  · 

Wow, the admissions cycle has come around again, and this time it's my turn to apply.

21/F/BA in architecture/Ivy//US. Some work experience that's relatable to architecture.

Planning on applying to: GSAPP, YSOA, Princeton, Penn, GSD, MIT.


-Portfolio is about 10 percent complete. I hope to finish it before summer is over, including reworking some projects, so that fact that some people (on this and other threads) are almost done is slightly intimidating.

- Registered to take the GRE in October. There are some areas that I need to study more for.

- Applications when they come out. I have a pretty good idea of what I plan to say my essays, ie. my specific areas of interest within architecture and how they relate to the focus of each school.

- For recs I have some studio and studio/HTC professors in mind. I would also like to include a recommendation from a non-architecture professor whose class I did particularly well in.

If I don't get in I'll try to find a job/internship for a year while rebuilding my portfolio with senior year studio work that I have yet to create, and then reapply.

Aug 9, 11 4:19 am  · 

@snail you're applying directly from undergrad? That's intense... Couldn't imagine juggling all those admission process stuff with senior classes... Good luck with that..

Aug 9, 11 4:49 am  · 

Qtip, thank you for your encouragement ... It won't be the same portfolio that it would be if I had an extra year to prepare, but I am hoping that it will still be competitive. I know that this is what I want to do since I still get regularly struck by the thought that I should have done a B.Arch to begin with. We'll see how successful I am ... if I don't get in somewhere that I'm really happy with I will try again later. Good luck with you applications too.

Aug 9, 11 6:23 am  · 

Anyone applying for MArch II or Urban design here?

Aug 9, 11 1:53 pm  · 

23/M/BArch/US/international internship experience

Schools considering:

AA London, GSD, GSAAP, Penn, Carnegie Mellon.

Any advice on the GRE? Similar to the SAT? How comprehensive should portfolio be packaged?

Good luck everyone!


Aug 9, 11 2:16 pm  · 

@nonoac good question.

I am applying for MArch II, however, i have also pondered urban design...i always thought that architecture could leave much room for urban design though. 

Has any one got any academic experience in a master of urban design program? 

Aug 9, 11 2:20 pm  · 


I have a B.Arch and been working for three years.  I feel most people are applying for MArch I here.  Good to fine someone that is preparing for MArch II!

GSAPP is my dream school and I am looking for a Master degree in Urban design. Urban design has much relationship with architecture, and I think it is worse looking into.

In terms of GRE, it says on GSAPP's website that GRE is not required for MSAAD and MSAUD. How important is it to have it for the application?

Portfolio is the most important part for the entire selecting process, I was just told from someone professional that I need to redo all the projects I had from B.Arch because they are not good enough to get in to those top schools.  so I don't even know if I will be ready to apply for 2012 this year. 

Aug 9, 11 3:06 pm  · 

Hey 2012 Applicants

I'm 22/F/B Arch/US/Volunteer and Internship experience

Top Choices: GSAPP,Yale,Pratt,Penn, Harvard

Other schools I am interested in: Northeastern,SCI-ARC, Cooper Union, Boston Architectural College

I am applying for a MArch II and will be applying during thesis wish me luck!

I know these are a lot of schools offering different ways of approaching design but I want to apply to as many schools as possible. My back up plan is finding a job then reapplying after a year or two.


Portfolio- 50% done

Personal Statement- outline written

Letters of Rec-I have 3 people in mind

Registered for GRE in November- I have been doing practice test

Applications when they come out




Aug 10, 11 11:30 am  · 

23/m/B Arch/ USA/No internships unfortunately 

Choices (still trying to narrow it down to 5 schools):     GSD, GSAPP, UPenn, Cornell, Pratt, UVA, Ucla, Parsons, Oregon, Vtech

I am not really sure if I'll get in any of these but lets see what happens


GRE: Just signed up to take it in September

Portfolio: 10% done, I keep redoing everything, hopefully I'll make a lot of progress soon

Letters of recommendations: Have not asked yet, but I shouldn't have any trouble



Aug 11, 11 12:42 am  · 

21/M/BS.Arch in April '12 (canadian equivalent)/1 internship right now, probably another one next summer/GPA: Maj. 3.3, Cum. 3.6

I'm looking at applying to Syracuse, Notre Dame, Michigan, Waterloo and Dalhousie for the 2-year M.Arch; possibly one or two others that offer a dual MFA/MArch.

I'll be taking the GRE in December, right before going back from co-op to my last term of undergrad; might consider taking a year off in between to gain some money and experience.

Re-starting the portfolio from scratch because I've realized the current one really isn't very good, need to re-do some stuff and add in more. I've already had a couple profs offer to write LoR's, so I'm not very concerned about that at the moment.

Anyone know how American universities are for providing aid to Canadian students coming to do the M.Arch? Has anyone from Canada received decent aid packages from any of the ones listed? While I'd like to go to the states for school, I simply can't afford full-price tuition; therefore if I dont get aid I will be going to a Canadian school (which is fine too).

Aug 13, 11 3:26 pm  · 

BenC, as far as I know, it's easier for international student to get financial aid from private school in the US. Schools which are supported by the government can only give aids to US citizen/Permanent citizen. Out of all the schools you listed there, Syracuse and Notre Dame are private institution. However, even with that, you should check the school's website for more info or contact the school itself to be sure.

Looking at the 2011 thread, there seems to be a couple international students that got financial aids. But, I believe they are mostly from Ivy schools such as Columbia and Harvard.

Aug 13, 11 11:50 pm  · 

Is there anyone else applying from other faculties entirely? I know there aren't many Unis that accept it.. but it's worth a try

22/F/Bachelor of Arts 2011/Canada

Worked at an event decor company for the past 5 years or so (building set-pieces, painting, helping design sometimes), and now a language assistant in germany for the year

Schools to apply to (so far):


U of T

University of Applied Arts Vienna

Dalhousie (was accepted to BEDS late this year, but couldn't go because of the job)

GPA: 3.3 (trying to bring it up)

Portfolio: Redoing, since I have more time this year than last year when I made it

Letters of recommendation: Have a former architecture-faculty member from Dalhousie, a german prof at UBC (formerly MTA), and another couple german literature professors at Dalhousie in mind

Now just work on the portfolio and stress for a few months... right?

Aug 14, 11 9:21 am  · 

@Clarke I'm pretty sure there's a lot... I've seen a thread about admission made by a computer engineer... Contrary to belief, there's a lot of schools that accept students with no architecture background... it would just take longer to finish...

Aug 14, 11 2:56 pm  · 

25/M/BA Public Relations & Advertising/United States

Only real design experience was 5 week UT Summer Academy of Architecture.

GPA: 3.3 

GRE 1270 

Schools: Kansas, Clemson, probably Florida four year program, Virginia Tech... probably apply to a few others as well.

Portfolio: Just starting with ideas, taking a class this semester in drawing, and sculpture to acquire material for portfolio.

LOR: Have two people in mind, and will need a third.


Most schools that have an M.Arch program in US accept students wo a background to their 3 year track. 





Aug 14, 11 9:37 pm  · 

Yes! Another from another field.

@qtip, I figured there was another thread on this, too, but the search bar in archinect was being fussy, so I just popped into this one instead

My only thing is that I'm trying to stick to Canadian schools because of the tuition costs, but if there are some with good funding for canadians I'll be checking them out (I did read the post above about the same situation)

Also, my only design experience is a couple visual thinking courses, an intro to architecture course, and a drawing class.

@jordans99: If you look around some of the european art school websites, they have sample tasks for their admissions exams, which can be useful for getting some little, creative projects started for the portfolio

Aug 15, 11 3:16 am  · 
Jean Chen

Whoa! So many Canadians here! (I am too though I'm currently doing undergrad in US) Although I wasn't planning on applying to Grad school just yet (since most of the MArch students at Princeton are 25+, and all the professors told us to not to go straight to grad school, I figured it's too early for me to apply), but it seems that most people here are around my own age (21), so I'm hoping to get some advise here. My stats is as follows:

21/F/BA (major in architecture, probably minor in French)/ Canadian (BA from US though)/Paid part-time job for working architect/professor

Choices: uh.. haven't considered yet


GRE: Taking it next week

Portfolio: Have 1, but looking through the application portfolios for Princeton, mine doesn't look nearly on par

Letters of recommendations: Should be no problem

Since my family can't afford me going off to do unpaid internship/volunteering after graduation, I would have to find a paid job after I graduate if I wasn't going to grad school. Here's the dilemma, it seems to be REALLY hard to get a paid job/internship in architecture with BA degree, so should I consider applying to grad school directly? 

(BTW, I believe GSD, Yale and Princeton provide need based financial-aid?)

Aug 15, 11 1:17 pm  · 

@Jean Chen I just wanted to get my education out of the way... Besides, I thought it would be harder to switch back to school mode once I started working... I'm glad that there's quite a lot of young guns though... I fear the difficult communication with older people if I got in... Since they're probably more mature and stuff... I don't know about princeton, but I'm sure that Yale and GSD have need based financial aid... But with the economy as it is, I don't know what would happen to that...

Aug 15, 11 1:45 pm  · 
Jean Chen

Only GSD and Yale offer need based financial aid? 0.o ... My future looks more and more difficult... *sigh*... how do people manage to pay for grad school? Fellowship? Student loan?

Aug 15, 11 4:26 pm  · 
Jean Chen

Oh, and I wouldn't worry about communicating with older students, whether they're early twenties or early thirties, most M.Arch I know are super nice and easy to talk to!

Aug 15, 11 4:29 pm  · 

I didn't say that ONLY GSD and Yale offer financial aid... Washington University in St. Louis is quite generous with their aids for financial students too... I met one of the professors at last year BSA College Fair and he said that it's quite easy for international students to get aids there... You should just contact the school to double check on that... Most schools are quite helpful with infos, and if they aren't, you might want to reconsider applying to schools that ignore you...

Aug 15, 11 5:01 pm  · 
Jean Chen

WashU St. Louis doesn't offer need-based financial aid, it offers limit financial aid that is a combination of fellowship/scholarship/TA/loans, which is what a lot of private universities in US offer. I guess I kind of took need-based financial aid for granted, but now looking carefully at these grad schools, I guess I should expect to take loans and apply to a bunch of fellowships/scholarships (and hopefully get some) to pay off my tuition...  but considering how many people manage to get by and assuming not everyone is from families where they can easily pay 21K a semester, there must be a way to get by. (LOL, optimistic reasoning XD)

Aug 15, 11 5:19 pm  · 

Isn't that's how all schools give their financial needs? Through fellowship/scholarship/TA... I don't know about loans though... well... money is money for me...

"The Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) offers financial assistance in the form of grants, loans and employment awards. The types of assistance for which a student is eligible can vary according to citizenship as well as academic program. From the three choices below, choose the appropriate category to review aid eligibility."-here

"A student’s financial need, considered to be the total cost of education less the student’s resource contribution, is first met with an established level of self-help. For students with financial need beyond the established level of self-help, the School of Architecture will award a need-based scholarship. Awarded need-based scholarship is determined by the higher of the two following methods of calculation.

An Individual Resource Scholarship is intended for students who do not wish to or who are unable to provide parental resource information. In an effort to equitably award available need-based scholarship among qualified students, the award amount for Individual Resource Scholarships has an upper limit and in some cases, therefore, may not fully cover a student’s financial need. A Family Resource Scholarship is intended for students who wish to and are able to provide parental resource information. For a student with limited family resources, a Family Resource Scholarship may yield a higher scholarship award than an Individual Resource Scholarship. Submitting parental resource information will not affect the calculation of an Individual Resource Scholarship award."-here



Aug 15, 11 5:32 pm  · 

Anyone applying to UCLA?  After what happened last year with admissions I'm hesitant.  If you don't it sounded like a lot of people didn't hear back till May/June.  I would hope UCLA has re-thought their process.

Aug 17, 11 12:14 am  · 

Consider attending the ACSA/AIAS College Expo

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the American Institute of Architecture Students present the 2011 Graduate Architecture College+Career Expo. September 24, 2011 on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Considering going back to graduate school for a degree in architecture or a related field?  Looking for a professional degree, post professional degree, or want to learn the difference? Meet with numerous college representatives from across North America, attend a portfolio workshop, and then have your portfolio critiqued. Get tips on choosing the right school for you by a seasoned architecture educator.

Student Registration is free, however we ask that you pre-register before September 21, 2011.
The registration site will open August 29, 2011.


Below is the growing lists of schools already signed up for this years expo.

    * Boston Architectural College
    * Carnegie Mellon University
    * Catholic University of America
    * City College of New York
    * Drury University
    * Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture
    * Georgia Institute of Technology
    * Harvard University
    * Judson University
    * Lawrence Technological University
    * Louisiana State University
    * Miami University
    * Montana State University
    * New Jersey Institute of Technology
    * NewSchool of Architecture and Design
    * Parsons the New School for Design
    * Portland State University
    * Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    * Rhode Island School of Design
    * Roger Williams University
    * Savannah College of Art and Design

    * School of the Art Institute of Chicago
    * Southern California Institute of Architecture
    * Temple University
    * Tulane University
    * University of Arizona
    * University of Cincinnati
    * University of Detroit Mercy
    * University of Florida
    * University of Hawaii
    * University of Houston
    * University of Idaho
    * University of Illinois at Chicago
    * University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    * University of Maryland
    * University of Miami
    * University of Michigan
    * University of Pennsylvania
    * University of Virginia
    * University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    * Washington University in St. Louis
    * Woodbury University

Aug 20, 11 11:56 pm  · 

qtip, jean chen,

gsd, princeton, and columbia (as well as many other ivies) give out only need-based financial aid.  so if you and/or your parents have a lot of money, you won't get much aid.  

note that columbia has a separate financial aid process outside of fafsa; if you don't fill out these forms in time you will not get ANY financial aid.  it's easy to overlook, so don't forget.  gsd is generous with aid but, because the school is quite large, it cannot touch a school like princeton where most students get about 75% of their tuition covered (regardless of need, i believe) and several full-ride scholarships are given each year.

good luck!

Aug 22, 11 12:18 pm  · 

Thanks for the info qdpv! But as far as I know, fafsa is only for US citizens or PRs... I don't think international students who will most likely be under F-1 visa, like me and jean chen, can get any financial aid from the US government. 

Aug 22, 11 3:55 pm  · 

I'm pretty sure princeton gives out generous scholarships to international students. gsd gives out up to 12k to intl students but it is very competitive/selective. gsapp gives out none to intl students...

Aug 23, 11 1:06 am  · 

@lescape May I know from where you find out that gsd gives up to 12k to intl students? Are you a current gsd student? I am a bit curious how much money schools like gsd gives their intl students and what they use to pick( GRE? Portfolio? Essays? LOR?) Through my research, it seems that GRE score is the most important factor in getting financial aids...

Aug 23, 11 2:18 pm  · 

hi 25/m/indian

pursuing masters in control systems engineering 

would like to apply for M.ARCH program for people who haven't graduated in B.ARCH

GRE quants 800 verbal 600 awa 3.0

CGPA 7.65/10.00

am currently working on my portfolio but would really like to know if its going to be any good

as i haven't taken any art classes but i am good at drawing and painting i have a few hand made models especially made out of wood but its but nothing relevant to architecture but just toys and also thermocol

would really appreciate if any one can give me any suggestions about the portfolio like what i should include in it

 i will be applying to U of Michigan and UCLA  and Ohio State University

would really help if i can get financial aid would appreciate if someone can suggest me some schools 

Aug 24, 11 6:26 pm  · 

22/ m/ Indian/ B.Arch- currently in the Fifth Year

gpa- 3.97

gpa- range of 1360-1550 (final score in November)

choice of colleges: Harvard GSD, Princeton, Yale, Cornell, MIT SAP, Penn

My plan was to apply for the M.Arch II for Fall 2012. However, it turns out that some of the colleges I want to go to (such as Cornell) have summer enrollment and as I graduate next summer, it will be impossible for me to enroll. 

Is applying during thesis year advisable? Are my chances of getting into these schools jeapordised by the fact I havent completed my thesis and I'm yet to graduate? Should I apply next year for Fall 2013 or should I take a chance and apply this year (I wont have my thesis in my portfolio).


Sep 3, 11 6:44 am  · 

i don't get why young grads won't take a time off before jumping into m.arch.. just a question i've been pondering, no need to get defensive

Sep 3, 11 9:21 am  · 


The economy.. What else LOL

Personally, I don't feel confident that I could compete for jobs with people who have a B.Arch... They seem to know how to put together a building(including details) and have good design process on their portfolio... I know that I want to open my own firm someday and I would need a professional degree to get license and stuff... I also know that I'd have more responsibilities as I get older.. And since I know what I want to focus on for thesis, so I figure, a year or two after pre-prof degree would probably be the best time for grad school... Plus, I wouldn't need to worry about going back to school mode... 

Sep 3, 11 9:50 am  · 

@sg18 which college are you from

Sep 3, 11 2:42 pm  · 

@saadbinakhlaq I'm from Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurgaon.

Sep 3, 11 3:47 pm  · 
"The Co-op Guy"

is this a commiseration thread or a 'this is what I'm doing!' thread?

I think 6 out of the 17 people who posted (not all of whom are actually applying) on this thread are going for the GSD. Just out curiosity, who knows which faculty they want to study with and why they want to go to Harvard rather than the standard "its Harvard, why not?"

Sep 12, 11 2:36 pm  · 

I didn't say I was applying to the GSD but, Farshid Moussavi would be really interesting to study under. Her interests in incorporating vernacular Islamic architecture and digital fabrication really peaks my interest.

Just because people want to go to the GSD, doesn't mean they haven't done their research. It's a great institution with great faculty. So, enough of the overly preachy nonsense.

Sep 12, 11 4:01 pm  · 

It's an annual commiseration thread. Just like 2011 2010 2009  2008 2007

I don't know anyone stupid enough not to research the school they're applying to and apply just because of DI rank when they're paying $200K++

Sep 12, 11 4:49 pm  · 

i completely agree with soali.

I for one know that Sanford Kwinter has moved to the GSD after spending a few years at Rice. His work has always interested me and i would totally love to take one of his history, theory and criticism courses. I think the time when people would blindly apply to the top 5 is over.

Sep 13, 11 5:33 am  · 

Hey does anyone have a link to where you can view (successful) applicants' portfolios to Princeton, GSD, Yale... etc....

Sep 13, 11 8:22 am  · 
"The Co-op Guy"

"generally preachy nonsense"...

I did not intend for that comment to be preachy or to accuse people generally of not doing their research. I am actually interested in what other people here are interested in studying there (especially with such a diversity of faculty and research there) so I'm not sure (soali) why you are being so defensive. It was meant as discussion for the whole thread, not to any single person and when I think of commiseration I imagine sympathy with difficult decisions, and sharing our passions for what we are applying for, not limited to just listing schools and GRE scores...

I am actually applying to the GSD as well and am also interested in the work of Sanford Kwinter, and Christoph Reinhart for arch technology/daylighting/passive systems. If I did happen to get in, It would also be really interesting to study with Rahul Mehrotra, who does a lot of work in Mumbai, not just arch commissions but a kind of architectural advocacy. I am really interested in traveling and maybe doing work one day in India, although I don't know much more about Mehrotra than what is on the faculty page... It would also be fantastic to study with Charles Waldheim, who recently moved to the GSD. I find that thinking about architecture within a frame of landscape (or landscape urbanism for that matter) really provocative and an interesting way to combine architectural design with urban public space. I am also really interested in the "urbanism, landscape, and ecology" program as well as the "anticipatory spatial practice" program, which are both MDesS degrees, although I would be more inclined to take electives from professors who are in these programs than going for the MDesS degree, however I wouldn't be opposed to applying to that as well as the M.Arch, if I could get into that program but not the M.Arch...

Sep 13, 11 1:31 pm  · 

"...It was meant as discussion for the whole thread, not to any single person and when I think of commiseration I imagine sympathy with difficult decisions, and sharing our passions for what we are applying for, not limited to just listing schools and GRE scores..."

It's supposed to be like that. I figure people are more cautious of sharing here these days. If you check issuu, there's some people who stole other people's portfolio template. And also, if you look at the people applying(based on the above posts) most people have experience(either B.Arch or BA) in architecture. You can assume that generally, they know what they want to study and thus the 'lack of passion and sympathy with difficult decisions' in this thread.

Sep 13, 11 2:25 pm  · 

Do you all think that a smaller number of students with be applying for a Masters in Architecture this year given the current state of the economy? Will it be like law school where the number has consistently risen despite the legal industry being bottlenecked?

Sep 14, 11 2:07 pm  · 

I'd expect more students will apply given the state of the economy, despite repeated warnings against using grad school as a lifesaver to ride out the bad economy.

Sep 15, 11 4:42 am  · 

I know at least one school told me they had less people in their M.Arch1 this year than in years past. However, I was only told about the M.Arch1. It seems logical that there may be less M.Arch 1 students (career switchers) than M.Arch II folks (people needing the degree at some point to get licensed.) Then again, that might be wishful thinking. 

Sep 15, 11 11:13 am  · 

You don't need M.Arch II to get licensed. B.Arch is a professional degree. The thread from the previous years show that there's actually more people that switch career.

Sep 15, 11 1:24 pm  · 

nagooyen - where do you plan on applying this year and where do you want to go?

Sep 15, 11 6:42 pm  · 

jordans99, did that school say how many applicants there were? They may have simply reduced the accepted class size because they cannot support a larger number of students.

batman, I'm applying to GSD and Yale (each for entirely different reasons), Rice, and MIT. My top choice, by far, would be Yale specifically for their building project and that I would be able to take courses in other departments (I'd like to believe successful architecture draws from many different fields). It's surprisingly difficult to find both of these interests in a single school where neither feels like a half-hearted addendum that receives little support.

Sep 16, 11 8:00 pm  · 

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