This section provides a general overview of the admissions process. More information can be found under each specific degree within the five discipline groups. For application instructions, see last item on this page, "Application Instructions." Don't forget to read all of the Frequently Asked Questions.
Students who wish to study architecture at MIT at the undergraduate level must first be accepted to MIT. At the end of the first year MIT students decide which course of study they wish to pursue and declare a major in a specific department. Undergraduate applicants do not apply directly to the Department. They will use the MIT central admissions application, but should also send a copy of their portfolios directly to the Department, attention "Undergraduate Admissions."
Additional information and instructions for undergraduate applicants are available in the MIT Admissions website:
All graduate admissions are processed within the Department of Architecture. However, specific procedures and requirements vary depending on the degree program and discipline. As noted above, this section gives only general guidelines. Applicants should follow instructions detailed under the degree program of their interest. Detailed instructions on the application itself are provided at the bottom of this page. Be sure to read all of the directions on this page, including the FAQ page. Read every question even if you think it doesn't pertain to you.
All programs require a personal statement, three recommendation letters and transcripts. Here is a snapshot of other degree requirements for quick reference:
GRE: Required for MArch, SMBT, PhD programs.
IELTS/TOEFL: Required for all students for whom English is not a first language. The Department requires a score of 7 for IELTS and 100 for TOEFL (110 for HTC PhD).
Portfolio: Required for MArch, SMArchS, SMACT. Portfolios are optional, but recommended, for SMArchS HTC, SMBT, and PhD. Writing samples may be substituted where relevant and are expected for HTC PhD. Portfolios will be digital PDF files. For most programs applicants will upload their files to the online system. ACT applicants will mail their portfolios on CDs.
See specific program admissions requirements:
Deadline and Submission
The application deadline is December 31, 2013. All application material must be received by deadline. Late applications will not be reviewed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to be sure that the application is completed and all supporting materials are received at the following address by the deadline.
MIT Department of Architecture
77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 7-337
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Telephone: (617) 715-4490
All applicants will use the Architecture-specific online application: https://gradapply.mit.edu/architecture/apply/login/. The Architecture Graduate Application will be activated in Mid-September, is unique to Architecture, and is not used by any other department.
Application to MIT requires a non-refundable fee of $75 USD payable by credit card.
All applicants should submit (only) three letters of recommendation. Applicants will use the online application system to invite recommenders to submit letters online.
A scanned PDF copy of an original transcript (or English translation) from each university should be uploaded in the application. In addition, we require that one official copy of each transcript (with English translation) be sent by December 31 to:
Architecture Graduate Admissions
77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 7-337
Cambridge, MA 02139
Statement of Objectives
Research our faculty members and the work they are doing. Make note of the work you find interesting in your personal statement. A match between your academic pursuits and the work performed here is important.
English Proficiency Requirement
IELTS/TOEFL scores are required for EVERY applicant whose first language is not English. There are no exceptions. Previous education in English will not suffice. Check English Proficiency Requirement under the degree of your interest for specific information on minimum scores.
Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to MIT by IELTS International or Educational Testing Service. IELTS and TOEFL Scores must be no older than two years as of the date of application. To avoid delays, please use the following codes when having your TOEFL scores sent to MIT:
Institutional Code: 3514
Department Code: 12
Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
Some degree programs require GRE scores, but not all of them. There is no minimum score. ONLY the General Test is required (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical). You DO NOT have to take any subject tests.
Many of our degrees require that you submit a portfolio, including for those applicants who do not have a previous architecture degree or background. The portfolio should include evidence of recent creative work: personal, academic and/or professional. Choose what you care about, what you think is representative of your best work, and what is expressive of you. Written material (articles or papers) may be included with the application, and are particularly appropriate for the PhD programs. Portfolio requirements vary by program. Be sure to review the portfolio requirements specific to the program to which you are applying. Applicants whose programs require portfolios should plan to upload an electronic version to the online application with the exception of the Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology Program. ACT portfolios will be mailed on CD to the Architecture Department.
Resumes / CVs
Resumes / CVs are not required. If you must submit a CV, please include it as a page in your portfolio. There is no place to upload a copy of your CV, and we will not forward paper copies to the admissions committees.
An interview is not required for application but are recommended for all the PhD programs, the Master of Science in Art Culture and Technology (SMACT) and Master of Science in Building Technology programs (SMBT).
Students who wish to reapply should contact the Department to let us know. We save applications for two years, but not portfolios. Applicants should use the online application system to submit a new application. We will retrieve your previous transcripts, recommendation letters and test scores and combine them with your new materials. Plan to update any documents that may have changed, such as test scores or transcripts. If possible, include one new letter of recommendation to show the admissions committee that you are actively reapplying.
- Telephone: (617) 715-4490
- Facsimile: (617) 253-8993
MIT is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment and abides by its nondiscrimination policy in administering the admissions process.
Offers of Admission/Admissions Acceptance
Timing of admission notification varies by program. Normally decisions are made by early March and applicants are notified either by telephone or email. Admissions offers may extend until April 15. In some cases wait list letters will be issued. Students who are admitted from a wait list may be notified after April 15 of their admittance.
Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants
Acceptance of an offer of financial support *(such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.
Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.
The philosophy of the Department of Architecture is based upon a desire to maintain a diverse student body and encourage those who have the interest and ability to succeed in the profession, regardless of their financial resources. The Department wants to make it possible for all of our students to graduate with a debt no larger than they can reasonably expect to repay while working in their profession. Financial aid from the Department is in the form of direct tuition awards and Departmental employment.
Financial aid awards for incoming students are made upon admission. In general, PhD students are funded on financial aid packages that consist of a Teaching Assistantship (TA) or Research Assistantship (RA) salary component, plus a tuition component. TA or RA assignments are made by the faculty Discipline Group Director at the beginning of each term.
Financial aid awards to Master's degree students are in the form of a partial tuition award. Master's degree students are also eligible to compete for work opportunities in the form of Teaching or Research Assistantships, or hourly positions available in the department.
Students are eligible for financial support from the Department, both tuition and/or Departmental employment, for the period of the standard residency requirement of the degree program. For PhD students this is up to a maximum of ten semesters. For MArch students entering in Year 1 or with advanced entry in Year 2, the maximum number of semesters of eligibility is seven and five, respectively. SMArchS, SMBT and SMACT students are eligible for a total of four semesters of financial aid.
Students in all degree programs must be registered as a full-time resident graduate student for the period of the award, and be in good academic standing in order to be eligible for continued financial aid.
In all cases, students should refer to the details laid out in the offer of admission.
MIT tuition and fees are posted by the Registrar. TA, RA and hourly rates are set by the Institute and the Department.
Additional information is found on the handbook section.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will I hear about the result of my application?
Each of our 12 degree programs will notify applicants at different times and in different ways, beginning in early March. All applicants will know their status by April 1. Please do not contact us to inquire about the status of your application before April 1.
What is the application deadline?
The deadline is December 31 at midnight.
I submitted an application but would like to know if you have received my original documents. How do I check?
You will not be able to submit your application if it is incomplete, but the system will allow you to submit if letters have not yet arrived. The application system will let you know if recommendation letters are missing from your application. You will be able to edit the application information after you have submitted it. Because we also require you to send your official transcrips and test scores directly to the Department, you may wish to know whether we have received official documents. As we move closer to the deadline, it will become impossible for us to respond to every request for document verification. While we are reviewing your materials, we will contact you if anything is missing. Please do not call or email the office to see if we have received your documents.
Why did I not receive a confirmation email when I submitted my application?
When your application is complete and the system lets you submit it, it gets submitted. There is no need for a confirmation email. You may log into the system at any time to review or update your information. Do not edit your information after February 1, 2013.
I opened my official transcripts in order to scan them. What should I do?
You should contact your school and have them resend you a set of original transcripts in sealed envelopes to send to us. We expect you to scan your personal, unofficial copies.
Can I submit five recommendation letters?
No. The requirement is 3. The total we will accept is four.
Do I need to upload a writing sample?
You only need to upload a writing sample if it is relevant to the program to which you are applying. Normally, this is only for the History, Theory and Criticism programs.
My IELTS (TOEFL) score is below your requirement, should I still apply?
If your scores do not meet the minimum required for admission, or if you have not taken the test, we will not be able to admit you. Applications with low and missing test scores will not be reviewed. The latest possible test date that you can take and still submit the scores to us is December 1. If you do not think you need to take this test, see the next question.
Must I take the IELTS (TOEFL)?
The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of each and every single applicant whose first language is not English, regardless of citizenship or residency in the US while attending other educational institutions. No exceptions are made. If you did your undergraduate studies in the US but are from a non-English speaking country you DO need to take the IELTS/TOEFL. If you are from the US but were raised speaking another language, you DO need to take the IELTS/TOEFL. However, if you were raised in a non-English speaking country but have spoken and been educated in English all your life, you do not. The Admissions Committees regard English proficiency as crucial for success in all degree programs. In order to meet the December 31, 2013 admissions deadline, it is recommended that candidates take the IELTS or TOEFL on the earliest possible test date. Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to MIT by the Educational Testing Service. Scores must be no older than two years.
What is the ETS institutional code for the Architecture Department?
Institutional Code: 3514
Department Code: 12
Note that is not important for you to enter the Department Code. All scores are sent to the same MIT central database for viewing by all admissions staff, so your score will be available to us.
I applied to MIT Architecture before. Do you still have my materials?
We save application materials for two years but do not save portfolios due to space and because this is often the reason an application was not accepted. To reapply, students should complete a new form online and contact Darren Bennett to have him retrieve your previous material. Students should submit any paperwork that has changed, such as test scores or transcripts. Students should also submit one additional recommendation letter. English test scores (IELTS/TOEFL) are only valid for two years and GRE scores for five, so these need to be replaced if they are expired as of the date of your application.
There is no deferral of admissions. If you are accepted and do not attend, you will need to reapply. Applications that were accepted one year have no guarantee of future acceptance. All applications are reviewed in light of the current applicant pool.
Can I or should I apply to two different degree programs within the Department of Architecture?
No. You should apply to the program that best matches your educational goals, and note this clearly in your Personal Statement. Applicants to the PhD programs are automatically reviewed also for the SMArchS program of that same group. Sometimes applicants to the PhD programs are instead admitted to the SMArchS program.
How long should my personal statement be?
Faculty have a lot of reading to do. It is wise to keep your personal statement to under two pages. Present your information in a clear and concise manner. Describe your goals in obtaining a degree here, and how you are qualified to do so.
I was not admitted. Will you provide feedback regarding my application?
No. Admissions decisions are conducted behind closed doors and are not available to applicants.
Can I "friend" staff members of the Department on Facebook or other social media sites?
Please don't. We have official Facebook and Twitter feeds that are meant for this purpose. You can learn more about them on the School's website, here: http://sap.mit.edu/resources/media/social
Diversity is important to MIT in general, and to the Department of Architecture in particular. We have made a substantial commitment to outreach and recruitment of diverse students and faculty. Some years ago, a school-wide Diversity Committee was created to monitor and review department efforts, particularly in regard to faculty hiring. After a comprehensive self-study, the department hosted a conference on African-Americans in architecture, began to develop pipeline initiatives in relation to traditionally black universities, and created an Under-Represented Minority Committee to review admission policies for our graduate programs. These are indicators of our intention to move aggressively to improve our existing figure of more than 30% minority and women faculty, in the belief that numerous perspectives and multiple role models are necessary for the future of the architectural profession.
In the United States, 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: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture and the 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.
Master's degree programs may consist of a preprofessional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the preprofessional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
The 2009 Procedures for Accreditation and the 2010 Conditions for Accreditation are available in the Rotch Library and in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. Revised guidelines will be available when they are made official. Information regarding accreditation also may be accessed via the NAAB website at www.naab.org.
Read every word in this section and in the FAQ section.
Applicants should begin by going to: https://gradapply.mit.edu/architecture/apply/login/. You will be asked to create a user ID and password. Please write it down for future use. You will be able to return to edit your application before you submit it, and after you submit you will still be able to track your recommendation letters and update your contact information.
This year we require applicants to upload digital copies of all of their documents to the online application system. This means that the only items most applicants need to mail to us are the original, verified copies of transcripts in their unopened envelopes. Applicants will instruct ETS to send us GRE and TEOFL/IELTS scores. We will match your self-reported scores with the official scores sent to us by your schools and ETS. Only ACT applicants will need to mail CDs of their portfolios to the Department- all other program portfolios are digital. Everything else will be online. Mail any items to:
MIT Department of Architecture
77 Massachusetts Ave., Room 7-337
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
The "First research field of interest" is the specific degree program you wish to attend. The "Second field of interest" should only be filled out if you wish your application to be considered by another group if the first group does not see a fit for you. Please do not complete the "Third research field of interest."
The "Degree Objective" is the actual degree, such as: Master of Architecture, Master of Science or PhD program you wish to receive upon completion of the program.
There are 13 possible degrees in the Department of Architecture. Click here for a list of the degree options you may choose on the application.
Letters of Recommendation
Notify your letter writers as early as possible to let them know you will be requesting letters. This will give them time to prepare and submit their letters by the deadline. Email text for you to send to your recommenders will be generated for you by the system. You are responsible for making sure that your letter writers have copies of these instructions. If your recommender has trouble with the online system, they may need to email or mail the letter to us. In this case make sure that you have completed the form in the system with their information and check whether or not you have waived your right to view the letter. Inform the recommender of your choice. You may, if necessary, submit one additional letter, for a total of four letters. Do not submit five letters.
Complete the form. If your native language is not English, be sure to note this here. ALL applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS (preferred) scores by December 31, 2013. If you have not taken one of these tests prior to November 2013, the scores will not be available to us in time to review your application. Applications with scores below 90 on the TOEFL or 7 on the IELTS will not be reviewed and cannot be admitted per MIT rules. Our Department minimum for the TOEFL is 100. Scores below 100 but above 90 will be at a disadvantage compared to other applicants.
Applies only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Some groups are considered "underrepresented minorities" at MIT and may or may not be eligible for certain benefits.
Your permanent address is your primary home. Your mailing address is where you wish us to mail any correspondence. This address should be active until June, 2014.
Enter your education experience here. GPA should be converted to the 4 point system if possible. Transcripts may be student copies, but you must have original, unopened versions mailed to the Department by the application deadline.
Have ETS send us your GRE scores. Either have ETS send your TOEFL scores, or have IELTS International send us your IELTS score. Note that is not important for you to enter the Department Code, but you should enter the MIT code: 3514. All scores are sent to the same MIT central database for viewing by all admissions staff, so your score will be available to us. Report the scores on this form. You do not need to scan your test score. Enter your language of instruction in school. If you are bilingual and are equally proficient in English and another language, please detail this in the "Other experience" field. Writing samples may be used in place of a portfolio for HTC programs. ACT applicants need to follow the directions outlined here: http://architecture.mit.edu/art-culture-and-technology/degree/smact.
For all other programs that require or recommend a portfolio, applicants should upload a 10MB, 30-page (max) portfolio that is no larger than 1275x1650 pixels and 150 dpi. This means you get 30 images. Do not think in terms of spreads. This is not for printing. You get 30 images, or clicks, total. If you wish to format them as spreads, you still only get 30. Be sure to upload your portfolio BEFORE the last hour of the last day as you will likely have difficulty.
Be sure to check off whether or not you wish to be considered for financial support. No preference is given to either answer. If you need money to attend grad school, be sure to say "yes." If you say no you will receive no aid. All of our Department aid is distributed on a merit basis. The Department will review admitted applicants to see if any MIT scholarships may apply. If an admitted applicant to an Architecture program is eligible for an MIT scholarship, the Department will apply on your behalf and detail this in the admission letter.
Statement of Objectives
This is how we get to know you, your experience, your goals, and why you wish to attend MIT. Be sure to study our websites (http://architecture.mit.edu/ and http://sap.mit.edu/) to inform yourself of the research work happening here. A match between your experience and interests and our faculty's research is important. Think: Why do I want to attend MIT? Why would MIT want me to attend? Keep your statement under two pages long.
You will not be able to submit an incomplete application form, but since some programs do not require a portfolio, you will be able to submit your application without one. If a portfolio is required for your program and you want your application considered, be sure to upload one before you submit your application. We will not be able to view incomplete applications. You may continue to update address and contact information after your submit your application. There is no confirmation email.
If you have any difficulties or questions regarding your online application, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 617-715-4490.