Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research

Application Deadline:
January 15

Portfolio Deadline:
January 15

Enrollment Deposit and Intent to Enroll Deadline:
April 15

/ Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply to the Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research degree, an applicant must have:

  1. A professional degree in architecture (B.Arch or M.Arch) from an accredited institution.
  2. A professional degree in engineering, urban planning, industrial design and other disciplines that can be described by the applicant as relevant to the degree concentration that the applicant is applying.
  3. Non-professional degree in an equivalent aligned field, (art/design, engineering, urban planning or architecture).
  4. Evidence of research, creative and professional work in the concentration area that the applicant is applying for is highly encouraged.

/ Apply

The application fee for U.S. citizens and permanent residents is $75, and the fee for international students is $90 (U.S. funds). The application fee is paid online, via credit card, before the application is submitted. The application is submitted electronically to the program of study and the Rackham Graduate School.

Rackham administers fee waivers. Please review requirements at Application Fee Waivers.

/ Taubman College Fee Waivers

Taubman College is able to provide support to a limited number of Master of Science in Architecture applicants. We offer waivers of the required application fee, upon request, to U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents with the following experience:

  • Teach for America (current volunteer or alumni)
  • Peace Corps alumni
  • AmeriCorps alumni
  • Active U.S. Military
  • U.S. Military Veteran
  • Significant financial need not covered by Rackham fee waivers

To request an application fee waiver, complete the Master of Science Application fee waiver request form. After you submit your request, you will receive an email from asking for a Letter of Verification or other documentation from your organization that includes dates of service. Upon receipt of the Letter of Verification, Taubman staff will confirm eligibility and determine if a waiver is available.  If approved, you will receive a fee waiver code via email with additional instructions.

/ Statement of Purpose

The two page statement of purpose should articulate 1) your academic and professional rationale for pursuing a master of science degree, 2) your approach to design and research as it relates to the themes of the Digital and Material Technologies program, 3) ideas for specific lines of research that you would like to pursue in the program and continue upon matriculation. The statement should draw upon past and present work and academic experiences as well as aspirations and goals for the future.

/ Personal Statement

The personal statement should be a concise, well-written statement about how your personal background and life experiences, including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges, have motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Michigan. This is not an academic statement of purpose, but a brief (500 word limit) discussion of the individual trajectory that has led to your decision to seek a graduate degree.

/ Transcripts

Submitting your transcripts:

Step 1: TO APPLY, submit a scanned copy of your official transcript. Applicants must scan and upload an official transcript/academic record into the ApplyWeb online application. This transcript must display the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records.

Step 2: AFTER an offer of admission, submit your official transcript. Admitted students must submit to the Rackham Graduate School an official transcript/academic record, front and back, issued by the Registrar or Records Office for each bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree earned. For more information please see Transcripts.

/ Resume

A good curriculum vitae or resume will give us another view of who you are and elaborate your strengths and skills outside of the classroom, showcasing your accomplishments. In addition to your educational experience, student resumes should contain professional experiences, other jobs you have held, a list of groups or organizations that you are involved in, programming languages or other computer skills you have, community involvement or volunteer work that you do. Think of your resume as another opportunity to tell us about yourself.

/ Portfolio

Submissions of examples of work should support your statement of purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities. These may consist of published articles, papers, portfolio or other writing samples. Examples should be uploaded as PDF files with the online application.

Portfolio Content Guidelines

Generative AI

Generative AI is emerging as a tool in the design process. Work produced using generative AI is permitted to be included in the portfolio only if images are clearly labeled and identified.

Any work not fully authored by the applicant that is not clearly identified will not be eligible for review consideration by the admissions committee.

/ Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required and should testify to your academic and professional capacity and promise. If possible, two of these should come from former professors.

Letter of Recommendation submission options 

/ English Proficiency Requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency unless they meet one of the criteria for an exemption listed below. Please contact one of the testing agencies shown in the following chart and have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan at least 6-8 weeks prior to the application deadline. The scores must be received from the testing agency no later than the application deadline. Language test scores are valid two years from the test date.  Photocopies and/or faxes of English proficiency scores will not be accepted. Please take note the minimum requirement is: 95 iBT.

Description of Test Assessment Provider Speaking Test Minimum Overall Score Submission of Test Scores
(ITP Plus and TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition)
Educational Testing Service Yes 95 TOEFL scores are sent by ETS electronically to institution code: 1839
Paper/Pencil TOEFL & TWE Educational Testing Service No 600 TOEFL scores are sent by ETS electronically to institution code: 1839
IELTS Cambridge, United Kingdom Academic version 7.0 Official IELTS scores are sent electronically to the Rackham Graduate School.

Taubman College does not admit students who have not met minimum score requirements. If you are close to the minimum scores outlined above we encourage you to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement. Students who have submitted all required materials (including English proficiency exams) by the application deadline are given first consideration for admission. It may make you a less competitive applicant to not have your scores sent in by the deadline.

Rackham English Proficiency Exemptions

You qualify for an exemption from taking an English proficiency examination if one of the following criteria are met:

  • You are a native speaker of English.
  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only.
  • You completed all of your graduate education and earned a graduate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English only.
    • If you completed a Master’s degree that was strictly research and no academic classes, that degree does not meet the exemption. This type of Master’s degree is generally awarded at a non-U.S. institution.
  • You are a current U-M student.

Please refer to the related Rackham webpage for additional information.

ELI 530

Students who are non–native English speakers and do not have a four-year degree from an English-medium institution are required to take and successfully complete ELI 530, a two-credit hour architecture-specific English course offered by the English Language Institute (ELI) at U-M in their first fall term. ELI 530 is taken in addition to their regular architecture coursework and does not count toward degree requirements.

/ International Student Information

Please do not submit financial information at the time of application.

If you are recommended for admission and the Rackham Graduate School approves the admission, you will be notified by Rackham to submit the Affidavit of Financial Support for International Students along with the required financial documentation (i.e., bank statements).

When will I receive my immigration documents?

/ Undocumented and DACAmented Students

Detailed information about Undocumented and DACAmented Students for this degree program can be found on the related Rackham webpage.

/ Application Status and Evaluation

Checking Application Status

Notifications to Expect

You will receive three e-mails from Rackham after you submit the application.

  • On the day you submit the application you will receive an e-mail that acknowledges the successful submission of your application
  • 3-5 days later the second e-mail will arrive acknowledging that Rackham has received your application.
  • 3-5 days after the second e-mail, the third e-mail will arrive. This e-mail provides your U-M ID#, information on how to use the Wolverine Access system to verify your application information, check the status of your application, update your e-mail address, home address, and telephone number.
After You Receive the Third E-Mail

You will be able to review your application status in Wolverine Access under New & Prospective Student Business.

Logging into Wolverine Access

You will need to use a login ID and password, and confirm some personal data before viewing your application data.

For Applicants Who are Current Students or Employees:

Log into Wolverine Access using your existing University of Michigan Uniqname and password, click New and Prospective Student Business.

For Applicants New to the University:

About five business days after you submit your application you will receive an email confirming that Taubman has downloaded your application from ApplyWeb. This email will direct you to set up your friend account.

  1. Go to the Friend Account Request Form and enter your email address.
  2. You will receive a confirmation email with a link to create your friend account.
  3. For more information, see the Information and Technology Services website.


Eligible applicants are considered for admission on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Quality and content of all previous academic education
  2. Evidence of professional commitment and direction, as reflected in your statement of purpose, resume, and letters of recommendation, and portfolio
  3. IELTS or TOEFL test scores (if applicable)
  4. The number of openings available
  5. The suitability of the program to the applicant’s area of interest

Applications are only evaluated once all credentials have been received, those with any missing credentials a review by the admission committee is not guaranteed.


As part of the competitive process of evaluation, the Admissions Committee will conduct personal interviews with a select number of applicants. We will reach out after the deadline to arrange a skype interview once your application has been reviewed.

Notification of Acceptance

Applicants will be notified of their admission status by late February (depending on which specialization you have applied to). If you are admitted, you will be able to see that you have been recommended for admission by Taubman College via the online web application status. Notification letters will be e-mailed and sent in the U.S. mail. Any merit aid award decisions will be noted in the letter of admission. The next step is for Rackham Graduate School to review the recommendation of admission, certify and process the admission recommendation.

We abide by the 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.

Enrollment Deposit Requirement

Students choosing to accept admission to the Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research must pay a non-refundable $500 enrollment deposit. Payment may be completed online by echeck through Wolverine Access, credit card, or in the form of a check or money order (in US dollars) made payable to University of Michigan. This deposit reserves your space in the program. The $500 payment will be credited to your student account and applied toward your tuition. Deadline for receiving your acceptance and enrollment deposit is April 15th.

Residency Classification

Residency Classification Guidelines have been developed to ensure that decisions about whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition are fair and equitable and that applicants for admission or enrolled students who believe they are Michigan residents understand they may be required to complete an Application for Resident Classification and provide additional information to document their residency status. Please see the University of Michigan Residency Classification Guidelines.

/ Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rackham Graduate School?

The Rackham Graduate School is the overall administrative unit for graduate programs and works in conjunction with 17 schools and colleges to recruit applicants, administer the admissions process, and serves students through the final stages of degree attainment.

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is January 15th for the M.S. program. Students are only admitted for the Fall term. The application and supporting materials must be received by the deadline in order to ensure that an applicant receives a full review by the admissions committee.

What can I do to improve my chances of admittance?

Begin planning in advance to present a complete, high-quality application. In submitting your application, one of the most important items is a clear concise personal statement outlining your professional, intellectual, and research interests. Prepare for the TOEFL tests and leave yourself enough time for a re-test if you feel you have not done your very best. In this same vein, start well in advance contacting current and previous universities and colleges about submitting transcripts and requesting letters of recommendation from faculty. We cannot consider your application without them.

How do I check the status of my application materials?

Applicants can check the status of their application and verify information using the web application status function. Once an applicant submits an application online, s/he will receive email instructions on how to access/view their application status by logging into Wolverine Access.

Do you offer a part-time or an online M.S.?

No, you must be registered as a full-time student studying on campus to receive our funding package. Students are expected to devote full time to their studies.

Can I request a paper application packet?

Taubman College no longer prints paper application materials. We require all of our applicants to use the online application system.

When can I expect to receive an admission decision?

All applicants will receive an official decision letter as soon as the committee has reached a conclusion. A general timeline is as follows:

  • January 15th – Application Deadline
  • Early March – Admissions decisions are reached and applicants are notified
I have been assigned to a waitlist. What does that mean and how does the waitlist process work?

The waitlist means that we are interested in your application, but have already offered admission to other candidates. If space becomes available, we will admit students from the waitlist in a non-ranked order.

How many letters of recommendation letters do I submit?

Three (3) are required and should testify mainly to academic and professional capacity and promise. Letters should be substantive statements from academics and professionals familiar with your abilities and accomplishments. The letter of recommendation form is available from the Rackham website.

Can I defer my admission offer?

Applicants may defer admission for up to 1 year only with permission of the Program Chair and only under very limited circumstances (e.g., medical emergency, family emergency, etc.). Applicants wishing to pursue a job opportunity, delay enrollment for financial reasons, or delay enrollment for other reasons, must decline the offer of admission and re-apply in the next or subsequent admissions cycles. If you have a question regarding your circumstances, please contact the Program Administrator.

Can I be a Graduate Student Instructor?

Students will be selected for GSI/GSRA positions as part of their funding package depending on the teaching needs of the College.

Will I get my application fee back?

No, the application fee is non-refundable.

Will you return my portfolio to me?

When you submit a portfolio as part of your application, it becomes property of the University of Michigan.

How do I apply for merit-based scholarships?

All applicants are automatically considered for any merit-based scholarships that are available. If you receive a scholarship, you will be notified of the scholarship award in your letter of admission. Because financial resources are limited, we would encourage all applicants to seek outside sources of funding as well. Please apply for any scholarships, fellowships, or grants for which you are eligible.

/ Questions

Contact Admissions at