FAQs: MArch/MLA/MUD Applicants

Basic Application Information

How do I access the online application?
The online application for fall 2018 admission is available through SlideRoom>>

Where can I find the instructions for applicants?
Click on this link to download the instruction sheet for the current admission cycle.

Where can I find information about financial aid, as well as procedures for submitting an application for aid?
Click on this link to access information about financial aid available to graduate applicants, as well as links to appropriate application forms.

Timetable for Admission Activities in Fall 2017-Spring 2018
• Late September: Application for admission becomes available on the Sam Fox School website.
• November 30: The $85 application fee will be waived for applicants who complete their application by this date. Beginning December 1, the application fee will be $85.
• January 15: Application deadline. This is the last day that applications can be submitted online, as well as the due date for receipt of all materials (including test scores, such as GRE reports and English language tests results when required).
• Early March: Offers of admission are communicated to candidates.
• Mid-March: Candidates receive their financial aid awards.
• March 22-24: Graduate Open House for admitted students.
• April 15: Due date for candidate decisions; admitted students who plan to enroll must submit their $400 enrollment deposits.

Application Questions

Which MArch program (MArch 2, 2+, or 3) should I indicate in my application?
When you submit your application, you will not need to specify which of our Master of Architecture programs you intend to pursue. In fact, placement within one of our MArch programs is a task that is handled during the admission review process by our committee of applicant reviewers. This occurs after our January 15 deadline, when all of your materials have been received and are ready for review.

The criteria that affect placement decisions include the extent of previous of experience in design studios (number of studios, range of projects undertaken, and complexity achieved in the most advanced work), as well as the level of sophistication and skill evidenced in the graphic representation. Integration of technical considerations is also significant. Obviously a strong portfolio is very important to us in the evaluation of an application, although the academic transcript and statement of intent are also important.

Those who have completed architectural studies in undergraduate school are more likely (although not guaranteed) to gain advanced placement (i.e., MArch2 or 2+ programs), but ultimately such decisions are only made when the full set of application materials are considered by our faculty review committee.

What courses are required for MLA candidates prior to enrollment?
MLA applicants must demonstrate satisfactory completion of at least one college-level course in the natural sciences and at least one college-level course in the visual arts, such as drawing, sculpture, graphics, and/or basic design. Applicants with an accredited degree in landscape architecture or architecture may be admitted to the MLA 2 program, thus entering the program in the second year of study. Applicants who have received a non-accredited degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or environmental design may also receive advanced placement of one or two semesters. Note that the Admissions Committee reserves the right to place students in the program that it deems appropriate, on the basis of portfolio evaluation, transcript evaluation, and overall preparation.

What qualifications are necessary for pursuit of the MUD degree?
To apply to the MUD degree as a discrete program (i.e., not as part of a dual degree arrangement), candidates must hold first professional degrees in architecture, landscape architecture, or planning (as long as the planning program emphasizes physical design of the built environment). Those who do not hold professional degrees may apply to the MArch/MUD dual degree program.

How can I apply to two different graduate degree programs within the Sam Fox School?
Within our online application, it is possible to indicate your interest in pursuing more than one Sam Fox School program. For instance if you want to pursue an MArch degree as well as an MLA degree, you can indicate this by choosing the MArch/MLA dual degree in the online form. It is only necessary to submit one online application with this dual degree choice. Your application will be reviewed by faculty representatives from both programs; if admitted, you will be informed of your admission status in each program. If you are admitted to both programs and you determine that you only want to pursue one of them, you can indicate this to us when you inform us of your enrollment decision (by April 15).

How can I apply to a degree program in the Sam Fox School and also a degree program in another division at Washington University?
Each division at Washington University conducts reviews of graduate program candidacy independently. It is possible to pursue a joint degree involving one of the Sam Fox School's degree programs while simultaneously applying to pursue a degree offered by the Olin Business School (MBA), the Brown School of Social Work (MSW), or the School of Engineering & Applied Science (Master of Construction Management).

To gain approval to pursue a joint degree involving two different Washington University divisions, you must submit an application for admission to the Sam Fox School while also applying to the other program of your choice (MBA, MSW, or MCM). More information about joint degree possibilities, including links to the MBA, MSW, and MCM programs, can be found here: samfoxschool.wustl.edu/node/4114.

Can I apply to pursue a dual or joint degree AFTER I have begun my studies at the Sam Fox School?
Yes, you can. However, we recommend that you start to explore your dual and joint degree options very early in your time on campus so that you can make the most effective use of your time and credit accrual as you work toward completion of two degrees.

I'm currently enrolled in a graduate program at another university. How can I transfer to the Sam Fox School?
As a student who is enrolled in a graduate program at another university, you will follow the same procedures and timetable for submitting your application to our program as all other admission candidates. The same application materials are to be submitted, and the review of your materials is done at the same time as all other applicant reviews.

If your previous graduate studies are significant enough, you may gain advanced placement in our curricular sequence. Please note that if you intend to pursue the Master of Architecture degree, you will not need to specify which of our MArch programs you intend to pursue; placement in one of our MArch programs is a task that is handled during the admission review process by our committee of applicant reviewers. This occurs after our January 15 application deadline, when all of your materials have been received and are ready for review.

As in all other situations, the criteria that affect placement decisions include the extent of previous of experience in design studios (number of studios, range of projects undertaken, and complexity achieved in the most advanced work), as well as the level of sophistication and skill evidenced in the graphic representation. Integration of technical considerations is also significant. Obviously a strong portfolio is very important to us in the evaluation of an application, although the academic transcript and statement of intent are also extremely important.

Who is qualified to apply to the Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design (MSAAD) program?
Anyone who holds a BArch degree or MArch degree from a NAAB-accredited degree program in the United States or Canada is welcome to apply to our MSAAD program. Candidates who do not have this required background should apply to our MArch program. [The NAAB (National Architectural Accrediting Board) in Washington, DC, reviews and accredits professional architectural degrees in the United States and Canada. Having a NAAB-accredited degree is a necessary prerequisite for MSAAD pursuit, a policy that our faculty review committee has firmly established.]

What minimum GRE test scores do I have to have in order to gain admission?
While GRE scores are not required, they are strongly recommended; we do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. Although the scores do provide a measure of a student's potential for academic success, they do not provide information about their design sensibility or potential. (If they did, they would be of more value in predicting student success in our programs.) Note that our reviewers look at all application materials submitted by an individual—and that the GRE scores provide just one small part of the whole applicant file.

International Student Questions

Who must submit TOEFL scores, and what minimum score must be achieved to gain admission?
All non-native English speakers must submit TOEFL scores—unless they have conducted their entire undergraduate degree program or an equivalent period of study (typically 4 years) at an English-speaking college or university. Minimum acceptable TOEFL scores are 90 on the Internet-based test (IBT), 233 on the computer-based test, and 577 on the paper-based test. 

Can IELTS scores be submitted in place of TOEFL scores?
Yes. The IELTS score minimum is 7.0. IELTS scores must be sent in hard-copy form to our office by the testing service.

Is it possible to receive a conditional offer of admission?
We do not offer conditional admission in our department. If your TOEFL score does not meet our minimum for admission, we ask that you continue your English language studies to prepare for a later application to the Sam Fox School. Our faculty insists that language skills meet our TOEFL or IELTS minimums before an applicant's candidacy as a graduate student can be seriously considered.

As an international student interested in admission, can I take classes at Washington University to improve my English language abilities prior to or simultaneous with submission of my application?
Washington University does not offer the type of intensive language study to significantly impact a candidate's TOEFL test scores. Therefore, we suggest that English language studies be conducted elsewhere prior to the preparation and submission of an application for admission.

Financial Questions: Student Employment

How do I apply for a Teaching Assistantship or Research Assistantship?
In our graduate programs, assistantships are treated as employment opportunities rather than financial aid awards. Student assistants are drawn from those graduate students who have been in the Sam Fox School for at least one semester and have done quite well academically. Faculty members prefer assistants who are well acquainted with our programs of study and the student population before they apply for teaching assistantships. New graduate students can look toward the possibility of applying for an assistantship position to be held in their second semester or later; a call for applications will be circulated during their first semester of study. Note that for some positions, academic performance and GPA at Washington University are reviewed to determine eligibility.

Assistantships do not provide any additional tuition waivers or living stipends. Payment for assistantships is offered as an hourly wage for actual time worked. Checks are distributed on a biweekly basis throughout the term of the appointment. Payment levels and number of hours required vary according to the specifics of the particular position, but the assistantship wage is typically about $13 per hour, and the hours worked are typically about 10 per week.

Are there other employment opportunities within the School or University for current students?
Yes. There are a number of shops (wood, metal, photography) and labs (computer, 3-D, digital fabrication) that are staffed by student employees throughout the semester, as well as opportunities to assist faculty with special projects such as research or exhibits. Students can also find employment opportunities in other departments or libraries on campus. Once you are on campus, you can ask about any such opportunities—you won't be able to pursue them until then. Note that these jobs also pay by the hour, and the rates and hours vary according to the type of work involved.

Other Questions

How can I set up a visit to the Sam Fox School?
We welcome visits! We encourage them especially on the days our studios meet, which are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (studios meet from 1:30p until 5:30p on those days). If you identify a date, we will find a faculty member knowledgeable about the graduate program to speak with you on that day and make sure that you have a chance to see our school in action. Just contact Kathleen O'Donnell at odonnell@wustl.edu or 314.935.6227).

What is the postal and courier address for mailing envelopes or sending small packages to the office?
Admissions: Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1079, Givens Hall, Room 105
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130