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School of Architecture

Master of Architecture Application Information


Architectural education and practice are both challenging and demanding endeavors that require a high level of commitment, a dedication to self-education, and an ability and desire to deal with complex problems that sometimes do not have easy or clear answers. At the same time, architecture is also a highly collaborative field, and the ability and desire to work with others is necessary. 

Before applying, you are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the field, including what architectural education and practice are like. Talk with architects as well as current and former students. Read books, websites, and magazines on the profession. 

For more information about becoming an architect, the profession, careers in architecture, and what it's like to work as an architect, start with "The Basics" on the NCARB website. See also the "Career" section from the American Institute of Architects website. As you will learn there, an accredited Master of Architecture degree is the first step in a lifelong education. For those intending to become licensed architects, it is followed by a structured internship program (IDP), a licensing exam (the ARE), and continuing education to keep pace with a changing profession.

  • Criteria for Admission to the Master Degree Programs

    In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the GRE requirement is being waived for all Master of Architecture applicants.

    Admission to our Master's degree programs is determined by an Admissions Committee of graduate architecture faculty. Admission is very competitive and based on an evaluation of the candidate's potential to respond successfully to the rigors and creative challenge of graduate study in architecture. Based on prior architecture education, there are two degree tracks from which to choose; M. Arch. I, which is a three-year program, and M. Arch II, which is a two-year program. Those admitted to the M. Arch II program will have a strong portfolio documenting the 6 to 8 semesters of design studio coursework typical of a BA or BS in Architecture. Those without 6 to 8 semesters of strong architectural design studio work should consider applying to and may be offered admission to, the M.Arch I track. (See the section below on Degree Track Selection and Prior Coursework for further information about advanced placement.)

    The most important materials reviewed to estimate this potential are the applicant's design portfolio; and prior academic work (GPR/GPA). In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic the GRE requirement is being waived for all Master of Architecture applicants for the 2021 application cycle. As described below, the most important part of the application is the portfolio, which is required of all applicants regardless of prior experience and degree track.

    There are no cut-off scores for GPA (so we cannot tell you whether to apply or not on this basis); scores are relative to other applicants in the applicant pool. However, since graduate students at Clemson University must maintain a B average in their coursework, undergraduate GPA is considered an important factor for admission.

    Satisfactory performance (90 or above preferred) on the TOEFL examination is also required of international applicants; international applicants with lower TOEFL scores may be offered conditional admission. Additional information about admission is available on Clemson's Graduate School website
  • Application Requirements, Steps, and Information

    Admission to graduate programs at Clemson University follows procedures established by the Clemson University Graduate School and the School of Architecture. Please follow the procedures below and submit the requested information as follows:

    Step 1: Transcripts, Portfolio, and References

    • Obtain an unofficial copy of your transcript/s.
      • An unofficial transcript is one that the applicant attaches to their online application; an official transcript is one sent directly from the applicant's college or university to Clemson University Graduate Admissions.
    • Prepare your portfolio
    • Identify three people to complete online reference or recommendation letters.

    International applicants, go to Step 2; others go to Step 3.

    Step 2, for International Applicants: Take the TOEFL.

    • The School of Architecture does not recommend the IELTS test unless the score is above 7.0. Request your test scores be sent to Clemson University Graduate Admissions, using school code 5111.
    • Calculate your US 4.0 GPA. Please note that we will not convert your grades and we may reject applications that have not supplied an accurate US 4.0 GPA conversion.
    • See Information for International Applicants below.

    Step 3: Complete an online application for admission through the Graduate School.

    • Attach a PDF copy of unofficial transcripts to the online application.
    • International applicants must attach a PDF of their WES/NACES evaluation to the application.
    • Supply contact information for your three references as part of the online application.
    • Include a portfolio and resume
      • Size Limit: 500 MB single compressed file as a PDF (min. 250 dpi)
      • File Name Format: Last Name, First Name_Degree Program.pft (Example: Harding, Dan_MARCH2.pdf)
      • Degree Program Codes:
        • MARCH1- Master of Architecture (3-year program)
        • MARCH2- Master of Architecture (2-year program)
        • MARCH1_AH – Master of Architecture+Health (3-year program)
        • MARCH2_AH – Master of Architecture+Health (2-year program)
      • Deadline: January 15 by 11:59 pm.
    • Note that you do not need to supply official transcripts unless you are offered admission.
    • Similarly, international applicants do not need to supply original or official WES/NACES evaluations unless offered admission.

    Step 4, if offered admission:

    • If offered admission, you will be requested to supply official copies of your transcripts and credential evaluations.
    • Official transcripts and credentials are not handled by the applicant or the School of Architecture. Official transcripts and credentials must be sent directly to Clemson University Graduate Admissions (not to the School of Architecture). 

    The Online Application: The online application is accessed through Clemson University's Graduate School website.

    • When you proceed with the online application, please note that MARCH-ARCH-2 is an application system code beyond our control that does not correspond to our M.Arch II degree track. All Master of Architecture applicants will select this application code. You will later select the appropriate degree track, M.Arch I or M.Arch II.
    • If you have technical problems with the online application, you may alert us to the issue, but please take a screenshot and contact Clemson's Graduate Admissions Office, which manages the application portal.

    Degree Track Selection: Within the online application, you will be asked to select your degree track for consideration.

    • The degree tracks are described above and in more detail on our Graduate Degrees webpage.
    • International applicants should make sure to observe the difference between the Master of Architecture (professional degree) track and the Master of Science in Architecture (non-professional degree) track.
    • Applicants with prior coursework in architecture should note that the M. Arch. II track is an advanced placement track. However, prior coursework does not guarantee admission or advanced placement. Some pre-professional students should pursue admission to the M. Arch. I track.
    • Similarly, some M. Arch., II applicants will be offered admission to the M. Arch. I track. Apart from a strong portfolio documenting up to 8 semesters of architectural design studio coursework, other prior coursework (including two structures courses and other courses typical of a pre-professional program) is considered for advanced placement.
    • In the admissions process, portfolios are reviewed by degree track selection. As noted above, the second offer letter, from the School of Architecture, will indicate the degree track to which the applicant was admitted. These guidelines apply equally to the M. Arch. I and II Architecture + Health degree tracks, where offers of admission are even more competitive due to the limited number of spaces available.

    Personal Statement:

    • A personal statement is not required; however, a personal statement may be submitted (attached to the online application, sent with, or included in your portfolio). A statement is suggested for M. Arch I applicants and other applicants to specialty programs.

    Except for your digital portfolio, all application materials must be sent ot the Clemson University Graduate Admissions office at this address:

    Graduate Admissions Office

    E-209 Martin Hall

    Clemson SC 29634-5124

    Contact, Gabby Lollis, Student Services Coordinator ( or Dan Harding, Graduate Program Director ( with any questions or concerns. Please follow the instructions above carefully so that your submission is valid.

  • Digital Portfolio Content and Requirements

    M. Arch. II Program: for applicants with a pre-professional undergraduate background in architecture

    For applicants with a pre-professional undergraduate background in architecture applying to the two-year M. Arch. II programs, the portfolio will include examples of studio projects, including titles, brief descriptions, and information about the date and year level when the work was completed. Any group work, whether in an academic or office setting, must be clearly identified as such, and include a brief description of the applicant's contribution. Failure to acknowledge group or collaborative work as such will result in the rejection of the application. Although the portfolio may present other aspects of the pre-professional applicant's experiences and interests, there is an expectation that the portfolio of a pre-professional student will present a substantial amount of their work and experiences as a pre-professional architecture student.

    M. Arch. I Program: for applicants without a pre-professional undergraduate background in architecture

    For applicants without a pre-professional background in architecture applying to our three-year M. Arch. I programs, the portfolio is equally important. Any two-dimensional creative work, or representations of three-dimensional work, such as photography, graphic design, interior design, sketching, painting, sculpture, etc., may be included. Published writing samples, website designs, and other relevant design work may also be included. Any collaborative work must be clearly identified and include a brief description of the applicant's contribution. Since the M. Arch. emphasizes architectural design, candidates who do not have any creative work and do not submit a portfolio will not present the Admissions Committee with satisfactory evidence of their design abilities or sensibilities. Applicants without art or design backgrounds should consider taking courses in the arts or design before applying.


    Format Requirements

    Both presentation and content are important, and all portfolios must follow the format requirements described below. The portfolio provides evidence of design abilities and design sensibilities, and the opportunity for applicants to demonstrate preparation, prior experiences, accomplishments, and research interests relevant to their graduate degree program goal.The Admissions Committee considers not just the content of the portfolio but also the presentation and the way the portfolio itself is put together—including adherence to the following guidelines:

    • The cover of the portfolio must include the applicant's name and the degree track(s) applied for. Portfolios that do not include the degree track may not be considered for advanced placement.
    • Current contact information should be included on the cover or within.
    • The applicant's resume or cv will be contained within, whether as part of the portfolio in the beginning or end of the document.
    • All design projects presented must be clearly labeled with dates (year and semester), the context of the work, and the supervisor (studio instructor or office supervisor).
    • All team, group, and office work must be identified; team members must be listed, and your role in the work must be clearly and specifically described.

    Send your digital design portfolio using the information below:

    • Include portfolio and resume
    • Size Limit: 500 MB single compressed file as a PDF (min. 250 dpi)
    • File Name Format: Last Name, First Name_Degree Program.pft (Example: Harding, Dan_MARCH2.pdf)
    • Degree Program Codes:
      • MARCH1- Master of Architecture (3-year program)
      • MARCH2- Master of Architecture (2-year program)
      • MARCH1_AH – Master of Architecture+Health (3-year program)
      • MARCH2_AH – Master of Architecture+Health (2-year program)
    Deadline: January 15 by 11:59 pm.
  • Deadlines and Important Dates in the Application Process

    The deadline for receipt of the application and all supporting materials including the portfolio is January 15 for the following academic year which begins in mid-August. The School of Architecture does not offer mid-year (spring semester) admission.

    Offers of Admission: Initial offers are made six to eight weeks after the deadline, around March 1, at which time a waitlist is also determined. Offers of admission are extended only by Clemson University's Graduate School following the review of a recommendation of admission by the School of Architecture, and approval and processing by the Graduate School. Newly admitted applicants will first receive a letter from the Graduate School through the admissions portal and will be instructed to accept or decline the admission through the online portal. When accepting the admissions offer, indicate the MARCH-ARCH-2 code. This is a University degree code and it does not indicate the degree track. Following the Graduate School letter, an offer letter will come from the School of Architecture will indicate the degree track to which the applicant was admitted.

    Waitlists: Waitlisted applicants will not see an indication of this status in the Application Status Check, but will be notified by the School of Architecture. If a place becomes available, the School of Architecture will recommend admission to the Graduate School. All admissions correspondence is communicated in writing, by email, or through the admissions portal; no official admissions information is communicated by phone.

    Deadline for accepted applicant replies: The deadline for replies to early offers of admission is April 15, or the date indicated on the letter from the School of Architecture. The number of places remaining for wait-listed applicants may not be known until after April 15. The admissions system status of waitlisted applicants will indicate pending until the application is approved or removed from further consideration.

    Waitlisted applicants who applied for advanced placement should consider moving their application to the three-year Master of Architecture track.

  • Language and TOEFL Score Requirements for International Applicants

    Language Requirements: All coursework is in English and there is no time within the demands of the Master degree curriculum to add coursework in English language study; therefore, international applicants are required to submit their TOEFL scores, and the admissions committee looks at scores for strong language abilities. The examination must have been taken no more than 24 months prior to application. A TOEFL score of 90 or better is an indication that the applicant will be able to satisfactorily understand and complete coursework in English.

    TOEFL Exam and Scores: The IELTS examination is accepted; however, 97% of applicants submit TOEFL scores and we convert IELTS to TOEFL scores for comparison. The School of Architecture, therefore, does not recommend the IELTS test. The reason for this is that an IELTS score of 6.5 can be converted to a TOEFL score of 79 to 93. However, a score of 79 is not acceptable for admission, while a score of 93 is acceptable. Therefore, unless your IELTS score is above 7.0, your language abilities will not be considered acceptable. For conversion information, see the ETS TOEFL Compare Scores Page. A TOEFL score of 90 or better is an indication that the applicant will be able to satisfactorily understand and complete coursework in English.

    In order to ascertain language abilities, international applicants may be requested to participate in a Zoom or Skype interview. After admission, any enrolled student whose English language abilities are found to be insufficient will be required to take supplemental language instruction although this may delay degree progress. Applicants with lower TOEFL scores but otherwise strong applications may be offered conditional admission. Conditional admission at Clemson requires attendance at Clemson's ESL center.

    Conditional Admission: Strong international applicants with lower TOEFL scores may be offered "conditional admission". Conditional admission requires an applicant to complete Clemson's ELS program. Clemson's ELS program is located in Greenville, SC (not on campus). There is a bus service between Greenville and Clemson but conditionally admitted ELS students may not take classes and are not admitted to the University by the Graduate School until the ELS program is successfully completed. ELS is a private language instruction provider approved by the University. Visit the ELS website for more information about costs and housing. Conditional Admission will typically delay the start of formal studies by one year. Language sessions begin every 4 weeks; however, because conditional admission requires four 4-week sessions (4 months) of study, it is usually not possible to complete successful studies before the start of classes in August. If the conditionally admitted student begins and completes ELS requirements between May and December, the student may be permitted to take some classes in the spring semester beginning in January. The student will then join the class matriculating/starting in August. Students offered conditional admission who do not complete the Clemson ELS program must reapply - after additional English language study and earning a higher TOEFL score - and are encouraged to do so.

    This is a STEM designated program:  CIP code 04.0902 (architectural and building sciences/technology)
  • STEM Designation

    This is a STEM designated program:  CIP code 04.0902 (architectural and building sciences/technology)

    STEM designated graduate degree programs:

    CIP Code 04.0902 (architectural and building sciences/technology)

    Other (non-STEM) graduate degree programs


This link will take you to the University's application page. Please read the admission application information on this page before submitting your application. Email Shay Vinson at if you have any questions.