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Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research (M.S.)

The Master of Science in Architecture Design and Research (M.S.) degree is part of the Rackham Graduate School, (otherwise known as Rackham) which is a community of scholars, researchers, and students in over 191 graduate programs of study at the University of Michigan.

Important Dates:

Application and Portfolio Deadline: January 15
Enrollment Deposit and Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15



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).
  4. Evidence of research, creative and professional work in the concentration area that the applicant is applying for is highly encouraged.


Rackham online application

The fee for United States Citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $75 (U.S. funds). The fee for non-U.S. citizens 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. Applications received without fees will not be processed. For more information please see Application Fee and Application Fee Waivers.


Statement of Purpose/ RESUME

The two page statement of purpose should articulate 1) your rational for applying to the specific MS concentration, 2) your approach to design and research in areas related to the concentration, 3) ideas for independent research and design work that you would like to pursue with the degree and continue pursuing upon matriculation. The statement should draw upon past and present work and academic experiences as well as aspirations and goals for the future.


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 resume 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.

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.


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.


Submitting your transcripts is a two-step process:

  1. Applicants will scan and upload an official transcript/academic record that displays the institutional seal and signature of the Registrar or Recorder of Records into the online application.
  2. Applicants are also required to submit an official transcript/academic record by mail or as an e-transcript to Rackham before the graduate program application deadline. The official transcript/academic record must be received in an envelope sealed by the issuing institution. For more information please see Transcripts.

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 

Graduate Record Examination Scores

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all applicants. Please have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code: 1839, department code 4401) at least 4-5 weeks prior to the application deadline. GRE scores are valid for five years. There is no minimum score requirement.

If you have taken the GMAT or LSAT, we can use those scores in place of the GRE. LSAT scores should be listed on the additional information page of the online application. For more information please see Required Tests.

English Proficiency / TOEFL / IELTS

English Proficiency

Applicants who have earned or will earn a Bachelor's or Master's degree are exempt from submitting an official English proficiency score if:

  • The degree was earned from an institution where the language of instruction is English, exclusively. This exception does not apply if some classes completed were taught in a language other than English. Verification from the school may be required.
  • The degree was earned from a country where the official language is English (United States of America, Australia, and England).

Being a U.S. citizen or a U.S. permanent resident does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking an English proficiency exam; if the applicant's first language is not English, the applicant must meet the exception above or submit English proficiency exam.

All non-native English speakers must take either the TOEFL, or the IELTS. Scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. Non-native English speakers who have earned their degree from a university, where English is the primary language of instruction, are not required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS. The student must have attended the institution for a minimum of four years, and achieved a 4 year degree from that institution to receive a TOEFL, IELTS waiver. U.S. citizenship does not exempt applicants from taking the test if his/her native language is not English. Students only need to take one of the above listed tests. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements.

TOEFL Examination (International Applicants Only)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) is one of the approved English proficiency tests required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the TOEFL/IBT including test dates and locations can be found at ets.org/toefl. Please contact ETS (ets.org) and have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code 1839, department code 12) at least 6-8 weeks prior to the application deadline. TOEFL/IBT scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. The minimum requirements are: 100 IBT, 250 computer based, or 600 paper based. If you have taken the TOEFL exam and not achieved the minimum score you must continue to take the test until you achieve the minimum score to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements.

If you are close to the minimum scores outlined above we encourage to retake the exam to meet the minimum requirement. Students who have submitted all required materials by the deadline above (including English proficiency exams) are given first consideration for admission, it may make you a less competitive applicant to not have your scores sent in by the deadline. 

IELTS Examination (International Students Only)

The International English Language Testing System exam is another English proficiency tool required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the IELTS including test dates and locations can be found at ielts.org. Please have IELTS send an official score report to the University of Michigan. IELTS scores must be no older than 2 years (not before 2014) to be valid. The minimum requirement for the IELTS test is 7.0. If you have taken the IELTS exam and have not achieved the minimum score, you must continue to take the test until you reach 7.0 to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met minimum score requirements.

Summer Institute for International Students (SIIS)

Admitted students that were required to take either the TOEFL or the IELTS examination and achieved a minimum score, may participate in a one month intensive cultural and language immersion program called the Summer Institute for International Students (SIIS) that begins in early.  Native English speakers from outside the US are also welcome to attend the program, but not required. Tuition will not be charged to the student to attend this program. However, there will be a $500 fee.  The primary focus of the program is to provide extensive opportunities for students to become accustomed to a U.S. university environment with the goal of easing their transition into a full time academic curriculum in English. Students can expect to gain an understanding of instructor expectations and student responsibilities. The SIIS program allows students to become acquainted with each other, Ann Arbor, and the University of Michigan before regular classes begin. The English Language Institute (ELI) offers a two credit hour architecture specific English course in the fall that students should plan to take, in addition to their regular coursework, to continue the work started in the SIIS program. Students should plan to arrive on campus in August and check in before the program begins. Details will be emailed to students once they have accepted their admission offer.

Pay $500 SIIS Program Fee.

I-20 / Visa (International Applicants Only)

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).

Evaluation and Application Status


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. GRE test scores and 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 each applicant. We will reach out after the deadline to arrange a skype interview once your application has been reviewed.

Checking the Status of Your Application Online

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 which 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:

This is a 2-step process:

  1. Create a University of Michigan Friend Account:

    To request a Friend Account enter your e-mail address into the Friend Account Request Form.

  2. Log into Wolverine Access:

    After you create your University of Michigan Friend Account visit Wolverine Access and click New and Prospective Student Business. You will be asked to enter the e-mail address and password for your University of Michigan Friend Account. Next you will enter your University of Michigan ID number and birth date.

    You should have received your University of Michigan ID number after registering as a Future Graduate Student.

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.

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 e-check 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.

For International Applicants Only

When will I receive my immigration documents?


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is January 15th for the M.S. program. Students are only admitted for the summer 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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 GRE and/or 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.

7. 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

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. Will I get my application fee back?

No, the application fee is non-refundable.

13. 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. If you would like to have your portfolio returned to you after admission decisions are made please submit a prepaid, self addressed envelope.

14. 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.

Contact Student Services at TaubmanCollegeAdmissions@umich.edu or 734-763-1275