Graduate Admissions



The deadline for submitting completed graduate applications for Fall 2017 is December 31, 2016. The Rice School of Architecture must receive all items listed below for your application to be considered complete.

You should begin your application process early. To make sure scores are available by the deadline you should take the GRE, TOEFL, etc. as required no later than October of the year you apply. You should also request transcripts and letters of recommendation as soon as you know that you plan to apply in order to give the senders time to get the material to Rice before the deadline.

Please download our Application Checklist to ensure that you've met all of the requirements.

Rice School of Architecture Admissions Requirements:

Application Form
Application Fee
Letters of Recommendation
Transcripts (official required, unofficial optional)
GRE Scores
TOEFL Requirements (for Foreign Applicants)
Option Selection
Digital Portfolio (15 MB limit)
"What's at Stake?" Statement
Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Application Form

The application form is only one piece of your application package, and may be accessed here.

Application Fee

All graduate application materials are submitted online (with the exception of official transcripts). Applicants have the option to pay the application fee with a credit card or an online check. The fee is eighty-five U.S. dollars (U.S. $85.00). An applicant whose online check is returned for insufficient funds will be charged an additional fee of $10.

Note to Foreign Applicants:The application fee is required of all applicants, including foreign students. We recognize that some foreign students may have difficulty with currency exchange. Payment of the fee cannot be deferred until time of enrollment. The application can be processed ONLY when the application fee has been received. The check must be payable through a U.S. bank, which must be noted on the front of the check; we can also accept an international money order. Sometimes an applicant will ask a U.S. friend or relative to submit the fee on his/her behalf; however, be sure that the applicant's name and department are clearly indicated on the front of the check. No application will be processed without this fee.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters are required and must be submitted through the online process initiated through your application. It is always preferable to have academic references representing your major field, though we recognize that there are situations where this may not be possible. In such circumstances, we encourage you to seek out those persons who can comment on qualities that will be relevant to your academic goals and abilities. Requests for online letters of recommendation accompanied by an online reference form are sent to the applicant's recommenders once the application has been submitted.


The minimum GPA is a 3.0 for applicants applying to the Master of Architecture and Master of Arts in Architecture programs. We require one copy of the official, confidential transcript from every institution (undergraduate and graduate) that you have attended. These transcripts are an essential piece of your application. Send transcripts from any institution where you earned (or will earn) a degree, studied for one year or more, or took classes that relate to your current application for graduate study. Transcripts should be in confidential, signed-across-the-seal envelopes provided to you by the registrar of each institution. It is critical that the transcripts be in confidential envelopes. Personal copies of your records, or copies which have passed through your hands and are therefore not confidential, are not acceptable and will not be regarded as official. If your school will not provide you directly with a confidential copy of your transcript, then you must have them send an official copy directly to the School of Architecture. Be sure to have them send the transcripts to the attention of The Rice University School of Architecture. You may also wish to upload an unofficial copy, for information purposes only, in the online application; however you must still provide an official, confidential transcript. We must also receive certification of degrees received, including the date the degree was awarded. This information may be included on the final transcript.

Note Concerning Transcripts of Foreign Applicants: The academic records that we refer to as transcripts should provide a listing, year-by-year, of all courses taken and the grade or marks received for each one. It is helpful to have the grading scale of the institution and the student's rank in class included when such information is available. Do not submit secondary school records. Transcripts must bear an official signature in ink of the appropriate official of your institution(s), such as the registrar or recorder of records, and must bear the institutional seal. If your college or university will not provide original official academic documents, exact copies that have been verified as "Certified True Copies" by the appropriate institutional official of each institution that you have attended should be sent. Uncertified photocopies are not acceptable. To be considered, all documents not in English must be accompanied by official English translations. These translations must bear an original ink signature and seal, and translations alone will not be acceptable.

Transcripts should be mailed directly to:
Rice University
School of Architecture MS-50
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892

If sent by Express Mail:
Rice University
School of Architecture MS-50
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892

GRE Scores

Rice University requires all applicants to provide GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Test scores. The scores must not be more than five years old, and an official copy must be sent to Rice University directly from the Educational Testing Service. Personal copies are not acceptable. More information on test score requirements can be found here. The previously published minimum (70th percentile in 2 of 3 categories) is no longer a required minimum but still a good rule of thumb.

Institution Code and School Name: 6609 - Rice University; Department Code: 4401.

Rice University receives GRE scores electronically from the Educational Testing Service. Because we match scores by an applicant's name, it is important that you explicitly call our attention to any discrepancies that might occur between your name as reported on your application forms and as recorded on your GRE scores. Be sure to take the GRE in time for official scores to reach us by the December 31st deadline. For further information on the GRE and registration forms, please contact the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000 USA or telephone (609) 771-7670. Send e-mail to or visit the GRE web site.

Note about GRE Scores for Foreign Applicants: We realize that language and cultural differences may affect the GRE scores of foreign students, particularly whose native language is not English. This is taken into consideration when such students' applications are evaluated. The scores are nevertheless required and must come directly from the Educational Testing Service.

TOEFL Requirement (for Foreign Applicants)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of any student whose native language is not English. Your score must not be more than two years old and an official copy must be sent to the Graduate School directly from ETS. The test is administered through the Educational Testing Service, Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6151 USA , telephone (609) 771-7100, e-mail or at a center in your native country.

Institution Code and School Name: 6609 - Rice University; Department Code: 12.

Much of your success in graduate study in the United States will rest on your ability to understand, read, write, and speak English. If English is not your native language, evidence of proficiency in its use will be decisive in the review for admission.

Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL test and score at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL, score at least 250 on the computer-based TOEFL, or score 100 on the Internet-based TOEFL. For students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7. Exemptions include proof of receiving a degree from an accredited US high school, college, or university, or proof of education in a country with English instruction, including: Australia, Canada (English-speaking provinces), New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or other countries with approval of the School of Architecture.

If a student’s English skills are deemed to be deficient, we maintain the ability to require that he/she enroll in an ESL program in advance of enrollment to bring their proficiency up to a minimum standard. Students may also be required to take a follow-up English language course during their first year of graduate study.

Interview Policy for Language Proficiency

Once an application is completed, the admissions committee may request an evaluative interview via Skype to further determine English proficiency. Interviews are by invitation only after all materials have been received and initially reviewed. 

If the admissions committee is requesting an interview, you will be contacted via e-mail. It is the responsibility of the applicant to confirm the appointment. Appointments which have not been confirmed will not be honored.

Option Selection

Please apply to the Option you feel best matches your education and experience. Should the admission committee feel you are better suited for a different Option, they will adjust your application accordingly. Admission offer letters will clearly state the Option to which students are admitted. The following are guidelines for option selection; ultimately, the decision rests with the admissions committee.

M.Arch. Option 1: For students with a B.S. or B.A. degree but with limited or no architectural background.

M.Arch. Option 2: For students with a B.S. or B.A. degree in Architecture (minimum of four undergraduate design studios).

M.A. in Architecture Option 3, Present Future: For students with a B.S., B.A. or B.Arch degree in architecture, or an equivalent degree in an allied discipline.



The portfolio for M.Arch. Option 1 students should contain examples of visual creativity (freehand drawings, photographs, etc. in a format other than slides). A portfolio of previous architectural design work is mandatory for applicants for the M.Arch. Option 2 and M.A.A. Option 3.

A digital portfolio of an applicant's creative work is required and must be uploaded to the online application. It must be uploaded in PDF format as a single document no larger than 15 MB. The file name must list the program, option, last name, first name, portfolio; each field separated by an underscore (“_”). File naming example: MArch_Option1_Smith_Jane_Portfolio.pdf

"What's at Stake?"

Please submit a short statement (one paragraph to one page) that articulates what you think is at stake for architecture today. (Please upload a PDF to the Admissions Document section of your online application)

Curriculum Vitae

Please submit a curriculum vitae (CV) that includes any information that you think might be helpful to the admissions committee, such as projects undertaken, awards received, etc. Please explain your specific involvement if the item is not an individual achievement. (Please upload a PDF to the Admissions Document section of your online application)


Should you have any questions about the application process, please do not hesitate to email:; or call: (713) 348-5202.

Please also refer to The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for general information about graduate applications and life at Rice.