The deadline for submitting completed graduate applications for admission in fall 2024 is January 2, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CST. Rice Architecture must receive all items by the deadline for an application to be considered complete.

We advise all applicants to start the process early. To make sure scores are available by the deadline, prospective students should take the GRE, TOEFL, etc. as required no later than October of the application year. Be sure to request transcripts and letters of recommendation as early as possible in order to give the senders time to get the material to Rice before the deadline.

Read more about the graduate program here

ARCH 504, Drew Heller

Steps to apply

1. Online application form

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

2. 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; 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; if you do that, please 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.
In rare cases, the application fee may be waived for financial hardship. Please contact Kristina Kennedy, graduate administrator for additional information on this option.

3. Letters of evaluation

Three reference letters are required for each applicant. The names and contact information (only) must be submitted through the online process initiated through your application. It is always preferable to have academic references representing your major field, although 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. You should ask your references for permission in advance of including their names.

4. GRE Scores

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Test is strongly recommended but not required for graduate admission for Fall 2024. If you choose to submit your GRE, scores must be less 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. While we do not have a formal threshold score, we recommend that you retake the GRE if you do not score above the 70th percentile in 2 of 3 categories.
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 January 2nd 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.

5. Option selection

Rice Architecture M.Arch. has two tracks: Option 1 is for students with limited or no architectural background, Option 2 is for students with advanced standing in architecture. 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 may 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. degree in Architecture but not a professional B.Arch degree. Students who qualify for this program must have taken a minimum of four advanced undergraduate design studios. 
M.S. in Architecture Option 3, Present Future: For students with professional degrees in Architecture (B.Arch. or M.Arch.), students with a B.A. or B.S. in architecture who are not interested in pursuing a professional degree in architecture, or students with equivalent degrees in an allied disciplines.


6. Statement of Purpose

Provide a concise statement that describes your intentions and ambitions for pursuing a graduate degree in architecture. Why architecture? Why now? While other parts of the application provide us with an understanding of your qualifications, this is an opportunity to share specific research interests and future career goals; and to speculate on your potential contributions to the field. Finally, how do the programs and community at Rice School of Architecture align with and support these ambitions? Please limit your submission to one or two pages.

7. Curriculum Vitae

Submit a curriculum vitae (CV) that includes any information you think may 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. Upload a PDF of your CV to the Admissions Document section of your online application.

8. Digital portfolio

A digital portfolio of an applicant's creative work is required for all Rice Architecture applicants 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
For those applying to the Option 1 program, the design portfolio should contain examples of your creative work.

9. TOEFL scores

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 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 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, email 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. Successful applicants generally 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. Students may also take the Duolingo English test in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 115. 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 the 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 intensive ESL program in advance of enrollment to bring 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.

10. Submitted hardcopies

The minimum GPA is 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 all institutions 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. 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 course. 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



Do I need a background in architecture to apply to the M.Arch. program?

No, the Option 1 (3.5 years) program does not require a background in architecture.

Is the program accredited?

The M.Arch. Option 1 and 2 programs are NAAB accredited.

How much does the program cost?

In addition to tuition and fees, room and board, and transportation expenses, please consider the following expenses in your financial planning for the M.Arch. program. 

General Supplies
Expect to spend approximately $500 on essential equipment during the first academic year. This includes drafting supplies and model-making tools that will be used throughout your time at Rice and beyond.

Students are expected to have a powerful personal computer for studio courses. Detailed specifications will be provided to admitted students, and it is advised that you budget $2500–3500.

Ongoing Costs
Per semester expenditure on studio and seminar course printing, research, and model-making materials can fluctuate considerably. Budget for at least $250 per semester for the first academic year and likely more in the subsequent years.

Travel Costs
Several advanced design studios include national or international travel. The Rice University School of Architecture generously contributes to a portion of the travel cost for each student, but it is advised that you budget at least $400 in travel funding in your financial planning.

Can I get advanced standing in your program?

Option 2 is our advanced standing track, which is available for qualifying applicants who hold a four-year undergraduate degree in architecture.

Do you offer spring admission?

Entry to the program is limited to the beginning of the academic year, fall semester. 

Is the M.Arch. program a STEM program?

The M.Arch. programs are STEM designated, making international students eligible to apply for a three-year F-1 visa extension after graduation.  

Test scores/ GPA

How do I report my GRE and TOEFL scores?

The GRE and TOEFL tests are administered by the Educational Testing Service. To officially report your scores, visit the ETS website to order score reports. The ETS institutional reporting code for Rice University is 6609; department code 4401. Using the department code may expedite the reporting of your scores, but it is not required. Please allow 2-4 weeks for your ETS scores to be officially reported to Rice.

Is there a required minimum GRE score?

A good rule of thumb for GRE scores is to be at or above the 70th percentile in at least two categories, but there is no required threshold.

Do you require a cumulative GPA?  What is the minimum requirement?

Yes, the reported GPA should be cumulative, and it must be properly converted to a 4.0 scale. (See next question.) The minimum required GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

How should I convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?

Please contact either of the following agencies: Educational Credential Evaluators or World Education Services.

Which english proficiency tests do you accept?

In addition to the TOEFL IBT and IELTS tests, for 2022 applications, Rice will also accept the TOEFL IBT Special Home Edition, Duolingo English Test, and IELTS indicator. Please click here for more information.

Letters of recommendation

Will you explain the online letters of recommendation process?

Please use our online letters of recommendation form, which can be submitted within the application itself. We suggest asking your recommenders to prepare the letter in advance so it can be quickly attached and submitted when the online system generates a request for the letter of recommendation. You must enter a valid email address for your recommender. Once your application is submitted, the request for a recommendation will be sent to your recommender's email after payment for your application has been received. If your application is sent without or one of your recommenders declines to provide a recommendation, you can log back into the application and add a new recommender. If a recommender chooses not to submit online, the letter of recommendation must be submitted using the .pdf form and mailed directly to the department by your recommender. For more information and links to the PDF forms, click here.

My recommender didn't get the request for the online letter of recommendation. What should I do?

Please note that it is possible that the email generated by our application system was filtered as spam in your recommender’s e-mail system. You can log back on to the application and resend your letter of recommendation request. If you misentered the email address, simply add your recommender again as though s/he were a new recommender.

Transcripts and portfolios

Where do I send my official transcript?

Rice University
School of Architecture MS-50
P.O. Box 1892
Houston, TX 77251-1892
Attn: Graduate Admissions
If sent by Express Mail:
Rice University
School of Architecture MS-50
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892
Attn: Graduate Admissions

Do I submit a digital portfolio?

A digital portfolio of an applicant's creative work is required and must be uploaded to the online application. The portfolio must be received by January 2 and 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. We do not accept physical portfolio submissions.

Do Option 1 applicants need to submit a portfolio?

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

I can't obtain my official undergraduate transcripts. What should I do?

Your application will not be considered for admission until your official undergraduate transcripts are received by the admissions office. You may submit your transcripts before or after your application, but your file will not be reviewed until all required information is submitted.

What should I do if transcripts from my undergraduate institution are not in English?

If your original official transcripts are not in English, you must submit an official English translation of your transcript in addition to the originals. Transcript translation can either be completed by the degree granting university or by a credential evaluating service.

Your evaluation should include your degree equivalency as well as a course-by-course conversion of marks/grades. You can request that the evaluator returns the translated version to you, or have it delivered directly to Rice. The evaluation should be in a sealed envelope with an official stamp across the flap when it is received by the Office of Admissions. Please contact either of the following agencies: Educational Credential Evaluators or World Education Services.


Is January 2 a delivery or postmark deadline?

Since the application process is a digital submission, your complete application should be uploaded no later than the posted deadline. All hardcopy transcripts and test scores must be postmarked by the deadline.

Is it ok to send the official transcripts with a delivery date during the holidays?

Yes. If your transcript is scheduled to arrive on a postal service or University holiday, it will be delivered the following business day.

Is there a separate deadline for letters of recommendation?

Letters of Recommendation must be submitted no later than the end of the first week in January for students applying for admission the following fall.

Will you accept admissions materials after the deadline?

Application materials that are delivered shortly after the deadline will be added to your file as they arrive. However, there is no guarantee that they will be added before the admissions committee begins reviewing applications if they are delivered after the deadline.


How do I apply to your Ph.D. program?

We do not currently offer a Ph.D. in architecture. 

Do you offer financial aid?

Many of our students receive financial assistance from the school. Scholarships provided by Rice Architecture are decided during the admissions process, based on merit as well as need. No additional application materials are necessary. These scholarships are renewable each year, based on academic performance as well as need.

Do you accept transfer students at the graduate level?

No, but you are welcome to apply to the program as a new student. 

Is an evaluation interview part of the application process?

Once an application is completed, the admissions committee may require an evaluative interview via Skype or some equivalent service to further determine English proficiency. Such interviews are by invitation only after all materials have been received and initially reviewed.

May I schedule a visit?

Yes, please contact the graduate administrator to schedule time to discuss the graduate program and tour the facilities.

Do you have an Open House?

Open House for admitted students is held in the spring. Details are included in the offer letter and will be listed in the latest section of this website a few weeks prior to the event.

After you’ve applied

Have you received my GRE / TOEFL scores?

It is not necessary to call/email to check the status of your test scores. Your online application status will be updated once we have received your official scores through the online system.

Have you received my portfolio and official transcripts?

Because there is such an influx of transcripts as the application deadline approaches, we recommend that these documents be sent via express or certified mail so they may be easily tracked by the applicant. If there is still a question as to whether we have received your document, please send an email to the graduate administrator.

When will I receive my notification?

Admissions decisions will be available online by mid-March. If applicable, financial aid information will be sent to admitted students in the offer letter. Students must let us know if they accept our offer of admission by April 15.

Is it possible to defer?

The School of Architecture does not permit deferrals; you would be required to reapply if you are admitted but unable to attend.

I've been put on the wait list. What does this mean?

We are often not able to admit all of our qualified applicants into each degree program. We admit a certain number of applicants straight into the degree program, then put some on a wait list. After April 16, when we have heard from the first group, we will start to admit people from the wait list if necessary to attain full enrollment.

What do I need to submit to reapply?

You will need to repeat the application process with the exception of your test scores. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date; GRE scores are valid for five years.

How are applications evaluated?

Our admissions process aims to evaluate each candidate holistically, considering their academic accomplishments, experiences, and potential to contribute meaningfully to the discipline of architecture. Each required application element—including a statement of purpose, digital portfolio, academic transcript, curriculum vitae, and letter of evaluation—is an essential component that collectively provides insights into an applicant’s relevant coursework, professional and service experience, design and critical thinking skills, personal background, and ambitions for future practice. 

Our evaluation process ensures that each application is reviewed in the context of a student's academic background and personal life experience to foster a robust, inclusive incoming class of students with varied academic, cultural, socioeconomic, geographical, and experiential backgrounds. 

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