Declaring the BS in Architecture Major
Application to the BS in Architecture Major Process
Admission to the Architecture major will require successful portfolio review in addition to fulfillment of the standard University admissions requirements.
Prospective applicants are welcome to email the department or call (413) 577-0943 for information about the program and building tours.
High school seniors with exceptional visual arts backgrounds will apply directly to the Architecture major when they apply for admission to the University, subject to portfolio review.
- Early Action Deadline: November 5
- Regular Decision Deadline: January 15
How to apply to the Department of Architecture:
Apply to the University of Massachusetts Amherst as directed on the university website: Undergraduate Admissions.
- In the Common Application, indicate your plan to declare Architecture as your major.
- Submit a portfolio and statement via SlideRoom as directed.
Prospective transfer applicants are encouraged to contact the department for information about the curriculum prior to applying to the program. Please email the department or call (413) 577-0943 for information.
Application Deadlines for transfer students
- For FALL Registration: March 1. All applications received and completed (inclusive of both application to UMass and application to the Department of Architecture) by this date will be given full consideration for admission. Applications received or completed after this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis.
- For SPRING Registration: November 5. All applications received and completed (inclusive of both application to UMass and application to the Department of Architecture) by this date will be given full consideration for admission. Applications received or completed after this date will be reviewed on a space-available basis.
Current UMass Students:
Current UMass Amherst students in other majors (or undeclared/exploratory tracks) interested in declaring Architecture as their major can apply directly to the Department of Architecture while taking foundations level studios and art history survey courses. Due to the requirements of the program, current UMass students must apply during their first year at UMass. Applicants must submit a portfolio, statement, and Spire ID to the Department of Architecture.
Current UMass Amherst applicants, click here to access SlideRoom, our online portfolio submission platform.
External Transfer Students:
|Please note: Because our small program is at capacity, we are not able to accept MassTransfer or external transfer applications during the 2023-24 academic year. Current UMass students may apply to transfer to the first year of the program by clicking the link above|
External transfer students cannot apply directly to the major at this time. We recommend applying to the university with a different major, then applying as an on-campus transfer student.
Massachusetts Public Community College MassTransfer Students:
MassTransfer students cannot apply directly to the major at this time. We recommend applying to the university with a different major, then applying as an on-campus transfer student.
Please refer to the UMass Amherst MassTransfer web page. You may also consult with your community college transfer advisor or contact a transfer counselor in the UMass Amherst Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (413) 545-0222.
Portfolio Content and Presentation
Purpose of the Portfolio and Personal Statement
The Department of Architecture seeks to enroll students who have creative vision and a sense of purpose directed toward careers in architecture and design. To assist the department in evaluating the design potential and commitment of applicants, an admission portfolio is required of all applicants to the BS Architecture major.
We use the portfolio as a measure of the applicant’s capacity to build visual content and problem solve creatively. We use both the portfolio and personal statement to understand interest and motivation for the major. Our program is very small and unfortunately, we cannot admit everyone who applies. We want to make sure you have the skills and sensibilities to grow and prosper as designer and that you have a strong likelihood of successfully completing your chosen program.
Our Evaluation Process
Admission to the Department of Architecture is a two-part process. Applicants apply to the university using the Common Application, and also submit a portfolio to our department using SlideRoom. The deadlines for these two parts of your application are the same. A link to our department SlideRoom portal will be provided within the CommonApp — please make sure you select the portal for the Department of Architecture, as there will also be a similar portal for Art applicants.
The UMass Office of Admissions is responsible for determining acceptance to the university. The results of the Department of Architecture's portfolio evaluation are forwarded to the admissions office and serve an integral part in determining acceptance as an Architecture major. If you decide to submit a portfolio with your university application, Architecture faculty will evaluate your portfolio for admissions into the Architecture major.
Portfolio evaluations apply only to those individuals who have submitted a formal application for admission to UMass Amherst with a declared first or second major in Architecture. Applicants who fail to submit a portfolio by the published deadline will not be reviewed.
If You Do Not Have a Portfolio
If you are interested in Architecture but do not have a portfolio, were not admitted to Architecture and were instead admitted to UMass as a College of Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA) Exploratory Track or any other major, or if you discovered Architecture after arriving at UMass, you are welcome to apply in your first year as an on-campus transfer student. We are happy to recommend first year courses that will help you to develop your portfolio.
Portfolio Evaluation Criteria
- Creativity: Demonstration of innovative thinking and imagination; examples that indicate the development of personal expression.
- Design and Composition: Consideration for the arrangement of visual elements within the parameters of space or form.
- Interest and Self-Motivation: Portfolios may include work done in school, or outside of an academic setting, reflecting the applicant's interest and enthusiasm for the visual arts and design (e.g. sketchbook, artworks created at home or independently).
- Presentation: Care and concern for preparation, submission, and documentation of work; artwork is presented clearly with the appropriate editing (e.g. cropped, neat, use of appropriate lighting, in-focus, detailed, and high resolution images).
- Exploration of Media: Flexible use of a range of materials and approaches. Experience with more than one medium is encouraged (e.g. ink, paint, pencil, pastels, crayons, colored pencils, markers, collage, fibers, metals, found objects, ceramics, creative technologies and software, model-making). Proficient use of elements such as: line, light, and shade are encouraged.
- Technical Proficiency and Craft: Concern for the manner and skill with which tools and materials have been used to create art; work is not rushed or sloppy.
Tips for Submitting Your Portfolio
There are no specific requirements for media, style, or content; instead, we hope to see evidence of your thoughtfulness, passion, close attention, and careful execution. We value breadth (a wide range of media and content, an experimental spirit) as well as depth (multi-part projects, focused engagement with one idea, theme, or process).
- Submit 9 - 12 pieces.
- Art from Observation: Portfolio should emphasize subjects drawn and/or constructed from life (preferably not photographs or images of previously created artworks), including but not limited to: life drawing, still life, portraiture, figure drawing, landscape, anatomy.
- Other media: In addition to observational art, you are welcome to include a limited number of works in other media such 2-D and 3-D designs, photography, woodworking, sculpture, ceramics, architectural designs and models, stage designs, fashion or costume designs, or any other visual media that demonstrate your interest and aptitude in creative work.
- SlideRoom provides fields for applicants to enter important information about your artwork (including title, dimensions, media, date completed, whether it was done on your own or in class, and any additional information). These fields are optional and are an opportunity to provide information to help us understand your work.
- Your portfolio should demonstrate independent thought; please do not submit copies of others’ original artwork or work created from a kit.
- Artworks created, in part or entirely, using digital media are welcome, as long as the work is created based on the artist's own unique practice and development of skill with artistic media. You should not submit work employing generative artificial intelligence (AI).
- We do not expect that you have experience with architectural design. If you do, please focus on sharing original creative work, not technical drawings.
- We accept jpg or pdf images up to 5 MB each.
- Time-based submissions (video, audio) are not accepted.
- Please do not submit your portfolio as a presentation (such as PowerPoint or Keynote) or as a multi-page PDF.
- For more help with SlideRoom, including resizing images and video, suggested file types, and other technical questions, please visit the SlideRoom Support page.
Tips for Submitting Your Personal Statement
You must also include a statement that speaks about your interest in architecture and your aspirations in response to the following prompt: "Tell us why you are interested in studying Architecture at UMass Amherst."
- The UMass Admissions Office does not share Common Application information with the Department of Architecture so please be sure to let us know any relevant info about you.
- Your statement should not be more than a page.