Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I apply and follow the progress of my application?
The application process is submitted online via the University’s Graduate School (see link below). All materials for the application process are submitted electronically (transcripts, recommendations, statement of intent, GRE test scores, etc.).
You are responsible to make sure that all of your materials have been submitted via the electronic application process. Please do not forward any materials to the School of Architecture during the process. Application completion status can be checked via the Graduate School’s website. Applications will only be reviewed if they have been officially completed. It is critical that you check your online application frequently in order to insure everything has been received.
2. Which program do I apply to if I have completed a four-year bachelor’s in interior design and/or architectural technology?
Most interior design and architectural tech programs do not provide the necessary design studio experience for entry into our 2-year MArch program. At the same time, applicants with these undergraduate degrees may feel that they have taken some or all of the additional coursework for the 2-year program (e.g. the completion of history, structures, materials, environmental systems, etc.) during their undergraduate degree. In all cases it is recommended that these degree holders apply to the 3+ MArch (3-1/2 year program) to begin with. During the acceptance process the Admissions Committee will evaluate your application for any advance standing.
3. I have already taken courses that are required in your graduate program. Will I have to repeat these?
In some cases, the School of Architecture may waive a required course if we determine it is redundant to your studies. In such cases we will need to evaluate the course by reviewing its syllabus, all assignments, as well as the final grade you received for the class. If a waiver is permitted, then you will be asked to enroll in an advanced elective course to replace the required course credit. By the same token, credit may be given for prior academic material through “credit by examination” at the discretion of the Associate Director.
4. I am a 2-year MArch applicant, but I did not take Structures 2 during my undergraduate degree, however I completed everything else. Do I need to complete this class before I apply?
Some four-year architecture bachelor degree holders may have to take one or more courses to fulfill the basic entry requirements for the 2-year MArch program (refer to Graduate Catalog). Hence non-studio coursework – such as, Environmental Systems, Structures 2, etc. – may have to be completed. Such coursework may be fulfilled after acceptance to the program. In some cases, the program of study may be longer in order accommodate these additional classes.
5. What should be included in the portfolio and how should it be formatted?
Your portfolio is an expression and demonstration of your creative work. This should be common practice for 2-year MArch applicants familiar with the process of creating one. For 3+ MArch students (who typically have degrees in fields outside of design), it is suggested that you include work from courses in: visual art, sculpture, photography, personal projects, etc. You may also include samples of architectural work from offices if you’ve had such experience. In addition, you may also consider any creative work such as essays or reports that you have authored during your college/professional career(s). In general, any creative work you deem worthy may be included in the portfolio.
Digital Portfolio Requirement: The format for the portfolio is limited to a maximum size of 8-1/2” x 11”. It should be formatted as a pdf document and uploaded as part of the online application process. What you include in this folio is an indication and demonstration of your creativity. In all cases it should be elegant, concise, and a demonstration of your skills and visual sensibilities. A typical portfolio may have a total of 15-20 pages that demonstrates your accomplishments in an organized, narrative, and visual manner. Each piece featured should be presented with high-quality images and a brief text description. The careful composition, layout, and visual presentation of the portfolio are also important indicators of your creativity.
6. Do you require a GRE score? What scores do you expect for the GRE?
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the preferred test that the Admissions Committee uses to evaluate all graduate students. For those with an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher the GRE is optional. Be conscious of the times that this test is offered since you must have the scores reported to the Graduate School prior to the deadline for admission.
There are three parts that the Admissions Committee looks at: verbal, quantitative, and analytical scores. In the past, applicants admitted typically score 150+ for the verbal and 155+ for the quantitative sections of the exam. Analytical scores are typically 4.5 and above. The score rating represents the range and numerical standards of the 2019-20 ETS set of examinations.
Note that these scores are only one factor for admission. The Admissions Committee looks comprehensively at all parts of your application (portfolio, transcripts, letters of recommendation, GPA etc.) when it makes its recommendation for admission.
7. What should my GPA be when I apply?
The Graduate School at UNCCharlotte requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 and higher. Typically, those accepted to the master’s program have GPAs of 3.25 and higher. Submission of GRE scores is optional for those with a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher.
8. Are there prerequisite courses that I must take for the 2-year or 3+ MArch degrees?
3+ MArch applicants are asked to take, before starting the program ,coursework in pre-calculus and basic physics. 2-year MArch applicants with a 4-year degree in architecture are expected to have a minimum of: 6 semesters of design studio, 2 semesters of introductory architectural history/theory, 2 structures courses, 1 environmental systems course, and 1 architectural materials course.
9. What scholarships, financial awards, research and/or teaching assistantships are available?
There are a number of awards that all accepted applicants are assessed for during the admission process. These are awarded to the most promising new graduate students on a merit basis. For MArch applicants with design backgrounds, awards are based on prior academic and professional experience as well as skills and achievements in architecture. For 3+ MArch students, awards are based on academic achievement and promise.
There are four types of awards:
a. Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP): These awards are for resident and non-resident students and provide support for two or three years of tuition during the regular academic year. Each award also includes a yearly stipend (in past years this amount has been approximately $9,000/year) that covers research assistant work within one of the School of Architecture’s three research centers - Digital Arts Research Team (DArts), Design + Society and Research Center (DSRC), and the Center for Integrated Building Design Research (CIBDR). These awards are available for both to 2-year MArch and 3+ year MArch applicants based on their academic merits and record during the admissions process.
b. Tuition Awards: These awards are for both in-state and non-resident applicants. The award reduces annual tuition liability equal to the amount of in-state tuition or the difference between in-state and non-resident tuition. These awards may also include a research assistant stipend (in past years this amount has been approximately $7000/year). These awards do not apply to summer semesters (fall and spring only) and are available for both 2-year and 3+ year applicants.
c. Teaching/Research Assistantships: Stipends for assistantships are available for qualified masters candidates and ongoing students in the MArch program. The amount varies according to departmental needs for teaching and the candidate’s expertise. Awards are typically given to students that have some experience in the education of architecture. Assignments include: undergraduate assistant roles, class administrative duties, and laboratory research assistants.
d. School of Architecture Scholarships: There are also endowed School of Architecture scholarships that any matriculated student may apply for in the Fall semesters of their academic careers. These are offered via an application process at the beginning of each fall and spring semester. These competitive awards range from $1000 to $2500.
10. If I’m accepted, when does the program begin?
All MArch students begin their programs in the fall term. In some instances MUD and MS students without a design background start their study in the “second summer term” (typically the first week in July). Please make sure that you apply to the correct program, and hence, register your first course(s) for the correct entry semester.
11. May I take course work as a post-bac student in the School of Architecture prior to admission?
You must formally apply and be admitted to either the two MArch programs before you can take required coursework. Some applicants, however, have enrolled in non-required courses such as Liberal Studies (LBST) general education undergraduate lecture classes as an introduction to architecture. These courses do not count towards their master’s studies. Another option is to enroll at UNCC as a Post Baccalaureate student. Post Bac status will allow students to take graduate level elective coursework at UNCC with instructor approval and if space is available. Up to 6 credits of Post Bac studies may be transferred into a graduate program should the student be accepted as a graduate student.
12. Can I attend the program as well as work part-time outside of classroom hours?
The School of Architecture is a full-time enrollment program in which all of our graduate students take courses beyond the full-time graduate load. The typical graduate student enrolls in at least 9 credits of coursework per semester; Master of Architecture students typically enroll in (on average) 15 units per term. Given this heavy course load and given the significant amount of time needed to complete assignments and projects, the School of Architecture highly recommends that students not seek outside employment.
The School of Architecture realizes that full time enrollment in graduate school is a costly endeavor; some students will find it necessary to work off campus to make ends meet. This will represent a significant demand on student time and, therefore, may conflict with the demands of graduate study.
13. What areas of architecture does the School specialize?
The School of Architecture offers a broad-based program of study. However, since 2003, the School has invested a considerable amount of time and effort into its research centers. These centers have grown around faculty interests and expertise in the areas of: (1) digital fabrication, (2) lighting technology and energy conservation, and (3) urban and community design.
These three research areas have given rise to dedicated electives for graduate study in the program. These areas are seen as local areas of expertise in which students may engage research as well as deepen their programs of study. These areas are particularly important to 2-year MArch students who are asked to identify an area of interest in their first year of study. 3+ MArch students are also encouraged to engage is such coursework as they move into their second year of study in the 3-1/2 year program.
Graduate students who undertake and perform at a high level in such studies have the opportunity to participate in research projects being conducted in one of the School’s three research centers as mentioned above. It is also anticipated that these special interests will contribute significantly to the topic of their final project or thesis, which is completed in the final year.
14. When is my application due for the MArch Programs?
The deadline for all application materials submitted online is January 15 for admission to the following academic year. Some programs have a rolling admission schedule. Contact the Graduate Program Director for details.
15. When can I visit the School of Architecture?
The School of Architecture offers a general Open House in the fall semester (typically the third week in October) and a special spring Open House event (the last week in March) for applicants accepted to the program. Though different, each of these Open House events features a tour of the School, introduction to faculty and student work/projects, and an opportunity to see the program in action. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn of the exact dates as well as to schedule your participation at one of these Open House events.