Admission into the architecture graduate program is competitive. The school is able to admit approximately 60 graduate students per year. The majority of graduate students admitted have completed the B.A. - Environmental Design at MSU. However, spaces are available for highly qualified students with undergraduate degrees from other universities. Placement may vary depending upon the student's background; students with an undergraduate degree in a field other than architecture will be considered, and must, if accepted, complete a full course of study in design studio. Portfolio review is of primary importance to the School of Architecture's application review committee. All applicants are required to submit a portfolio of their best work to be reviewed by the school’s faculty.


  • January 15: Deadline for application submission to School of Architecture of portfolio and application forms for Fall Semester admittance.

Application Process

The following documents must be submitted to the School of Architecture by the published deadlines.

  • Graduate Application for Admission form as required by the Graduate School which can be found at
  • A $60.00 non-refundable application fee. Payable to Montana State University, this fee will be paid online as part of the online application process
  • Three letters of recommendation Letters of reference forms will be submitted online. The applicant will need to provide the name and e-mail address of the reference.  At least 2 of the 3 references must be from faculty members. The third reference can be from an architecture professional.
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate coursework
  • Portfolio of Work (electronic submission)


Admissions Criteria

Applicants must achieve a minimum Admissions Score of 7.62 on a 12 point scale to be granted admission into the Master of Architecture program. The following standards are used in the Admissions Score process:

  • Admission Score: Admissions Review is performed by a committee with a minimum of three and a maximum of five faculty. An admission score is developed based upon the following percentages are used to weight the above criteria: Cumulative GPA (40%), Portfolio Review (40%), Letters of Reference (10%) and Architecture Studio GPA (10%)
    • Cumulative GPA (40%)
      • A 3.0 cumulative undergraduate GPA. This GPA is based on a 4.0 system (4.0 = letter grade "A")
    • Portfolio Review (40%)
      • A minimum rating score of a 6.5 (on a 12 point scale) or better on the portfolio. Portfolios are reviewed by a committee of five members. Their ratings will be averaged to provide a final portfolio score. The point scale is as follows:
        • 12 points Outstanding
        • 9 points Excellent
        • 6 points Good (*Required Minimum)
        • 3 points Poor
        • 0 points Unacceptable
    • Letters of Reference (10%)
      • Letter of Reference score is based upon a compilation of the overall recommendation from each recommendation letter. A minimum score of 2 out of 3 is considered acceptable for admission.
    • Architecture Studio GPA (10%) 
      • The School of Architecture will calculate a studio specific grade point average using the grades an applicant received in their undergraduate studios.  A minimum studio average of a 3.0 ("B") is required.
        • Any student who does not have a “B” or better studio average would not be permitted to apply until they retake a studio to raise the overall studio average to a “B” (3.0).
        • Studios included in the average are ARCH 151, ARCH 152, ARCH 253, ARCH 254, ARCH 355 and ARCH 356.


Student applicants are placed in one of three categories:

    • Admitted
    • Provisionally Admitted (student may need to fulfill additional requirements for admittance.)
    • Denied


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