MA in Design Criticism

Admission Requirements

Applicants are considered on an individual basis. Transcripts of all undergraduate and any graduate work must be submitted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the program requirements as listed below. See the School of Architecture website for the most up-to-date application requirements.

Baccalaureate Field of Study No restrictions. Applicants with an undergraduate degree in any field may apply.

Grade Point Average 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester (90 quarter) hours of undergraduate study

Tests Requireda GRE General

Minimum English Competency Test Score (one of the following is required unless English competency is exhibited by prior work or education in the U.S.):

  • TOEFL 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Test); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (revised Paper-Delivered Test)
  • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores
  • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.

Letters of Recommendation Three required, preferably from individuals acquainted with the applicant’s recent academic, professional, or creative work. Letters from professors who can assess the applicant’s academic abilities and potential for graduate school are the most useful. Letters from employers are also acceptable.

Personal Statement The statement should address the reasons for applying to a graduate program in design criticism, particularly the UIC School of Architecture. See the School of Architecture website for the complete personal statement prompt.

Other Requirements A written portfolio is required as a part of the application process for the Master of Arts in Design Criticism program. Content is not restricted to any particular subject area, but the material should be representative of the applicant’s previous experience and creative ability.

Deadlines The application deadline for this program is earlier than the Graduate College deadline; for information about current deadlines, please see the School of Architecture website


The GRE is not required for the upcoming Fall 2024 admission cycle.

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the degree vary according to the student’s previous studies and level of preparation. The Graduate Admissions Committee of the school will specify, at the time of admission, the program to which each student has been accepted. In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, students must meet the following program requirements:

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required: 56
  • Course Work: At least 44 hours must be at the 500-level in architecture
Required Courses
Research Seminar
Architectural Theory and History III
Pro-seminar I: Design Criticism
Pro-seminar II: Publication and Graphic Argumentation
Writing Tutorial I
Writing Tutorial II
Select 32 hours from the following:
Topics in Architectural Theory and History
Architectural Theory and History I
Architectural Theory and History II
Architectural Theory and History IV
Art History (AH) 400- or 500-level course
Elective approved by the advisor
Portfolio Submission
An annual portfolio review occurs during the spring semester of each academic year. The submission of a satisfactory portfolio in each year is a degree requirement.
  • Comprehensive Examination: None
  • Thesis, Project, or Course Work-Only Options: Course work only