College of Environmental Design

Required Application Materials

Graduate Admissions

Below are materials required for application to the graduate programs at the College of Environmental Design. Please note: Examination requirements vary by program, and some programs may require a portfolio of creative work or writing sample. If applying to a concurrent degree program, see Concurrent Programs for application procedures and admission prerequisites.

All application materials must be submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application by your program's deadline. Read our frequently asked questions, and contact our graduate program advisers if you have any questions.

Application Materials
  1. Graduate Division Application
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Personal History Statement
  4. Letters of Recommendation
  5. Examination(s): GRE and/or TOEFL/IELTS
  6. Transcript(s)
  7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  8. Portfolio/Exhibit of Creative Work (If Required)
  9. Recent Publication, Report or Writing Sample (If Required)

1. Graduate Division Application


2. Statement of Purpose

  • This is your academic statement. It should include a description of why you want to study your proposed subject field, why you want to study at UC Berkeley, and how our program can help you achieve your professional goals. For additional information, see our frequently asked questions page.
  • Note to Ph.D. applicants and applicants to the academic master's degree programs: The admissions committee will read your Statement of Purpose seeking an account of your prior research experience and looking for evidence that you are prepared to undertake a significant, sophisticated, independent and in-depth research project. Your competence and intellectual potential to undertake research is among the most important criteria considered by the admissions committee.
Architecture Ph.D. and M.S. Applicants Only

Architecture Ph.D. and Master of Science applicants should structure their Statement of Purpose as follows:

  • Part 1: Goals (500 words). A statement describing your general academic and career goals, the field(s) in which you would like to study, and why you wish to attend UC Berkeley in particular (you may want to refer to specific classes, faculty, or research projects that interest you). Your ideas should be clear, specific and persuasive.
  • Part 2: Research Proposal (500 words). An example of a specific research proposal that you may wish to undertake while at UC Berkeley. You may present a single proposal, or perhaps two alternates, about your dissertation Although you are not committed to do precisely what you propose (and, if fact, it is expected that your ideas will evolve during your studies), the committee will use this proposal to assess your ability to conceptualize a research plan. Your research proposal should succinctly frame a research question, articulate why it is important, demonstrate an understanding of the relevant literature and gaps in current knowledge, and identify what types of research methods one might apply to address the problem. If possible, identify faculty in architecture and/or other departments with whom you would like to work.

3. Personal History Statement

  • The Personal History Statement should convey how a combination of life experiences, idealism, role models, education and work experiences have influenced your decision to apply. You may also include any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges or opportunities relevant to your academic journey. For tips on writing the Personal History Statement, see UC Berkeley's Personal Statement Guide.
Architecture Ph.D. and M.S. Applicants Only

Architecture Ph.D. and Master of Science applicants should structure their Personal History Statement as follows:

  • This essay (500 words, maximum) is a narrative description of your life background in terms of how it has prepared you for this next stage of your studies. It should describe relevant aspects of your life story and achievements, as well as educational and cultural opportunities or circumstances that supported or deprived you of such achievements; family background; economic circumstances; special interests and abilities; and community or social service involvement. Throughout, be selective in describing things that specifically relate to your academic goals and intellectual pursuits. In particular, please be sure to focus on details of your research experience, and how your background has prepared you for the next stage of your studies.

4. Three Letters of Recommendation

  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation must be submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application by the application deadline. Applicants may submit additional letters if desired. Only letters that are submitted online will be considered. If your recommender is having trouble with the submittal system, please contact your graduate program adviser.

5. Examination(s)

Applicants to the College of Environmental Design's graduate programs may be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and/or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)/International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. See the table below for the examination(s) required by your program. Please plan ahead and schedule your examinations at least one month prior to the application deadline so that we may have timely receipt of your scores.

Program Domestic Applicants International Applicants
GRE GRE TOEFL/IELTS
Master of Architecture Required* Not Required* Required*
M.S. Architecture Optional Optional Required
Ph.D. Architecture Optional Optional Required
Master of City Planning Required Required Required
Ph.D. City and Regional Planning Required Required Required
Master of Landscape Architecture Required Not Required Required
Ph.D. Landscape Architecture Required Required Required
Master of Urban Design Required Not Required Required

*M.Arch applicants must submit scores from one type of exam. Those who must meet the English Language Proficiency Requirement should submit TOEFL scores(IELTS scores can be submitted in place of TOEFL scores), and all others should submit GRE scores.

GRE
  • Applicants taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must have their official scores reported to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Only GRE scores taken after June 2010 are valid. There is no minimum score requirement.
GRE School and Department Codes
  • GRE School Code: 4833
  • GRE Architecture Department Code: 4401
  • GRE City and Regional Planning Department Code: 4402
  • GRE Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department Code: 4405
  • GRE Urban Design Program Code: 4406
TOEFL/IELTS
TOEFL School and Department Codes
  • TOEFL School Code: 4833
  • TOEFL Architecture Department Code: 12
  • TOEFL City and Regional Planning Department Code: 97
  • TOEFL Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department Code: 99
  • TOEFL Urban Design Department Code: 99

6. Transcript(s)

  • Submit an electronic or scanned copy of your official transcript(s) in PDF format from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. Please make sure that transcript images are properly rotated, and not sideways or upside-down, and remove your Social Security number and birth date before submittal.

7. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

  • Submit an electronic copy of your resume or curriculum vitae that includes any publications, awards, or community/volunteer experiences you may have.

8. Portfolio/Exhibit of Creative Work

  • A digital portfolio is required for applicants to the following degree programs:
    • Master of Architecture
    • Master of City Planning — Urban Design Concentration
    • Master of Landscape Architecture — First and Second Professional Degrees
    • Master of Urban Design
  • The portfolio may contain up to 12 pages (8-1/2"x11"-format) of design content. Please note that beyond 12 pages, your portfolio may not be reviewed. Title page and/or table of contents may be submitted, and will not count toward the 12 pages of content. The digital portfolio should showcase recent, high-quality work, and will be judged on both content and overall design. Applicants without professional training may submit work that shows other evidence of creativity (studio art, construction/renovation, furniture design, etc.) and clearly demonstrates interest in the proposed subject field. Any material that is not entirely the applicant's own work must be clearly identified.
  • Portfolio must be saved as a single file in PDF format, and submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. The filesize must be no larger than 10MB. If your portfolio PDF file exceeds 10MB, try compressing it in Adobe Acrobat.
  • Note to M.Arch applicants: The portfolio may be in a two-page spread format, and any dimensions may be used. Please keep in mind the review will take place on monitors of varying size.

9. Recent Publication, Report or Writing Sample

  • A recent publication, report or writing sample must be submitted by applicants to the following degree programs:
    • Master of Landscape Architecture — Environmental Planning Emphasis
    • Master of Science in Architecture
    • Ph.D. in Architecture
    • Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning
    • Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning (recent publication required, whether published or pending publishing)
  • The publication, report or writing sample should support the applicant's Statement of Purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities and/or analytical skills.
  • Publication, report or writing sample must be saved as a single file in PDF format, 50 pages maximum (no minimum page requirement), and submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. Filesize must be no larger than 10MB.