Graduate Admissions

Required Application Materials

Below are materials required for application to most of the graduate programs at the College of Environmental Design.

Applicants to the Master of Real Estate Development and Design (MRED+D) program please view application requirements here. 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. Please be advised that Examination requirements vary by program, and some programs may require a portfolio of creative work or writing sample. 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. Grade Point Average 
  8. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  9. Portfolio/Exhibit of Creative Work (If Required)
  10. Recent Publication, Report or Writing Sample (If Required)
  11. Application Fee

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.
    • The most helpful letters of recommendation are from individuals who have supervised the applicant’s work in either an academic, employment or community service capacity, and who can evaluate the applicant’s intellectual ability, creativity, initiative, leadership potential, and promise in your desired field.
    • Please follow the instructions on the online application for the online letter of recommendation submission process as only letters that are submitted online will be considered.
    • If your recommender is having trouble with the sumbitting online, please contact the department graduate advisor.

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). 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. It can take up to 2.5 weeks for your scores to be received and matched to your application. 

Program Domestic Applicants International Applicants
Master of Architecture Required* Not Required* Required*
Master of Advanced Architectural Design 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

*Note to M.Arch and MAAD applicants: You must submit scores from one type of examination. Those who must meet the Evidence of English Language Proficiency Requirement should submit TOEFL scores (IELTS scores can be submitted in place of TOEFL scores), and all other applicants should submit GRE scores.

  • 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 GREs taken after June 2014 are valid.
    • There is no minimum score requirement. 
    • The LSAT and GMAT cannot be substituted for the GRE.
    • To assist you in preparing to take the GRE, ETS offers a variety of free and low-cost tools
    • Reservations for the GRE exam should be made in advance through: The Education Testing Service (ETS), P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, Phone: (609) 771-7670 or 1-800-GRE-CALL or
GRE School Code
  • Our institution code is 4833.
    • You do not need to list a department code.
TOEFL School Code
  • Our institution code is 4833.
    • You do not need to list a department code.
    • We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office.

6. Transcript(s)

  • Submit an electronic or scanned copy of your unofficial transcript(s) in PDF format from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.
    • If you studied abroad, either as part of an exchange program administered by your school or on your own, please upload each transcript separately.
    • 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.
    • If you accept your offer of admission, all official transcripts of all college-level work will be required to be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office (318 Sproul Hall).

7. Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) 

  • A Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) of 3.0 or better (on a 4-point scale) in the last two years of undergraduate study (also known as your advanced G.P.A.).
    • Please calculate your advanced G.P.A. (last two years of undergraduate study). 
  • For those applicants whose undergraduate university does not use a 4-point scale, the calculation of an advanced GPA is not required.
    • If this applies to your previous institution(s), please enter “N/A” in the GPA section.

8. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

  • Submit an electronic copy of your resume or curriculum vitae in PDF format, reflecting your work experience, education, publications, awards, community/volunteer experiences and any other relevant information. 
    • We advise students to be detailed and expansive.

9. Portfolio/Exhibit of Creative Work

  • A digital portfolio is required for applicants to the following degree programs:
    • Master of Architecture
    • Master of Advanced Architectural Design
    • 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 and MAAD 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.

10. 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.

11. Application Fee

  • The application fee is not refundable.
    • If you are a U.S. Citizen or current Permanent Resident, the application fee is $120.
    • For all others, the fee is $140.
  • Eligible applicants (U.S. Citizens or current Permanent Residents) may apply for an application fee waiver.
    • The form to request a fee waiver is included in the payment section of the online application.
    • To be considered, applicants need to select the waiver payment option before submitting the online application.
    • Unfortunately, there are no fee waiver options for international applicants.
  • Applications that do not submit a payment or fee waiver application by the application deadline will note be reviewed and thus will not be considered for admission.