Frequently Asked Questions

Before you apply

You do not need to know how to draw. We teach you all the skills you need for the programs. It is a good idea but not necessary to take some art, drawing and/or design classes before applying to build your portfolio.

No. The professional degree programs do require that you take specific courses before entering the program.

The School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape offers scheduled tours in the fall. Staff or students lead the tours and answer questions about the programs. You can also visit the School through the 360 virtual tour.

A minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale, based on the last two years of the first bachelor’s degree (a minimum of 20 courses or 60 units). Any post-secondary education after that will also be considered alongside the main GPA calculation.

A minimum education of a four-year bachelor’s degree is required for the MArch, MLA and MPlan. A Master’s degree is required for the PhD and DDes.

Applicants must receive a minimum score of 105 for the TOEFL. The minimum IELTS Academic score is 7.5. The minimum Duolingo score is 130.

Selecting a program

The MArch is a three year program. If you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited architecture school in North America, or have completed the ARST Minor, you can waive the Foundation Year and complete the program in two years.

The MLA program is three years.

The MPlan program is two years.

The MEDes program takes 16-24 months.

The Doctor of Design program is three years.

If you possess a pre-professional or professional undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in North America, including the ARST Minor from the University of Calgary, you should include this information in your online application form to be considered for the two-year program. All other applicants will be considered for the three-year program starting with Foundation Year.

The MArch program is accredited by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). The program provides the foundation for a range of career opportunities in design, construction, and management of the built environment, as well as being a basis for advanced design and scholarly research. Canadian degrees from accredited programs are fully recognized in the United States and in the European Union under reciprocity agreements. 

The MArch is a graduate degree: the first professional degree preparing students for a career as an architect. It is three years long, consists of six studios, block week courses and study abroad programs, as well as electives.


The ARST is a minor program of undergraduate study offered to University of Calgary students that can be taken in a student’s third and fourth year. Completion of an ARST Minor waives the first year of the three-year MArch program, so a student can complete the MArch in two years.

The professional programs at the University of Calgary do not offer co-op work terms. However, work-integrated learning studios are core to the curriculum and connect students with practitioners on real-life projects. Networking events and student exhibitions throughout the year facilitate additional connection with prospective employers.

Students who wish to obtain degree-related work experience may do so during the summer terms that they don't have courses. Graduates have not had difficulty securing employment – they are working in the private and public sectors across Alberta, Canada, the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

The MEDes Mitacs Accelerate program does provide an opportunity for a student to work in a placement for 8 months. Applying for this 16-month degree ideally should be considered just before completion of a student’s first professional degree (MArch, MLA, MPlan).

All courses are offered during weekdays through the Fall and Winter Terms (September to April). Because of this and the intensity of studio courses, it is difficult to complete the degree part time, and not recommended.

Further, many courses are sequential, especially design studios. It is highly likely the course is not offered again until next year. This can be very disruptive to completing the degree.

However, due to extenuating circumstances, an enrolled student can seek a course load reduction.

A variety of issues, including environmental, economic, socio-cultural and political ones, are addressed in various core and elective courses in the program curricula. Students interested in pursuing advanced research on specific environmental issues are encouraged to apply to the thesis-based Master of Environmental Design program.


The MArch is the first professional degree in architecture, accredited by CACB, leading to licensure as an architect. Those with no background in architecture are welcome to apply. Applicants will be considered according to the educational and professional background, as well as their potential as an architect.

Unless you also hold an undergraduate degree, in which case this would make you a strong applicant, unfortunately not. Applicants to the professional programs must possess a four-year bachelor’s degree from a recognized post-secondary institution. Students with a diploma can receive up to five full-course equivalent credits toward an undergraduate degree.

Yes. If you have a pre-professional architecture degree such as a Bachelor of Environmental Design or Architectural Studies from another institution or you’ve completed the Minor in Architectural Studies at the University of Calgary, you can waive the Foundation Year and apply directly into the two-year MArch program.

No, if you hold a degree such as Interior Design or Industrial Design you need to apply to the three-year program. You must have taken architecture courses from an accredited architecture school to waive Foundation Year. Select courses could meet the requirements of similar courses; this would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

If you have a Bachelor of Architecture, or equivalent degree, from outside of Canada, you may be able to start the architectural internship process. To inquire about certification, contact the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) office in Ottawa.

If you have a degree from outside of Canada plus at least seven years of experience as a practicing architect in a foreign country, you may be eligible for certification under the Broadly Experienced Foreign Architect (BEFA) program.

In some cases, one or two additional courses may be required. Please inquire directly with admisssions@sapl.ucalgary.cato see if SAPL offers the courses you’re looking for.

If you already possesses a professional degree and want to further your education, consider pursuing post-professional studies through the MEDes or DDes.

Mature students generally are at least 35 years old with career experience. The application would be considered, and admission could be offered on a probationary basis if the selection committee is provided evidence of exceptional ability.


Master of Architecture, Master of Planning, Master of Landscape Architecture:

  • Supporting documents must be uploaded by 11:59pm Calgary time on January 15
  • Online references must be completed by 11:59pm Calgary time on January 22

Master of Environmental Design, PhD and DDes:

  • Supporting documents must be uploaded by 11:59pm Calgary time on February 1
  • Online references must be completed by 11:59pm Calgary time on February 8

ARST Minor:

  • Applications are accepted October 1 through to February 1

The University directs all of these inquiries in the tuition and general fees section of the graduate calendar. If you’d like to know how much to budget for your degree, please contact for an estimate.

Budget for supplies ranging from $4000 to $8000 for base supplies. These could be drawing and model making equipment, camera, and laptop computer. Visit the link below to learn about computer and software recommendations, and potential workshop purchase costs.

The non-refundable application fee is CDN $125 for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and CDN $145 for international students attending on a Study Permit.

Only if you bring the relevant architecture, planning and/or landscape architecture background. We want you to demonstrate creativity, sense of space, and design skills or observations. Include content such as design work, professional work, research, and artwork. 

An illustration of the applicant’s creative ability and/or potential through previous studies, work or other experience. You may also include examples of research skills, community action or volunteer activities, professional work, notated photographs, or ideas that support your statement of intent. Applicants with a design background, or related planning/geography/GIS experience should include visuals of previous academic or professional work. Demonstrate the ability to read and understand space. If you do not have any of this experience, it is recommended to take some introductory art or design courses.

The statement for the MPlan and MLA application should be two pages maximum. There are no spacing or formatting rules, but it does need to be legible. The selection committee wants to hear about your interests and why you want to pursue the degree. Draw connections from your background and personal experience to what you hope to achieve with your planning education, how it could help achieve personal and professional goals. Your statement is an opportunity to provide information not found elsewhere in your application. Aim to highlight something interesting of different that makes you stand out amongst other applicants.

Statements are confidential and we cannot provide examples to future applicants.

Yes. If you want to upload more than one example of work, such as a written essay, published paper, thesis, design project, or consulting report, combine your documents into one PDF, and include a table of contents. It’s not recommended to upload a 150-page document. If you have more than one example, and some of these are long, include an excerpt instead of the entire piece. The example(s) of writing are very important. The committee wants to see strong writing skills.

Completing the application

After you submit the online application form, you'll receive an email with instructions on how to upload information.

The application for graduate programs is a two-step process:

  1. Online application form: Provide biographical, degree and referee contact information. Once you've submitted the form, you will receive an automated email with instructions on how to upload supporting documents (transcripts, statement/paragraph, CV, etc.). You’ll also be prompted to pay your application fee.

    The online application form is NOT where you upload supporting documents.

    Your referees will receive an automated email with instructions on how to complete the reference.

    The earlier you submit the online application form, the more time your referees have to complete their reference.
  2. Upload supporting documents. Check your inbox for instructions on how to upload supporting documents.

If you’re applying to the MArch, MEDes, PhD: under program information, select “Environmental Design”. On the next screen you can select your degree.

If you’re applying to the MPlan, MLA, or DDes: under program information, look for “Environmental Design”.

In the online application form, “program-specific questions”, question 1 asks you to indicate whether you have a pre-professional or professional undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in North America, including the ARST Minor from the University of Calgary. Select yes to be considered for the two-year program.

Following this complete the waiver form, and email the form to with your UCID number to request Foundation to be waived from your application.

UCalgary applicants with the Minor in Architectural Studies: email to remove this requirement from your To Do list in your Student Centre - include your UCID in the email.

If you do have a pre-professional or professional undergraduate degree from an accredited institution in North America, you are applying to the Foundation Year/three-year program steam. In the online application form, “program-specific questions”, question 1, select no.

Email to request removal of the Foundation Year waiver from the To Do list in your Student Centre - include your UCID in the email.

Common across all programs:

  • Online application form
  • Portfolio
  • CV/Resume
  • Three references (ideally two are academic)


  • MArch: Architectural Image Paragraph
  • MPlan and MLA: Statement of Interest
  • MPlan, MEDes and PhD: Examples of writing
  • MEDes, PhD and DDes: Research Statement / Proposal

Detailed information about supporting documents can be found on respective program pages

Yes. You might have just finished their undergraduate degree and have not had the chance to gain a lot of work experience. However, you will likely have some work or volunteer experience, and/or achievements such as being a musician or high-caliber athlete. Share these life experiences and time-management skills with the selection committee.

It’s ideal to have at least one, preferably two, academic references. If you have taken any relevant courses since graduation, those instructors could be references.

Master of Architecture, Master of Planning, Master of Landscape Architecture:

  • Online references must be completed by 11:59pm Calgary time on January 22

Master of Environmental Design, PhD and DDes:

  • Online references must be completed by 11:59pm Calgary time on February 8


Yes. Even if you did not complete a degree or have not yet graduated from the school, one transcript from each of the post-secondary institutions you attended is required.

For your unofficial transcript, you can upload a scan or PDF copy and submit the original later.

Wait until your Fall 2020 final grades are available before uploading your transcript. Your most recent grades are required for the GPA calculation.

If your degree is from UCalgary, you do not need to submit a transcript.

Scan your copy of your transcripts (and English translation if applicable) and upload them as your “unofficial transcripts”. If you are offered admission, the official transcript will be required by mid-summer to confirm program placement.

Yes, if you are offered admission, we ask that you order an official transcript be sent to us (it’s free!). 

If your post-secondary institution has the capacity to email official transcripts, they should be sent directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies at These must be emailed by the school, transcripts emailed by the applicant will not be accepted.

Final official transcripts can be mailed directly from the institution, or you can bundle and send together, as long as they remain in their sealed envelopes. Please mail to the following address:

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
University of Calgary
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada

Financial aid

Scholarships are given out based on merit. You do not apply for these scholarships; rather, you are considered for them during the admissions review. There are some exceptions. Visit scholarships and awards for details and deadlines.

After you are admitted, contact the Associate Dean of your program to request consideration for a teaching assistantship. TAships are also shared via email; check your inbox for opportunities.

After Submission

You can log in to the application system to check on the status of your application. After the successful submission of the application, you can track the receipt of the required materials on your Student Centre portal.

Our admissions committee notifies applicants, beginning in March. All applicants will know their status by May 1. Please do not contact us to inquire about the status of your application. Questions and problems encountered with your application will be emailed to you and progress will appear in your Student Centre. Be sure to monitor these correspondences. 

Applicants will be notified by email when a decision is available, normally between March and May.

We are not able to admit all qualified applicants into the programs. A certain number of applicants are admitted straight into the program, and some are out on a wait list. When we have heard from the first group, we will start to offer admissions to people from the wait list if necessary to attain full enrollment.