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MS in Architecture and Urban Design (MSAUD)

The MSAUD (formerly MArch II) is a one-year, post-professional degree program that leads to a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design degree.

This elastic, genre-defiant program offers students with a professional degree in architecture the opportunity to specialize their skills, and to apply architectural and design thinking to today’s and tomorrow’s design provocations and real-world challenges

Please note: 2024-2025 MSAUD Orientation will take place on Friday, August 2, 2024, and Summer Studio will begin Monday, August 5

As of the 2023-2024 academic year, the MSAUD program is now based at Perloff Hall, on UCLA's Main Campus

Akanksha Deolekar's [MSAUD '23] 'Factory Reset' [MSAUD IDEO Studio, 2023]

See more of Deolekar's project on our Student Work gallery

Led by professors who are experts in their respective fields, MSAUD students join a team of educators and industry partners to question, challenge, and expand the current conventions of architectural practice.

We do this in an immersive, provocative context: a vibrant, expansive research university situated in one of the world’s great cities for design, innovation, and experimentation. Sited in Perloff Hall on UCLA's immersive Main Campus, the MSAUD program benefits from deep engagement with AUD's BA, MArch, MA, and PhD cohorts, as well as colleagues across the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and Beyond.

The MSAUD program kicks off each year in early August–just before the rest of UCLA returns for the academic year–with the IDEAS Summer Studio, a six-week preparatory course that leads into the Fall Quarter; this year's IDEAS Summer Studio will begin on Monday, August 5, 2024. See below (Further Reading) for more details, as well as a Typical Study Program, for the MSAUD curriculum.

See below for full details on admissions and applying to the MSAUD program.

By engaging with experts from various fields, we expand architecture’s field of influence and leverage design to propose alternative, more intelligent futures.

Each year, the MSAUD program offers concurrent studios that explore contemporary topics in architecture and urban design. Recent research has included topics around transit and urban mobility; the relationship between mixed reality and physical environments; urban development in the context of the climate crisis; and future spatial narratives and worldbuilding. Students work on a broad range of mediums to produce models, pop-up installations, short film and animations, video-game design, robotic fabrication, and other media forms applied to architectural questions.

The MSAUD program leverages contemporary technologies to produce architecture and cities at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds, examining life in mixed realities and interactive environments where we challenge traditional spatial experiences, fabrication techniques, and architectural assemblies. Alongside the production of projects, students develop skills in critical thinking and analysis of architecture and the modern city, including history, politics, planning infrastructure, and social issues.

Institutional networking and collaboration are central to the MSAUD program. Past research studios have catalyzed breakthroughs in high-profile projects with Hyperloop, SpaceX, and ARRIVAL; investigated high-performance architecture with Boeing and Cirque du Soleil, and 3D-printing design and technology with Autodesk and Red Bull; and taken on urgent issues of sustainability with UNICEF in Haiti. Most recently, the MSAUD program engaged interactive media with IDEO via the MSAUD/IDEO Studio.

The one-year program.

The program kicks off each year in August–just before the rest of UCLA returns for the academic year–with the IDEAS Summer Studio, a six-week preparatory course. Through weekly workshops, students are introduced to software, tools, and techniques available to design students. This technical foundation provides a common platform for the remainder of the one-year program and equips students to work collaboratively with faculty to explore research topics, while allowing the MSAUD cohort an opportunity to bond.

In the Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters, students break off into concurrent studios that explore focused but dynamic research areas. The three-quarter studio comprises a first quarter of research, a second quarter of hypothesis definition and development, and a final quarter of design resolution. Alongside their main studio, students also complete Technology Seminars and Critical Studies courses that explore complementary topics and broaden student horizons. Through intensive research and experimentation, students investigate contemporary technological interventions, capture opportunities for interdisciplinary growth, and create new methodologies for architectural design.

*Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a federally regulated program managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is subject to current U.S. federal rules and guidelines. Please visit studyinthestates.dhs.gov/sevis-help-hub/student-records/fm-student-employment/f-1-optional-practical-training-opt for the most up-to-date information regarding this policy.

The MSAUD program is eligible for the STEM OPT Extension for F-1 visa holders. Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a federally regulated program managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and is subject to current U.S. federal rules and guidelines. Please visit DHS guidance for the most up-to-date information regarding this policy.


The MSAUD program requires an advanced background in architectural studies and is open to students with a NAAB-accredited five-year Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) degree, a graduate degree in architecture, or the foreign equivalent.

All new students must enter in the summer session. The program is full-time and does not accept part-time students.

New for the Spring 2024 application cycle: The GRE exam is no longer a requirement

Applications for the MSAUD program (Fall 2025 matriculation) are completed via the UCLA Application for Graduate Admission, with deadline to be announced. Candidates will be notified of decisions in March 2025; admitted candidates who wish to accept the offer of matriculation must submit their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by April 15, 2025.

Typical Study Program

Courses and schedule are subject to change.

401 Advanced Topics Studio (6)
289 Technology Seminar (4)
289 Critical Studies Seminar (4)
403A Research Studio (2)
401 Advanced Topics Studio (6)
289 Technology Seminar (4)
289 Critical Studies Elective* (4)
403B Research Studio (2)
401 Advanced Topics Studio (6)
289 Technology Seminar (4)
289 Critical Studies Elective* (4)
403C Research Studio (6)
289 Technology Seminar (4)
289 Critical Studies Elective* (4)

*Students are required to take two of the three Critical Studies Electives offered in the Fall, Winter, and Spring.

How to Apply

Applying to the MSAUD program is an online process via the UCLA Application for Graduate Admission (AGA).

Completing the requirements will take some time, so we strongly recommend logging in to the AGA in advance to familiarize yourself with the site and downloading the documents and forms you will need to complete your application.

You can also download this checklist to make sure you have prepared and submitted all the relevant documents to complete your application.

Your Statement of Purpose is a critical part of your application to the MSAUD program. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself and tell us about your specific academic background, research interests related to specific studio topics, achievements, and goals. Our selection committee use it to evaluate your aptitude for study, as well as consideration for merit-based financial support.

Your statement can be up to 1500 words in length. Below are some questions you might want to consider. You don’t need to answer every question; just focus on the elements that are most relevant to you.

  • What is your purpose in applying to the MSAUD. program? Describe your area(s) of interest, including any subfield(s) or interdisciplinary interests*
  • What experiences have prepared you for this program? What relevant skills have you gained from these experiences? Have your experiences led to specific or tangible outcomes that would support your potential to contribute to this field (e.g. performances, publications, presentations, awards or recognitions)?
  • What other information about your past experience might help the selection committee in evaluating your suitability for this program? E.g. research, employment, teaching, service, artistic or international experiences through which you have developed skills in leadership, communication, project management, teamwork, or other areas.
  • Why is UCLA Architecture and Urban Design the best place for you to pursue your academic goals?
  • What are your plans for your career after earning this degree?

Your Personal Statement is your opportunity to provide additional information to help the selection committee evaluate your aptitude for study. It will also be used to consider candidates for UCLA Graduate Division fellowships related to diversity. You can read more about the University of California Diversity Statement here.

Your statement can be up to 500 words in length. Below are some questions you might want to consider. You don’t need to answer every question; just focus on the elements that are most relevant to you.

  • Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences, not described in your Statement of Purpose, that have shaped your academic journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to your program, field or profession?
  • Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress or success?
  • How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education?
  • How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, teaching or other activities) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?
  • How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?
  • How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in your profession after you complete your MSAUD at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design?

A Curriculum Vitae (résumé of your academic and professional experience) is recommended but not required.

Applicants must upload a scanned copy of the official transcripts from each college or university you have attended both in the U.S. and abroad. If you are accepted into the program you will be required to submit hard copies. These can either be sent directly from each institution or hand-delivered as long as they remain in the official, signed, sealed envelopes from your college or university. As a general rule, UCLA Graduate Division sets a minimum required overall grade-point average of 3.0 (B), or the foreign equivalent.

As of this Fall 2023 cycle, the GRE is NOT required as part of your application to UCLA AUD. No preference will be given to those who choose to submit GRE scores as part of their application.

However, if you do take the GRE exam and wish to include it as part of your application: More information on this standardized exam can be found at www.ets.org/gre. In addition to uploading your GRE scores, please direct ETS to send us your official score sheets. Our ETS codes for the GRE are below:

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design
Institution Code: 4837
Department Code: 4401

We recommend you take the exam at least three weeks before the application deadline as it usually takes 2-3 weeks for ETS to send us the test scores.

If you have received a Bachelor’s degree in a country where the official language of instruction and primary spoken language of daily life is not English, you must submit either a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Exempt countries include Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This is a requirement that is regardless of your visa or citizenship status in the United States.

To be considered for admission to the MSAUD program, international students must score at least 87 on the TOEFL and 7 on the IELTS exam. Because processing, sending, and receiving TOEFL and IELTS scores can take several weeks, international students must schedule their exam no later than October 31 in order to meet UCLA deadlines. TOEFL scores must be sent to us directly and uploaded as part of the online submission. Our ETS codes for the TOEFL are below:

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design
Institution Code: 4837
Department Code: 12

If your score is less than 100 on the TOEFL or 7 on the IELTS, you are also required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE) on arrival at UCLA. The results of this test will determine any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses you need to take in your first term of residence. These courses cannot be applied towards your minimum course requirements. As such, you should expect to have a higher course load than students not required to take ESL courses.

If you have earned a degree or completed two years of full-time college-level coursework in the following countries, your TOEFL / IELTS and ESLPE requirements will be waived: U.S., U.K., Canada (other than Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand. Please provide official transcripts to demonstrate course completion. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any other documentation to demonstrate language proficiency.

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. These letters should be from individuals who are familiar with your academic and professional experiences and can evaluate your capacity to successfully undertake graduate studies at UCLA. If you do not have an architecture background please note that we are looking for letters that evaluate your potential as a graduate student, not necessarily your architecture experience.

Letters of recommendation must be sent electronically directly to UCLA by the recommender. When logged in, you can enter the name and email address of each of your recommenders. They will be contacted by email with a request to submit a letter on your behalf. You can track which letters have and have not been received. You can also send reminders to your recommenders to send their letters.

Your digital portfolio of original creative work is a central part of your application. Please upload your portfolio in the “Architecture” section of the online portal.

Your portfolio should be formatted at 8-1/2" x 11", and saved as a single PDF file no greater than 15 MB. We suggest designing your portfolio as single sheets, with your name clearly stated on the cover page. Image sizes should be at least 150 dpi and no more than 300 dpi for print.

Content is not restricted to any particular subject area, the material should form a cohesive presentation and represent your previous experience and creative abilities. It can be used to showcase both academic and professional work* and can include both graphic and written material.

*If you are including professional work please be sure to properly credit others and / or explain your role as part of a team.

Please complete and submit the Department Supplement Form to confirm your intention to apply to the MSAUD program as well as your ranked preference of research topics.

Tuition & Fees

The most up-to-date information on tuition and fees for the MSAUD program can be found on the UCLA Registrar’s Office website.

For information on estimated cost of living and other expenses visit the UCLA Financial Aid Office website.

Financial Aid

As a public university, we strive to make our programs accessible to students from a diverse population. UCLA Architecture and Urban Design offers graduate students a number of financial opportunities in the form of scholarships and employment opportunities.

Recruitment fellowships are offered to the most outstanding students that apply to the MSAUD program each year. All applicants are considered for recruitment fellowships as part of the application review process. No additional applications are necessary to be considered for these awards.

We offer a range of employment opportunities for students to work in the department. These include social media, marketing, photography, videography, front office administration, exhibition management and installation, fabrication shop assistant and assisting with the print lab operations. Students can work up to 20 hours per week, build their skills in these areas and learn about the department in the process. Please enquire in the main administration office to learn more.

These employment opportunities are prioritized for Work-Study eligible students. There are two types of work-study programs: the Federal Work-Study program which awards up to $2,000 per year; and the Graduate Work-Study program which awards between $5,000 and $15,000 per year. Students who are eligible to receive federal loans can apply to be considered for one or the other program. General information on work-study programs can be found on the UCLA Graduate Division website.

The Graduate Work-Study Program is for “need-based eligible” graduate students completing part-time paid internships, community service, research projects, or other endeavors closely related to their academic degree program. Students must submit additional paperwork to be considered for the Graduate Work-Study Program.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents can apply for Federal Stafford Student Loans through the UCLA Financial Aid Office, which are long-term loans through private lending organizations.

A variety of extramural funding opportunities are available to graduate students including academic fellowships, research grants, competition awards, conference support, and exhibition funding. To be considered for extramural funding, students should apply directly to the funding organization. UCLA Graduate Division maintains extensive records extramural fellowship directories. Among these, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and other architecture associations make awards annually.