Future graduate students

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The professional Master of Architecture degree prepares graduate students for entry into the profession of architecture. It offers an extension of the knowledge base required of practicing professionals to students with a pre-professional undergraduate degree in Architecture from an accredited university program.

Combining elements of a professional master's program and a research-oriented master's program, the Waterloo Master of Architecture offers a unique opportunity to engage in self-directed research and develop a minimum three term independent research and design thesis while completing the required coursework for professional preparation. The program supports the development of critical thinking in architecture. While it introduces students, through coursework, to the ethical, legal, administrative and practical aspects of the profession, the program builds upon a firm commitment toward architecture as a cultural act and practice. As such, the Waterloo MArch professional degree focuses on preparing students for a future that can only be constructed with the accumulated material of our collective cultural histories. Balancing technological innovation with techniques and knowledge drawn from vernacular architecture, and contemporary questions with academic rigour and historical study, Waterloo’s goal is to inflect positive change in future architects’ capacities’ to act and think.

Options available to graduate students include - co-op opportunities, international research travel, a term in the Rome studio, and the University’s Water Program and Structures Certificate. With the support of our community of internationally-recognized faculty, staff, and students, students have the opportunity to position an architectural design and research thesis in relation to complex contemporary situations informing future architectural practice. 

Please note that faculty do not directly admit students.  All inquiries about admission should be sent to Architecture Grad Info

Degree Options

Master of Architecture

The Master of Architecture is a two-year degree program. The program accepts applicants from pre-professional architecture programs, in which students are expected to have completed the majority of the courses required for professional accreditation. Students holding a pre-professional Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) from the University of Waterloo (or an equivalent degree to the BAS from another university) can complete the Master of Architecture degree requirements in a minimum of three terms and up to a maximum of six terms.  All other students with a pre-professional Architecture degree admitted into the Master of Architecture will be required to complete two terms of transitional coursework in preparation for the thesis year and are expected to complete degree requirements in a maximum of six academic terms.

Intake for the program is in the Fall term only. 

Master of Architecture (Water)

The University of Waterloo offers a unique research-based Masters and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) collaborative program in Water. This program, jointly offered by ten departments across the Faculties of Arts, Engineering, Environment, Mathematics and Science, is intended to promote multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives related to water. The goal of the program is to supplement disciplinary (specialist) training offered in individual departments with perspectives from a variety of water-related disciplines. Students graduating from the collaborative program will be better equipped to work in multidisciplinary teams to solve increasingly complex water issues.

How to Apply

The application process at Waterloo is managed electronically.  Applicants are required to complete the online application form. 

A non-refundable application fee  applies. 

The online application requires 1 - 2 business days for processing and then an account will be created for you in Quest, the student information system. 

You will then be sent an email with instructions on how to upload your documents. 

For complete details on the University of Waterloo application requirements please visit Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Admission requirements

  • A four-year, honours pre-professional undergraduate Architecture degree or professional Bachelor of Architecture degree with a minimum overall average of 75% (B)

International applicants should refer to the International Student Admissions Guide to verify
International equivalency requirements.

Additional admission requirements:

  • Applicants being considered for admission to the Master of Architecture may be required to verify English Proficiency which may include a written exercise or interview as instructed by the School of Architecture. Details will be communicated when required after initial assessment of applications is complete. This is an additional departmental requirement and not a substitute for the English Language Proficiency examination.

Application documents

  • Online application form
  • Two academic letters of reference – Referees will be emailed to complete and submit the official University of Waterloo Graduate Studies Reference form.
  • CV/resume
  • Supplemental Information Form which includes statement of your proposed research interest (form available on Applicant Quest)
  • Portfolio (uploaded electronically to Applicant Quest account)
  • Academic transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended (past or current) showing all courses and marks, along with the transcript legends/keys/grading scales uploaded using Quest. Degree certificates (if obtained) must be uploaded with the transcripts.
  • English Language Proficiency certification

    Applicants are required to submit an English language proficiency (ELP) examination score unless any one of the following conditions is met:

Completion of 3 or more years of post-secondary education or completion of a graduate degree at a Canadian institution or university 

Completion of 3 or more years of post-secondary education or completion of a graduate degree at a university at which English was the primary language of instruction, as indicated on the ELP exemption list

You have been employed for at least 3 years in a position in which English was the language of business in a country listed as “all exempt” on our ELP exemption list

*Students holding a Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree from Waterloo are not required to submit a portfolio. Additionally, Waterloo transcripts are not required but you must declare your University of Waterloo studies on the application.

Application deadline

January 15 (for admission in September) - all application documents must be uploaded to Quest by February 1.

The Master of Architecture program starts each year in the Fall term.

Accreditation information

The professional Master of Architecture in conjunction with the pre-professional Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree from the University of Waterloo compromises an accredited professional education.

In Canada, all provincial/territorial associations/institutes/orders recommend a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. In Canada, the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) is the sole agency authorized by the Regulatory Organization of Architecture in Canada (ROAC) to accredit Canadian professional degree programs in architecture for the purposes of architectural licensure. The CACB recognizes two types of accredited degrees offered at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture: the Master of Architecture (professional) and the Bachelor of Architecture (pre-professional). A program may be granted a six-year, three-year, or two-year term of accreditation, depending on its degree of conformance with established educational standards.

Master’s degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree, which, when earned sequentially, comprise an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.

The program in Architecture at the University of Waterloo received accreditation for a 6-year term by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB) in 2017. The program is scheduled for its next review to continue maintaining its accredited status in 2024.

View the 2017 Visiting Team Report.

Guide to Program and Student Performance Criteria.