The Honours Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree provides the foundation of skills, knowledge, judgment and practical experience required for subsequent professional studies in architecture. Though the Academic Program is pre-professional, it is fully dedicated to imparting to students the culture and practice of design. Design is a synthetic activity. To do it well and serve the needs of the individual and society requires an extremely broad education. Students acquire an understanding of the workings of society and culture, of the principles of physics, of materials and techniques of construction, of the human interaction with the natural and built environment, of historical process, of critical thought and of the diverse forms of creative expression. Co-operative Education is one of the keystones of the Architecture program at the University of Waterloo. Beginning in second year, students alternate 4-month school terms with 4-month paid co-op terms working for architects and designers.
As a part of our admission process, your creative and linguistic skill set are carefully considered. Although academic performance is a good indicator of your preparedness for our School, we must look beyond academic grades, to be sure that you are ready to successfully partake in design, culture, technical and environmental courses.
Applicants to the School of Architecture will be initially screened on the basis of academics. This process will further consider 450-500 students for admissions to the School of Architecture. These students are required to participate in an interview as part of the admissions process. A portfolio of creative work must also be presented at the time of the interview. In addition, a test in the form of an English précis will be required of applicants on the day of their scheduled interview. Admission to the School depends equally on success in the results of the interview, the portfolio and the précis test. An Admissions Information Form (AIF) is also required.
With the high number of applications, students will normally need an overall average low – mid 80’s and at least a grade of 75% (usually 80%) in English and at least high 70’s in Physics and the two required mathematics courses to be considered for an interview. If offered admission, a final mark of at least 70% in the required course, 75 in English is needed to maintain an offer of admission. It is also recommended that students take visual arts, history and other cultural studies courses.
Admissions requirements are outlined in detail in the University of Waterloo Calendar, Admissions Section.
How to apply
Applications to all universities in Ontario are handled by the Ontario Universities' Application Centre(OUAC), a centralized processing office. Once OUAC receives your application information, it will be forwarded from OUAC to the admissions staff in the School of Architecture and the Registrar's Office. The application deadline is January 17, 2018 for Ontario secondary school students and February 1, 2018 for students not applying from an Ontario secondary school.
Application forms and deadlines
If you're an Ontario secondary school student, your marks will be sent to us automatically once you have applied.
The deadline for required documents for Architecture is March 1, 2018.
Please submit all secondary school and college/university transcripts (if appropriate) to:
Office of the Registrar
200 University Avenue West
University of Waterloo
Waterloo ON N2L 3G1
In mid-March, we will review applications and contact the top 400-500 applicants to invite them to
Waterloo for an interview or to invite them to submit a portfolio by mail.
As part of the admissions process, students considered for admission to the School of Architecture are
required to participate in an interview. The purpose of the interview is to assess the applicant’s creative and critical thinking skills. The interview should be thought of as a conversation. We wish to know about you and your thoughts and interests.
The interview is 25 minutes in length and is conducted by two professors and two senior students from the School of Architecture.
Candidates must present a portfolio of creative work during the interview, and at noon on the interview day, each candidate sits for a test in English proficiency, organized as a précis of a selected passage.
The interview week this year is April 16 - 20, 2018. Please bring Photo ID to present on the interview day.
An applicant who is unable to participate in an interview may elect to complete the mail-in requirements instead.
Your portfolio is an essential component of your application to the School of Architecture. The purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate your creativity and critical thinking, as well as technical skill. Applicants should include art, design and other creative work that illustrates those characteristics.
What to include in your portfolio
There are no specific requirements for portfolios. You can include any work you feel best demonstrates your creative interests and abilities. Possible portfolio pieces might include:
- Drawings or paintings of any subject
- Mixed media and conceptual work
- Examples of 3-dimensional works
- Craft and design work such as ceramics, jewelry, metal work or furniture
- Digital media work such as graphic design or animation
- Photography or video work
- Performance work such as dance and music, either recorded or performed live.
Portfolios consisting strictly of drafting or other technical drawings are rarely what the admissions committee is looking for. You are encouraged to also bring your sketchbooks to your interview as evidence of your thought and creative processes. It is preferable to bring in the original versions of your pieces, rather than photographic or other reproductions. If you intend to show performance work, please keep it brief to allow sufficient time for conversation during your interview.
Remember it is YOUR portfolio
Be prepared to speak to and answer questions about your creative work and other related interests. You should be able to demonstrate through discussion with the committee your personal knowledge and involvement in all pieces presented. An important aspect of the interview process is the determination of authorship of your portfolio pieces. Submission of work that is not your own will result in the dismissal of your application.
Your portfolio should be recent
Powers of observation, design sensitivity, drawing skills, and craftsmanship constantly improve and will likely be more refined in recent work. Include only what you consider to be your best work in the final portfolio.
There is no page limit or piece limit for your portfolio. However, bear in mind that you will only have 25 minutes in your interview in which to highlight your personal work.
On the day of your interview, you will write an English précis test. You must pass the précis to be admitted to the school.
What is a précis?
A précis is a concise reduction of a text. A précis should include all of the important ideas in the original text, using your own words instead of the words of the original author. In order to successfully write a précis you will need to be able to read carefully, to notice distinctions, to understand tone, and to clearly state another person's ideas in your own words.
In addition to the précis you will be asked to make a separate one-sentence summary of the whole passage that conveys all of the main ideas of the text.
The following requirements are only for applicants that have been selected to complete the interview process by mail-in.
- Submit a printed and bound portfolio that contains a variety of examples of your creative work. For the mail-in portfolio high quality reproductions (scans or photos) of your work are preferred. The portfolio should reflect your personal creative or design ideas and fully represent the breadth and depth of your work. While there is no page limit or piece limit for your portfolio, depending on the nature of the work, including between 10 and 20 pieces would be appropriate. This work, along with the requirements listed below must be submitted in a bound portfolio. You will need to carefully consider how you present your work given that you will not be able to explain it to us in person. Include a brief description with each work, including title, date, media, etc. The design and format of the portfolio should be kept simple so that it can properly illustrate the works within, without obscuring or overpowering them. The work in your portfolio must be your own. Collaborative work must be properly credited. Submission of work that is not your own will result in the dismissal of your application.
- Provide a 500-word written statement that discusses the intentions and motivations of the work in your portfolio. Include this statement at the beginning of your bound portfolio.
- Select a building or public space from your community which you find to be of interest for either its architectural, social or cultural value. Using any combination of drawings, photography and/or text, attempt to convey your understanding of, and appreciation for, its qualities and attributes. Include this document at the end of your bound portfolio.
- Submit a digital video file of yourself discussing your work. There is a strict seven minute maximum time limit for this video. You must appear and speak on camera. Briefly introduce yourself. Please show and discuss three examples from your portfolio. Files should be standard formats (.mpg .avi or .mov), submitted on a flash drive. Please test your file to ensure that it is readable prior to submission.
Please be sure that your name is on each item submitted. If you wish, your portfolio can be returned to you once the Admissions Committee has reviewed it. For returning portfolios within Canada, please include a bank draft of $25.00 for return, for outside of Canada only pre-paid Courier labels will be accepted. Payment must be included in your initial submission.
- In addition, you must also arrange a proctor (at your own expense, if necessary) to supervise the writing of your English précis test. Please provide Donna Woolcott with the name, mailing address, email address, and fax number of your proctor before April 1, 2018 so that we may forward the test. Your proctor must submit the completed précis directly to Donna no later than April 13, 2018. A suitable proctor would be a teacher, guidance counselor, or an official at an educational institution.