At the School of Architecture, there are two stages of the admissions process:
Stage 1: Ontario students apply via OUAC by January 15, outside of Ontario apply by February 1.
Stage 2: If you are chosen for further consideration, you will receive an email by mid-March with instructions regarding the portfolio, precis and presentation.
As part of our admissions 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 prepare a digital presentation as part of the admissions process. A portfolio of creative work must also be included as part of this presentation. In addition, a test in the form of an English précis will be required of applicants. Admission to the School depends equally on success in the results of the presentation, the portfolio and the précis test. An Admissions Information Form (AIF) is also required.
The School of Architecture receives a high number of applications. For consideration to proceed to the second stage of the admissions process (submit a portfolio, presentation and write the précis), an overall average of 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 is required. If offered admission, a final mark of at least 70% in the required course, 75% in English is needed to maintain the offer of admission. It is also recommended that students take visual arts, history and other cultural studies courses. The course grade minimums and average of applicants invited to attend stage two of the admissions process is determined by the strength of the applicant pool each year.
Admissions requirements are outlined on Waterloo's Undergraduate Programs website.
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 for Fall 2021 is now CLOSED. The application deadline for Fall 2022 is January 15, 2022 for Ontario secondary school students and February 1, 2022 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 February 19, 2021.
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 450-500 applicants to invite them to proceed to the second stage of the admissions process.
The presentation is an opportunity for us to learn more about each student’s interests and motivations. We want to know about the things that you are curious and passionate about – hobbies, books, social issues, etc. We also want to know what you observe in the world around you and your opinions about these things.
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 your critical thinking, as well as technical skill. Applicants should include art, design, craft 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
Portfolios consisting strictly of drafting or other technical drawings are rarely what the admissions committee is looking for. You are encouraged to include pages from your sketchbooks as evidence of your thought and creative processes. You will need to carefully consider how you organize and format your work given that you will not be able to explain it to us in person.
Remember it is YOUR portfolio
As part of your presentation you will be required to answer questions about your creative work and other related interests. The work in your portfolio must be your own. 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.
While there is no page limit or piece limit for your portfolio, depending on the nature of the work in your portfolio, including approximately 10 pieces and a maximum of 20 pieces (exclusive of sketchbook pages) would be appropriate.
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.