Waterloo School of Architecture in Spring

How to apply

Admissions Process

At the School of Architecture, there are two stages for admission: 

Stage 1: Apply via OUAC by the application deadline. Completing an Admissions Information Form (AIF) is not required for Architecture. 

Stage 2: Based on grade averages, a number of applicants will advance to the second stage of the admissions process.  

In early-March, applicants advancing to stage 2 will receive an email containing instructions for signing into the Architecture Admissions Online Platform where you will upload your portfolio, complete a short answer "About You" survey, and indicate your interview preferences. You will also complete an English Precis test. These steps must be completed by March 31, 2024. 

Stage 2 applicants are invited to participate in an in-person interview at the School of Architecture in Cambridge during our interview period, April 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 2024. If coming to Cambridge presents undue hardship or is logistically not possible, we offer a virtual interview instead. The interviews are considered equally whether they are conducted in person or virtually. In either case, our goal is to provide you with the best opportunity to demonstrate the full range of your creative and intellectual interests and abilities.  

The School of Architecture receives a high number of applications. For consideration to proceed to the second stage of the admissions process, an overall average of low-mid 80’s and at least a grade of 75% (usually 80%) in English and at least low 70’s in Physics and the two required mathematics courses is required. If offered admission, a final term mark of at least 70% in the required courses and 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 varies and is determined by the strength of the applicant pool each year. 

Admissions requirements are outlined on Waterloo's Undergraduate Programs website.

How to Apply

Portfolio Requirements

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 your technical skill. Applicants should include art, design, craft and other creative work that illustrates those characteristics. 

If you are selected for the second stage of the admissions process you must submit a digital portfolio which will be due in mid-late March. You will have a choice to present your physical portfolio in person, or to present your digital portfolio online during your scheduled interview.

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 including graphic design or animation
  • Photography or video work
  • Performance work such as dance and music

The inclusion of 3-dimensional work is strongly encouraged. Portfolios consisting strictly of drafting, AutoCAD or other technical drawings are rarely what the admissions committee is looking for. You are strongly encouraged to bring your sketchbooks to your interview, or include pages from your sketchbooks in your digital portfolio as evidence of your thought and creative processes. You will need to carefully consider how you organize and format your work. If you are participating in an in-person interview, we strongly encourage you to bring the original works where possible. The only works from your portfolio that should be presented onscreen during in-person interviews are animations and films. All other pieces should be originals or hard copies.

Remember it is YOUR portfolio

As part of your interview (in-person or virtual) you will be required to answer questions about the making of your creative workThe 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.

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. 

Portfolio limits

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.


Competitive applicants will be invited to participate in an in-person interview at the School of Architecture in Cambridge where they will present their portfolio and answer questions related to their creative work and related interests. If coming to Cambridge is not possible, we offer a virtual interview instead. The interviews are considered equally whether they are conducted in person or virtually. In either case, our goal is to provide you with the best opportunity to demonstrate the full range of your creative and intellectual interests and abilities.

Transfer Students

Transfer students are eligible for admission to the first year of the program only. Advanced standing is not possible for the Bachelor of Architectural Studies program. 

A transfer credit assessment can only be completed after an applicant has received an offer of admission and all necessary documents (transcripts, course descriptions, etc.) have been received. This is because eligibility for transfer credits depends upon a few factors, such as the specific course taken at another institution, the grade achieved, how long ago it was taken, etc.

College courses are not eligible for transfer credit into the Architecture program.

Ontario transfer students can visit the ontransfer website for information about transfer credits between different Ontario universities and colleges. You can find information about our transfer credit policies and transfer credit process here.

For internal transfer information, please refer to our faculty transfer page.