Contact Us
Growth and Structure of Cities Program
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Ave.
Bryn Mawr. PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5334
Fax: 610-526-7955

Applying to Graduate Schools

which school?

Choose which programs interest and excite you: For a place to start, look under engineering and technology at and find architecture.  Search by goegraphic location.  This site will give you links to every graduate program.

Graduate Programs into which our students have been accepted over the last ten years:

  • Yale University School of Architecture
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • SCI Arch
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture
  • Parsons School of Design
  • Rice
  • Berkeley
  • Columbia University
  • Massachuchetts Institute of Technology

the portfolio

The portfolio is often the single most important part of your application. Excellent grades, board scores, personal statement, extra curricular activity  and recommendations aside, the quality of your submission will be what makes or breaks your acceptance. Students often take an additional year to work in an  office and work on a portfolio before making application to school. If you are  intent on going directly to graduate school upon graduation, then start planning  the format of and preparing the content of your portfolio in the summer before  your senior year. Applications are due the middle to the end of December to the  middle of January. That fall semester has a way of slipping by quickly. Make sure that you understand the capability of the computer equipment that you have  available, the costs of printing or reproduction and so on before you  begin.

Each graduate school may have slightly differing requirements for  their submissions so be sure to check the guidelines of the schools to which you intend to apply. Generally, however architecture schools are interested in gaining an understanding of your design aptitude and ability to think in three dimensions. The portfolio should include examples of design work done in the  architectural design studio courses that you have taken, but should also include  work that you have completed in fine arts classes, photography, construction or  model building, sculpture, computer graphics and work that you have done in office settings if appropriately labeled and attributed. You should always include examples of your free hand sketching abiltiy.

Format usually must be 8-1/2" x 11". You may purchase a simple portfolio binder or do your own binding. In either case, you should avoid overly expensive formatting, as well as anything bulky, oversized, or too delicate. Often there will be a number of people who review the portfolios and each of these people will be required to look at hundreds of submissions. Therefore you should demonstrate clarity, simplicity, beauty and design sensitivity in the presentation of the information as well as in the information itself.

Including originals in your portfolio is not recommended. Most likely your best approach will be to scan images into a digital  format and use graphics/desktop publication software to format the materials. Quality of the scanning and printing will have a great effect on the final results. Play around with the kinds of papers available for printing to see what  you like, and how the papers respond to the printing.

Daniela Holt Voith and Sam Olshin are both available for review of content and commentary on  presentation methodology.

Examples of a few portfolios are here*. More examples are available for view at Daniela's office. You may make an appointment to meet with her to see these or she may bring them on specified day to the studio.

ask someone who's been there

Connections with Tri-Co grads or faculty in the design fields willing to offer perspectives and advice. Please use discretion in writing to these people who have kindly agreed to serve as advisors for application to school and commentators on the programs they attended.


Recommendation letters are important and the writing of them represents a large time commitment on the part of the recommendor.  Please ask people whom you think will write very heartily on your behalf and be organized about the requests.  If applying to multiple schools send all of the forms, envelopes with stamps on them and a cover letter which lists all of the schools and the due dates for the receipt of the recommendation. If the letters have to go back to you, indicate by when you would like to have the letters to include in your application. Professors, employers, people who are in the profession whom you have contact with are all good as potential letter writers.