Tulane University's rigorous academics, interdisciplinary education and innovative research attract students from around the world. More than 1,200 international students from 86 different countries call Tulane home. These students are supported by Tulane's Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), which provides programming, visa services and language/academic support.
The School of Architecture welcomes international applicants in both undergraduate and graduate programs.
Tulane's central Undergraduate Admissions department has a comprehensive website with information for international undergraduate applicants. If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Assistant Director of Admissions, William Wildman.
All Tulane School of Architecture graduate programs are open to international students. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for all non-native English speakers. Browse our frequently asked questions below for more information or reach out to our Assistant Director of Admissions, William Wildman.
STEM OPT Eligibility
Beginning in fall 2019, the Tulane School of Architecture’s professional Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.), Master of Architecture (M. Arch I.) degrees and the new post-professional Master of Science in Architectural Research and Design (M.S.Arc.) degree* will be classified under Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology (CIP code 04.0902).
Consequently, international students graduating with B. Arch., M. Arch I. or M.S. Arc. degree from Tulane on or after 2019-2020 academic year will be eligible for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ STEM OPT extension program. This allows international students to remain in the U.S. for up to 36 months after graduation to receive practical training through work experience in the field of architecture.
Visit the Tulane OISS webpage on STEM OPT Extension for more information.
Choosing a graduate school is a difficult decision, especially when it involves moving to another country. We hope to answer some of your questions below.
How long are the graduate programs?
What kind of background should I have?
All of our programs encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds. For the M.Arch I, MPS and MSRED programs, no specific background in architecture or preservation is necessary, however a bachelor’s degree in any field is required. The M.S.ARC program requires a 5-year professional degree from a NAAB-accredited school of architecture (from Canada or the United States) or from an equivalent degree-granting institution in a foreign country. For a complete list of NAAB accredited programs visit the National Architectural Accrediting Board's website.
What if I am a non-native English speaker?
We welcome international students in all of our programs. In addition to receiving a high-quality education from our faculty, we expect that each student will contribute significantly to the overall educational experience. English language comprehension is crucial, including the ability to speak fluently, read professional texts and communicate in writing for both papers and timed examinations.
We require TOEFL or IELTS scores for all non-native English speakers with their application (see application for more information). Additionally, all incoming students in the M. Arch and MSRED programs who are non-native English speakers must participate in a three-week English as a Second Language program offered prior to the beginning of the summer session. This program is offered in coordination with Tulane’s Office of International Students and Scholars, specifically to support language and cultural transitions for students at all language skill levels.
International students also have the opportunity to participate in additional English language and cultural transition classes offered by the University during the Fall and Spring semesters. Students with low TOEFL or IELTS scores, or those who need additional language support following the summer semester, may be required to participate in this additional language training throughout the academic year.
Can I get advanced standing or transfer into a program?
All students admitted into the graduate programs must follow the same admission process, and therefore transfers into the graduate program do not take place as they normally do at the undergraduate level. Rather, students who are admitted may ask for Advanced Standing, and the Graduate Program Director will determine whether courses successfully completed (as indicated in an official transcript) can lead to Advanced Standing. The MSRED program does not accept transfer students. Advanced standing is offered in the M.Arch I, First Prof. degree program to students who have taken significant architectural courses but still lack a professional degree, typically with a 4-year pre-professional architecture degree. This may result in a 2-3 year curriculum. Once you have been admitted to the School, the Graduate Program Director will evaluate your college transcripts and assign you credit for various classes. Advanced standing is also offered to applicants to the MPS program who hold Certificates in Preservation and/or specific preservation courses from other programs.
What information will I need to prepare for a visa?
The Office of International Students and Scholars assists students in the process of obtaining the correct visas. As many of our graduate programs begin in the summer semester, it is very important that incoming international students contact our offices and the Office of International Students and Scholars soon after admission to apply for the appropriate visa. If accepted, at the minimum, you will need to scan and email a clear and clean copy of the following documents.
What kind of Financial Aid does Tulane University offer?
Graduate students typically rely on a combination of the following four types of funding.
Merit-based scholarships are available to domestic and foreign graduate students on a competitive basis. Distribution of these awards occurs upon admittance to the program as determined by the Dean and the Graduate Program Director. All graduate students are eligible for Teaching Assistantships. These are determined by the experience of the student and the needs of the course instructors.
The process used to evaluate international applicants is similar to the process used to evaluate the rest of the applicant pool. There are, however, a few additional requirements or parts that require special attention.
What is the deadline for application submission?
The deadline for our undergraduate and graduate programs for all applicants is January 15 for Summer or Fall admissions. The MPS and MSRED programs offer rolling admissions after this deadline. Transcripts must be submitted directly by your school; they will not be accepted from a student or family member. All submitted materials must be in English.
You should submit your completed application as early as possible to allow enough time to obtain a U.S. visa. You are welcome to send application materials via postal or courier service; however, it is strongly recommended that you submit online.
What are the requirements?
See the graduate online application for detailed information about the requirements for each program. These are a few common components of the application:
TOEFL or IELTS scores are required if English is not your native language. This requirement may be waived if the applicant holds a bachelor's degree from a college or university in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada.
Applicants for graduate programs must submit GRE scores. GMAT is also acceptable for only the MSRED program.
Are there minimum standardized test scores?
Although the admissions committees occasionally make exceptions, they do use benchmarks as a general guide.
How do I prepare a portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of creative work intended to demonstrate your aptitude for critical and creative thinking. This can come in many forms. Photographic reproductions of your artwork (sketches, drawings, paintings, pottery, sculpture, photographic essays etc.), as well as writing samples (prose, poetry, published writings, illustrated reports, etc.), are accepted as evidence of your interest and experience in aesthetic matters. We encourage you to think freely about the manner in which they may meet this application requirement. Clearly present evidence of your own creative work. Indicate where collaborative work has been included.
Submit an electronic portfolio (PDF file format less than 20mb in size) through our online application portal. Alternatively, you may send a printed hardcopy. The general format of your portfolio to be 8.5" x 11" (portrait or landscape orientation) with approximately 20 pages in reverse chronological order. However, the portfolio can be any size you wish and include as many or few pages as you think appropriate, as well as the best way to organize the sequence of projects. Your name should be included on either the front or back cover of the portfolio.
While we would like to encourage you to ask us as many questions as you’d like with regard to your application, we cannot review your portfolio before it is submitted to us. Portfolios for the MPS degree program are optional and their contents need not necessarily display drafting and design skills. The MSRED program does NOT require a portfolio. Please read the online application instructions for more information about portfolio requirements.
Am I required to interview?
Interviews are not required for most of our programs, however, we strongly encourage applicants to visit the city of New Orleans, our Uptown Campus and Richardson Memorial Hall, home of the School of Architecture. Visits to design studios, final reviews and lectures will give the applicant a better sense of the School. It will give you the opportunity to do the “interviewing,” as you meet students and faculty members in their academic environment.
The MSRED program requires international applicants to schedule a brief online interview with the Director as part of the application process. This interview can be conducted via Skype or WeChat, or another service accessible to the prospective student.
When are letters of acceptance mailed, and how are we notified?
Applicants will be notified via e-mail by March 1. Decisions cannot be given by telephone. Commitment to Enroll from the applicant must be received by April 15.
Does the School of Architecture host an Open House?
We host a Graduate Open House in the fall and spring of each year. Information on Open House dates can be found on our website under “Events”. If you are interested in attending a Graduate Open House please contact William Wildman, Assistant Directors of Admissions, for more information about the day’s schedule. If you are unable to attend an Open House, we encourage you to schedule a call with one of our program directors.
What will my experience be like as an International Student?
Tulane University and the School of Architecture support a diverse community of International Students. To find out more about the services and networks offered to International Students at Tulane, visit the website of The Center for Global Education. The new center incorporates the Office of Study Abroad and the Office of International Students and Scholars. The Center for Global Education holds regular coffee hours on the Tate House patio for international students and scholars, students returning from study abroad and students interested in studying abroad. There are also many multicultural student organizations on campus and even an International Spouse Facebook group.
What is it like to live in New Orleans?
New Orleans is a vibrant city with active food, art and music scenes. Almost every weekend you will find multiple festivals, concerts or cultural events happening around town. Residents are known for their southern hospitality and welcoming spirit. New Orleans long and rich history has resulted in the city becoming a living museum of American architecture. The unique neighborhoods can be enjoyed on foot, as most of the city is walkable.
Where can I get more information?
If you would like to request more information about any of our programs, please submit a Request for Information or contact any of our Program Directors. You can reach out to Tulane's Global Ambassadors for a more personal perspective on life at Tulane. The Office of International Students and Scholars also has an informative welcome packet for international students.