Admission Requirements & Process

Admission to the Master of Design Studies program is based upon multiple criteria that include academic preparation, professional experience, and an assessment of career trajectories.  

All applicants must demonstrate these criteria in the following manner. University of Arkansas Graduate School requirements are: a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the last 60 hours of an accredited degree; and TOEFL/IELTS/PTE-A scores as detailed in the Graduate Catalog.   

Additionally, admission to the Master of Design Studies will require: 

  • accredited baccalaureate degree in a design discipline (architecture, landscape architecture or interior design),  
  • relevant professional work experience or academic internship,   
  • portfolio of design work reviewed by graduate design faculty to ascertain individual preparedness,  
  • statement of career goals,  
  • three letters of reference addressing preparedness for graduate education, and  
  • professional licensure (desirable but not required). 

International students are encouraged to apply to the M.Des. program. Specific information regarding university admission criteria, cost and funding opportunities, and other resources needed to facilitate advanced study is located on the Graduate School and International Education websiteStudents are strongly encouraged to visit with the graduate coordinator to learn about specific opportunities prior to beginning the application process

How to apply

Admission to the Master of Design Studies program requires two separate processes detailed below. Steps 1 and 2 must both be completed in order for the application to be finalized. Questions concerning application materials, processes and deadlines should be directed to the Fay Jones School graduate coordinator at

1. The first application is made to the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, and all materials must be uploaded using SlideRoom, a web-based portfolio and document submission system. Materials must be uploaded at the same time application is made through the University of Arkansas Graduate School portal.

The following materials should be uploaded to the Fay Jones School's SlideRoom portal: 

  • Resume providing relevant professional work experience and academic internships. 
  • A personal statement of career goals. 
  • PDF of unofficial transcripts of college-level work from each degree-granting institution you have attended. (If you are unable to scan and send transcripts using SlideRoom, they may be mailed as hard copies to: Graduate Program, Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, 120 Vol Walker Hall, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701) 
  • The names and contact information of three references (professors or other professionals) who can discuss your work, conceptual thinking, work habits, and potential for graduate study. (The references will receive an email link, which will allow them to upload their letter directly to SlideRoom.) 
  • Portfolio of design work submitted as a single PDF file not exceeding 20 pages. 

2. The second application is made to the University of Arkansas Graduate School electronic portal. Completion by August 1, 2024, is required for admission in fall 2024; spring start dates are not possible. Enrollment is limited, and early application is encouraged.