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Admissions FAQs

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What are the requirements for admission?

Since its founding over 125 years ago, The Boston Architectural College has employed a policy of open admissions, adhering to the founders' philosophy that design education should be accessible to all who have a sincere desire to pursue it. Therefore, the only requirement for undergraduate admission is the completion of a high school program or its equivalent. For onsite graduate admission, the applicant must have earned an undergraduate degree in any major from an accredited institution. The BAC does not require standardized tests for admission (with the exception of the TOEFL exam for international students whose first language is not English)

Do I need to have a design background to apply?

The BAC teaches design from the foundation level upward; therefore, no specific design background is required. There is also no portfolio required for admission.

Am I eligible to enter a graduate program if my undergraduate degree is not in design?

Yes. Any student who has completed an undergraduate program is eligible to enter one of our onsite graduate programs, regardless of their undergraduate major.

What is Practice, and how does it work?

In addition to the academic requirements, architecture, interior architecture, and landscape architecture students must fulfill a work requirement, called the Practice requirement, in order to graduate. Unlike students in many other design schools who engage in temporary co-op or internship programs, BAC students pursue jobs, projects, and other activities that will give them professional design experience throughout their education. By the time they graduate, the majority of our students have worked as permanent, full-time employees in the field of design, earning the same pay and benefits and holding the same responsibilities as any other employee in that firm. 

Does the BAC place students in a job?

Because students are permanent employees in firms as opposed to interns, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student to secure employment through a job search. The BAC has career service resources to assist our students in the process, including resume, cover letter, and portfolio assistance; interview coaching; and a job database with positions in a variety of fields.

The Practice Department also offers a series of opportunities for students to engage in hands-on design projects to gain professional experience, increase their skill sets, and earn credits towards their Practice requirement. These opportunities are called Gateway Projects, and they allow students to work as groups on design competitions and on projects for local nonprofits under the supervision of a Practice faculty member. These projects are open to students in all degree programs and at all levels of experience.

Am I required to work for certain firms?

No. In any given semester, approximately 350 companies of all sizes, scopes, and types are employing BAC students. The companies range from design firms to housing authorities to high-end kitchen and bath stores to construction companies. Some employers have been employing BAC students for decades, while others may be hiring a BAC student for the first time. You also are not limited to companies located in the Boston area. Many students commute to the BAC from outside of Boston and even from other New England states, and they are often employed in firms or companies close to home. We encourage students to seek out employment opportunities that appeal to them, that help them achieve their goals, and that will enable them to increase their knowledge of professional practices related to design. 

How long does the program take?

Program length varies according to a number of factors. For students who enter the BAC with no transfer credit, standard program lengths are as follows:

Students transferring to the BAC will have a reduced program length according to the number of transfer credits they receive.

Why is the program longer than at other design schools?

Although students at the BAC are not required to take more academic credits than they would elsewhere, they do spread them out over a greater number of semesters. Due to the Practice requirement, students are not able to take as many academic credits per semester as they would at a college where they are only engaged in academics. Through fulfillment of the professional requirements, graduates of the BAC are often able to become professionally licensed more quickly than graduates of other programs. In addition, students benefit by graduating with several years of relevant, professional experience already on their resumes.

Am I able to transfer prior college level coursework?

Yes. In order to receive transfer credit, prior coursework must fulfill the following requirements:

  • It must be from an accredited institution
  • It must be the equivalent in content of a curricular requirement of the program into which you are transferring.
  • You must have earned a grade of C or better (B or better for Math and Physics)
  • If the course is in design (such as AutoCAD or other computer design courses, drawing/drafting, or design studios), we need to review examples of work done in that class in order to make the determination.

To transfer in prior academic work, students must provide official college transcripts and course descriptions.

Does the BAC provide housing?

We partner with Pine Manor College (PMC) to make an ideal living situation for first-time undergraduates, international students, and others who seek an alternative to individual housing. Pine Manor College is in nearby Brookline, MA in Chestnut Hill, a quiet, safe, and elegant part of town. The BAC is a 30-minute ride on the MBTA D green line train to the Hynes stop, right on our block.

Our off-campus housing website is your one-stop shop to apartment living in and around the city of Boston. This site has it all, from current apartment listings to finding housing from abroad to information on knowing your rights as a tenant.

You can find additional information about housing resources by visiting our housing page.

When is the application deadline?

The BAC practices rolling admissions and accepts applications up until the start of a semester. Students may matriculate into a degree program in the fall (September start) or spring (January start). Earlier application is encouraged, especially for students looking to transfer in prior academic coursework.  The priority application deadline is October 15 for the spring semester or February 15 for the fall semester. If you would like to be considered for our Dean's Scholarship, you must submit your application by the priority deadline.

What is required for the application?

  • Completed Application for Admission
  • $50 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcript (high school for undergraduate applicants and college for graduate applicants; international students must also submit a credential evaluation)
  • Essay
  • Portfolio or Work Sample
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Current resume
  • If English is not your first language, proof of English proficiency