Admission requirements

1. Completed application for admission and nonrefundable $40 application fee

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After completing your online application, a personal admission adviser will be assigned to you to help you complete your file. All admission requirements can be sent digitally or electronically to your adviser.


2. A diploma from a U.S. high school or equivalent program

Freshman applicants may receive a preliminary offer of admission based upon unofficial high school transcripts/mark sheets. If an offer of admission is made, an official transcript/mark sheet from the last high school/secondary school attended showing all years of the student’s grades and proof of completion of the high school/secondary school or equivalent program should be received prior to Aug. 1 for fall enrollment.* All transcripts/mark sheets must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation. The office of admission must receive all official transcripts prior to the first day of class. Failure to comply with this requirement may prohibit the student from attending classes for that quarter.

SCAD reserves the right to verify all documents submitted in an application for admission. Offers of admission are contingent upon receipt of official documentation and SCAD reserves the right to revoke any offer of admission should discrepancies be found. Any falsification of admission documents, portfolio or audition materials constitutes grounds for termination of application procedures or dismissal from SCAD.

First-year applicants who attended the Hong Kong secondary school system must complete six years of study in the secondary school system and have satisfactory Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education scores. Applicants should score, at minimum level three in English Language, level two in Mathematics and Liberal Studies; and score at level two, obtain a grade of E, or receive an Attained in two elective subjects from an appropriate Category A, B or C elective. A score at level two in Chinese language may be used to satisfy one elective requirement. Only one non-English language subject score may be used.

* A certificate of General Educational Development from the American Council of Education is considered equivalent to a diploma from a U.S. high school. For applicants from countries other than the United States, SCAD generally uses the standards established by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers to determine the equivalent academic achievement. For home-schooled applicants, an academic portfolio is also acceptable and may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Verification that the home school has been recognized by the state of residence of the applicant.
  • Detailed outline of the home-school curriculum, including subject areas studied, time spent on each discipline, and, if applicable, grades awarded. A home-school transcript may fulfill this requirement.
  • Writing sample that is academic in nature, but not necessarily a graded assignment or one used for coursework. Résumé of classes taken outside the home. If classes have been taken at a college or university, official transcripts are required.


3. Official report of SAT or ACT scores for citizens and permanent residents of U.S.

To have an official report of SAT or ACT scores** sent directly to SCAD, applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents should use SAT code 5631 or ACT code 0855 on the test forms.

** Students who have SAT math scores lower than 560, have ACT math scores lower than 24, or are otherwise unable to demonstrate an aptitude for the study of mathematics and science must complete MATH 101 in order to pursue the professional Master of Architecture. degree. The credit hours earned in MATH 101 may be applied as an undergraduate General Education Elective toward the 270 credit hours required for the Master of Architecture degree.


4. Evidence of English proficiency for students whose first language is not English

English is the language of instruction for all classes at SCAD. In addition to meeting or exceeding all other SCAD admission criteria, applicants who wish to be admitted with no further English proficiency requirements must demonstrate their current level of proficiency by providing official minimum scores on one of the following:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum scores (SCAD code 5631):

    1. 550 on the paper-based test.
    2. 85 on the Internet-based test with minimum score of 20 on each section.

    Students who meet the minimum required composite score but do not meet the minimum section scores are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for possible exemption. No exceptions are made if the minimum composite score is not met. All decisions are final.

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) composite score of at least 6.5 with a score of at least 6.5 in both reading and writing.
  • American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) score of at least "high advanced" on the writing proficiency portion of the test.
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) score of 58 with a 53 minimum in each category.

    Students who meet the minimum required composite score but who do not meet the minimum section scores are evaluated on a case-by-case basis for possible exemption. No exceptions are made if the minimum composite score is not met. All decisions are final.

  • SAT score of at least 550 on the critical reading portion, or 22 on both the reading and writing sections of the ACT.
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) score of at least 5 in English language.

Otherwise qualified applicants who do not meet the minimum scores listed above may be considered for admission to SCAD. These students must take a SCAD English language proficiency test to be placed in the appropriate level of ESL upon enrollment. Students must satisfactorily complete ESL coursework through completion of Level VI.

For applicants whose native language is English, no additional proof of English proficiency is required. For applicants whose transcripts show extensive study at an institution in which English is the language of instruction, no additional proof of English proficiency is required for admission evaluation, but applicants may be asked to take an English proficiency test upon enrollment at the university.


5. If applicable, any other documents or materials required to obtain a student visa

  • Official certification of sources and funds.
  • Copy of the first page of the applicant's passport (requested, but not required). A copy of the first page of the passport for any dependent accompanying the student is also requested. These documents are used to verify correct spelling of names, correct birth dates, and other information vital to student registration.

Supplementary materials

Applicants who do not meet the standard criteria for admission are encouraged to submit supplementary materials. Application materials cannot be returned. Exceptions to the general rules of admission may be made for applicants of exceptional drive and passion for the arts. Supplementary materials may include one or all of the following:

1. Recommendations

One to three recommendations may be submitted by a teacher, counselor or community leader with whom the applicant has had immediate contact. Recommendations should address the applicant's level of commitment, as well as attributes such as creativity, initiative, motivation, character and academic achievement, to aid in assessing the applicant's reasonable potential for success as a student at SCAD. Recommendations may not come from friends or family members except in the case of a teacher-parent.

2. Statement of purpose

The statement should be no more than 500 words in length and should give an overview of the applicant's academic and personal experience, describing preparation for and commitment to further study at SCAD, as well as educational and professional goals and aspirations.

3. Portfolio, audition or writing submission

A portfolio, audition, riding or writing submission is scored according to a rubric relevant to the type of submission. See undergraduate portfolio guidelines.

4. Résumé/list of achievements and awards


5. Personal or telephone interview

May be scheduled by contacting the admission department.