IAAC Guide for Applicants

Before you start:

The following guide details the admission process for the following IAAC programmes:

  1. Master in Advanced Architecture (MAA)
  2. Master in City & Technology (MaCT)
  3. Master in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities (MAEBB)
  4. Master in Robotics & Advanced Construction (MRAC)
  5. Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF)
  6. Master in Artificial Intelligence for Architecture and Design (MaAI)
  7. Master in Advanced Computation for Architecture & Design (MaCAD)
  8. Master in Design for Distributed Innovation (MDDI)
  9. Maestría en Urbanismo Próximo (MaUP) – anteriormente MOeC –
  10. Postgraduate in 3D Printing Architecture (3DPA)

The Fabricademy BCN – Textile & Technology Academy and Postgraduate Diploma in Fab Academy BCN have slightly different admission requirements. For more information please consult the IAAC Guide for Applicants – Academany Programmes.


The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) is a centre for research, education, production and outreach, with the mission of envisioning the future habitat of our society and building it in the present.
IAAC follows the digital revolution at all scales (from bits to geography, from micro-controllers to cities, from materials to the territory) to expand the boundaries of architecture and design and meet the challenges faced by humanity. IAAC is an experimental and experiential centre where one learns by doing, through a test methodology that promotes real solutions.
IAAC is an open, independent and radical non-profit foundation, with 20 years of activity; inspired by the values of Barcelona, the capital of architecture and design, where urbanism was invented and where local high-quality and innovation-oriented research is connected to an international network of excellence in technology, architecture and society fields.


IAAC seeks to train excellent applicants of any nationality, gender and discipline from around the world.


Step What will happen at this step Timeframe
1 – Online Application The applicant submits the application through the online portal before the deadlines. There are five application periods to apply throughout the year:

  1. November 2nd to January 7th
  2. January 7th to February 29th 
  3. March 1st to April 30th
  4. May 1st to May 31st
  5. June 1st to July 31st (Online Programs Only*)

*Applications for on-campus programmes received after May 31st will be reviewed based on the availability of places in the master program selected.


2 – Eligibility Check The Applications Coordinator will check whether the application meets the Academic Committee’s eligibility criteria. Upon submission of the application.
3 – Interview If the application is completed successfully the Applications Coordinator will contact the applicant to schedule an interview with the program coordinator and/or program director. Max. 2 weeks after the application has been submitted.
4 – Academic Committee Review The academic committee will review the submitted documents and the results of the interview. After completion of the applicant’s interview.
5 – Application Results If an applicant has been successful at the interview and is the preferred candidate for the program he/she selected, he/she will receive an acceptance letter for admission into the IAAC program. If he/she has not been successful he/she will receive a rejection letter. Max. 2 weeks after the interview.
6 – Enrollment Fee Payment If an applicant has been accepted he/she will be asked to cover an enrollment fee in order to secure his/her position in the program the following academic year. To be communicated by the Applications Coordinator along with the application results.
7 – Precourse Fee Payment If an applicant has to (or wants to) attend the precourses he/she will be asked to cover the precourse payment. To be communicated by the Applications Coordinator along with the application results.

IAAC is open to excellent students and researchers of any age, nationality, gender and discipline, early in their career.

Applicants must fulfill ALL the following minimum eligibility before submitting an application:

  1. Minimum level of studies: A bachelor’s degree that allows the candidate to enroll in a master’s program by October 2024.
  2. English proficiency: Applicants do not need to demonstrate an English degree during their application. Their use of the English language will be assessed during the interview. However, since all IAAC activities (with an exception of Maestría Online en Ciudades) are conducted in English, applicants are expected to be proficient in their use of English. Applicants that have proof of English proficiency, can submit it as an optional document.
  3. Availability: Applicants must be available to join at the start date indicated by IAAC and for the entire duration of the program they apply for.
  4. Financial Readiness: If you register at IAAC, you will be expected to be able to fund your studies fully throughout the length of your program. Under no circumstances can IAAC help in cases where applicants have knowingly applied underfunded.
  5. Restrictive measures: Applicants understand and accept that their application may be subject to security checks and procedures.
  6. The Applicant has submitted a complete application with all required information and documents attached via the IAAC Application Portal.

Applicants are requested to submit a list of mandatory documents as evidence of eligibility. Applicants failing to submit the mandatory documents will be rejected. Please refer to Table 1 in section 3.4 of this Guide for the full list of mandatory documents. If in doubt, contact IAAC’s Applications Coordinator ([email protected]) before you submit your application.

Applications including all mandatory documents BUT not meeting all the above minimum eligibility criteria will be rejected and will not be further assessed.

For more information on the different phases of Evaluation, please refer to sections 3.2, 5.2 and 5.3 of this Guide.

We recommend that you follow carefully the below steps during the preparation and submission stage of your application:




Step 1 – Understand IAAC
Step 2 – Select the program(s) you want to apply for.
Step 3 – Check your eligibility
  • Read very carefully the minimum eligibility criteria and the admission requirements for the chosen program.
  • Study carefully and assess your application against the IAAC Application Guide in section 3.2 of this guide.
Step 4 – Prepare your Application
  • Read again very carefully the description of the program you are applying for (available on the program webpage and the program booklet).
  • Prepare your CV and motivational letter in English (mandatory documents). Make sure the motivation letter adequately reflects the program you are applying for.
  • Collect all the other mandatory documents (see table 1 of Section 3.4 of this guide).
  • Collect any other documents you wish to submit (proof of English proficiency). Refer to Section 3.4 of this guide for the list of optional documents.
  • Think and provide two recommendation letters from two referees who can support your application.
Step 5 – Get familiar with the application form
Step 6 – Evaluate your own application
  • Have this guide open and review your own Application.
  • For more information on how the Evaluators are going to assess your application, refer to Section 4 of this guide.
Step 7 – Submit your application
  • Submit your application via the IAAC Application Portal (a 50€ fee is requested at the end of the application process).
  • Remember that incomplete applications (applications without all mandatory documents) will automatically be considered not eligible and rejected.
Queries/amendments Once you have submitted your application, you will not be able to make any changes to it. In case you would like to withdraw or amend your application, contact the Applications Coordinator at [email protected]

The application form is entirely online and needs to be completed in English through the online application portal before the deadlines. The portal is very user-friendly and intuitive. In case of doubts please contact us at [email protected].

Applications received by other means (postal mail, email or similar) will not be accepted.

Consider before applying that:

  • An application can not be saved or edited later, so you will need to have all requested documents and information complete before you submit your application.
  • You are encouraged to start working on your application well before the deadlines and allow enough time to compile the necessary information and supporting documents (including translation of academic transcripts).
  • You are allowed to apply for up to three programs. If you apply for more than 3 programs, only the last three submitted applications will be considered. Similarly, if there are duplicate applications for the same program only the last submission will be considered.
  • For each program you wish to apply for, you need to submit one separate application. 
  • Each application submitted has a 50€ fee.
  • You must submit your application before the deadlines.
  • You MUST submit all mandatory documents (see Table 1 below). If you fail to submit one or more mandatory documents, your application will be automatically rejected. Please note that we will not be sending out reminders for any missing documents, once you have submitted your application.
  • Before submitting, your application can be saved and edited later if needed. You are encouraged to start working on your application well before the deadlines and allow enough time to compile the necessary information and supporting documents (including translation of academic transcripts).
  • IAAC is committed to Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment (OTM-R), therefore positions will be awarded to the most talented students based purely on merit and capacities.

Table 1 – List of mandatory documents/ information that you MUST submit with each application in our application portal:

1) Letter of intent written in English detailing your motivation and adequacy for this particular course (PDF, one A4 page maximum length).
Useful Tips:

    1. Explain why you are a good fit for the program.
    2. Summarize relevant skills, experience knowledge and personal behaviors you have that fit the research field.
    3. The letter of intent should not be longer than 1 page (3000 characters).
2) A Portfolio showcasing samples of your work in English (PDF, A4 format, 10MB maximum for the portfolio)
Important Notes:
A design portfolio is not mandatory for applicants who do not have an academic background in design. However, samples of previous projects, research, and publications related to the program you want to apply for will be required as part of the application process.
3) CV (Curriculum Vitae/ Resume). Please note that your CV should clearly indicate the starting and ending period of your education, work and research experiences. You can use the template found here as a reference.
4) Two letters of recommendation written in English including the referee contact (university lecturers, employers or scientists who are familiar with your academic work and who can judge your potential as a master’s student). 
5) A scanned copy of your bachelor’s diploma.
Important Notes:
a) Please note that you will need to legalize and translate your bachelor’s diploma before the date required and announced in your acceptance, otherwise, you will not be able to receive your Master’s Diploma.
b) Make sure to arrange the legalization of your bachelor’s diploma as required by your country of origin (more info here).
c) The legalized bachelor’s diploma must be translated in Spanish (if not in Spanish already, more info about official translations here.) Your bachelor’s diploma must be translated ONLY  by an official sworn translator duly registered by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. List of authorized translators.
d) If you have not graduated yet but will be graduating before the academic year begins, you are still eligible to apply but you will need to provide a provisional certificate in English from your University, confirming that you will graduate this year.
e) Since Brexit, the United Kingdom is considered a non-EU country and therefore bachelor’s diplomas issued in the UK will need legalization.
f) If your bachelor’s diploma is not yet available by the time you chose to submit your application, please contact us at [email protected]

6) A copy of your valid passport (or I.D. if you are a citizen of a member state of the EU.)
7) 50€ Application fee (non-refundable) is to be paid to submit your application.


List of optional additional documents you MAY submit with each application in our application portal:

In addition to the above mandatory documents (Table 1), you may upload one additional document. Submission of these documents is optional at this stage but highly recommended:

  • English Proficiency Certificate (C1): You may upload a scanned copy of your English Proficiency Certificate (C1), according to the European Framework of Reference for Languages https://www.coe.int/en/web/common-european-framework-reference-languages.
  • IAAC Applicant Financial Support form: You may upload a signed copy of the IAAC Applicant Financial Support form in case you want to be considered for a needs-based scholarship. You can download the form directly from the application portal or find it here.

The IAAC Team provides support through email from Monday to Friday from 09:00 AM CET to 18:00 CET.

IAAC Applications Coordinator

Email: [email protected]


Once an application is received, the Applications Coordinator will start reviewing the submitted applications to check whether they meet all eligibility requirements. Refer to section 3.2 for the Eligibility checklist. Once the eligibility check is completed, Applicants will be informed of the outcome by email with more information on the second step.

Applicants shortlisted for an interview will be notified maximum one week before the interviews to allow them time to prepare. All interviews will be conducted by videoconference.

Interviews will be organized based on a round of questions by the panel members.

Applicants will be meeting with the program’s Director and/or Academic Coordinator through a Video Call Interview.

Applicants and Evaluators will be given the same Interview Guide detailing the process and scoring. The evaluation criteria are described in detail in section 5.3 on Evaluation criteria.

The results and notes of the interview along with all the submitted documents will be shared with the IAAC Academic Committee. 

At this stage, the Academic Committee will be responsible for making the final decision on the acceptance or rejection of an application based on the Evaluation Criteria as described in section 5.3.

If accepted, applicants will receive an email from the Applications Coordinator.

With that email, applicants will also receive:

  • A Welcome letter
  • An Acceptance letter (in English and Spanish) – This letter, will include the applicant’s name, passport number and program to which he/she has been admitted. In this letter, applicants will also see how the Academic Committee has evaluated their need to take part in the pre-course. Please note that the Spanish copy of the Acceptance Letter will be needed to start the Visa Process (for non-EU citizens).

The Tuition Fee letter – The tuition Fee letter includes all the information on the program payments and how to enroll. It’s important to respect all the deadlines marked for each payment.

If accepted, applicants will have to confirm their enrollment by proceeding with the enrollment fee payment within a maximum of 3 weeks after they receive the acceptance letter. (Note: enrollment fee payments vary depending on the program each applicant is admitted in. Please refer to the tuition fees webpage).

For the MAA, MAEBB, MaCT, MRAC and MDEF programmes:

Depending on the applicant’s profile and technical skills, the Academic Committee has the right to assign up to 3 mandatory modules to an applicant. The selection of these modules depends on the program the applicant has been accepted to and the technical/research skills the applicant is lacking.

In the acceptance letter applicants will receive a list of mandatory modules with the respective fee:

  • If the mandatory modules assigned by the Academic Committee are 3, the mandatory fee will be 1200€. The applicant can choose a fourth module at the additional cost of 200€.
  • If the mandatory modules assigned by the Academic Committee are 2, then the applicant must select one more module to attend from a list of specific modules, at the additional cost of 400€, making the total cost 1200€. The applicant can choose a fourth module at the additional cost of 200€.
  • If the mandatory module assigned by the Academic Committee is 1, then he applicant must select two more modules to attend from a list of specific modules, at the additional cost of 400€ per module, making the total cost 1200€. The applicant can choose a fourth module at the additional cost of 200€.
  • If no mandatory modules have been assigned by the Academic Committee then the applicant has the option to select three modules to attend from a list of specific modules, at the cost of 1200€ for three selected modules or 1400€ for 4 selected modules.

For the 3DPA programme:

Depending on the applicant’s profile and technical skills, the Academic Committee has the right to assign 3 mandatory modules to an applicant. Whether the modules are mandatory, highly recommended or optional depends on the technical background of the applicant.

The cost of the 3DPA Pre-course modules is a total of 500€ for all three modules.

You can find more information on the precourse modules by visiting the FAQ.

Once the Enrolment Fee has been paid, IAAC will send applicants a welcome package by post as they will need the physical letters of acceptance for their VISA application (please note that a Student Visa is needed for non-EU students only). Once applicants receive the physical documents, they can start dealing with their visa application by contacting the Spanish embassy in their country of residence (if relevant).

IAAC encourages accepted students to start their student VISA process right away as the process of issuing a VISA may vary from one country to another and it can sometimes take up to 3 months. Accepted students will need to enquire with the Embassy/Consulate of Spain based in their home country to understand which type of documentation they need to prepare and submit. IAAC will provide applicants with any documentation required from our Institute to facilitate this process. For more information on the VISA process contact the Applications Coordinator ([email protected]).

Successful Applicants who paid the enrollment fee and the precourse fee will be invited to start the registration process in person at IAAC or online (depending on the program).

More information on the registration requirements and the list of documents to be submitted to IAAC will be sent to the accepted students via email from their respective program coordinators in September.


Your submitted application will be assessed in 4 stages, as described below:

Only Applicants meeting ALL eligibility criteria specified in section 3.2 of this guide will be admitted to the next stage of assessment.

Applicants failing to meet one or more of the eligibility criteria will be rejected.

Applications having successfully passed the Eligibility check will be progressed on to the next stage of evaluation. Applications will then be individually assessed by each member of the Interview Panel according to the following assessment criteria:

1. Academic background: academic transcript, experience, etc
2. CV: Research and work experience, international or industry internships, conferences, publications, etc
3. Portfolio: The quality of the portfolio will partly be assessed considering the ability of the applicant to demonstrate analytical approaches and processes through his/her work, creativity and flexibility, working on multi-scalar projects from object to city scale, a diversified skill set and a variety of tools applied to the presented work.
4. Technical Skills and Software Knowledge
5. Motivation letter
6. Recommendation letters by referees

The criteria are detailed in the following table:

1. Scientific and investigative aptitude and motivation
2. Research and Professional Background: conceptual understanding of the program’s research focus and suitability
3. Technical skills: fabrication and/or software
4. Interpersonal skills: communication, teamwork, initiative, English level
  • Allow yourself enough time to prepare your application and collect all supporting documents.
  • Read the program description carefully before completing the application form as you will need to demonstrate that you meet all the requirements.
  • Read carefully each program’s admissions requirements listed in the program description and on their websites.
  • Attend the IAAC Online Open Days to learn more about IAAC and its programs from the directors and coordinators. Program coordinators will contact applicants 
  • Assess your own application against the eligibility and evaluation criteria described in sections 3.2 and 5.2.
  • Contact the IAAC Applications Coordinator at [email protected] if you have questions when preparing your application.

There are five application deadlines to apply throughout the year:

  • 1st Application Period (All programmes): November 1st – January 7th (2 months)
  • 2nd Application Period (All programmes): January 8th – February 29th (2 months)
  • 3rd Application Period (All programmes): March 1st – April 30th (2 months)
  • 4th Application Period (All programmes): May 1st – May 31st (1 month)
  • 5th Application Period (Online Programmes Only): June 1st – July 31st (2 months)


On rare occasions enrolled students might not be able to attend the program they enrolled in. In these cases the deferral option is available. The deferral option allows enrolled students to request the possibility to join in the year after their application if circumstances don’t allow them to join in the same academic year. This way, they can save their position in the program and are no longer obligated to pay the enrollment fee the following year.

The deferral option is only available under the following conditions:

  1. The enrolled student was not able to obtain his/her VISA on time before the beginning of the program.
  2. The enrolled student has undergone changes in his/her personal that do not allow him/her to join the program.
  3. The enrolled student can provide medical justification for not being able to join the program.

How to initiate a deferral procedure?

Enrolled Students must complete the request for deferral form with the requested administrative information and clearly describe the reasons why they are requesting a deferral.

Enrolled Students should explicitly refer to one of the three conditions listed above. Deferral forms that don’t clearly refer to the conditions cannot be considered.

Enrolled Students must submit their request for deferral within 1 month before the beginning of the programme. The request for deferral must:

– Be related to one of the 3 conditions listed above,

– Be completed using the request for deferral form, and

– Be submitted personally by the Applicant within 1 month before the beginning of the program, and

– Be sent by email to [email protected] with the following subject:

IAAC Program – Deferral request – Applicant Full Name

The deferral process can be done for a maximum of two times per applicant (2 years in a row).