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Ph.D. in Architecture

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architecture phd usa

The PHD in Architecture addresses the development of modern architectural form and ideas as they have been affected by social, economic, and technological change. In broad terms, it encompasses the relations between the profession, practice, civil institutions, and the society at large.

As a doctoral program, it is oriented toward the training of scholars in the field of architectural history and theory. Its structure reflects a dual understanding of the scholar’s role in the discipline at large: as a teacher and as a researcher making an original contribution to the field, with an emphasis on expanding and reinterpreting disciplinary knowledge in a broad intellectual arena. Course requirements are therefore designed to give entering students a solid foundation in historical knowledge and theoretical discourse, with sufficient flexibility to spark and support individual research agendas. The program’s focus is on the history and theory of modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism in an international and cross-cultural context, from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. Within this, a wide range of research is supported through the varied expertise of the faculty and through strong relationships with other departments throughout the university and beyond.

The Ph.D. in Architecture is a program within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) while the actual degree is granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

Admission for 2024

  • The application deadline for 2024 admissions was January 4, 2024 and is now closed.
  • For additional information on the application process and requirements, please see the GSAS website.

Lucia Allais Barry Bergdoll (Art History) Ateya Khorakiwala Reinhold Martin Mary McLeod Felicity Scott Mark Wigley Mabel Wilson

Affiliated Faculty

Zeynep Celik Alexander Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi

All students entering the PhD program in Architecture receive two Residence Units of Advanced Standing, having entered with a master’s degree in architecture, architectural history, or a related field. As such, students must complete the M.Phil. degree within three years from initial registration and the Ph.D. within eight years from initial registration.

Year 1: Students begin required coursework, including language proficiencies Year 2: Students complete required coursework and language proficiencies; begin required teaching apprenticeship Year 3: Students complete required teaching apprenticeship; complete M.Phil. Examination (by mid-February); and defend the Dissertation Prospectus (by early May) Year 4+: Students research, write, and defend the doctoral dissertation

At least once each semester, students should meet individually with the director of the program or with their program or dissertation adviser. Students are assigned a program advisor in the first year, the duties of which are assumed by their dissertation advisor in the third year. Students must have acquired a dissertation advisor by the seventh week of their sixth semester. Students are allowed to change both their program and dissertation advisers during the course of their studies.

All students are expected to meet the requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress as stipulated by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Renewal of student funding packages each year is dependent upon their maintaining good academic and administrative standing .

Students are required to spend four semesters in residence during which time they are expected to take thirteen courses (39 credit points), of which at least eight must be taken for a letter grade. The remaining five courses can be taken for R credit. The required academic course work breaks down into the four sections described below. In addition to the doctoral colloquia and doctoral seminars, five further classes should be seminars (not lecture courses). At least six of the thirteen courses should be taken with faculty from the Ph.D. in Architecture committee. It is assumed that these thirteen courses will be spread out approximately evenly over the first four semesters of study, although students can complete a larger number of courses in the first year to accommodate teaching requirements in the second year.

For any course in which a student receives an incomplete, the student must complete all outstanding coursework before the beginning of the next academic year. To remain in good standing with the program, students cannot hold more than one incomplete at any time. Students must complete all incomplete coursework prior to taking their M.Phil. examination.

Section 1: Doctoral Colloquia All students are required to take two doctoral colloquia in the fall semester and at least two doctoral seminars in the spring semester over the four-semester sequence. Three of these must be taken for a letter grade.

Section 2: Architectural History/Theory To complete distribution requirements, students will be required to take graduate-level courses from the following areas of study:

  • One pre-1750 (Western or non-Western)
  • Two courses either in Eighteenth-Century Architecture and Theory or Nineteenth-Century Architecture and Theory

At least half of the syllabus must address these time frames for a course to satisfy the requirement. At the discretion of the program director, these requirements may be modified for students who have had previous, relevant graduate-level courses.

Section 3: Social and Critical Studies Students should take at least one course outside of Architecture and Art History. Representative departments in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with an emphasis on comparative historical and critical studies include: African American and African Diaspora Studies, Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Cultures, English and Comparative Literature, Germanic Language and Literature, History, Latin American and Iberian Cultures, Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science, or within relevant University Centers and Institutes. The specific topic and the choice of faculty will be decided in consultation with the student’s program adviser or the director of the program.

Section 4: Electives Remaining coursework is completed through elective courses in students’ areas of interest, the selection of which should be decided in consultation with the student’s program adviser or the director of the program.

The four-semester program has been designed to give doctoral candidates sufficient training for the M.Phil. examination, with a special emphasis on the ability to teach classes in modern architectural and urban development and its relationship to parallel developments in material history and contemporary thought. Students must complete their M.Phil. (generals) examination no later than their sixth semester in the program.

The M.Phil. qualifying examination is divided into three interrelated sections:

Three revised coursework papers, chosen to reflect the student’s research interests and abilities

Two essays written in response to specific questions formulated by the examining committee, one essay pertaining to the major field and one to the minor field. Students will receive two questions pertaining to the major field but only answer one of them.

The oral examination

The qualifying exam will be divided into major and minor fields. These fields are to be determined in consultation with the program faculty supervising the exam. The major field should be fairly broad and involve cross-cultural comparisons and/or cover at least a century in time. The minor field should focus on another topic, historical or theoretical in character, distinct from the major field. Students must consult the relevant supervising faculty in deciding on their major and minor fields.

The examining committee will be comprised of three members, two covering the major field and one covering the minor field. At least two members of the examining committee should be drawn from the Ph.D. committee or from the program’s associated faculty. Each student prepares the two bibliographies in consultation with these faculty and distributes final versions of the bibliographies one month prior to the oral examination. Each member of the committee will be responsible for one question, which the student receives a week after submitting the bibliographies. The papers are to be completed in a two-week period and submitted at least one week prior to the oral examination. The oral exam consists of discussion of the submitted essays, the coursework papers, and the bibliographies.

To receive the degree of M.Phil. students must complete the required coursework, the M.Phil. exam, the required four semesters of teacher training, and must have demonstrated proficiency in two languages other than English.

After successfully completing the qualifying examination, each student defends his or her dissertation proposal before a faculty committee, composed of the student’s dissertation adviser, who must be on the list of approved Architecture Doctoral Dissertation Advisors , and two other readers, at least one of whom should be from the list of Architecture dissertation advisors or associated faculty. Defense of the dissertation prospectus must take place before the end of the sixth semester.

The student will then be free to pursue the research topic independently, in ongoing consultation with the dissertation adviser. It is expected that the dissertation be completed approximately two to three years after approval of the topic. Since all students come into the program with Advanced Standing, students must complete the dissertation within eight years of entering the program, approved Leaves of Absence notwithstanding.

The dissertation must be submitted four weeks before the dissertation defense. A copy is to be provided for each member of the examining committee. This committee consists of five people, at least three of whom are approved as a dissertation advisor in Architecture or the associated faculty. At least one member of the committee must be from outside GSAPP. The student is granted the Ph.D. upon defending the dissertation successfully and depositing the final copy in accordance with University regulations.

For more information on the Ph.D. dissertation, refer to the GSAS Dissertation Toolkit .

  • For information on Ph.D. student employee compensation and benefits, click here .
  • For information on available resources for parents, click here .
  • For more information on the GSAPP PhD Travel, Conference, and Exhibition Participation Support program, click here .

Spring 2024 Courses

Related events, other architecture programs at gsapp.

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Ph.D. in Architecture

  • About Architecture
  • Building Science, Technology, and Sustainability

History, Theory, and Society

The Ph.D. in architecture is a research degree appropriate for those seeking careers in teaching and scholarship in architecture and its related areas, or in roles in government or professional consultation that require depth in specialization and experience in research.

The Program

Berkeley’s Ph.D. program in architecture is interdisciplinary in outlook, reaching into the various disciplines related to architecture and incorporating substantial knowledge from outside fields. Students admitted to this program carry out a program of advanced study and research, both on the basis of formal class work and of individual investigation. Work centers on three related fields of study, the major field (the basis for the dissertation), and one-to-two minor fields, at least one of which must be from a discipline outside architecture.

Fields of Study

The Ph.D. degree emphasizes course work and supervised independent research in one of the following areas of study:

  • Building Science, Technology and Sustainability (BSTS)
  • History, Theory and Society (HTS)

Major fields outside these fields or combinations thereof may also be proposed at the time of admission.

Course work is individually developed through consultation with an academic adviser. Outside fields of study may take advantage of the University’s varied resources. Recent graduates have completed outside fields in anthropology, art history, business administration, city and regional planning, computer science, various engineering fields, psychology, women’s studies, geography and sociology.

The following are members of the Ph.D faculty, broken into one of two offered areas of study. Please also review the current list of all faculty in the Architecture Department for other faculty and specialities. A sampling of faculty research is described on the faculty research projects page.

Building Science, Technology and Sustainability

Gail Brager

Requirements

The Ph.D. program in architecture is governed by the regulations of the University Graduate Division and administered by the departmental Ph.D. committee. Specific degree requirements include:

  • A minimum of two years in residence.
  • Completion of a one-semester course in research methods.
  • Satisfaction of a foreign language requirement for those in the History, Theory and Society.
  • Completion of one-to-two outside fields of study.
  • A written qualifying examination, followed by an oral qualifying examination.
  • A dissertation.

Course requirements for the degree include:

BSTS Master of Science and PhD Handbook for 2023-2024 and 2024-2025

For previous years' handbooks, please contact graduate advising .

Ph.D. Alumni List

  • Ph.D. Alumni — Building Science, Technology and Sustainability
  • Ph.D. Alumni — History, Theory, and Society

Close-up of bricks

Ph.D. in Architecture

The PhD in Architecture (PhD-Arch) program at Carnegie Mellon advances interpretive, critical and contextual perspectives on the built environment and spatial design. The program offers students an interdisciplinary platform to investigate built environment cultures, practices and politics across a range of historical and geographical contexts.

Nida Rehman

Assistant Professor & PhD-Arch Track Chair

Nida Rehman

Program Overview

The PhD in Architecture (PhD-Arch) program at Carnegie Mellon advances interpretive, critical and contextual perspectives on the built environment and spatial design. Bringing together methods in history of architecture, urban studies, critical spatial practices, environmental humanities, digital humanities, environmental justice and community-oriented research, the program offers students an interdisciplinary platform to investigate built environment cultures, practices and politics across a range of historical and geographical contexts.

The intellectual foundation of the program is informed by Carnegie Mellon Architecture’s commitments to racial and spatial justice in architectural epistemology, pedagogy and practice. The program builds on and extends the foundational work in the school in the area of community-oriented urban design and research and is supported by the wide-ranging expertise and resources in the school and across the university, particularly in the arts and humanities.

Admission Information

Program Curriculum

Learn more about the PhD-Arch curriculum below.

PhD-Arch Curriculum

Program Faculty

For more information about the PhD-Arch program, please contact track chair Nida Rehman .

Erica Cochran Hameen

Erica Cochran Hameen

Assistant Professor, DEI Director & DDes Track Chair

Stefan Gruber

Stefan Gruber

Associate Professor, MUD Track Chair & RCI Director

Kai Gutschow

Kai Gutschow

Associate Professor & Associate Head for Design Ethics

Diane Shaw

Associate Professor

Francesca Torello

Francesca Torello

Special Faculty

Admissions Resources

Are you a current student looking for resources? Handbooks, procedures and other information can be found on the Student Resources page .

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Introduction

Past dissertations, forms and resources.

The doctoral program in Architecture currently offers two tracks of study: History and Theory of Architecture, and Ecosystems in Architectural Sciences. Both tracks aim to educate teachers capable of effectively instructing future architects in their own field and its manifold connections with the culture at large. The program forges a unique combination of professional knowledge with a historical and analytical grasp of architecture, deepening awareness of the field’s current state and the critical issues it faces.

The History and Theory track provides sound training in historical study and historiography, and cultivates understanding of intellectual trends that inform the reception and role of architecture in the world at large. It prepares candidates for careers in university teaching, cultural advocacy and administration, museum curatorship, and publishing, among others. Students draw on a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to, the history of science and technology, social and political history, media theory, as well as the fine arts, literature, and popular culture.

The Ecosystems in Architectural Sciences track provides preparation in interdisciplinary scientific inquiry, qualifying students to incorporate scientific methods into experimental design frameworks in order to research and develop novel material and informational ecosystems. Students in this track engage in research related to the behaviors of living ecosystems, emphasizing their interconnection with the built environment.

Joan Ockman, Director of Doctoral Studies

Ateya Khorakiwala Granularities: Concrete and the “Gray Architecture” of Grain Storage in 1960s and 70s India

Albena yaneva the craft of architectural archiving, eeva-liisa pelkonen in conversation with nicola suthor untimely moderns: how 20th century architecture reimagined the past, current candidates and students, publications by current and graduated phd students.

Echo's Chambers book cover

Echo’s Chambers: Architecture and the Idea of Acoustic Space

University of pittsburgh press.

Avant Garde as Method book cover

Avant-Garde as Method: Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920-1930

Cover of Babel's Present by Kyle Dugdale

Babel’s Present

Standpunkte dokumente.

Cover of Perspecta 46: Error

Perspecta 46

Aaron tobey and jia weng win 2023 carter manny awards for writing and research, cea phd student phoebe mankiewicz wins lafargeholcim award for indoor plant module, tim altenhof (ph.d. ‘18) wins theron rockwell field prize for his dissertation “breathing space: the architecture of pneumatic beings”, david turturo.

Caryatid: Architecture and the Framing of Bodies (2022). View dissertation.

Theodossios Issaias

Architectures of the Humanitarian Front, 1915-1930: The American Red Cross and the Refugee Settlement Commission of the League of Nations (2021). View dissertation.

A Theory of Common Form in Aesthetic Perception (2019). Abstract.

Skender Luarasi

Where Do You Stop? A Critical Inquiry into Style, Geometry, and Parametricism in History (2018). Abstract.

Tim Altenhof

Breathing Space: The Architecture of Pneumatic Beings (2018). Abstract.

Teaching Architecture to the Masses: Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920-1930 (2017). Abstract

Surry Schlabs

Waiting for Architecture: John Dewey and the Limits of Modern Art (2017). Abstract.

Kyle Dugdale

Architecture After the Death of God: Uriel Birnbaum’s Der Kaiser und derArchitekt (2015). Abstract.

Joseph Clarke

The Architectural Discourse of Reverberation, 1750-1900 (2014). Abstract.

  • Request to Take Course at Architecture School ((Non-YSoA Grad & Professional Students))
  • Graduate School Forms

Graduate Research Assistant and Teaching Fellow Experience

Master’s degree, required courses, history and theory track.

551a, Ph.D. Seminar I 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, fall term.) This seminar centers on a thorough examination of fundamental ideas of historiography, centering on Rome and exploring aspects of geology, culture, mapping, site development, the establishment of institutions, and the construction of buildings across several millennia, as well as a study of literature on the urbs and its worldwide impact. Faculty

552b, Ph.D. Seminar II 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, spring term.) This seminar centers on concepts of history and their application to architecture from Jacob Burckhardt to the present and a close reading of historiographic theories, including ethnography, modernity, and the emergence of the profession of architecture in the light of present-day critique. Faculty

553a, Ph.D. Seminar III 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, fall term.) Seminar content to be announced. Faculty

554b, Ph.D. Dissertation Preparation 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, spring term.) Ph.D. tutoring in preparation for oral examinations and formulation of a thesis topic. Faculty

Required Courses, Ecosystems in Architectural Sciences Track

558a, Ph.D. Seminar: Ecosystems in Architecture I 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, fall term.)

559b, Ph.D. Seminar: Ecosystems in Architecture II 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, spring term.)

568a, Ph.D. Seminar: Ecosystems in Architecture III 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, fall term.)

569b, Ph.D. Seminar: Ecosystems in Architecture IV 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, spring term.)

MA & PhD in Architecture

Ucla architecture and urban design offers two academic graduate degrees: the master of arts in architecture (ma) and doctor of philosophy in architecture (phd)..

The programs produce students whose scholarship aims to provoke and operate within architecture’s public, professional, and scholarly constituencies. Both programs are supported by the Standing Committee, made up of five faculty members: Michael Osman (interim program director), Cristóbal Amunátegui , Dana Cuff , Samaa Elimam , and Ayala Levin . A number of visiting faculty teach courses to expand the range of offerings.

Applications for the MA/PhD program (Fall 2024 matriculation) are completed via the UCLA Application for Graduate Admission , and are due January 6, 2024. Candidates will be notified of decisions in March 2024; admitted candidates who wish to accept the offer of matriculation must submit their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by April 15, 2024.

architecture phd usa

All MA and PhD students are required to enroll in a two-year colloquium focused on methods for writing, teaching, and researching in the field of architecture. The six courses that constitute the colloquium train students in the apparatus of academic scholarship. Over the two-year sequence, students produce original research projects and develop skills in long-format writing.

Research Opportunities

The intellectual life of the students in the MA and PhD programs are reinforced by the increasing number of opportunities afforded to students through specialized faculty-led research projects. These include cityLAB-UCLA and the Urban Humanities Institute .

MA in Architecture

This program prepares students to work in a variety of intellectual and programmatic milieus including historical research, cultural studies, and interdisciplinary studies with particular emphasis on connections with geography, design, art history, history of science and literary studies, as well as studio and design based research.

Beyond the core colloquium, MA students take a series of approved courses both at UCLA AUD and across campus. The MA program is a two-year degree, culminating in a thesis. The thesis is developed from a paper written by the student in their coursework and developed in consultation with the primary advisor and the standing committee. In addition to courses and individual research, students often participate in collective, project-based activities, including publications, symposia and exhibitions.

The program is distinguished by its engagement with contemporary design and historical techniques as well by the unusual balance it offers: fostering great independence and freedom in the students’ courses of study while providing fundamental training in architectural scholarship.

Recent MA Theses

  • Jacqueline Meyer, “Crafting Utopia: Paolo Soleri and the Building of Arcosanti.”
  • Joseph Maguid, “The Architecture of the Videogame: Architecture as the Link Between Representational and Participatory Immersion.”
  • Meltem Al, “The Agency of Words and Images in the Transformation of Istanbul: The Case of Ayazma.”
  • Courtney Coffman, “Addressing Architecture and Fashion: On Simulacrum, Time and Poché.”
  • Joseph Ebert, “Prolegomena to a Poiesis of Architectural Phenomenology.”
  • Jamie Aron, “Women Images: From the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop to the Knoll Textile Division.”
  • Gustave Heully, “Moldy Assumptions.”
  • Brigid McManama, “Interventions on Pacoima Wash: Repurposing Linear Infrastructure into Park Spaces.”

MA Typical Study Program

Phd in architecture.

This program prepares students to enter the academic professions, either in architectural history, architectural design, or other allied fields. PhD students are trained to teach courses in the history and theory of architecture while also engaging in studio pedagogy and curatorial work. In addition to the colloquium, PhD students take a series of approved courses both at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design and across campus. They select these courses in relation to their own research interests and in consultation with their primary advisor. The priorities for selection are breadth of knowledge and interdisciplinary experience that retains a focused area of expertise. To this end, the students identify Major and Minor Fields of study. The Minor Field is generally fulfilled by satisfactorily completing three courses given by another department and the Major Field by five courses offered by UCLA Architecture and Urban Design.

Once coursework is completed, PhD students move to the Comprehensive Exam, Qualifying Exam, and the writing of a dissertation, and final defense, if deemed appropriate by the doctoral committee. In the transition from coursework to exams, PhD students work on one paper beyond its original submission as coursework. The paper begins in the context of a departmental seminar, but often continues either in the context of an independent study, summer mentorship, or a second seminar with faculty consent. Upon the research paper’s acceptance, students begin preparing for their comprehensive exam. Before their third year, students must also satisfactorily complete three quarters of language study or its equivalent according to University standards. The particular language will be determined in consultation with the Standing Committee. The Comprehensive Exam is administered by at least two members of the Standing Committee and at most one faculty member from another Department at UCLA, also a member of the Academic Senate.

The Comprehensive Exam tests two fields: the first covers a breadth of historical knowledge—300 years at minimum—and the second focuses on in-depth knowledge of a specialization that is historically and thematically circumscribed. Students submit an abstract on each of these fields, provide a substantial bibliography, and prepare additional documentation requested by their primary advisor. These materials are submitted to the committee no less than two weeks before the exam, which occurs as early as the end of the second year. Students are encouraged to complete the Comprehensive Exam no later than the end of their third year of study.

The Comprehensive Exam itself consists of two parts: an oral component that takes place first, and then a written component. The oral component is comprised of questions posed by the committee based on the student’s submitted materials. The goal of the exam is for students to demonstrate their comprehensive knowledge of their chosen field. The written component of the exam (which may or may not be waived by the committee) consists of a written response to a choice of questions posed by the committee. The goal of this portion of the exam is for students to demonstrate their research skills, their ability to develop and substantiate an argument, and to show promise of original contribution to the field. Students have two weeks to write the exam. After the committee has read the exam, the advisor notifies the student of the committee’s decision. Upon the student’s successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam, they continue to the Qualifying Exam.

Students are expected to take the Qualifying Exam before the beginning of the fourth year. The exam focuses on a dissertation prospectus that a student develops with their primary advisor and in consultation with their PhD committee. Each student’s PhD committee consists of at least two members of the Standing Committee and one outside member from another department at the University (and a member of the Faculty Senate). Committees can also include faculty from another institution. All committees are comprised of at least three members of UCLA Academic Senate. The prospectus includes an argument with broad implications, demonstrates that the dissertation will make a contribution of knowledge and ideas to the field, demonstrates mastery of existing literature and discourses, and includes a plan and schedule for completion.

The PhD dissertation is written after the student passes the qualifying exam, at which point the student has entered PhD candidacy. The dissertation is defended around the sixth year of study. Students graduating from the program have taken posts in a wide range of universities, both in the United States and internationally.

Recent PhD Dissertations

  • Marko Icev, "Building Solidarity: Architecture After Disaster and The Skopje 1963 Post-Earthquake Reconstruction." ( Read )
  • Anas Alomaim, "Nation Building in Kuwait, 1961-1991."
  • Tulay Atak, “Byzantine Modern: Displacements of Modernism in Istanbul.”
  • Ewan Branda, “Virtual Machines: Culture, telematique, and the architecture of information at Centre Beaubourg, 1968–1977.”
  • Aaron Cayer, "Design and Profit: Architectural Practice in the Age of Accumulation"
  • Per-Johan Dahl, “Code Manipulation, Architecture In-Between Universal and Specific Urban Spaces.”
  • Penelope Dean, “Delivery without Discipline: Architecture in the Age of Design.”
  • Miriam Engler, “Gordon Cullen and the ‘Cut-and-Paste’ Urban Landscape.”
  • Dora Epstein-Jones, “Architecture on the Move: Modernism and Mobility in the Postwar.”
  • Sergio Figueiredo, “The Nai Effect: Museological Institutions and the Construction of Architectural Discourse.”
  • Jose Gamez, “Contested Terrains: Space, Place, and Identity in Postcolonial Los Angeles.”
  • Todd Gannon, “Dissipations, Accumulations, and Intermediations: Architecture, Media and the Archigrams, 1961–1974.”
  • Whitney Moon, "The Architectural Happening: Diller and Scofidio, 1979-89"
  • Eran Neuman, “Oblique Discourses: Claude Parent and Paul Virilio’s Oblique Function Theory and Postwar Architectural Modernity.”
  • Alexander Ortenberg, “Drawing Practices: The Art and Craft of Architectural Representation.”
  • Brian Sahotsky, "The Roman Construction Process: Building the Basilica of Maxentius"
  • Marie Saldana, “A Procedural Reconstruction of the Urban Topography of Magnesia on The Maeander.”
  • David Salomon, “One Thing or Another: The World Trade Center and the Implosion of Modernism.”
  • Ari Seligmann, “Architectural Publicity in the Age of Globalization.”
  • Zheng Tan, “Conditions of The Hong Kong Section: Spatial History and Regulatory Environment of Vertically Integrated Developments.”
  • Jon Yoder, “Sight Design: The Immersive Visuality of John Lautner.”

A Sampling of PhD Alumni and Their Pedagogy

Iman Ansari , Assistant Professor of Architecture, the Knowlton School, Ohio State University

Tulay Atak , Adjunct Associate Professor, Pratt School of Architecture

Shannon Starkey , Associate Professor of Architecture, University of San Diego

Ece Okay , Affiliate Research, Université De Pau Et Des Pays De L'adour

Zheng Tan , Department of Architecture, Tongji University

Pelin Yoncaci , Assistant Professor, Department Of Architecture, Middle East Technical University

José L.S. Gámez , Interim Dean, College of Arts + Architecture, UNC Charlotte

Eran Neuman , Professor, School of Architecture, Tel Aviv University

Marie Saldana , Assistant Professor, School of Interior Architecture, University of Tennessee - Knoxville

Sergio M. Figueiredo , Assistant Professor, Eindhoven University of Technology

Rebecca Choi , Assistant Professor of Architecture History, School of Architecture, Tulane University

Will Davis , Lecturer in History, Theory and Criticism, Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore

Maura Lucking , Faculty, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Kyle Stover , Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Montana State University

Alex Maymind , Assistant Professor of Architecture and Director of Undergraduate Studies in Architecture, University of Minnesota

Gary Riichirō Fox , visiting faculty member at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) and lecturer at USC School of Architecture

Randy Nakamura , Adjunct Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of San Francisco

Aaron Cayer , Assistant Professor of Architecture History, School of Architecture + Planning, University of New Mexico

Whitney Moon , Associate Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Todd Gannon , Professor of Architecture, the Knowlton School, Ohio State University

Dora Epstein Jones , Professor of Practice, School of Architecture, the University of Texas at Austin

Sarah Hearne , Assistant Professor, College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver

PhD Typical Study Program

*The choice of language to fulfill this requirement must be discussed with the Ph.D. Standing Committee

Our Current PhD Cohort

AUD's cohort of PhD candidates are leaders in their fields of study, deepening their scholarship at AUD and at UCLA while sharing their knowledge with the community.

architecture phd usa

Adam Boggs is a sixth year Ph.D candidate and interdisciplinary artist, scholar, educator and Urban Humanist. His research and teaching interests include the tension between creativity and automation, craft-based epistemologies, and the social and material history of architecture at the U.S.-Mexico border. He holds a BFA in Sculpture Cum Laude from the Ohio State University, and an MFA in Visual Art from the State University of New York at Purchase College. Prior to joining the doctoral program at UCLA he participated in courses in Architecture (studio and history) at Princeton University and Cornell University. His dissertation analyzes the history of indigenous labor during the Mexican baroque period to form a comparative analysis with the 20th century Spanish revival architecture movement in Southern California and how the implementation of the style along the U.S.-Mexico border might function as a Lefebvrian “thirdspace” that disrupts binary thinking. In Spring 2024 he will teach an undergraduate seminar course at AUD on the history of architecture at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the CUTF program.

architecture phd usa

Hanyu Chen is a second-year doctoral student at UCLA AUD. Her research focuses on the intersection between (sub)urban studies, heritage conservation, and the genders of the space. Specifically, it concerns the dynamics of genders in (sub)urban areas and how these dynamics are conserved as heritage. Born and raised in China for her first 18 years, Hanyu chose the conservation of comfort stations in China as her master's thesis at the University of Southern California, where she earned her master’s degree in Heritage Conservation and officially started her journey in architecture. Her thesis discusses the fluidity and genders of comfort stations and how they survive in contemporary China’s heritage conservation policies.

Hanyu also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in AMS (Applied Mathematics and Statistics) and Art History from Stony Brook University.

Yixuan Chen

architecture phd usa

Yixuan Chen is an architectural designer and a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA. Driven by an impulse to demystify both the grand promises and trivial familiarities of architecture, her research embarks on the notion of everydayness to elucidate the power dynamics it reveals. She investigates the conflicts between these two ends and focuses on modernization across different times and places.

Prior to joining UCLA AUD, she was trained as an architect and graduated from the University of Nottingham's China Campus with a first-class honors degree. Her graduation project “Local Culture Preservation Centre,” which questioned the validity of monumental architecture in the climate crisis, was nominated for the RIBA President's Medal in 2016.

She also holds a Master of Arts degree with distinction in Architectural History from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her dissertation, “Shijing, on the Debris of Shijing,” explores the vanishing shijing places, or urban villages, where rural migrant workers negotiate their urban identity in Chinese cities, revealing shifting power relations. Additionally, she authored an article in Prospectives Journal titled "Architectural Authorship in ‘the Last Mile,’" advocating for a change to relational architectural authorship in response to the digital revolution in architecture.

architecture phd usa

Pritam Dey is an urban designer and second-year doctoral student at UCLA AUD. His research interest lies at the intersection of colonial urbanism, sensorial history, and somatic inquiries. His architecture thesis investigated the crematorium and temple as sensorial infrastructure, and was presented at World Architecture Congress at Seoul in 2017. Previously Dey worked in the domain of urban design, specifically informal markets, as a shaper of urbanism in Indian cities. Prior to joining the AUD doctoral program, his past research focused on investigating the role of informal and wholesale markets in shaping up urbanity in the Indian city cores and co-mentored workshops on Urbanity of Chitpur Road, Kolkata with ENSAPLV, Paris which was both exhibited at Kolkata and Paris. He also co-mentored the documentation of the retrospective landscape of Hampi with the support of ENSAPLV and French Embassy. His investigations on the slums of Dharavi title ‘The tabooed city’ was published in the McGill University GLSA Research series 2021 under the theme: the city an object or subject of law?

An urban designer and architect, Pritam Dey pursued his post graduation from School of planning and Architecture, Delhi. During his academic tenure at SPA, he was the recipient of 2018 Design Innovation Center Fellowship for Habitat design allowing him to work on the social infrastructure for less catered communities in the Sub Himalayan Villages. In 2022 He mentored a series of exhibitions on the theme of Water, Mountains and Bodies at Ahmadabad.

He was the 2022-23 Urban Humanities Initiatives Fellow at UCLA and recipient of 2023 UCLA Center for India and South Asia fellowship for his summer research.

Carrie Gammell

architecture phd usa

Carrie Gammell is a doctoral candidate working at the intersection of architectural history, property law, and political economy. Her research focuses on claims, investments, and intermediary organizations in the United States, from the Homestead Act of 1862 to the Housing Act of 1934.

Carrie is also a Senior Research Associate at cityLAB UCLA, where she studies state appropriations for California community college student housing. In the past, she contributed to Education Workforce Housing in California: Developing the 21st Century Campus, a report and companion handbook that provides a comprehensive overview of the potential for land owned by school districts to be designed and developed for teachers and other employees.

Prior to joining AUD, Carrie worked as an architectural designer in Colombia and the United States, where she built a portfolio of affordable housing, multi-family residential, and single-family residential projects as well as civic and cultural renovations and additions. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University and a Master in Design Studies (Critical Conservation) from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Anirudh Gurumoorthy

architecture phd usa

Anirudh Gurumoorthy is a PhD candidate at UCLA AUD. His dissertation, tentatively titled (Un)Certain Tropics and the Architecture of Certain Commodities, 1803-1926, focuses on the spatial and environmental histories of natural history/sciences in the long-nineteenth century as it related to the political economy of empire within South Asia. He is interested in the ways the materiality of commodity extraction and production contends with how, where, and why certain ‘tropical’ animals, vegetables, and minerals are attributed with a metropolitan sense of ‘value’. Moving from the United States to Britain (and back) through various parts of the Indian Ocean world as markets for singular forms of ice, rubber, and cattle form, peak, and collapse, the dissertation ultimately aims to reveal interconnected spatial settings of knowledge, control, regulation, display, and labor where knowledge systems, technical limits, human and nonhuman action/inaction, differentiated senses of environments and value continually contend with each other to uphold the fetishes of the world market. Gurumoorthy holds a B.Arch. from R.V. College of Architecture, Bangalore, and an M.Des in the History and Philosophy of Design and Media from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Chi-Chia Hou

architecture phd usa

Chi-Chia Hou is a doctoral candidate in his sixth year at UCLA AUD. His working dissertation, “New Frontier: Architecture and Service 1893-1960,” explores his interest in architecture and wealth, changing ideas of profit and management, and social scientific discourses for measuring work and worker, self and others, and values of landed property.

His research locates moments of theorizing methodologies to manage income-generating properties in schools of agriculture, home economics, and hotel studies. The schools taught their students theories, while instilling the imminence of faithful direction of oneself, of self-as-property. The pedagogies, existing beyond the purview of Architecture, were of immense architectural consideration.

Chi-Chia Hou took a break from school in the previous academic year to learn from his daughter and has now returned to school to learn from his brilliant cohorts.

Adam Lubitz

architecture phd usa

Adam Lubitz is an urban planner, heritage conservationist, and doctoral student. His research engages the intersection of critical heritage studies and migration studies, with an emphasis on how archival information can inform reparations. His community-based research has been most recently supported by the Columbia GSAPP Incubator Prize as well as the Ziman Center for Real Estate and Leve Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA.

Prior to joining AUD, Adam worked at World Monuments Fund within their Jewish Heritage Program, and taught GIS coursework at Barnard College. His master's thesis applied field research with experimental mapping techniques in the old town of a municipality in Palestine. Adam holds MS degrees in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning from Columbia University and a BA in Urban Studies from New College of Florida.

architecture phd usa

José Monge is a PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design. His dissertation, titled Maritime Labor, Candles, and the Architecture of the Enlightenment (1750-1872) , focuses on the role that whale-originated illuminants, specifically spermaceti candles and oil, played in the American Enlightenment as an intellectual project and the U.S. as a country. By unravelling the tension between binaries such as intellectual and manual labor–the consumers that bought these commodities and the producers that were not able to afford them–the project understands architecture as a history of activities that moved from sea to land and land to sea, challenging assumptions about the static “nature” of architecture.

Kurt Pelzer

architecture phd usa

Kurt Pelzer is a fourth-year PhD candidate at UCLA AUD. Their research explores the relational histories, material flows, and politics of land in and beyond California in the long nineteenth century during the United States parks, public lands, and conservation movements.

Their current scholarship traces the settler possession and exhibitionary display of a Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) in the 1850s; an act that contested the ways Miwok peoples ancestral to California's Sierra Nevada knew and related to life and land. Their broader interests include histories of colonialism and capitalism in the Americas, environmental history, and Blackness and Indigeneity as a methodological analytic for political solidarities and possibilities.

Prior to arriving at UCLA, Pelzer worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the Architecture and Design Curatorial Department participating in exhibitions, programming, and collections work. Pelzer completed a Master of Advanced Architectural Design in the History, Theory, and Experiments program from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and earned their Bachelor's degree in Landscape Architecture from the College of Design at Iowa State University.

Shota Vashakmadze

architecture phd usa

Email Shota Vashakmadze

Shota Vashakmadze is a sixth-year PhD candidate at UCLA AUD. His dissertation traces the conjoined histories of architectural computing, environmental design, and professional practice in the late 20th century, adopting critical approaches to architecture’s technical substrates—the algorithms, softwares, and user protocols of computation—to examine their social and political dispositions. In his scholarship and pedagogy, he aims to situate forms of architectural labor within the profession’s ongoing acculturation to environmental crisis. Most recently, he has been leading the development of the interdisciplinary “Building Climates” cluster, a year-long course sequence at UCLA, and co-organizing an initiative dedicated to fostering discourse on climate change and architecture, including a two-day conference entitled “Architecture After a Green New Deal.”

His research has been supported by the Canadian Centre for Architecture and appeared in journals including Architectural Theory Review , The Avery Review, and Pidgin Magazine. He is currently completing a contribution to a collection on landscape representation and a chapter for an edited volume on architecture, labor, and political economy.

Shota holds an MArch from Princeton University and has a professional background in architecture, landscape, and software development. Before coming to UCLA, he researched methods for designing with point cloud data and wrote Bison, a software plugin for landscape modeling.

Alexa Vaughn

architecture phd usa

Alexa Vaughn (ASLA, FAAR) is a first year PhD student in Architecture + Urban Design and a Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow , from Long Beach, California. She is a Deaf landscape designer, accessibility specialist, consultant, and recent Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (2022-23). She is a visionary speaker, thought leader, prolific writer and researcher, and the author of “ DeafScape : Applying DeafSpace to Landscape,” which has been featured in numerous publications.

Her professional work is centered upon designing public landscapes with and for the Deaf and disabled communities, applying legal standards and Universal Design principles alongside lived experience and direct participation in the design process. She is an expert in designing landscapes for the Deaf community (DeafScape) and in facilitation of disabled community engagement. Prior to joining the A+UD program, Alexa worked for several landscape architecture firms over the course of six years, including OLIN and MIG, Inc.

Through a disability justice lens, her dissertation will seek to formally explore the historical exclusionary and inaccessible design of American urban landscapes and public spaces, as well as the response (activism, policy, and design) to this history through the present and speculative future. She will also actively take part in activist- and practice-based research with cityLAB and the Urban Humanities Institute .

Alexa holds both a BA in Landscape Architecture (with a minor in Conservation and Resource Studies) and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture (MLA) from the University of California, Berkeley, with specialization in accessible and inclusive design. Much of her work can be found at www.designwithdisabledpeoplenow.com and on Instagram: @DeafScape.

Yashada Wagle

architecture phd usa

Yashada Wagle is a third year PhD student in Critical Studies at UCLA AUD, and a recipient of the department's Moss Scholarship. Her research focuses on imperial environmental-legislative regimes in British colonial India in the late nineteenth century. She is interested in exploring questions around the histories of spaces of extraction and production as they network between the metropole and the colony, and their relationship with the conceptions of laboring bodies therein. Her master's thesis focused on the Indian Forest Act of 1865, and elucidated the conceptualization of the space of the ‘forest’ through the lenses of its literary, legislative, and biopolitical trajectories, highlighting how these have informed its contemporary lived materiality.

Wagle holds a Bachelor in Architecture (BArch) from the Savitribai Phule Pune University in India, and a Master in Design Studies (History and Philosophy of Design and Media) from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She was previously a Research Fellow at the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies (KRVIA) in Mumbai, India.

In her spare time, Wagle enjoys illustrating and writing poetry, some of which can be found here .

Dexter Walcott

architecture phd usa

Dexter Walcott is a registered architect currently in his fifth year with the Critical Studies of Architecture program at UCLA. His research focuses on the Latrobe family and early nineteenth century builders in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys. He is interested in the role of the built environment in histories of labor, capitalism, steam-power, and industry.

architecture phd usa

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Joy is a fifth-year PhD student in architecture history. Her research explores geology as antiquity from early 19th – 20th century British colonial Hong Kong and China. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a focus in German from Middlebury College in 2017, and is a graduate of The New Normal program at Strelka Institute, Moscow in 2018. Previously, she has taught in the Department of Architecture at University of Hong Kong, as well as the Department of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

After working as a curatorial assistant at Tai Kwun Contemporary in 2019, she has continued the practice of art writing and translation, collaborating with many local Hong Kong artists as well as international curators such as Raimundas Malašauskas. In her spare time, she practices long-distance open water swimming. In 2022, she completed a 30km course at the South of Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

The MA and PhD programs welcome and accept applications from students with a diverse range of backgrounds. These programs are designed to help those interested in academic work in architecture develop those skills, so we strongly encourage that you become familiar with fundamental, celebrated works in the history and theory of architecture before entering the program.

Applicants to the academic graduate programs must hold a Bachelor’s degree, or the foreign equivalent. All new students must enter in the fall quarter. The program is full-time and does not accept part-time students.

Applications for the MA and PhD programs (Fall 2024 matriculation) will be available in Fall 2023, with application deadline of January 6, 2024; please revisit this page for updates. Accepted candidates who wish to enroll must file an online Statement of Intent to Register (SIR) by April 15, 2024.

How to Apply

Applying to the MA and PhD programs is an online process via the UCLA Application for Graduate Admission (AGA).

Completing the requirements will take some time, so we strongly recommend logging in to the AGA in advance to familiarize yourself with the site and downloading the documents and forms you will need to complete your application.

You can also download this checklist to make sure you have prepared and submitted all the relevant documents to complete your application.

Your Statement of Purpose is a critical part of your application to the MA and PhD programs. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself and tell us about your specific academic background, interests, achievements, and goals. Our selection committee use it to evaluate your aptitude for study, as well as consideration for merit-based financial support.

Your statement can be up to 1500 words in length. Below are some questions you might want to consider. You don’t need to answer every question; just focus on the elements that are most relevant to you.

  • What is your purpose in applying to the MA or PhD program? Describe your area(s) of research interest, including any areas of concentration and specialization.
  • What experiences have prepared you for this program? What relevant skills have you gained from these experiences? Have your experiences led to specific or tangible outcomes that would support your potential to contribute to this field (e.g. performances, publications, presentations, awards or recognitions)?
  • What other information about your past experience might help the selection committee in evaluating your suitability for this program? E.g. research, employment, teaching, service, artistic or international experiences through which you have developed skills in leadership, communication, project management, teamwork, or other areas.
  • Why is UCLA Architecture and Urban Design the best place for you to pursue your academic goals?
  • What are your plans for your career after earning this degree?

Your Personal Statement is your opportunity to provide additional information to help the selection committee evaluate your aptitude for study. It will also be used to consider candidates for UCLA Graduate Division fellowships related to diversity. You can read more about the University of California Diversity Statement here .

Your statement can be up to 500 words in length. Below are some questions you might want to consider. You don’t need to answer every question; just focus on the elements that are most relevant to you.

  • Are there educational, personal, cultural, economic, or social experiences, not described in your Statement of Purpose, that have shaped your academic journey? If so, how? Have any of these experiences provided unique perspective(s) that you would contribute to your program, field or profession?
  • Describe challenge(s) or barriers that you have faced in your pursuit of higher education. What motivated you to persist, and how did you overcome them? What is the evidence of your persistence, progress or success?
  • How have your life experiences and educational background informed your understanding of the barriers facing groups that are underrepresented in higher education?
  • How have you been actively engaged (e.g., through participation, employment, service, teaching or other activities) in programs or activities focused on increasing participation by groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education?
  • How do you intend to engage in scholarly discourse, research, teaching, creative efforts, and/or community engagement during your graduate program that have the potential to advance diversity and equal opportunity in higher education?
  • How do you see yourself contributing to diversity in your profession after you complete your academic degree at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design?

A Curriculum Vitae (résumé of your academic and professional experience) is recommended but not required.

Applicants must upload a scanned copy of the official transcripts from each college or university you have attended both in the U.S. and abroad. If you are accepted into the program you will be required to submit hard copies. These can either be sent directly from each institution or hand-delivered as long as they remain in the official, signed, sealed envelopes from your college or university. As a general rule, UCLA Graduate Division sets a minimum required overall grade-point average of 3.0 (B), or the foreign equivalent.

As of this Fall 2023 cycle, the GRE is NOT required as part of your application to UCLA AUD. No preference will be given to those who choose to submit GRE scores as part of their application.

However, if you do take the GRE exam and wish to include it as part of your application: More information on this standardized exam can be found at www.ets.org/gre . In addition to uploading your GRE scores, please direct ETS to send us your official score sheets. Our ETS codes for the GRE are below:

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Institution Code: 4837 Department Code: 4401

We recommend you take the exam at least three weeks before the application deadline as it usually takes 2-3 weeks for ETS to send us the test scores.

If you have received a Bachelor’s degree in a country where the official language of instruction and primary spoken language of daily life is not English, you must submit either a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Exempt countries include Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This is a requirement that is regardless of your visa or citizenship status in the United States.

To be considered for admission to the M.Arch. program, international students must score at least a 92 on the TOEFL or a 7 on the IELTS exam. Because processing, sending, and receiving TOEFL and IELTS scores can take several weeks, international students must schedule their exam no later than October 31 in order to meet UCLA deadlines. TOEFL scores must be sent to us directly and uploaded as part of the online submission. Our ETS codes for the TOEFL are below:

UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Institution Code: 4837 Department Code: 12

If your score is less than 100 on the TOEFL or 7.5 on the IELTS, you are also required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE) on arrival at UCLA. The results of this test will determine any English as a Second Language (ESL) courses you need to take in your first term of residence. These courses cannot be applied towards your minimum course requirements. As such, you should expect to have a higher course load than students not required to take ESL courses.

If you have earned a degree or completed two years of full-time college-level coursework in the following countries, your TOEFL / IELTS and ESLPE requirements will be waived: U.S., U.K., Canada (other than Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand. Please provide official transcripts to demonstrate course completion. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any other documentation to demonstrate language proficiency.

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. These letters should be from individuals who are familiar with your academic and professional experiences and can evaluate your capacity to successfully undertake graduate studies at UCLA. If you do not have an architecture background please note that we are looking for letters that evaluate your potential as a graduate student, not necessarily your architecture experience.

Letters of recommendation must be sent electronically directly to UCLA by the recommender. When logged in, you can enter the name and email address of each of your recommenders. They will be contacted by email with a request to submit a letter on your behalf. You can track which letters have and have not been received. You can also send reminders to your recommenders to send their letters.

Writing samples should illustrate an applicant’s capacities for research, analytical writing and scholarly citation. Texts may include seminar papers, theses, and/or professional writing.

Please complete and submit the Department Supplement Form to confirm your intention to apply to the MA or PhD program.

School of Architecture

College of design.

Concave's Divergence In Architectural Research PhD Symposium participants.

Ph.D. in Architecture

Doctoral studies in architecture train students for careers conducting research in academic settings, in scientific laboratories, and now increasingly in private firms as well. The aim of research is to create new knowledge that can help us build well and create responsible and responsive physical environments. Such a knowledge necessarily engages with the full complexity and messiness of human life. It includes understanding of social, physical, historical and cultural impact of design decisions and practices, as well as the development of technical methods and computational tools to improve decision-making in design.

Specializing in architectural research, therefore, requires mastering aspects of at least one cognate discipline—history, cultural studies, psychology, sociology, cognitive sciences, engineering, computation—and quite often of more than one of these. Not surprisingly, the study needed to do this is demanding. But those students who bring with them a deeply held curiosity about the built world, an ability to work independently, and an openness to learning new skills and ideas will find the work deeply satisfying and tremendously rewarding.  

Our Program

Established in 1982, the Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture Program at Georgia Tech is one of the largest and most expansive programs of its kind in the United States, with approximately thirty students in residence pursuing their Ph.D. coursework or completing their dissertation research. A diverse faculty of scholars and researchers advise students in one of the following four areas of specialization.

Bird's eye view of cul desacs, supergrids, and curvilinear grids for Atlanta, New York, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.

Architecture, Culture, and Behavior

Ph.D. student and Tarek Rakha fly a drone in the Hinman Courtyard

Building Design Technology

CULC Installation in the Clough Undergraduate Student Learning Commons

Design Computation

Heather Hyde Minor speaking at the Historic Academy of Medicine

History, Theory, Criticism

Rendering of an active mixed-use waterfront development in the evening

Our Ph.D. Process

Students devote most of their time in close individual work with a faculty advisor in one of these areas of specialization. The course of studies allows students considerable room to define their own course work, which can be taken both within the school as well as in other departments. Once the course work is completed, studies become practice oriented—most of the student time is spent in actual research, either on their own topic, or contributing to faculty-led research projects. The students’ progress towards the degree is charted through a series of qualifying milestones.

After identifying a topic of research within their area of specialization, students develop a preliminary research paper to demonstrate the ability to frame and describe a scholarly topic, pass a comprehensive exam that tests their mastery of both depth and breadth of knowledge in their field of study, and, finally, produce and orally defend a dissertation that makes a demonstrable original contribution to their area of study. Along the way, they are expected to produce scholarly publications and make presentations of their work to fellow researchers and scholars. A distinctive feature of our program is the availability of opportunities to teach, both as preceptors and assistants, but also as independent instructors.

Your Prospects

Ph.D. studies are a natural springboard for academic positions. The majority of the graduates from our programs have gone on to academic careers both in the US and internationally, often making quick promotion to leadership positions. The training to do independent work, to think abstractly, and to handle technical literature has also provided a strong general foundation for some graduates to find work in areas beyond architecture. Career pathways of our graduates are shaped to some extent on their areas of concentration. About 90% of graduates who specialized in History, Theory, and Criticism and Architecture, Culture, and Behavior areas of concentration in the last five years have teaching and research positions in institutes of higher education both in the Unites States and abroad; others have found positions as research leaders in industry, in firms involved with architecture and construction, product manufacturing, and cultural resource management. Students who specialized in Design Computing and Building Technology streams were split more evenly between academia and industry, with about 40% of the graduates in these areas in the last five years finding jobs in industry and in leading national research laboratories.

It is in the nature of research in any field to be at the cutting-edge of disciplinary development. The graduates of a research program should, therefore, expect come away not just with competence in a subject matter and ability to solve problems, but also the knowledge and ability to think of ways to advance ideas, techniques, and methods in their discipline. This is a remarkably fortuitous time to those who seeks to do just this in architecture. Recent developments in computational technology, in our ability to collect vast amount of behavioral and user data, in techniques of machine learning and data analysis, and in our ability to design and build highly complex forms using automated algorithmic processes, are not only creating an unprecedented appetite for research within architecture, but they are also erasing traditional sub-disciplinary boundaries between different areas of work. Beyond career opportunities, therefore, ambitious graduates of the program will also find themselves well positioned to make foundational contributions to a discipline that is in an excitingly formative stage.

Student Support

Our program is able to offer a limited number of research and teaching assistantships to students as a way to support their studies. Graduate teaching assistantships (GRAs) offer a stipend and cover the tuition for the semesters for which they are awarded; the stipend is given at either 1/3 time (15 hrs per week) or at ½ time (20 hrs per week) depending upon the requirements of the course to which they are assigned. Determination of the positions and selection is made every Spring by the school administration with recommendations from the faculty teaching the courses for which assistantships are available and from the students’ advisors. The selection criteria include academic performance, possession of knowledge and skills required to fulfill the tutoring, mentoring, or grading duties required for the assistantship, and evidence that the student can handle their duties responsibly.

Opportunities for Graduate Research Assistantships arise from sponsored research projects undertaken by the faculty. They may be also offered at either 1/3 time (15 hrs per week) or at ½ time (20 hrs per week) according to the needs of the faculty member offering the award. The selection for GRA positions is made by the individual faculty members according to their requirements. There is no formal common procedure to apply for these positions.

Each year the program offers the Presidents’ Fellowship to one selected student who has been offered a GRA or a GTA. The fellowship includes a stipend given over and above the tuition and stipend that come with the assistantship. There is no application for this award; selection is made on merit by the school administration on the recommendation of the PhD advising faculty. The fellowship is restricted to US citizens or permanent residents.

Each year the School of Architecture hosts approximately 60 Design and Planning firms at a joint career fair with the School of City and Regional Planning. This fair is open to all students from freshmen level undergraduate students, Masters students and PhD students. Many students receive summer internships, full year internships as well as permanent positions as a result of their participating in the fair. This provides the students with a direct line for employment opportunities all around the US, with participating firms.

About 70 % of the current students have GTA support, and the remaining are self-funded or received support for external sources.

Additional information about Graduate Assistantships, fellowships, loans, and off-campus employment options is available on the Office of Graduate Studies site . For more information on demographics, admissions, and time-to-degree for doctoral students in our program, go to Doctoral Student Statistics . Enter ‘Architecture’ as a term in the search criteria box.”

Meet our Ph.D. Students

Doctoral students in the School of Architecture develop knowledge and technologies that enhance design imagination and the design process. Learn more about our current Ph.D. students here.

Hourglass shape metal structure

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Phd / ms in architecture.

Vanessa Grossman lecturing in front of an audience

Welcome to the PENN Ph.D. and MS Programs in Architecture. Our graduate group faculty, candidates, students, and alumni welcome you to our website, eager to share with you their commitment to advanced research in architecture. Each in their own way seeks to cultivate knowledge, awareness, and invention in one of the oldest academic disciplines. Dedicated to thinking and making, as well as to critical questions and inventive solutions, the PENN Ph.D. and MS Architecture community invites you to join us. 

Read a letter from the Chair

Degree Programs

The latest in phd / ms in architecture.

Wadha Almutawa defense

Meet the People of PhD Architecture

Trubiano photographed in front of greenery facing camera in daylight

Dissertations

Dissertations in preparation.

The New Alchemists Poster

Dissertations Defended

Sanctuary of Zeus at Ancient Nemea, view capturing the impression of the Temple of Zeus and sacred grove relation in ancient time. At the foreground is the restored temple’s east facade with ramp access and the remains of the long altar, at the background vegetation that includes cypress trees. The position of the trees that are seen today is not exactly that of antiquity, photo by Antonios Thodis. «The copyright of the depicted monuments belongs to the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports (ν.3028/2002)»

Past Events

student waving Cal flag

Architecture PhD

The department offers an accredited professional Master of Architecture (MArch), a post-professional Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD), Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees.

Master of Architecture (MArch)

The Master of Architecture program is designed to provide students seeking their first accredited professional degree with a comprehensive and challenging education leading to the practice of architecture. Graduate students have the flexibility to choose a variety of paths within a two-to-three-year rigorous program, depending upon previous education and experience. The department makes no restriction as to the field of undergraduate preparation. However, the length of the required residence period, the number of required semester course units, and the specific list of required courses may vary depending upon undergraduate major, professional and other work experience, and previous graduate study, if any. The placement into the program will be decided by the Master of Architecture Committee upon reviewing the application.

Master of Advanced Architectural Design (MAAD)

STUDIO ONE is a one-year post-professional design studio intended for those who have a professional (Bachelor or Master of Architecture) degree, and who wish to continue to explore current design issues in a stimulating, rigorous, and experimental studio setting. Students who complete the program will receive a non-accredited Master of Advanced Architectural Design degree. The two-semester studio course is at the core of the program and is integrated with required seminars, lectures, and workshops in design theory, history, urbanism, digital applications, and building technology.

Master of Science (MS)

This researched-based, non-professional degree program offers the opportunity for advanced research in specialized areas within the increasingly complex subfields within architecture, preparing students for a range of careers. The degree emphasizes coursework and supervised independent research in one of the following areas of study: Building Science, Technology and Sustainability or History, Theory and Society . The undergraduate degrees of our entering M.S. students are diverse, including architecture, history, engineering, environmental sciences, or a range of other disciplines related to the built environment.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

This advanced research-based degree prepares students with outstanding academic records for careers in teaching and scholarship in architecture and its related areas, or in roles in government or private companies and organizations that require specialization and experience in research. The program emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach of both depth and breadth as part of the students formal coursework and original research. The student defines their specialty (the basis for the dissertation), in one of the following areas of study: Building Science, Technology and Sustainability or History, Theory and Society .

Contact Info

[email protected]

232 Bauer Wurster Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720

At a Glance

Department(s)

Architecture

Admit Term(s)

Application Deadline

January 5, 2024

Degree Type(s)

Doctoral / PhD

Degree Awarded

GRE Requirements

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  • Current Students

PhD in Architecture

The Ph.D. in Architecture offers candidates opportunities to develop and deepen their education in 3 important ways:

  • Enhancing research and analytical skills with rigorous methods of inquiry and synthesis;
  • Acquiring advanced knowledge specific to their area(s) of inquiry through comprehensive scholarly investigations and distinguished documentation; and
  • Developing the ability to communicate knowledge in a clear and eloquent manner.

To realize this goal, the faculty has made a commitment to create, along with doctoral students, a climate in which scholarship and creativity can flourish. Underlying the advanced study of architecture at KU is an ethic regarding architectural inquiry and architectural practice; one that sustains the question, “What ought we do as architects and researchers to enhance the quality of life on this planet?” Examples of inquiry at KU that exemplify this underlying question are

  • Progressive models of practice embracing evidence-based design and design-build practices;
  • Affordable housing with a sensitive aesthetic;
  • Material investigations to create more affordable and sustainable building practices;
  • Rigorous evaluations of built artifacts to inform better design practice;
  • Translation of empirical findings of person-place interaction research into design guidelines; and
  • Critical perspectives on human settlement patterns.

Our research is founded on an ethical position. We are not involved in research simply to generate knowledge for its own sake but rather to improve the human condition through more thoughtful built form. The overall focus is on developing understanding that may inform the critical delivery processes by which humane architecture is created.

Note : Contact your department or program for more information about the Research and Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement for doctoral students.

This degree requires a minimum of 49 credits and is for students seeking to enhance the body of knowledge in the discipline of architecture. Because of this desire, Ph.D. students at KU are viewed as colleagues and collaborators with our faculty and as such, as valuable resources. The degree prepares students for careers in academia, consulting, practice-based research, or work in the public sector.

Concentration Areas

The Architecture, Culture, and Behavior concentration investigates the social, cultural, political, and psychological dimensions of designed environments within a broad interdisciplinary framework, using a range of qualitative and quantitative methodological approaches. Within this concentration, students could inquire into a variety of research questions related to diverse types of architectural, urban, and geographical settings. Research topics may include, among others, issues related to: architectural education; housing and community designs; social justice in design; psychological aspects in designed environments ; programming and post-occupancy evaluation of designed environments; nexus between organizational culture and space; architectural and urban morphology; social aspects in sustainable design; cultural heritage preservation and management; traditional settlement studies; urban design and development; and international development and globalization.

Students are highly encouraged to pursue advanced theory and methodology courses offered in the fields of humanities and social sciences, in addition to those offered in the School of Architecture & Design in order to develop an interdisciplinary intellectual context for their research inquiries. 

The faculty members serving on the committees of our students in this area are:

  • Dr. Hui Cai
  • Dr. Nisha Fernando
  • Dr. Farhan Karim
  • Dr. Marie-Alice L’Heureux
  • Dr. Mahbub Rashid
  • Dr. Kapila Silva
  • Prof. Kent Spreckelmeyer, D. Arch., FAIA

A list of recommended courses for our students in Architecture, Culture, & Behavior:

  • ABSC 798: Conceptual Foundations of Behavior Analysis
  • ABSC 831: Science of Human Behavior
  • ABSC 935: Experimental Foundations of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • ANTH 695: Cultural Ecology
  • ANTH 732: Discourse Analysis
  • ANTH 775: Seminar in Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 783: Doing Ethnography
  • ANTH 788: Symbol Systems
  • ANTH 794: Material Culture
  • C&T 907: Critical Pedagogies
  • ELPS 777: Problems in Contemporary Educational Theory
  • ELPS 831: Sociology of Education
  • ELPS 871: Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • ELPS 948: Research in Education Policy and Leadership
  • EVRN 620: Environmental Politics and Policy
  • EVRN 656: Ecosystem Ecology
  • EVRN 701: Climate Change, Ecological Change, and Social Change
  • EVRN 720: Topics in Environmental Studies
  • GEOG 670: Cultural Ecology
  • GEOG 751: Analysis of Regional Development
  • GEOG 772: Problems in Political Geography
  • GEOG 773: Humanistic Geography
  • GIST 701: Approaches to International Studies
  • GIST 702: Globalization
  • HIST 898: Colloquium in Material Culture and History
  • HIST 901: Research Seminar in Global History
  • HWC 775: Advanced Study in the Body and Senses
  • ISP 814: Decolonizing Narratives
  • PHIL 622: Philosophy of Social Science
  • PHIL 850: Topics in Recent Philosophy
  • POLS 961: The Politics of Culturally Plural Societies
  • POLS 978: Advanced Topics in International Relations Theory
  • POLS 981: Global Development
  • PSYC 693: Multivariate Analysis
  • PSYC 790: Statistical Methods in Psychology I
  • PSYC 791: Statistical Methods in Psychology II
  • PSYC 818: Experimental Research Methods in Social Psychology
  • PSYC 882: Theory and Method for Research of Human Environments
  • PUAD 836: Introduction to Quantitative Methods
  • PUAD 937: Qualitative Methods in Public Administration
  • SOC 803: Issues in Contemporary Theory
  • SOC 804: Sociology of Knowledge
  • SOC 812: Analytic Methods in Sociology
  • SOC 813: Field Methods and Participant Observation
  • SOC 875: The Political Economy of Globalization
  • SW 730: Human Behavior in the Social Environment
  • SW 847: Grant Writing and Fundraising
  • SW 979: Methods of Qualitative Inquiry
  • SW 981: Advance Quantitative Research Methods
  • SW 988: Mixing Methods in Social science Research
  • WGSS 600: Contemporary Feminist Political Theory
  • WGSS 801: Feminist Theory
  • WGSS 802: Feminist Methodologies

Growing evidence has demonstrated strong links between the built environment and human health and wellness. The Health & Wellness program at the school of Architecture & Design at the University of Kansas, including both the professional program and the PhD concentration, is one of the strongest programs in the nation that is dedicated to research and design education about environments for health and wellness. It is built on close collaborations between an interdisciplinary team of faculty, affiliated professionals, and several academic and research programs (including the University of Kansas Center for Sustainability, Gerontology Center at the Life Span Institute, Health Policy and Management at the School of Medicine and School of Nursing, and Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at School of Engineering).

The goal of the concentration is to use evidence-based design approaches to study the impacts of design on human health and wellness. The scope varies at multiple scales, from object, to room, to building and site, to entire communities.

This concentration provides students with the theoretical, technical and applied knowledge and skills to prepare them for academic and professional careers to promote human wellness in a variety of building types (e.g. healthcare, senior care, office, education, recreation). The curriculum focuses on developing skills in quantitative and qualitative research on health-related design. In addition, PhD students may also consider participating in the seven-month health and wellness professional internship, which is currently offered in the professional program.

Some topics that students may investigate in this program are:

  • Inpatient and ambulatory healthcare facilities
  • Environments for special populations
  • Natural or built environments that enhance human wellness
  • Environments that support healthy and productive workplaces
  • Neighborhoods that improve the physical, social and cultural health of the community
  • Prof. Kent Spreckelmeyer, D.Arch, Emeritus FAIA
  • Frank Zilm, D.Arch, FAIA
  • Dr. Herminia Machry

Recommended Health and Wellness courses include:

  • ARCH 600: Evidence-based Design in Healthcare Facilities
  • ARCH 731: Architecture of Health

Some other courses currently offered to health and wellness professional program may be available to PhD students:

  • ARCH 807: Healthy and Sustainable Environments Internship
  • ARCH 692: Documentation (in conjunction with ARCH 807)
  • ARCH 808: Healthy and Sustainable Environments Capstone Studio

The Building Performance & Design Computation concentration examines the crossroads of building science (lighting, acoustics, thermal, energy conservation, air quality) and design. Studies in this area seek to advance knowledge improving building occupant well-being and environmental sustainability through optimized building design. Research may require both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, often involving both physical testing and numerical simulation of the built environment.

Courses within the department are augmented by courses offered in other university units such as engineering, psychology, planning, and computer science. 

  • Dr. Dilshan Remaz Ossen 
  • Dr. Francesco Carota
  • Dr. Gustavo Garcia do Amaral 
  • Dr. Jae Chang
  • Dr. Hongyi Cai
  • Dr. Hugo Sheward
  • Dr. Keith Van de Riet
  • Dr. Tzu-Chieh Kurt Hong
  • Dr. Xiaobo Quan

A list of recommended courses for our students in Building Performance & Design Computation:

  • ARCE 650: Illumination Engineering
  • ARCE 660: Building Thermal Science
  • ARCE 750: Daylighting
  • ARCE 751: Advanced Lighting Design
  • ARCE 752: Lighting Measurement and Design
  • ARCE 760: Automatic Controls for Building Mechanical Systems
  • ARCE 764: Advanced Thermal Analysis of Buildings
  • SW 847: Grant-writing and Fundraising
  • UBPL 738: Environmental Planning Techniques

The aim of History Theory and Criticism concentration is to produce cutting-edge scholarship in the field of architectural history, philosophy and theory. The courses in this concentration offers a wide ranges of topics that includes architectural historiography, discourse analysis, analytical methodology, critical survey of architectural history around the globe, and the emerging issues that set the current philosophical and disciplinary debates. Allied faculty members and research students investigates the socio, political, philosophical and material context of architecture to understand the broader shifts of the discipline and its impact on society, and vice versa over time. The main goal of this research cluster is to identify and use novel research methods in architectural history and theory to understand the relationship among changing social dynamics, evolving technology, and built environment. 

Students are highly encouraged to pursue advanced theory and methodology courses offered in the fields of humanities and social sciences, in addition to those offered in the School of Architecture, Design, and Planning, in order to develop an interdisciplinary intellectual context for their research inquiries.

A list of recommended courses for our students in History, Theory, & Criticism in Architecture

  • ARCH 540: Global History of Architecture I
  • ARCH 541: Global History of Architecture II
  • ARCH 542: History of Architecture III
  • ARCH 600: Spaces of Poverty
  • ARCH 600: Postcolonial Architecture
  • ARCH 600: HyperHistory: Digital technology and architectural historiography
  • ARCH 600: History of American Architecture
  • ARCH 600: Global Cities
  • ARCH 600: Theory of Vernacular Architecture
  • ARCH 630: Theory and Context of Architecture
  • ARCH 665: History of Urban Design.
  • UBPL 522: History of the American City I
  • UBPL 722: History of the American City II
  • HIST 302/303: The Historian's Craft
  • HIST 303: Sin Cities
  • HIST 660: Biography of a City
  • HA 305/505: Introduction to Islamic Art and Architecture
  • HA 536: Islamic Art and Architecture in Africa
  • HA 310: The Art and Architecture of Florence and Paris
  • HA 311: The Art and Architecture of the British Isles
  • HA 508: The Italian Renaissance Home

Program Details

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PhD Building Technology

Phd computation, graduate programs.

architecture phd usa

Degree Requirements

See an overview of sa+p groups and chart of all degree programs.

Details below for each graduate program’s degree requirements:

  • PhD- Building Technology
  • PhD- Computation
  • PhD- History and Theory of Architecture; and the History and Theory of Art

See MArch program overview

March curriculum chart.

Those who are admitted to MArch require 3½ academic years of residency to fulfill the degree requirements.

Faculty Advising

A faculty advisor with a design background will be assigned to each MArch student before the first term of registration. The advisor will monitor the student’s progress through completion of the degree. 

Subjects and Credit Units

The MArch is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of 282 graduate units and an acceptable 24-unit thesis for 306 total graduate credits.

Subjects required for the 3½-year program include the following:

  • Six architectural design studios (3 core studios and 3 research studios)
  • Geometric Disciplines and Architectural Skills I (4.105)
  • One Computation restricted elective (4.117, 4.511, 4.521, or 4.567) 
  • Three Building Technology subjects (4.464, 4.462, and 4.463)
  • Architectural Assemblies (4.123)
  • Precedents in Critical Practice (4.210)
  • Professional Practice (4.222)
  • Architecture from 1750 to the Present (4.645)
  • One History, Theory and Criticism restricted elective (4.607, 4.612, 4.621, 4.647, 4.241, or 4.652)
  • One History, Theory and Criticism elective
  • One Computation/Media Lab elective (4.5xx or MAS.xxx)
  • Urban Design elective (11.xxx)
  • ACT elective (4.3xx)
  • Three open elective subjects (or 24 total credits)
  • Preparation for MArch Thesis (4.189)
  • Graduate Design Thesis (4.ThG)

Credit for Previous Academic Work

MArch students who have successfully completed the equivalent of one or more required architecture subjects outside MIT (or within MIT as undergraduates) may be given advanced credit for those subjects by submitting a petition for curriculum adjustment with as much relevant material as possible (including a transcript, syllabi, reading lists, problem sets, paper assignments, or portfolios). Petitions are submitted to [email protected] before the first day of class each term and are then reviewed by the MArch Program Committee by the end of the first month of term. The Committee is composed of one faculty member from each of the discipline groups. Depending on the subject for which MIT credit is requested, students may substitute an elective in the discipline group or substitute a free elective. All requests must be resolved by the beginning of the student's penultimate semester. 

A single course at MIT must be specified for each petition (a Petition for Curriculum Adjustment cannot simply indicate “ACT Elective/4.3xx). However, a single petition may use several classes to map onto a single MIT course (i.e., Photography I and Fundamentals of Filmmaking at an undergraduate institution that together seem to cover what MIT's Introduction to Photography and Related Media course indicates).

Alternate Course Petitions

MArch students may submit a petition for an alternate course to be considered for required coursework (i.e., all non-Open Electives). Submit as much relevant material as possible (syllabi, reading lists, problem sets, paper assignments, or portfolios) to [email protected] before the first day of class each term. Please indicate the course title, number, credit units, and for which required course you are requesting the alternate course be substituted. These requests are then reviewed by the MArch Program Committee by the end of the first month of term. The Committee is composed of one faculty member from each of the discipline groups. All requests must be resolved by the beginning of the penultimate semester. *Note: Alternate Coursework Petitions asking for an Independent Study to count towards an elective will not be entertained.

Please note Restricted Electives (COMP: 4.117, 4.511, 4.521, or 4.567 and HTC: 4.241, 4.607, 4.612, 4.621, 4.647, or 4.652) may not be fulfilled by cross registration.

English Proficiency Requirement

An Institute-wide requirement, all students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in the English Language Studies Program  (ELS), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units, but will prove helpful to students who need to develop the skills necessary to write a thesis.

Faculty advisors may not waive these requirements for their advisees, and students may not defer registration in any English grammar review subject. They should take the courses within their first term or year. The most common results from the EET for Architecture students are to take the following two courses, and they must be taken in sequence:

  • To be completed in the first term, for a letter grade only.
  • To be completed in the second term; may be taken as optional P/D/F grading, but not as Listener status.

However, MArch students are exempted from the Advanced Writing Workshop course, due to the nature of their research and thesis work, unless otherwise flagged by their instructors and MArch faculty. Failure to take these required courses will result in an internal registration hold being placed on your account. 

Jumpstart  

MIT Architecture's Jumpstart is designed to prepare incoming MArch students for the rigors of the first design studio and to develop basic skills. The course is intended for students with little architectural studio experience but is also open to others who would benefit from introductory exposure to unfamiliar software. Jumpstart is created for our MArch student community by our MArch student community. This experience is taught through exercises that have been handed down from year to year and taught by our esteemed teaching fellows (recent graduates).

Policy on Incomplete Subjects and Thesis Semester

MArch students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have incompletes from several subjects or incompletes from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This policy applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or necessary for units toward the degree. 

Academic Audits

A chart indicating progress through the academic requirements will be maintained as part of each student’s file. The administrator of master’s degree programs will distribute this audit to students and to faculty advisors each term.

Thesis Preparation and Thesis

An MArch thesis at MIT operates as an independent thesis project, interrogating the discipline of architecture. The thesis is developed by the student and is supported by a committee of readers and an advisor. In the next-to-last term of registration (the semester prior to thesis), students enroll in Preparation for MArch Thesis (4.189). This course guides students towards declaring a thesis statement as well as forming the thesis committee. The result of this 9-unit subject is a thesis proposal.

The MArch thesis committee is composed of two members. The thesis advisor must be an eligible faculty member* of the Department of Architecture faculty with an architecture design background. Co-thesis supervision is permitted for dual degree students as long as one of the supervisors is a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty with an architecture design background. Download the Thesis Committee Guidelines here .

*A list of eligible faculty is available from the degree administrator.

MArch students are required to register for 24 units of thesis (4.THG) the final term. 

The thesis proposal, including a thesis proposal form signed by both thesis committee members, is due the first week of the term in which the student registers for thesis.

The MArch Thesis Review Schedule includes deadlines for proposal review, public mid-review, penultimate review, final review, and final thesis document.

The MArch degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met and the approved, archival-ready thesis has been submitted to the Department of Architecture by the Institute deadline for master’s theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar . Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

SMArchS degree requirement chart

The SMArchS degree may be pursued in one of six areas:

Architectural Design Urbanism Building Technology Design and Computation History Theory + Criticism Aga Khan Program in Islamic Architecture

With one of these areas as an intellectual home, students are encouraged to explore connections in their research across these areas, and beyond to other programs and departments throughout MIT. See the SMArchS degree requirement chart for information on the degree requirements for each of the six areas.

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMArchS program is two full academic years, to be completed in four consecutive semesters of enrollment.

A faculty advisor from the Department of Architecture is assigned to each SMArchS student at matriculation. The advisor weighs in on the student's initial plan of study and on each subsequent term's choice of subjects. This individual should be a faculty member with whom the student is in close contact. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

The SMArchS degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Individual areas have slightly different requirements. See below for more information. 

English Proficiency Requirement 

All students whose first language is not English are required to take the  English Evaluation Test (EET)  prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in  the English Language Studies Program (ELS), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units but will prove helpful to students who need to develop the skills necessary to write a thesis.

Faculty advisors may not waive these requirements for their advisees, and students may not defer registration in any English grammar review subject. Students should take the courses within their first term or year. The most common result for Architecture students are to take either the following two courses or only the secondary course. When both are recommended, they must be taken in sequence:

  • To be completed in the first term, for a letter grade only.
  • To be completed in the second term; may be taken as optional P/D/F grading, but not as Listener status.

SMArchS students may have no more than one incomplete in a required subject when they register for thesis (4.THG). This incomplete can be no older than one term (received the term prior to thesis registration).

Students who have unresolved grades (incomplete, missing, or O/X) from several subjects or unresolved grades from earlier terms will be denied registration until those subjects are finished and graded. This  policy  applies to incompletes in subjects required by the degree curriculum or needed for units toward the degree as well as all O/X grades. 

SMArchS Thesis Preparation and Thesis Schedule

Thesis preparation.

Students enroll in Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their third term of registration.

By Week 7, students finalize selecting a thesis advisor. The result of this 9-unit subject is a well-formulated thesis proposal and a department-scheduled presentation of the thesis proposal at the end of the term. By Week 14, students must submit an e/signed copy of the thesis proposal form and thesis proposal to the degree administrator for master's programs. Once the SMArchS Committee has approved the thesis proposals in consultation with the thesis advisor, students are permitted to register for thesis the following semester. Any student who is not able to produce an acceptable thesis proposal by the end of their penultimate term will be given until the end of IAP to produce a thesis proposal. If the proposal is still not acceptable, the student will be required to retake Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (4.288) their fourth term of registration.

The SMArchS thesis committee is composed of at least two and no more than three members. The thesis advisor must be permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of the Department of Architecture or a related department at MIT. The optional third member (second reader) may be any member of the MIT faculty or research staff, an outside professional, or a faculty member from another institution.

Co-thesis supervision is permitted as long as one of the advisors in a permanent member of the Department of Architecture faculty.

SMArchS students who have an approved thesis proposal are required to register for 36 units of thesis (4.THG) in their fourth and final term.

During Week 7 (before Spring Vacation), each discipline area will schedule the thesis review for its students. At the review, students will submit a draft or prototype or complete conceptual design of the thesis to their thesis committee, and reviewers from across the discipline areas will attend the reviews. If a student's progress is not satisfactory, the student will not be permitted to present at the final review.

During Week 11, SMArchS students will submit one copy of the thesis book to their thesis committees and meet with their thesis committees to formally defend the thesis.

NOTE: The Week 11 defense is a penultimate review. Presenting at the Final Review is seen as a privilege, not a right. Faculty is under no compunction to pass inadequate work. If a student's work is found wanting, the student will not be allowed to present at the public final review. The committee may decide not to pass the thesis or, alternatively, pass it only after the student undertakes additional work to meet targets set by the committee (on a date agreed on by the latter). An extension beyond the academic year will only be granted in response to a written petition by the student concerned. The petition must be addressed to the SMArchS Committee, upon which the committee will reach a decision in consultation with the thesis advisor.

By Week 14, students will submit a digital copy of the final approved, archival-ready thesis to the  Department of Architecture thesis portal. Consult the SMArchS Degree Administrator to confirm the thesis submission deadline, which is prior to the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar.  Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

The SMArchS thesis final presentations are scheduled by the Department during the last week of the term (Week 15). These presentations, also known as Final Reviews, are made to the Department of Architecture community, faculty, students, and invited external reviewers.

The SMArchS degree is awarded after all the degree requirements have been met and after the approved, archival-ready thesis has been submitted to and approved by the headquarters of the Department of Architecture.

SMArchS Design

The SMArchS Design degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

Students, with their advisors, construct individual programs of study focused on their particular interests. Subjects that must be taken include the following:

  • 4.221, Architecture Studies Colloquium (1st term) 
  • 4.130, Architecture Design Theory and Methodologies (1st term)
  • Six subjects within the student’s area of interest
  • Thesis Preparation: 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (12 units, 2nd term)
  • Thesis: 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

SMArchS Urbanism

The SMArchS Urbanism degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

  • 4.228, Contemporary Urbanism Proseminar: Theory and Representation (1st term) 
  • 4.163J, Urban Design Studio (1st term)
  • In Urbanism, two of these subjects must be 4.241J, The Making of Cities, and one approved Option Design Studio or a second 4.163J, Urban Design Studio
  • Pre-Thesis Preparation: 4.286, SMArchS-URB Pre-Thesis Preparation (2nd term)
  • Thesis Preparation: 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (9 units, 3rd term) 
  • Thesis: Graduate Thesis, 4.THG (final term)

SMArchS Building Technology

The SMArchS Building Technology degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

  • 4.481, Building Technology Seminar (1st term)
  • Thesis Preparation: 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis (9 units, 3rd term) 

SMArchS Computation

The SMArchS Computation degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

  • 4.580, Inquiry into Computation and Design (1st term)
  • Pre-Thesis Preparation: 4.587, SMArchS-COMP Pre-Thesis Preparation (2nd term)
  • Thesis Preparation: 4.588, Preparation for SMArchS COMP Thesis (3rd term) 

SMArchS HTC / AKPIA

The SMArchS History Theory + Criticism degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

  • 4.661, Theory and Method in the Study of Architecture + Art (HTC students are required to take this subject both fall terms of their residency, 1st & 3rd terms) 
  • Pre-Thesis Preparation: 4.688, SMArchS-HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation (2nd term)

The SMArchS Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture degree is awarded upon satisfactory completion of an approved program of at least 96 graduate units and an acceptable thesis. 

  • 4.619, Historiography of Islamic Art + Architecture
  • 4.621, Orientalism, Colonialism + Representation
  • in AKPIA, one of these subjects must be 4.612, Islamic Architecture + the Environment 
  • Pre-Thesis Preparation: 4.686, SMArchS-AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation (2nd term)
  • 4.THG, Graduate Thesis (final term)

See SMACT program overview

Smact degree requirements.

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMACT program is two academic years. SMACT students do not register for summer term.

A faculty advisor from the Art, Culture and Technology Program is assigned to each SMACT student at matriculation. The advisor will consult on the student's initial plan of study and on each subsequent term's choice of subjects. This individual should be a faculty member with whom the student is in close contact; changes in advisor may be made to make this possible. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

A minimum of 135 units of graduate-level coursework is required, not including thesis. Subjects to be taken:

  • 4.390 Art, Culture and Technology Studio is taken each of the four terms of enrollment in the program 
  • Two ACT graduate subjects, one of which must be taken with an ACT core faculty member
  • Two elective subjects that support student's area of study
  • 4.387, SMACT Theory & Criticism Colloquium, taken during first term
  • 4.388, SMACT Thesis Preparation, taken during second term
  • 4.389 SMACT Thesis Tutorial, taken during third term
  • 4.THG, Thesis (registration for thesis), taken during fourth term

Art, Culture and Technology Studio

Art, Culture and Technology Studio (4.390) is restricted to SMACT degree students and serves as the core of the curriculum. It is coordinated by an ACT faculty member and involves the participation of all faculty currently advising SMACT candidates. Students are expected to participate in all class meetings. Attendance at the ACT Lecture Series and other ACT events is expected.

SMACT Thesis

For requirements, timeline, and updates, please visit the ArchThesis Website .

See SMBT program overview

Smbt requirements form.

The minimum required residency for students enrolled in the SMBT program is three terms, one of which may be a summer term. However, many take two academic years to complete all the requirements.

Each student in Building Technology is assigned a faculty advisor at matriculation. The advisor weighs in on the student's initial plan of study and on each subsequent term's choice of subjects. This individual should be a faculty member with whom the student is in close contact; changes can be made to make this possible. The advisor monitors the student's progress through completion of the degree.

A Report of Completed SMBT Requirements form is kept by the degree administrator in the headquarters of the Department of Architecture. It is the student's responsibility to work with the thesis advisor to keep this report updated and on file.

A minimum of 66 units of graduate-level coursework is required. Credit received for thesis (4.THG) registration does not count toward this minimum.

Subjects to be taken include the following:

  • 4.481, Building Technology Seminar, taken in the fall of the first year of registration. It is expected that the thesis proposal will be a product of this subject.
  • 2 subjects in a single field of specialization (major), chosen from thermal science, structures, materials, controls, lighting, or systems analysis.
  • 1 subject from another field of specialization (minor) in Building Technology. Other fields may also be accepted for specialization with advisor approval.
  • 1 subject in applied mathematics.
  • Thesis registration, 4.THG, is allowed only if the thesis proposal has been approved and the Report of Completed SMBT Requirements has been submitted.

A thesis is required for the SMBT degree. The topic is selected from a subject currently being investigated by the faculty, and research is carried out under the direct supervision of a faculty member in the program. This faculty member will be the student's advisor and must approve the thesis proposal prior to thesis registration. Thesis readers are optional.

The SMBT is awarded after a digital copy of the defended, approved, archival-ready thesis has been submitted to Department of Architecture headquarters by the Institute deadline for master's theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specification for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in  the English Language Studies Program (ELS), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units, but will prove helpful to students who need to develop the skills necessary to write a thesis.

Faculty advisors may not waive these requirements for their advisees, and students may not defer registration in any English grammar review subject. They should take the courses within their first term or year. The most common result for Architecture students are to take either the following two courses, or only the secondary course. When both are recommended, they must be taken in sequence:

See BT/PhD program overview

Bt/phd requirements.

It is the student's responsibility to fill out the appropriate section of the Report of Completed BT/PhD Requirements upon completion of the requirements listed below. This document is submitted to the degree administrator and kept in the student's official departmental file. The degree administrator informs the MIT registrar when the degree requirements have been fulfilled.

Qualifying Paper

The qualifying paper, which often emerges from the Building Technology Seminar (4.481), should demonstrate the student's potential for work at a high standard of scholarship. The paper must be completed and accepted by the dissertation committee before a student can continue to the general examination. Insufficiencies in the qualifying paper may require remedial subject work on the part of the student.

Dissertation Proposal

The PhD dissertation is a major work that makes an original scholarly contribution to the field of investigation. Most BT/PhD dissertation research will be a portion of a sponsored research project. The dissertation is the main focus of the doctoral program and the primary indicator of a PhD student's ability to carry out significant independent research. The Building Technology dissertation must result in advances in the state of the art that are worthy of publication in a respected technical journal in the field.

Approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal submitted to the dissertation committee no later than the end of the second term of registration. Once the proposal has been approved, the student may register for Graduate Thesis (4.THG).

Coursework: Major and Minor Fields

Coursework is selected in consultation with the faculty advisor. A normal registration load is 36 units, which would be a combination of specific subjects and research. Though the core group of subjects will be within the department, students are encouraged to take outside subjects. Building Technology Seminar (4.481) is the only specific subject required for the degree and is taken during the student's first term. Typically a student's program will include at least five graduate subjects in the major field and three in the minor field. Preparation for Building Technology PhD Thesis (4.489) is used as registration for research until the dissertation proposal has been approved. After that point, Graduate Thesis (4.THG) is used as registration for research.

General Examination

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to determine whether the student possesses the attributes of a doctoral candidate: mastery of the disciplines of importance to building technology and ingenuity and skill in identifying and solving unfamiliar problems. The examination consists of two parts. (1) A demonstration of mastery in three areas through coursework and (2) a presentation of research as explained below.

Subject Area Mastery Allowable subjects are listed in Discipline areas for the Building Technology PhD General Exam / Record of subject mastery . To pass the subject area mastery portion of the doctoral general exam, students must earn three As and one B (or four As) in at least four subjects chosen across three of the seven areas from Table 1. Substitutions of subjects not included in the table will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require approval from all BT faculty.

Research Presentation The research presentation exam will take place over 120 minutes, and should include a 45 minute formal presentation by the doctoral student, followed by 45-60 minutes of questions and discussion with all BT faculty. The research presented should be ongoing research or recently completed research carried out in Building Technology. The presentation should put the work in context, present research findings and propose future work. It will be evaluated both for intellectual content and for clarity of communication. The discussion portion of the exam led by BT faculty may cover both the presented work specifically as well as a broader range of related topics to gauge the student's familiarity with their research content.

Logistics   Examinations are offered in January (last week of IAP) and May (the week after final exams). Students must obtain permission of their advisor to take the exam. In case a student is working on a multidisciplinary research topic with a significant component falling outside the expertise of any BT faculty, an expert (ideally MIT faculty) representing the topic area should participate in the general exam. The advisor will invite this expert in consultation with the student. All students must complete the coursework and research presentation portions of the exam by the end of their fourth semester in the PhD program. Advisors of PhD students will submit to the BT faculty the proposed plan for coursework completion for each of their advisees at least three months before the research presentation. Students who do not pass may be invited to retake certain subjects or repeat the research presentation, or they may be asked to terminate their enrollment in the PhD program.

Dissertation Defense

A dissertation committee of three or more people, generally assembled in the first semester of registration, supervises research and writing of the dissertation. The student's advisor is always a member of the dissertation committee and typically serves as its chair. The chair must be a member of the Building Technology faculty. In special circumstances, one of the three members of the dissertation committee may be selected from outside the Department of Architecture. The student is responsible for arranging meetings with the committee at least once each term.

A final draft of the completed dissertation must be delivered to each committee member one month prior to the scheduled defense. The dissertation is presented orally in an open meeting of the faculty of the department; at least three faculty members must be present. After the presentation, the dissertation is either accepted or rejected.

The PhD is awarded after two copies of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation have been submitted to the Department of Architecture at its headquarters. The copies must be submitted by the Institute deadline for doctoral theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar . Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Nonresident Research Status

Students are expected to carry out thesis research while in residence at the Institute. It is rare that a PhD candidate in BT will need to apply for nonresident status. However, should a student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation need to continue thesis research in years beyond the awarded funding, he or she may opt to apply for nonresident research status with the permission of the dissertation advisor.

All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in  the English Language Studies Program (ELS), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units, but will prove helpful to students who need to develop the skills necessary to write a dissertation.

See Computation/PhD program overview

Computation/phd requirements.

It is the student's responsibility to fill out the appropriate section of the Report of Completed Computation/PhD Requirements upon completion of the requirements listed below. This document is submitted to the degree administrator and kept in the student's official departmental file. The degree administrator informs the MIT registrar that the degree requirements have been fulfilled.

Subject Work

PhD Students are expected to complete at 144 units of subject work while in residency at MIT. This is usually accomplished over two years by enrolling in an average of 36 units per term, which equals three or four subjects per term. In those special cases where the student is awarded advanced standing at admission, the unit requirement is lowered accordingly. The only specific subject requirement is 4.581 Proseminar in Computation. All other subjects are selected in consultation with the faculty advisor and may be taken both in and out of the Department of Architecture. Registration in 4.THG, Graduate Thesis, does not count toward the 144-unit requirement.

PhD students in Computation are expected to enroll in 4.581, Proseminar in Computation, during their first year in residence. The Proseminar is meant to provide a rigorous grounding in the field with a focus on specific research topics related to architecture and design practice.

Major and Minor Fields

Major and minor fields must be approved by the student's advisory committee, which is selected with the assistance of the advisor in the first year of enrollment. Normally, the minor field requirement will be satisfied by outstanding performance in three related subjects (not less than 27 units). The major field requirement is satisfied upon successful completion of the general examination.

The general examination is given after required subject work is completed and is taken no later than the third year of residency. The general examination is meant to show broad and detailed competence in the student's major field of concentration and supporting areas of study. The content and format of the general examination are decided by the student's advisory committee in consultation with the student. The committee evaluates the examination upon completion and may 1) accept the examination, 2) ask for further evidence of competence, or 3) determine that the examination has not been passed. In the event that the general examination is not passed, the committee may allow the student to repeat the examination or may recommend that the student withdraw from the PhD program.

The PhD dissertation is a major work that makes an original scholarly contribution. It is the main focus of the doctoral program in Design and Computation, and it serves as the primary indicator of a PhD student's ability to carry out significant independent research.

The dissertation committee comprises a minimum of three members — one thesis advisor, who also serves as the dissertation committee chair, and two readers. The chair must be a permanent member of the Computation faculty and the student's advisor. The first reader must be a permanent faculty member of MIT. The second reader may come from Computation or may be a faculty member appointed from outside the department or the Institute. Students may add more members in consultation with their advisor. The student is responsible for arranging meetings with the committee members on a regular basis.

Formal approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal, which the student submits and defends to his or her dissertation committee prior to the completion of the sixth semester of registration. The proposal should contain these elements:

  • General statement of scope of the thesis
  • Significance of the thesis
  • Survey of existing research and literature with critical comments and an assessment of the extent to which this material will be utilized
  • Method of the thesis work
  • Outline or brief sketch of the thesis
  • Working bibliography
  • Resources for primary material
  • Plan of work, including a timetable

An oral examination in which the candidate meets with the dissertation committee to discuss the proposal marks the formal acceptance of the topic. The result of the defense can be that the thesis proposal is accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected.

Students will often register for Preparation for Computation PhD Thesis (4.589) in the term leading up to their proposal defense. Once the proposal has been approved, the student may register for 4.THG, Graduate Thesis. The student may be asked to present his or her dissertation proposal in the class Research Seminar in Computation (4.582).

Students are advised to meet with committee members to obtain comments and guidance throughout the writing phase of the project. Regular contact with committee members during the process of drafting the thesis can ensure a student's readiness for thesis defense. The final draft should be submitted to committee members at least one month prior to the defense. The defense should be scheduled at least two weeks prior to the published Institute PhD thesis deadline.

The dissertation is defended by oral presentation in front of the dissertation committee. At least three faculty members must be present. If a member of the committee is not able to attend, he or she must contact the committee chair with comments and questions. That member must also inform the committee chair of a vote.

The result of the defense can be that the thesis is accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected. If the thesis is accepted with revisions, the student makes the necessary changes to the document and submits them within an agreed time frame to all or some of the committee members. If rejected, the student must re-defend according to a timetable agreed upon at the defense.

The PhD is awarded after a PDF copy of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation has been submitted to the Department of Architecture through the Thesis Submission Portal . The copy must be submitted by the Department  deadline for theses as published on the archthesis website . Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Students are expected to carry out thesis research while in residence at MIT. It is rare that a PhD candidate in Design and Computation will need to apply for nonresident status. However, should a student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation need to continue thesis research in years beyond the awarded funding, he or she may opt to apply for nonresident research status with the permission of the dissertation advisor.

All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in the English Language Studies Program (ELS), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required units, but will prove helpful to students who need to develop the skills necessary to write a dissertation.

See HTC/ PhD program overview

PhD students complete 204 units (not including registration in 4.THG) during their residency at MIT. This is usually accomplished over the first three years of residency by enrolling in an average of 36 units per term, the equivalent of three subjects. The breakdown of required subjects is as follows:

  • 4.661, Methods Seminar, is taken each fall term for first two years—2 x 12 = 24 units
  • Nine subjects completed by the end of the second year: lecture, seminar and/or independent study—9 x 12 = 108 units
  • 4.684 Preparation for HTC Major Exam = 27 units; taken in the 5th semester
  • 4.685 Preparation for HTC Minor Exam = 15 units; taken in the 4th semester
  • 4.689 Preparation for HTC PhD Thesis = 27 units; taken in the 6th semester

Independent study subjects may be taken with advisor approval after the first year of residency. No more than one independent study project may be taken per term, and no more than 12 units may be devoted to any one research project. Registration for an independent study project requires completion of a departmental  Independent Study Project  form, this constitutes a contract for the deadlines and deliverables for the subject and the definition of supervisory involvement.

Advancement to Candidacy

A student is advanced to doctoral candidacy upon completion of the following “hurdles,” which should be completed by the end of the third year 

  • General exam: major field—register for 4.684 (27 credit units)
  • General exam: minor field—register for 4.685 (15 credit units)
  • Language requirement
  • Dissertation proposal—register for 4.689 (15 credit units)

Students are responsible for planning their hurdles in consultation with their advisor in a timely manner, in order to complete degree requirements by the end of semester 6 or the third year. The planner is submitted in the fall of the second year, with updates as needed. The sequence of hurdles completion is determined by the student in consultation with his/her advisor.  All pre-thesis requirements* must be completed and approved by the end of the third year. Failure to complete pre-thesis requirements by the end of the third year (term 7) may result in recommended or required withdrawal from the program.  When the Dissertation Proposal/Prospectus is filed, with all other hurdles completed, the student may enroll in “Thesis,” 4.THG.

Copies of each hurdle are submitted to HTC Staff for filing and completion. The HTC faculty meet at the end of each semester to review student progress in general and advance students to ABD candidacy status. . The degree administrator communicates with the Registrar when degree requirements have been fulfilled, and allows the Institute to certify candidacy.

General Examination: Major and Minor Fields

The fields of examination are set by mutual agreement between the student and their advisor. The purpose is to demonstrate the breadth and depth of the student's critical awareness of the discipline in which he or she works. Most universities, research institutions and other potential employers require assurance that a graduate has areas of competency beyond his or her specialization.

It is strongly recommended that work on the minor exam be completed in three months. The minor exam may cover a different time period from the major exam, or it may have a theoretical focus that complements the historical focus of the major exam, or it may cover in depth a topic within the broader field covered in the major exam. The minor exam may be a three-hour written test, or it may consist of preparing materials for a subject: specifically, a detailed syllabus, a bibliography, an introductory lecture and at least one other lecture. Register for 15 credit units of 4.685 the term in which the minor is completed (the fourth term). 

It is strongly recommended that work on the major exam be completed in three months. The major exam is a three-hour written test covering a historically broad area of interest that includes components of history, historiography and theory. Preparation for the exam will focus on four or five themes agreed upon in advance. Register for 27 credit units of 4.684 during the term in which the major is completed (the fifth term).

Although it is possible for one professor to supervise both exams, such an arrangement limits the student's collaboration with the faculty. With approval, a faculty member outside HTC may administer one of the exams. In this case, an HTC faculty member will also read the exam and submit the grade.

Topics and examiners for the Major and Minor exams should be finalized no later than the fourth semester. 

Language Requirement

It is recommended that students complete their language requirement by the end of the fourth semester.  Because of the foundational role French and German have played in the discipline of art and architectural history and theory, successful study or testing in these two languages constitutes the usual fulfillment of this requirement. For students working on topics for which there is another primary language, a substitution may be approved by the advisor. The MIT Global Studies and Languages department administers graduate language examinations.

The language exam can only be waived under the following circumstances:

  • The student is a native speaker of the language needed
  • Two years (or four semesters) of university courses have been completed for a language not administered by the language department, and a “B” or better average grade was maintained

Credits accumulated from language subjects taken to fulfill this requirement cannot be used toward the 204 credits of coursework required for the degree.

A dissertation advisor should be selected by the end of the fourth semester.  During the sixth semester, the Dissertation Topic will be presented to students and faculty colleagues.  It is estimated that the writing and revision of the proposal should take no more than four months. 

Following the Thesis Topic Presentation in the sixth semester, an appropriate dissertation committee should be proposed by the student and approved in principle by the advisor. (The committee may be changed with the approval of the advisor up to the eighth semester.) The  dissertation committee  comprises a minimum of three members; two must be MIT Department of Architecture faculty members, and the chair a member of the HTC faculty (and the student's main advisor). The third member may come from HTC or appointed from outside the department or outside the Institute. Students may add additional members in consultation with their advisor. 

The dissertation proposal should be drafted and defended by the end of the sixth semester.  Formal approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal, which the student submits and defends to his or her dissertation committee prior to the end of the sixth semester of registration. The student is strongly advised to have an informal meeting of the committee some weeks prior to the formal defense, to reach a consensus that the thesis topic is of the right scale and the prospectus itself is ready to be defended. Register for 15 credit units of 4.689 the term in which the dissertation proposal is submitted.

A dissertation proposal (also called a prospectus) should contain the following elements:

  • General thesis statement
  • Scope, significance or “stakes” of the thesis
  • Method of the thesis work 
  • Outline or brief sketch of the dissertation, e.g. summaries of proposed chapters
  • Archives and proof of access; IRB approval if required
  • Plan of work, and may include a timetable

The formal defense of the prospectus consists of an oral examination in which the candidate meets with the dissertation committee; the committee decides whether the prospectus is approved as is, requires further revision, or does not pass the defense.

When the approved proposal is filed with the HTC administrator in acknowledgment of successful completion, the dissertation topic and proposal are approved, advancing the student to candidacy. At this point, the student registers for 4.THG, Graduate Thesis. 

Regular contact with committee members during the process of drafting the thesis can ensure a student's readiness for the final thesis defense. Students are advised to meet with committee members to obtain comments and guidance throughout the writing phase of the project. The final draft should be submitted to committee members  no later than one month prior to the defense.  The defense cannot be scheduled any later than two weeks prior to the published Institute PhD thesis deadline.

The dissertation is defended in the presence of the full dissertation committee. If a member of the committee is not able to attend or participate by virtual means, he or she must contact the committee chair with comments and questions. That member should also inform the committee chair of a vote.

The result of the defense is either accepted, accepted with revisions or rejected. If the thesis is accepted with revisions, the student makes necessary changes to the document and submits them within an agreed time frame to committee members, as determined at the defense meeting. If rejected, the student will re-defend to the committee in a timely manner.   Students are strongly advised to set a defense date three months in advance of the deadline to allow for revisions by the committee.

The PhD is awarded upon submission of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation to the Department of Architecture, via the PhD Academic Administrator. The final dissertation is submitted by the Institute deadline for doctoral theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. The final document conforms with Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.

Thesis Research in Absentia

Acceptance into the program is granted with the presumption that students will remain in residence at the Institute during their degree. However, on occasion, work outside the Institute may be essential to gather archival or other materials. Students who have completed all requirements apart from the dissertation may apply to take one or occasionally two semesters in absentia. A proposal for  thesis in absentia , which outlines work to be accomplished, should be delivered to the director and administrator in HTC no later than the drop date of the semester prior to the one in which the student plans to be away. The student should consult with the Academic Programs Manager in Headquarters as well as HTC staff for a review of the financial and academic implications of TIA status. The HTC faculty, the Department, and the dean of the graduate school grant approval.  Students must return to regular registration status for the final term the dissertation is submitted for their degree.  However, the dissertation draft may be submitted to the student’s primary advisor and committee members at any time during the TIA period. Similarly, the defense may be scheduled at any time (as long as the committee has at least 4 weeks to read the full and final draft). Regular registration status is required in order to file the final archival copy for the degree. Students are required to apply for the degree in Websis during the term prior to degree completion.

Graduate Thesis

The thesis comprises an original investigation, including a written report in English, on a subject approved by the Department of Architecture in advance. The Institute requires that each graduate student research and write an individual thesis and submit a final digital copy to the Institute as a permanent record. In order for a degree to be awarded, the department must receive the thesis in accordance with the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the MIT Libraries Institute Archives. Please refer to  archthesis.mit.edu  for timelines, specifications, and other useful information.

Thesis work in all master's degree programs in the Department of Architecture extends over two to three terms. Thesis work in doctoral programs extends over four to six terms. Registration for thesis and pre-thesis subjects differs by degree program.

The thesis process begins with one or more terms of thesis preparation and ends with one or more terms of thesis. Thesis registration (4.THG) for all programs begins once the thesis supervisor and/or committee have approved the thesis proposal. An integral element to a successful thesis lies in choosing an appropriate thesis committee. The  Thesis Committee Guidelines  document (updated January 2024) addresses the composition of a thesis committee for each degree program.

The objective of registering for thesis preparation is to produce an acceptable thesis proposal. Students in every degree program register for the thesis preparation subject(s) specific to their program.

MArch Program

  • 4.189, Preparation for MArch Thesis , graded A-F, 9 units, taken the penultimate semester of the program.

SMArchS Program

  • 4.288, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis , graded P/D/F, 9–12 units, is taken the second semester of the program for students in Design, and in the third semester of the program for students in Urbanism as a coordinated class with regular meeting times. Students in all other areas (BT, HTC, & AKPIA) take 4.288 as an independent study subject graded by the registration advisor.
  • 4.587, SMArchS Computation Pre-Thesis Preparation , graded P/D/F, 6 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the Computation area.
  • 4.588, Preparation for SMArchS Thesis - Computation , graded P/D/F, 6 units, taken in the third semester of the program for students in the Computation area. 
  • 4.686 SMArchS AKPIA Pre-Thesis Preparation , graded P/D/F, 3 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the AKPIA area.
  • 4.687 SMArchS HTC Pre-Thesis Preparation , graded P/D/F, 3 units, taken in the second semester of the program for students in the HTC area.

SMACT Program

  • 4.388, Preparation for SMACT Thesis , graded A-F, 9 units, taken in the second semester of the program. Thesis Preparation will develop a proposal for the written thesis. A ten-page thesis proposal is the final project of this class.
  • 4.389, SMACT Thesis Tutorial , graded A-F, 9 units, taken in the fourth semester to support the writing of the thesis book.
  • SMACT students will submit a twenty-page thesis outline, select their thesis committee, and submit a SMACT Thesis Proposal Completion form by the end of their third term. These must be submitted to the ACT administrative offices for distribution to ACT faculty, by May 1.

SMBT Program

  • 4.481, Building Technology Seminar , graded P/D/F, 3 units. All SMBT students are required to register for 4.481 during the first term of the program. The thesis proposal is expected to be a product of this seminar, but the student may register for 4.488 to complete the proposal.
  • 4.488, Preparation for SMBT Thesis , graded P/D/F, variable units. 4.488 is an independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor and taken the second term of the program, if necessary to complete the thesis proposal.

Dissertation and Doctoral Programs

  • 4.481, Building Technology Seminar , graded P/D/F, 3 H-level units. All BT/PhD students must register for 4.481 during the first term of the program. The thesis proposal is expected to be a product of this seminar, but the student may register for 4.489 to complete the proposal.
  • 4.489, Preparation for Building Technology PhD Thesis , graded P/D/F, variable units. This is an independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor and taken the second and third term of the program, if necessary to complete the thesis proposal.
  • 4.589, Preparation for Design and Computation PhD Thesis , graded P/D/F, variable units. An optional independent study subject graded by the thesis advisor and generally taken after coursework is completed. 4.589 is taken as preparation for the general examination and/or the dissertation proposal.
  • 4.683, Preparation for HTC Qualifying Paper , graded P/D/F, variable units. Required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. The qualifying paper is a scholarly article fit to be published in a peer-reviewed journal that is the result of research in the history, theory and criticism of architecture and art. Topic may not be in the area of the proposed thesis. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines.
  • 4.684, Preparation for HTC Major Exam , graded P/D/F, variable units. This is required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. The Major Exam covers a historically broad area of interest and includes components of history, historiography, and theory. Preparation for the exam will focus on four or five themes agreed upon in advance by the student and the examiner, and are defined by their area of teaching interest. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines.
  • 4.685, Preparation for HTC Minor Exam , graded P/D/F, variable units. This is required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. The Minor Exam focuses on a specific area of specialization through which the student might develop their particular zone of expertise. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines.
  • 4.689, Preparation for History, Theory and Criticism PhD Thesis , graded P/D/F, variable units. This is required of HTC PhD students as a prerequisite for work on the doctoral dissertation. Prior to candidacy, doctoral students are required to write and orally defend a proposal laying out the scope of their thesis, its significance, a survey of existing research and literature, the methods of research to be adopted, a bibliography and plan of work. Work is done in consultation with HTC faculty, in accordance with the HTC PhD Degree Program Guidelines. Students in this program do not register for thesis (4.THG) until all requirements except thesis have been completed.

Thesis Registration—4.THG

Once the thesis proposal is approved and the degree administrators have been notified, students register for thesis and continue to do so each term until graduation. Students who do not have an approved thesis proposal may not register for thesis. The number of units varies by degree program (upon submission of the thesis, 12 units of the grade awarded for 4.THG are entered into the student's cumulative grade point average).

MArch students Register for 24 units of 4.THG. Except for architectural design studio, other subjects needed to complete the degree requirements may be taken simultaneously. The e/signed Thesis Proposal form is due by 8:59am the first Friday of a student's final term. Several reviews of student work lead to the final thesis.

  •  Proposal Review—Week 2
  •  Mid-Review—Week 7 or 8
  •  Penultimate Review—Week 10
  •  Final Review—Week 15

SMArchS  students register for 36 units of 4.THG in their fourth and final term. All subjects needed to complete the degree (except architecture design studio) may be taken simultaneously. The e/signed SMArchS Thesis Proposal form is due to [email protected] by 8:59am the Drop Date of a student's penultimate term. The penultimate semester, a Preliminary Thesis Review is held during Reading Period. These Preliminary Reviews serve as an opportunity for SMArchs students to present a summary of their proposed Thesis Projects in a forum where thesis ideas can gain exposure and feedback from faculty and peers. The final semester, three major reviews of the student's thesis work are held with the advisor(s) and all readers — the first, in Week 7, is scheduled by the discipline area, the second is scheduled by the student with the entire thesis committee for a formal thesis defense in Week 11, and the public final review in Week 14. The department degree administrator schedules final reviews during Reading Period.

SMBT  students register for 4.THG upon approval of the thesis proposal and continue to do so each term until graduation. Units will vary according to the number of other subjects being taken. A normal course load for a term is not more than 48 credit units. SMBT students are expected to schedule a Content Review directly with the thesis advisor to take place near the end of the final term. At this point the thesis should be substantially complete; the Content Review marks the point at which the student may turn to production of the final thesis.

SMACT  students register for 24 units of 4.THG in their fourth and final term. Thesis is taken in conjunction with 4.390, Art, Culture, and Technology Studio, which is taken each term, and 4.389, SMACT Thesis Tutorial, which is taken the final two terms. Thesis reviews are scheduled within the forum of 4.390, which is restricted to SMACT students.

PhD  students register for 36 units of 4.THG for terms in which they are resident and not taking other subjects. Students who have been granted nonresident status register for 36 units of 4.THG only (nonresident status is not permitted in the term during which the thesis is submitted). Regular meetings with members of the dissertation committee to review thesis progress is expected and left to the student to schedule. At the conclusion of the thesis, PhD students are required to hold an oral defense of their dissertation. This defense is scheduled directly with the thesis committee, and the date is reported to the degree administrator.

Policy on Incompletes and Thesis Semester

MArch, SMArchS, and SMACT students entering thesis term may have no more than one incomplete in a subject required for the degree, and that incomplete can be no older than the term previous to thesis. Students with several incompletes and/or incompletes from terms further back will be denied registration until those subjects are completed and graded. This policy applies to subjects required by curriculum or needed for units toward the degree.

Policy on Credit and Thesis

MArch students must have their curriculum credits in order by the end of the thesis prep. No substitutions or petitions for credit will be accepted or processed during the thesis term.

Thesis for Dual Degrees

Thesis research for dual degrees must be done under the supervision of an approved member of one of the two participating departments, with the other department providing a co-advisor or thesis reader. Students expecting to receive two advanced degrees must submit all thesis materials to the department in which they register during their final semester and are bound by the thesis specifications and deadlines of that department.

Thesis Guidelines and Deadlines

The Thesis Committee Guidelines  document (updated January 2024) addresses the composition of a thesis committee for each degree program. The thesis committee must be established and approved before thesis registration is permitted.

  • Specifications for Thesis Preparation  is published by the MIT Libraries Institute Archives to assist students in the preparation of the thesis document. The Institute is committed to the preservation of the student’s thesis because it is both a requirement of the MIT degree and a record of original research. The library also publishes a guide for following copyright law, which students should review carefully to make certain they remain in compliance and the thesis is acceptable by the MIT Archives .
  • The department upholds the requirements of the Institute specifications. In addition, the Department of Architecture requires that each thesis contain a page listing the names and titles of each member of the thesis committee. This page is to be inserted between the title page and the abstract. Students should review the  thesis checklist  before submitting the thesis to the Department.
  • At the beginning of the final thesis term, all students must file an online Application for Advanced Degree at MIT via  WebSIS.  The deadline is the end of the first week of term.
  • Graduate Policies and Procedures  can be found on a website provided by the Office of Graduate Education (OGE). This website offers additional information on the thesis process, including joint theses; restrictions on thesis publication; patent protection, privacy and security; intellectual property policy; and thesis holds.
  • The deadline for submitting the approved, archival copies of the thesis is set by the Department, and can be found on the  Department Thesis website . Only minor errors in formatting and proofing will be subject to change after this date and only at the discretion of the department administrators.

All theses are submitted to the department degree administrators:

  • Master's programs:  Kateri Bertin
  • Doctoral programs:  Tessa Haynes

Nonresident Doctoral Research

A doctoral student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation may apply for nonresident thesis research status. Students granted this status pay approximately 5% of regular tuition for the first three terms of nonresident status and 15% for the following three terms. Students are limited to six terms of nonresident status.

Application

Permission to become a nonresident doctoral candidate must be sought from the Dean of Graduate Students. The  request form  is submitted to the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) by July 15 for the fall term, and November 15 for the spring term (a fee is assessed for late requests). The student’s thesis advisor and the department’s graduate officer must approve the application prior to submission. 

Approval can be granted for two successive regular terms in the same academic year (for example, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, but not Spring 2022 and Fall 2023). Registration as a nonresident student is not required during the summer. Students must reapply each year for additional terms of nonresident status up to a maximum of six terms. Students must return to regular status to defend and submit their doctoral dissertation.

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for non-resident thesis research status, students must be 

  • registered in a doctoral program,
  • in residence as a regular graduate student for at least four regular terms,
  • have completed all degree requirements except for the dissertation and have submitted required paperwork to the Degree Administrator,
  • and have an approved thesis proposal.

Privileges of a Nonresident Student

Nonresident students are considered full-time students. They may retain their MIT IDs and are permitted access to the libraries and athletic facilities. They continue to have the same student health plan options as resident students, although, students are financially responsible for their own health insurance.

However, nonresident students are NOT eligible to

  • use offices, laboratories, design studios or computer facilities in the Department unless specifically approved;
  • reside in student housing;
  • serve as graduate resident tutors; 
  • nor accept employment of any kind at MIT. 

For the first three semesters of nonresident status, a student may receive fellowship support from MIT for an amount up to 5% of the cost of tuition per semester. In subsequent terms of nonresident status, students are not eligible to receive financial support from any MIT department, lab, or cost center. This includes fellowships, research or teaching assistantships as well as any work-study programs.

Although nonresident students are responsible for payment of tuition and appropriate fees, U.S. citizens or Permanent Resident students may apply for federal and alternative loans. Current loans may be adjusted because tuition will be decreased to nonresident levels. Questions regarding loans should be addressed to Student Financial Services.

Thesis research is ordinarily done in residence at the Institute. However, on occasion, work away from the Institute may be essential for such tasks as gathering data. Students with compelling educational reasons to do so may therefore apply to take one or two semesters in absentia. 

A proposal for thesis research to be done in absentia must be approved by both the faculty of the specific PhD degree program, the Department's graduate officer, and the Dean of the Graduate School. 

Criteria for thesis in absentia include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Evidence that this opportunity will provide continuing intellectual growth.
  • Evidence of completion of required coursework and all degree requirements except the thesis.
  • The thesis must continue to be supervised by an Institute faculty member or by a senior academic staff member approved by the Department.
  • The student must be registered as a regular student during the final term.
  • The student must devote full time to thesis research while absent from MIT.

Students approved for thesis in absentia will continue to be registered as full-time students and receive tuition plus their normal fellowship stipends.

The proposal needs to include the following and submitted to the Department's PhD degree administrator:

  • Current address
  • Current phone
  • Current e-mail
  • Degree program
  • Completion date of general exams
  • Completion date of thesis proposal and working title for thesis
  • Proposed terms in absentia
  • Expected degree date
  • Reasons for requesting thesis research in absentia—the opportunity for continued intellectual growth must be evident
  • Thesis advisor’s name and title 
  • Thesis advisor’s signature of approval
  • Degree program director’s signature of approval
  • Graduate officer’s signature of approval
  • A copy of the signed thesis proposal 

The approved and signed thesis proposal must be attached to the research-in-absentia proposal before the latter is submitted to the Department and, subsequently, the Office of Graduate Education (OGE).

IIT Architecture PHD Program

  • Architecture (Ph.D.)

Illinois Institute of Technology offers the only Ph.D. program in architecture in Chicago, a metropolis characterized by a dynamic architectural culture, supportive research institutions, and renowned firms.

  • Academic Programs

Founded in 1996 as a laboratory for applied research and scholarship, the Ph.D. program attracts graduate students from around the world who converge on our landmark Mies-designed campus.

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program explore the historic and contemporary intersections among architecture, culture, and technology through two areas of specialization: Technologies of the Built Environment and History, Theory, and Criticism . Research topics are based on the expertise of our faculty and student interests. Possibilities include: building and urban energy use, environmental impacts of built environments, high-performance building skins, tall building design and performance, advanced structural systems, urban water systems, and histories and theories of architectural technology.

Direct admission into the Ph.D. program is preferred, but admission via the M.S. program is also an option. Funding opportunities are available in the form of teaching assistantships, and students can benefit from our relationships with large architecture and engineering firms based in Chicago.

Program Overview

Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program explore the historic and contemporary intersections among architecture, culture, and technology through two areas of specialized research: History, Theory, and Criticism , and Technologies of the Built Environment .

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Ph.D. program in architecture typically pursue academic careers in universities, obtain positions in research institutions, or return to professional practice.

This 84-credit hour degree program consists of lecture and seminar courses, special problems, and research credits to help students complete their doctoral research projects. Each student has a committee with a chair that supervises this process.

View Details

Admission Requirements

The applicant should meet all entrance requirements of Illinois Institute of Technology's Graduate College, plus a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, a minimum revised GRE score of 144 in quantitative reasoning, 153 in verbal reasoning, and analytical writing of 4.0, and a TOEFL score of 577/90 (paper-based/internet-based test), or a minimum IELTS score of 6.

Program Specializations

History, Theory, and Criticism

Technologies of the Built Environment

Learn more...

Home

Ph.D. Program Admission

architecture phd usa

Admission to the School of Architecture is granted through Princeton University's Graduate School. A bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing is normally required. Admission information can be found online at http://gradschool.princeton.edu/admission/ . The deadline for applications for the Ph.D. program is January 3rd. 

Applicants to the Ph.D. program should be aware that a professional degree in architecture is highly desirable, but applications are also accepted from those with academic degrees in appropriate disciplines in the humanities, applied sciences, and social sciences. If a candidate does not have prior professional training, they may be required to take a special program of study in the processes and working methods of the profession.

Although a personal interview is not required, candidates for the Ph.D. program are encouraged to learn more about the School by visiting and talking to students and faculty members. The best opportunity is the Fall Open House , which is held each November.  This year, 2023, it will be November 6 . We will post details and an online RSVP in October . Students who are unable to attend the Open House may contact the School to determine if an individual visit can be arranged.  Please allow at least two weeks when scheduling individual visits.

APPLICATION

Princeton University's Graduate School Announcement is the official and complete source of information about Princeton's graduate programs and their requirements. The electronic application is available September through December for admission the following fall. The electronic application and specific information regarding application requirements are available at: http://gradschool.princton.edu/admission .

Address all inquiries to:

Office of Graduate Admission Princeton University One Clio Hall Princeton, New Jersey 08544-0270

Applicants should submit substantial evidence of their academic qualifications and scholarly interests, including examples of written work, unpublished or published. Candidates should submit a quantity of written material sufficient to demonstrate a broad familiarity with the field of architecture, well developed writing and research skills, and the candidate's command of potential research or study areas. In the statement of intent, each candidate must write a short essay, carefully describing their previous professional and academic experience, and its relevance to future plans for research and teaching. While it is understood that fields of concentration may change during the first two years of pre-generals study, the candidate should attempt to outline a potential area of research in the context of Princeton's program.

Ph.D. writing samples should be uploaded directly to the online application . You will be able to check the status of any materials online. The checklist is only viewable after an application has been submitted: www.princeton.edu/gradschool/admission/applicants/status/

We do not notify applicants individually of materials received.

APPLICATION DEADLINES

January 3rd - $75 Application Fee

Deadline applies to all applicants for the receipt of application and all supporting material. Earlier applications are encouraged.

Each candidate's application and academic record is reviewed by the faculty committee to determine the candidate's accomplishments and academic achievements and assess other qualifications for graduate study in architecture. Serious consideration is given to letters of recommendation from persons who are in a position to evaluate a candidate's abilities and estimate the applicant's promise. Admission to the Graduate School is highly selective. All applicants are considered on a comparative basis, and admission is determined after analyzing the relative merits of all of the candidates applying in the same field. For the Graduate School to operate according to its objectives and methods, enrollment must be limited. Every effort is made to select the most outstanding candidates from among those submitting applications.

Consideration is given to all complete applications received on or before the regular Graduate School application deadline date. Applications are examined in one group during February; applicants are notified of the results in March. All fellowships and scholarship awards to entering students are made from applicants in this group. Only under unusual circumstances may students enter the Graduate School at any time other than the beginning of the academic year.

Application for financial aid does not affect an applicant's chances for admission. Generous financial assistance is made available to all accepted students on the basis of income and need.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMS

PhD Track in the History and Theory of Architecture

PhD Technology Track

Admissions inquiries can be sent to [email protected] .

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Architecture Graduate Programs in America

1-25 of 107 results

MIT School of Architecture and Planning

Cambridge, MA •

Massachusetts Institute of Technology •

Graduate School

Massachusetts Institute of Technology ,

Graduate School ,

CAMBRIDGE, MA ,

Yale School of Architecture

New Haven, CT •

Yale University •

Yale University ,

NEW HAVEN, CT ,

Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Harvard University •

  • • Rating 4.56 out of 5   9 reviews

Other: I am Harvard Extension School student pursuing a master degree, ALM, in sustainability. I have achieved a 3.89 in this program so far and have qualified, applied, and accepted as a 'Special Student' in the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Through this School, I will be focusing my time at the John A. Paulson school of Engineering & Applied Sciences. Looking forward to wrapping up my final year on campus! ... Read 9 reviews

Harvard University ,

9 Niche users give it an average review of 4.6 stars.

Featured Review: Other says I am Harvard Extension School student pursuing a master degree, ALM, in sustainability. I have achieved a 3.89 in this program so far and have qualified, applied, and accepted as a 'Special Student'... .

Read 9 reviews.

Florida International University

Graduate School •

  • • Rating 4.64 out of 5   296

College of Life Sciences - Thomas Jefferson University

Thomas Jefferson University •

PHILADELPHIA, PA

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   2

Chatham University

PITTSBURGH, PA

  • • Rating 4.35 out of 5   23

Harvard Graduate School of Design

  • • Rating 4.29 out of 5   7 reviews

Master's Student: Great survey of urban planning if you have no prior background in architecture or urban studies; cohort skews younger (early to mid twenties) so might be an adjustment for older students with more experience ... Read 7 reviews

7 Niche users give it an average review of 4.3 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Great survey of urban planning if you have no prior background in architecture or urban studies; cohort skews younger (early to mid twenties) so might be an adjustment for older students with more... .

Read 7 reviews.

Princeton University

Princeton, NJ •

  • • Rating 4.33 out of 5   3 reviews

Master's Student: The best part of the Princeton University mechanical engineering graduate degree is the excellent faculty that teach the courses. They are incredibly knowledgeable and also very willing to help students in office hours or in sponsorship of projects. The worst part of the Princeton University mechanical engineering graduate degree is the lack of structure for the graduate research program which can leave you feeling unsure on the direction of your research. ... Read 3 reviews

PRINCETON, NJ ,

3 Niche users give it an average review of 4.3 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says The best part of the Princeton University mechanical engineering graduate degree is the excellent faculty that teach the courses. They are incredibly knowledgeable and also very willing to help... .

Read 3 reviews.

School of Design - University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA •

University of Pennsylvania •

University of Pennsylvania ,

PHILADELPHIA, PA ,

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Rice University School of Architecture

Houston, TX •

Rice University •

Blue checkmark.

Rice University ,

HOUSTON, TX ,

School of Architecture - University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN •

University of Notre Dame •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   1 review

Niche User: I will be attending the MArch program starting fall of 2023. Every person who I have spoken to about this program has said it is life changing. Every alumni has been enthusiastic about the education the gained and the experience they had at Notre Dame. Their love of and regard for the program is palpable. I am looking forward to my experience at Notre Dame. ... Read 1 review

University of Notre Dame ,

NOTRE DAME, IN ,

1 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Niche User says I will be attending the MArch program starting fall of 2023. Every person who I have spoken to about this program has said it is life changing. Every alumni has been enthusiastic about the education... .

Read 1 reviews.

USC School of Architecture

Los Angeles, CA •

University of Southern California •

  • • Rating 5 out of 5   4 reviews

Faculty: The MLA+U program emphasizes design research based on a solid foundation of urban ecology, history and theory and technical topics. This is a program that asks students to be bold and courageous in visioning a more equitable future while at the same time preparing them for professional practice. ... Read 4 reviews

University of Southern California ,

LOS ANGELES, CA ,

4 Niche users give it an average review of 5 stars.

Featured Review: Faculty says The MLA+U program emphasizes design research based on a solid foundation of urban ecology, history and theory and technical topics. This is a program that asks students to be bold and courageous in... .

Read 4 reviews.

Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

Ithaca, NY •

Cornell University •

Cornell University ,

ITHACA, NY ,

A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Ann Arbor, MI •

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor •

  • • Rating 4.5 out of 5   6 reviews

Master's Student: Taubman College (and a lot of architecture grad schools) is whatever you make of it. Make sure to plan out at least what you want to explore. Research specific professors and take the classes from the ones that you are interested in. Don't walk in with a vague plan and wander. This degree and many Masters Degrees cost a significant amount of money. I have put myself into considerable debt to go to a school where I have felt lost and miserable. It gets better and is worth it - but only if you have a plan. ... Read 6 reviews

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor ,

ANN ARBOR, MI ,

6 Niche users give it an average review of 4.5 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Taubman College (and a lot of architecture grad schools) is whatever you make of it. Make sure to plan out at least what you want to explore. Research specific professors and take the classes from... .

Read 6 reviews.

UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture

University of California - Los Angeles •

  • • Rating 4 out of 5   1 review

Master's Student: Its a very good program that really encourages students to explore their artistic capabilities. The instructors are very experienced and are very good at teaching the students. The program is great, but could also use some improvements in the facilities, as well as overall teaching etiquette. Some instructors would be late to class, while expecting students to stay longer. Others would show little, to no enthusiasm about certain things or events. ... Read 1 review

University of California - Los Angeles ,

1 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Its a very good program that really encourages students to explore their artistic capabilities. The instructors are very experienced and are very good at teaching the students. The program is great,... .

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Carnegie Mellon College of Fine Arts

Pittsburgh, PA •

Carnegie Mellon University •

Master's Student: I graduated from the School of Design at the College of Fine Arts. This is one best design program at a major research university. The cross disciplinary approach, and ability to take courses at other schools like business, engineering, and public policy makes the CMU experience truly unique. It’s been said that the hardest part about Harvard is getting in, and the hardest part about CMU is graduating. This very is true. ... Read 4 reviews

Carnegie Mellon University ,

PITTSBURGH, PA ,

Featured Review: Master's Student says I graduated from the School of Design at the College of Fine Arts. This is one best design program at a major research university. The cross disciplinary approach, and ability to take courses at... .

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences - University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA •

University of Virginia •

Alum: Very good in some areas, excellent in other areas, many academic choices available in all areas of study ... Read 1 review

University of Virginia ,

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA ,

Featured Review: Alum says Very good in some areas, excellent in other areas, many academic choices available in all areas of study .

University of Virginia School of Architecture

Master's Student: As of now the school of architecture has been an extremely supportive environment filled with students that encourage each other to try their best. While assistance from the larger administration and financial aid office needs improvement, I knew that my department and cohort will make it a worthwhile endeavor that will prepare me for real life applications. ... Read 3 reviews

Featured Review: Master's Student says As of now the school of architecture has been an extremely supportive environment filled with students that encourage each other to try their best. While assistance from the larger administration and... .

Georgia Tech College of Design

Atlanta, GA •

Georgia Institute of Technology •

  • • Rating 4 out of 5   2 reviews

Master's Student: Great class choices with faculty always available for advising and help. I had a number of bad professors who did not deliver the material well but they, too, were available to help during office hours and beyond. ... Read 2 reviews

Georgia Institute of Technology ,

ATLANTA, GA ,

2 Niche users give it an average review of 4 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says Great class choices with faculty always available for advising and help. I had a number of bad professors who did not deliver the material well but they, too, were available to help during office... .

Read 2 reviews.

UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design

Berkeley, CA •

University of California - Berkeley •

University of California - Berkeley ,

BERKELEY, CA ,

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences - New York University

New York, NY •

New York University •

  • • Rating 4.8 out of 5   10 reviews

Master's Student: I am enrolled specifically in the Magazine concentration. My professors have all been helpful with helping me succeed and are willing to stay back to go over something I don't understand. There are multiple points of resources at this program. A director is your main academic advisor. Aside from that, there is a pitch specialist to assist with freelancing and two wonderful career advisors. They help with setting up mingle sessions, job fairs, and internship talks. As of now, I haven't had bad experiences, however, I will say that the program is expensive and is an awkward three semesters. Those two things aren't ideal, however, its not too much of a dealbreaker. ... Read 10 reviews

New York University ,

NEW YORK, NY ,

10 Niche users give it an average review of 4.8 stars.

Featured Review: Master's Student says I am enrolled specifically in the Magazine concentration. My professors have all been helpful with helping me succeed and are willing to stay back to go over something I don't understand. There are... .

Read 10 reviews.

School of Architecture - University of Texas - Austin

Austin, TX •

University of Texas - Austin •

University of Texas - Austin ,

AUSTIN, TX ,

College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Blacksburg, VA •

Virginia Tech •

Master's Student: Professors are very knowledgeable about what they teach and the elective courses offered are diverse. ... Read 1 review

Virginia Tech ,

BLACKSBURG, VA ,

Featured Review: Master's Student says Professors are very knowledgeable about what they teach and the elective courses offered are diverse. .

College of Design, Construction & Planning - University of Florida

Gainesville, FL •

University of Florida •

University of Florida ,

GAINESVILLE, FL ,

Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art •

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art ,

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute •

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ,

College of Engineering - Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN •

Purdue University •

Purdue University ,

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN ,

Tulane School of Architecture

New Orleans, LA •

Tulane University •

  • • Rating 1.5 out of 5   4 reviews

Tulane University ,

NEW ORLEANS, LA ,

4 Niche users give it an average review of 1.5 stars.

Savannah College of Art and Design

SAVANNAH, GA

  • • Rating 4.46 out of 5   74

School of Building Arts - Savannah College of Art and Design

Savannah College of Art and Design •

The New School

NEW YORK, NY

  • • Rating 4.46 out of 5   37

Showing results 1 through 25 of 107

The Department of Architecture

Interior view on top of CLT interior volumes looking out towards other interior structures

"A School of Agritecture” by Yijia Tracy Tang (MArch I '22)

The Department of Architecture is a unique community, rich in diversity, collaboration, and scholarship through design. Here, students explore today’s most creative design approaches, with an international faculty prominent across the field.

Degree Programs

March i master of architecture i.

The program leading to the Master of Architecture is an accredited professional degree intended for individuals who have completed the bachelor's degree with a major other than one of the design professions or with a pre-professional undergraduate major in one of the design professions.

MArch II Master of Architecture II

The program leading to the Master of Architecture II is a post-professional degree intended for individuals who have completed a five-year undergraduate professional program in architecture or its equivalent.

Inside Architecture

Together with visiting design critics and theorists from around the world, architecture faculty and students explore a range of design investigations, expand knowledge, and confront the challenges of the contemporary built environment. Collaboration thrives in Gund Hall’s distinctive trays, five continuous tiers of open studio space.

The Department’s philosophy of design excellence integrates the imaginative and skillful manipulation of form, as well as the ability to draw inspiration from a broad body of knowledge. The architecture curriculum includes design studio, theory, visual studies, history, technology, and professional practice, with design as the central focus of instruction.

Gund Hall’s studio trays form both the physical and pedagogical core of the GSD experience, drawing together students and faculty from across the departments of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning and design. The creative, collaborative atmosphere of the trays is supplemented by Gund Hall’s advanced information infrastructure, media-enriched presentation spaces, vast library resources, and open access to fabrication technologies, enabling architecture students to develop, discuss, exchange, and materialize ideas through a comprehensive range of platforms and media. The student experience is further enriched by the School’s renowned lecture and public program series, exhibitions, and publications, as well as the resources available across Harvard University and the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Students in the Department of Architecture are integrated into an active network of internationally recognized designers, dedicated to addressing the changing needs of the modern world.

As new ways of thinking emerge in the profession of architecture, the field grows increasingly complex and requires new techniques of inquiry and design. For generations, the GSD has educated committed individuals who have assumed leadership roles in shaping the built environment. Today’s graduates in architecture continue this tradition by pioneering new design approaches to the challenges posed by contemporary society.

Graduate studies have expanded my own conception of what architecture is, what architecture can be, and what architecture can do. And I think that that's pretty powerful.

Selwyn Bachus

Apr 19, 2021

Masked woman walking on elevated scaffolding.

Design collaborative colab-19 is changing how we think about post-pandemic architecture

Late last year, a scaffolding structure rose to abut the facade of the popular…

Apr 8, 2021

Announcements

LA DALLMAN Architects wins 2021 Progressive Architecture Award for transformation of 1901 Wisconsin grain elevator

The transformative new design for the Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin…

Mar 25, 2021

The way it is presented in the park, nature is culture, so bringing more kinds of culture into the visitor center site gives people a chance to come in and participate in the storied healing experience of nature.

Jeanne Gang

architecture phd usa

Faculty Honored with 2021 ACSA Architectural Education Awards

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) recently announced the recipients of its…

Feb 26, 2021

Black and white photograph of Steilneset Memorial is a monument in Vardø, Norway

Groundscrapers: Exploring the logic behind long, low buildings

A visionary architect of the modern metropolis surveyed the vast urban scene unfolding from his…

Feb 17, 2021

Who we center as our subject is a really important question when we talk about architecture. Who is it for? Who gets to make it? Whose world view does it help prop up?

Jennifer Newsom

Nov 30, 2020

Image of roundtable discussion participants for the Practice in an Unknown World Pandemic episode

Talking Practice: Practice in an Uncertain World

In this episode of Talking Practice, host Grace La moderates a special roundtable, Practice in…

Mar 6, 2021

architecture phd usa

GSD exhibitions turn “Inside Out”

This spring, Harvard Graduate School of Design has turned its Druker Design Gallery, Experiments Wall,…

Image of bright orange church on landscape

Pier Paolo Tamburelli on the “hardscrabble, repressed, and perverted” American Gothic psyche

In Sherwood Anderson’s collection of short stories, Winesburg, Ohio, the author…

Nov 12, 2020

Models on blue background for the Mass Timber studio

With Mass Timber and the Scandinavian Effect, Jennifer Bonner and Hanif Kara speculate how wood might recapture the American architectural imagination

Moments of intense constraint have driven architecture toward seismic ruptures, which go on to determine…

Nov 24, 2020

“We are asking the students to take a visionary position,” says Moussavi. “The pandemic has called into question the efficiency of all the old housing systems, and I think it’s up to us to produce the visions of tomorrow.”

Farshid Moussavi

Nov 20, 2020

Image of Shakers dancing at spiritual visit

Preston Scott Cohen’s Post-Shaker studio draws on the austere formal language of Shaker design in proposing a new art colony in Mount Lebanon, NY

Mount Lebanon, NY has faded. When its last seven inhabitants moved away in 1947 it…

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  1. Best 26 Architecture PhD Programmes in United States 2024

    This page shows a selection of the available PhDs in United States. If you're interested in studying a Architecture degree in United States you can view all 26 PhDs. You can also read more about Architecture degrees in general, or about studying in United States. Many universities and colleges in United States offer English-taught PhD's degrees.

  2. Ph.D. in Architecture

    The Ph.D. in Architecture is a program within the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) while the actual degree is granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Admission for 2024. The application deadline for 2024 admissions was January 4, 2024 and is now closed.

  3. Ph.D. in Architecture

    The Ph.D. program in architecture is governed by the regulations of the University Graduate Division and administered by the departmental Ph.D. committee. Specific degree requirements include: A minimum of two years in residence. Completion of a one-semester course in research methods. Satisfaction of a foreign language requirement for those in ...

  4. Program Page

    The PhD in Architecture (PhD-Arch) program at Carnegie Mellon advances interpretive, critical and contextual perspectives on the built environment and spatial design. The program offers students an interdisciplinary platform to investigate built environment cultures, practices and politics across a range of historical and geographical contexts ...

  5. P.h.D.

    Introduction. The doctoral program in Architecture currently offers two tracks of study: History and Theory of Architecture, and Ecosystems in Architectural Sciences. Both tracks aim to educate teachers capable of effectively instructing future architects in their own field and its manifold connections with the culture at large.

  6. UCLA Architecture and Urban Design

    PhD in Architecture. This program prepares students to enter the academic professions, either in architectural history, architectural design, or other allied fields. PhD students are trained to teach courses in the history and theory of architecture while also engaging in studio pedagogy and curatorial work. In addition to the colloquium, PhD ...

  7. Ph.D. in Architecture

    Ph.D. in Architecture. The Ph.D. in Architecture at Texas A&M University provides students with the tools and resources necessary to advance the field academically, professionally, culturally, and commercially. In this program, you'll create, develop, and disseminate new knowledge relevant to architecture and related areas of focus.

  8. Ph.D. in Architecture

    Established in 1982, the Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture Program at Georgia Tech is one of the largest and most expansive programs of its kind in the United States, with approximately thirty students in residence pursuing their Ph.D. coursework or completing their dissertation research. A diverse faculty of scholars and researchers advise ...

  9. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

    Version 1.12.8. The Doctor of Philosophy is intended for persons who wish to enter teaching and advanced research careers in the History and Theory of Architecture, Architectural Technology, Landscape Architecture and Urban Form from Antiquity to the Present; or The Analysis and Development of Buildings, Cities, Landscapes, and Regions with an ...

  10. PhD / MS in Architecture

    Lecture Franca Trubiano Architecture Wednesday, March 22, 2023 6:30 pm Rare Books Room, Fisher Fine Arts Building 220 S 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA. Welcome to the PENN Ph.D. and MS Programs in Architecture. Our graduate group faculty, candidates, students, and alumni welcome you to our website, eager to share with you their commitment to ...

  11. Architecture PhD

    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) This advanced research-based degree prepares students with outstanding academic records for careers in teaching and scholarship in architecture and its related areas, or in roles in government or private companies and organizations that require specialization and experience in research.

  12. Doctoral Programs

    Contact Us. Doctoral Programs. Harvard University Graduate School of Design. 40 Kirkland Street, Room 1-A. Cambridge, MA 02138. (617) 495-2337. Margaret Moore de Chicojay. Program Administrator.

  13. PhD in Architecture

    PhD in Architecture. The Ph.D. in Architecture offers candidates opportunities to develop and deepen their education in 3 important ways: Enhancing research and analytical skills with rigorous methods of inquiry and synthesis; Acquiring advanced knowledge specific to their area (s) of inquiry through comprehensive scholarly investigations and ...

  14. PhD in Architecture & Design Research

    The PhD in Architecture & Design Research is focused on anticipating and shaping the future of practice. Our mission is to create new avenues of investigation, expand knowledge bases, solve time-sensitive, contemporary issues across architectural disciplines and yield new insights into the past, present and future of the field. ...

  15. Graduate Programs

    See an overview of SA+P Groups and chart of all Degree Programs. Details below for each graduate program's degree requirements: MArch. SMArchS. SMACT. SMBT. PhD- Building Technology. PhD- Computation. PhD- History and Theory of Architecture; and the History and Theory of Art.

  16. Architecture (Ph.D.)

    Founded in 1996 as a laboratory for applied research and scholarship, the Ph.D. program attracts graduate students from around the world who converge on our landmark Mies-designed campus.. Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program explore the historic and contemporary intersections among architecture, culture, and technology through two areas of specialization: Technologies of the Built ...

  17. The Top Graduate Architecture Programs in the U.S

    7. UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI, CINCINNATI, OHIO; College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning Interim Dean: Robert Probst Bragging Rights: Like their undergraduate counterparts, UC's grad students use the co-op program to gain real-world experience—and often income as well. Archinect blogger Christopher Davis notes that "the master's program lacks a specific focus," but the school's ...

  18. Ph.D. Program Admission

    APPLICATION. Princeton University's Graduate School Announcement is the official and complete source of information about Princeton's graduate programs and their requirements. The electronic application is available September through December for admission the following fall. The electronic application and specific information regarding application requirements are available at: http ...

  19. 2023-2024 Top Architecture Graduate Programs

    A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor,Graduate School,ANN ARBOR, MI,6 Niche users give it an average review of 4.5 stars. Featured Review: Master's Student says Taubman College (and a lot of architecture grad schools) is whatever you make of it. Make sure to plan out at least what you ...

  20. The Department of Architecture

    The Department of Architecture is a unique community, rich in diversity, collaboration, and scholarship through design. Here, students explore today's most creative design approaches, with an international faculty prominent across the field. Administration. Fellowships, Prizes, & Travel Programs. Faculty.

  21. Fully Funded PhD Programs in Architecture

    PhDs in Architecture open the door to many opportunities, leading to careers in research, teaching, or consulting. "Full funding" is a financial aid package for full-time students that includes full tuition remission as well as a yearly stipend or salary during the entire program, which is usually 3-6 years. Students usually teach or ...

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