Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture

52 credit hours beyond the master’s degree
Qualifying examination
Comprehensive examination
Dissertation and oral defense

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Architecture program is for those individuals who desire to pursue careers in academia and/or in research-based professional practice. As the most advanced academic degree, the Ph.D. recognizes both the highest level of expertise and the production of significant novel work. The program, which is offered in two tracks, Technologies of the Built Environment (TBE) and History, Theory, and Criticism (HTC), demands a deep understanding of the related theories in contemporary intellectual terrain, a command of advanced research methodologies, and a commitment to critical inquiry that extends the frontiers of knowledge.

The program begins with advanced coursework and culminates in a dissertation that is the result of extensive, original, and rigorous research and thought. The Ph.D. program grows out of the school’s collective commitment to progressive research that is grounded in the realities of the workplace and devoted to contesting existing values and ideologies. Doctoral students also have the opportunity to participate in the experiments of design studios and later help guide these efforts in mentoring roles, helping to shape the debate within the college through their involvement in the college’s “advanced studio.”

Admission Requirements

An applicant to the doctoral program generally must hold a professional Master of Architecture degree (M.Arch.), or Master of Science in Architecture (M.S.Arch.) from a NAAB-accredited U.S. university or Master of Landscape Architecture (M.L.A.) from an LAAB-accredited U.S. university or the equivalent. Students with graduate degrees in allied fields, such as engineering and art history, are also eligible. Students holding a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) can apply through the Master of Science program at the College of Architecture.

The applicant should meet all entrance requirements of the university’s Graduate College, plus a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, a TOEFL score of at least 80/550, and at least three letters of recommendation from immediate supervising professors. The applicant should also submit a statement of purpose indicating a subject of study or research work and should provide a portfolio demonstrating the qualities of their accomplishments and expertise.

Degree Requirements

The program requires a minimum of 52 credit hours usually completed in three-and-a-half to four years beyond the M.Arch. degree. The majority of the coursework will be selected from the curriculum within the College of Architecture, though students are encouraged to have their research find connections to other doctoral programs at the university.

Upon completion of the first academic year, the candidate will be required to pass a qualifying examination in both written and oral formats. The student is also required to take and pass a comprehensive examination, often at the end of the second year, before they will officially be admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. At the end of the program, the candidate will take a final examination which will consist of an oral presentation and defense of the dissertation. Current areas of study include urban energy modeling, high-rise and long-span buildings, technology applications, energy conscious design, emerging urbanisms, housing, history/theory, and advanced computer applications. Work for the Ph.D. must be completed within six years after admission to doctoral candidacy.


The program requires a minimum of 52 credit hours, usually completed in three-and-a-half to four years beyond the M.Arch. degree. Students must complete at least 24 credit hours of dissertation research courses. A maximum of 12 credit hours of 400-level credit is allowed.

Required Courses (10)
ARCH 595Research in Progress Forum 14
ARCH 601Research Methodologies3
ARCH 602Crafting a Dissertation3
Elective Courses (18)
Select 18 credit hours 218
Ph.D. Research (24)
ARCH 691Doctoral Research 324
Master's Transfer Coursework (32)
A maximum of 32 credit hours may be transferred from master's degree32
Total Credit Hours84

The one credit ARCH 595 course must be taken four times (usually during the first four semesters). 


Students may choose from 400-level or above ARCH, AURB, or LA courses, as well as the following courses from other university departments: CAE 597, MMAE 597, or PHIL 597.


CAE 691 and MMAE 691 credits will also be accepted towards Ph.D. research hour requirements.