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).
Students are required to spend four semesters in residence during which time they are expected to take thirteen courses (39 credit points), of which eight must be taken for a letter grade. The required academic course work breaks down into the three sections described below. In addition to the doctoral colloquia, five classes should be seminars. It is assumed that these courses will be spread out evenly over the first four semesters of study.
For any course in which a student receives an incomplete, he or she must complete all outstanding course work before the beginning of the next academic year. Those who do not meet these terms will be required to take a leave of absence at their own expense to finish all necessary course work.
At least once each semester students should meet individually with the director of the program and with their adviser. Students are free to change their advisers during the course of their studies.
Upon entering the program, each student is assigned a program advisor from within the Ph.D. committee, with whom they will consult for the duration of their coursework. This advisor is not selected because of an affinity between their research and the interests of the student. Rather, the program advisor’s role is to provide independent guidance and mentorship on all aspects of student life. Students meet at least once each semester with the director of the program and with the program advisor to discuss their academic progress and future plans.
By the date of the oral examination and prior to submitting their dissertation proposal, each student selects a dissertation advisor, to act as a guide during the course of dissertation research and for the dissertation defense. During this or any other time, students are still able to draw on the mentorship of their program advisor.