The Doctor of Philosophy is an academic degree with concentrations in the history of architecture and landscape architecture, historic preservation, and sustainability. It provides students holding an appropriate master's degree with a rigorous program of study intended to prepare them to conduct research and teach in these disciplines.


The concentration in the history of architecture and landscape architecture places special emphasis on understanding buildings or landscapes and their designers in their historical contexts as complex and interconnected wholes that include aspects of aesthetics, tectonics, function, culture, and meaning. The student's program of study may address the history of architectural theory; the history of design; the history of interior design; the history of urban design, settlements, or cities; the history of building technology; and the history of landscape design.


The concentration in historic preservation embraces multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse approaches to the conservation of historic resources. The student's program may address preservation planning and development; issues in the theory, history, and practice of the conservation of buildings, interiors, landscapes and neighborhoods; preservation-based strategies of sustainable development; and innovative methodologies for preservation practice.


Please note: We regret we are unable to accept applications to this track for Fall 2018. 

The concentration in sustainability is practical, technical, and philosophical in scope and integrates three areas of inquiry related to the built environment, biophysical systems, building systems, and political systems. The study of biophysical systems relies upon the disciplines of natural and urban ecological sciences as they relate to architecture. The study of building systems includes investigating component technologies necessary to construct environmentally responsive architecture. The study of political systems situates the biophysical and building systems within the social and political contexts of architectural practice.

Program of Work

Students entering the PhD program with a master's degree should anticipate two years of full-time coursework (nine units per semester) leading to the qualifying examination. The minimum registration requirement for the research and writing of the dissertation is three units per semester. Additional hours may be required for foreign language study or other courses the doctoral subcommittee determines to be pre-requisites for advanced study.

Program core requirements (9 credits)  
History of Architecture Concentration Methodologies of Architectural History
Historic Preservation Concentration Research Design
Sustainability Concentration Research Design
All concentrations Two of the following three courses (substitutes allowed with approval)
  History of Building Technology
  Preservation History and Theory
  Society, Nature and Technology
Courses outside the School of Architecture (9 units) Graduate-level courses complementing the student's area of concentration

Model Program of Work

Additional courses may be required for the study of foreign languages or other courses required by the doctoral subcommittee

Year 1

Fall (9 units)

1. Core course

2. Core course

3. Course in area of specialization

Spring (9 units)

1. Core course

2. Course in area of specialization

3. Course outside the School of Architecture

Year 2

Fall (9 units)

1. Course in area of specialization

2. Course in area of specialization

3. Course outside the School of Architecture

Spring (9 units; preparation for the qualifying examination taken at the end of the semester or at the beginning of the following fall semester)

1. Course in area of specialization or course outside the School of Architecture

2. Reading course in preparation for qualifying examination

3. Reading course in preparation for qualifying examination

Year 3

Fall (9 units; development and approval of dissertation topic; advancement to candidacy status)

1. Dissertation colloquium

2. Doctoral research or other coursework

3. Doctoral research or other coursework

Years 4 and 5 (research, writing, and defense of the dissertation; registration of 3 units of dissertation hours required each semester; 9 units required for students serving as teaching or research assistants)