The doctoral subcommittee of the Architecture Graduate Studies Committee determines course requirements, prescribes qualifying examinations, and approves dissertation topics. The degree plan requires a minimum of thirty hours. A minimum of twenty-one of these hours consists of seminars and reading courses leading to the qualifying examination. Nine of these hours must satisfy the program's core requirements, as specified by the doctoral subcommittee (credit may be awarded for core courses taken as part of a School of Architecture master's program). Nine of the remaining hours are to be taken outside the School of Architecture. All tracks require experience in design, which may be gained through design studio coursework or professional practice; reading proficiency in two foreign languages appropriate to the area of specialization; and/or proficiency in qualitative or quantitative analysis, as determined by the doctoral subcommittee.

After passing the qualifying examination, the student registers in the dissertation colloquium (three units) to develop a dissertation topic. Upon approval of the dissertation topic and the formation of the dissertation committee, the doctoral subcommittee will recommend the Graduate School promote the student to candidacy (ABD, all but dissertation status). The writing, oral defense, and revision of the dissertation follow.


The qualifying examination demonstrates broad mastery of the field of study in which the dissertation will be situated. In practical terms, it establishes a credential for teaching at the college level. The student's program director and the doctoral subcommittee in consultation with other faculty determine the scope of the examination and select the examiners. The examination consists of a written exam spread over two days followed shortly thereafter by an oral exam, which is open to other faculty and students.


The dissertation colloquium culminates preparation of the dissertation proposal. The student presents the proposal for consideration by the doctoral subcommittee, prospective members of the dissertation committee, and other interested faculty and students. Upon approval of the dissertation proposal and formation of the dissertation committee, the doctoral subcommittee will recommend the student's promotion to candidacy status.


The doctoral dissertation must make an original contribution to scholarship. It normally requires at least two years of research and writing. The work is directed by a dissertation committee consisting of five or six members including a supervisor (or co-supervisors) and at least one member from outside the School of Architecture. The oral defense of the dissertation is a public event scheduled through the Graduate School.