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Department of Architecture


PhD in Architecture

The PhD in Architecture is a three year research degree offering the opportunity for independent research under the supervision of a departmental member of staff. Unless the student becomes a member of a research group, the research is undertaken entirely by the candidate on their own, with regular supervisions on progress with their supervisor. 

The Department welcomes applications from graduates to undertake research towards an PhD degree in most areas or architectural research, but is unable to offer places to candidates for whom no supervisor is available. Applicants are admitted who meet the course requirements and whose research interests match those of an available member of the academic staff. 

Please note that the Department does not offer a taught PhD programme, unlike, for example, many North American Universities. 

List of available supervisors

Course Structure & Examination

The PhD in Architecture is a three year programme which commences in October each year. It is also available on a five year part-time basis. Students submit their dissertations at the end of their third full-time year (or part-time equivalent) and will be invited to attend an oral examination up to three months after submitting. 

The programme involves minimal formal teaching. Students will usually have their supervisors confirmed before they have begun their course in October and will typically meet for 45 minutes on a fortnightly basis during term time. A bespoke programme is evolved by the student in conjunction with their supervisor and will include attendance at the Department’s programme of research seminars and other relevant graduate courses. Attending lectures is optional but students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of lectures offered in the Department, their college and other departments and faculties relevant to their research topics.

As well as the research and skills training programme offered by the Department of Architecture, students have the opportunity to develop their research skills by attending numerous courses, such as those related to the use of bibliographic resources and other databases, and specific computer skills. Informal opportunities to develop research skills also exist through mentoring undergraduate students, contributing to our departmental journal, Scroope and other opportunities presented by fellow students and members of staff.

Students will be provided with feedback via supervisions and their supervisor's termly reports which are available to them via their self-service pages on CamSIS.


Students will be provided with feedback via review exercises, supervisions and the supervisor's termly reports.



Submission of a thesis, which is not to exceed 80,000 words.  The thesis is examined by two examiners, and includes an oral examination which is usually held at the Faculty.

Footnotes, references and text within tables are to be counted within the word limit, but captions, appendices and bibliographies are excluded. Appendices (of no determined word length) may be permitted subject to the approval of the candidate's supervisor (in consultation with the Degree Committee). Appendices should be confined to such items as catalogues, original texts, translations of texts, transcriptions of interview, or tables. Permission to include such appendices must be requested well in advance of the submission of the final thesis. 


Candidates for the PhD are reviewed formally on an annual basis.  In the third term, candidates submit a First Year Report.  Candidates’ reports are assessed by two assessors and the candidate is invited to attend an oral assessment. 

During their sixth term, candidates are required to give a presentation of their work to the Graduate Director(s), their supervisor and any other appropriate assessor approved by the supervisor. The candidate’s progress is assessed and documented in a short report.  

The ninth term review ensures that candidates are on track to submit on time.  

Candidates submit a log of their research activity which is assessed at each of the annual reviews described above. 

Annual Reviews of Work

Students undertake an annual review of their work throughout their programme which is realised in different ways; for example, the production of a report or undertaking a presentation. The purpose of the reviews is to ensure that students are on track to submit a successful dissertation by the submission deadline. The first review also serves as a registration exercise, for which students have to submit a report of 10,000 words which is orally assessed by two assessors. The purpose of this exercise is to determine whether the student is suited to the demands of PhD research and to address any concerns if there are any. 


Students submit a dissertation, of not more than 80,000 words (60,000 words for the MSc degree). The dissertation and the general field of knowledge within which it falls is orally examined by two examiners. At least one of the examiners will be external to the University.

At a Glance

Course length and dates:

3 years full-time/5 years part-time, October start.


A dissertation of not more than 80,000 words. 

Academic requirement:

A 1st class or a high 2i honours degree in Architecture or a related discipline, and a Masters degree with merit (if a merit category exists).

English language requirement:

See Postgraduate Admissions Office

Applications accepted from:

The preceding September.

Application Deadlines:

The final deadline for applicants seeking funding is early January, please see Postgraduate Admissions for exact date. Even if you are not seeking funding, we strongly recommend that you submit your application by 7 January, as no applications will be accepted once this competitive and popular programme is full.

Course Fees:

Information relating to the fee for this course is available from the Postgraduate Admissions Office.  


If you are seeking funding for your course via one of the University’s main funding competitions, there are specific deadlines and eligibility criteria for each competition.  Please check the Funding Section of the Postgraduate Admissions Office website for information and application deadlines.