Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture

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52 credit hours beyond the master’s degree
Written 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 demands a deep understanding of architecture’s history and its contemporary intellectual terrain, a command of advanced research methodologies, and a commitment to critical inquiry that extends its frontiers.

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 will participate in the experiments of design studios and will later help guide these efforts in mentoring roles, helping to shape the debate within the college through their involvement in the college’s “cloud studio.”

Admission Requirements

An applicant to the doctoral program must hold a professional Master of Architecture degree (M.Arch.) from an NAAB-accredited U.S. university or the equivalent. Candidates who have not completed the required professional M.Arch. degree may apply for either the Master of Architecture or the Master of Science in Architecture program at Illinois Institute of Technology to fulfill that requirement, as a non-terminal program of studies preparatory for the doctoral program.

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 his or her 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 with 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 written qualifying examination before he or she 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 of the dissertation. Current areas of study include 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.

Elective Courses (28)
Select 28 credit hours 128
Ph.D. Research (24)
ARCH 691Doctoral Research 224
Master's Transfer Coursework (32)
A maximum of 32 credit hours may be transferred from master's degree32
Total Credit Hours84

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, ID 598, MMAE 597, or PHIL 597.


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