PhD Program
Architecture and

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Page updated:
February 19, 2014

Program Structure


The curriculum for each option is broken into three stages consisting of core courses, electives, and the dissertation. All options require 96 hours of graduate work, 64 of which must be earned while in residence. Please consult the Ph.D. Handbook for further details regarding credit requirements.

Four areas of focus are offered:

A minimum of 96 hours of graduate work must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale where A=4.0) to receive the Ph.D. Of these 96 total hours, a minimum of 64 hours must be earned while in residence. The 32 hours requirements of coursework will vary as explained in the Ph.D. Handbook - Section "Admission and Credits Requirements". These 64 hours will typically consist of 32 hours of coursework and 32 hours of dissertation research. These are graduate-level courses taken for a grade. Except in teh case where the course is only offered on a credit/no-credit basis, courses must be taken for a grade to fulfill the requirements for the doctorate. For more information on credit and residence requirements, please consult the Graduate College Handbook (

The curriculum for each option is broken into three stages consisting of core courses, electives, and the dissertation.

All students are required to take two semesters of Arch/LA 589. This is a one-credit, credit/no credit, introductory seminar aimed at students in their first and second years of the program. All options require 32 hours of elective coursework, of which at least 8 hours must be courses outside of Landscape Architecture and Architecture.  Unless permission is obtained from the PhD Chair, no more than 12 hours may be taken at the 400 level.  After completion of the course work for stages one and two, students are required to pass a preliminary exam.  The final stage is dissertation work, which will consist of a minimum of 32 hours (registered as Arch 599 or LA 599, pass/fail only).

Each student’s curriculum is tailored to his/her individual needs and is determined in close consultation with and under the approval of the primary faculty advisor. 

Stage One

Each option begins with a foundations or methodology course(s) that introduces the research methods of that discipline.  Additional core courses provide grounding in the basic issues, theories, concepts, and methods of the different options.  

Typically, Health & Wellbeing students will take courses on behavioral/design research approaches, a course on cultural issues in design, an appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative methods course, and a course on historical and contemporary cultural landscapes. 

History and Theory students will typically take courses in the history of cultural landscapes, buildings, and cities, as well as more specialized history offerings dependent upon their program goals.  Theory oriented courses include specific architectural or landscape design theory seminars and urban design theory. 

Technology and Environment students will take courses in any number of areas including, but not limited to, building science, environmental technology, ecological design, structures, materials, construction methods, business practice and management, and information and digital technology. 

All students in the History and Theory option are required to have a high-level reading proficiency in one foreign language, to be determined by the student’s advisor.  Depending on the areas of concentration, proficiency in additional languages may be required by the advisor.  All students in the History and Theory option are required to take LA 505 (Methods and Approaches in Landscape and Architectural History).  Additional courses in Methodology or Theory may be required by a student’s advisor, as deemed appropriate, such as LA 501, LA 506, or Arch 577.

These language and statistics course requirements and proficiency vary by focus area.  Prospective students are encouraged to inquire with the Chair of the PhD Committee as to these requirements for their area of study. 

Stage Two

Each student will choose his or her elective courses, in consultation with his or her faculty advisor, to develop an individual specialization or minor field within the option. A minimum of 8 hours must be from departments other than the home department. All but 12 hours must be from courses above the 400 level (unless approved by the Ph.D. Chair).

Outside Fields

The purpose of the outside field requirement is to ensure the correlation of knowledge and methods of inquiry from one field relating to but outside of the major (the area of concentration).  Outside fields should be selected that will broaden knowledge, expand methodological skills, and provide new insights for the major field of study.  The subject must be in a field outside the home department.  The proposed outside field must not duplicate or substantially overlap the major field or work performed to fulfill requirements for language or research methods. 

Stage Two is completed when all course and language requirements have been met, and a preliminary examination passed.

Foreign Language Requirement (Required for all students in the History/Theory option)

You may satisfy the language requirement with any language in which you will do primary research.  This choice must be approved by the primary advisor.  Some language requirements may be fulfilled by either taking a University proficiency exam or completing approved University language courses that are designed to demonstrate graduate-level competence.  Courses must be passed with a letter grade of “B” or better. 

Stage Three: Dissertation Work

A minimum of 32 hours of dissertation work (599 registration) must be completed to fulfill the degree requirements.  This stage begins with development and presentation of a dissertation proposal at the time of the preliminary exam.  The dissertation proposal presentation serves to insure that the student has chosen a topic that is reasonable, that hypotheses are adequately formed, that research methods are appropriate, that the resources for completion of the research are available, and that the student is sufficiently prepared to carry out the research.  After writing the dissertation, each student must defend his or her dissertation in an oral examination called the final exam or defense. 

Please consult the Ph.D. Handbook for further details.