PhD Browser

PhD Architectural & Urban History & Theory

University College of London
The Bartlett School of Architecture
London, England
United Kingdom
History, Theory & Critic

This stream within Architecture MPhil/PhD allows students to conduct an exhaustive, original and creative piece of research into an area of their own selection and definition. The range of research topics undertaken is broad, but most explore the history and theory of architecture and cities between 1800 and the present day.


This programme allows you to conduct an exhaustive, original and creative piece of research into an area of your own selection and definition. The range of research topics undertaken is broad, but most explore the history and theory of architecture and cities between 1800 and the present day.




The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) consists of a piece of supervised research, normally undertaken over a period of three years full-time. Assessment is by means of a thesis, which should demonstrate your capacity to pursue original research based upon a good understanding of the research techniques and concepts appropriate to the discipline.


Initially, you will be registered for the MPhil degree. If you wish to proceed to a PhD, you will be required to pass an ‘Upgrade’ assessment. The purpose of the upgrade is to assess your progress and ability to complete your PhD programme to a good standard and in a reasonable time frame. It is expected that a full-time student will attempt upgrade within 18 months of registration.


All students have the option of auditing modules from Architectural History MA, led by Professor Peg Rawes.


Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the variety of skills development courses run by the UCL Doctoral School and the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


The MPhil/PhD programme is one of independent research but your Principle Supervisor will establish a timetable of regular meetings with you at which all matters relating to your work can be discussed; such meetings should take place at least once per month.




In their first year, students are registered as MPhil candidates, but are then expected to upgrade to PhD status. Full-time students are expected to complete their PhDs in three to four years, whilst part-time students complete theirs in five to seven years.


Architectural Design thesis submissions combine a design project and a text of around 60,000 words. The research for Architectural & Urban History & Theory is normally presented as a text of 100,000 words maximum with illustrative material.


All students have the option of auditing modules from Architectural History MA, led by Professor Peg Rawes.


Students are also encouraged to take advantage of the variety of skills development courses run by the Graduate School UCL and the Language Centre. In particular, students are advised to follow the workshop The Creative Thesis, run in conjunction with the Slade School of Fine Art, which is tailored to practice-led research.




Architectural Design MPhil/PhD and Architectural & Urban History & Theory MPhil/PhD both draw on the full range of the research expertise offered at The Bartlett School of Architecture.


As an MPhil/PhD candidate, you will have two doctoral supervisors: one from the school and a second from another school in The Bartlett or elsewhere in UCL, depending on your research area.

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Admission Requirements



A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a relevant subject, is essential. Exceptionally: where applicants have other suitable research or professional experience, they may be admitted without a Master’s degree; or where applicants have a lower second-class UK Honours Bachelor’s degree (2:2) (or equivalent) they must possess a relevant Master’s degree to be admitted. We expect any successful application to include a sufficiently strong and convincing proposal, and those holding a Master’s degree are typically well prepared to provide one. Relevant work experience is highly desirable.


English language requirements


If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.


The English language level for this programme is: Standard


Further information can be found on our English language requirements page. 




Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.


Application deadlines


Prospective MPhil/PhD applicants are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry before applying. This should be sent directly to the academic you would like to supervise you. Please refer to the staff list on the department website and see UCL’s Institutional Research Information Service (IRIS) for staff profiles. Please attach to your e-mail a referenced research proposal of around 1,000 to 2,000 words and your curriculum vitae (CV).


Further details on how to apply to an MPhil/PhD can be found on the UCL Graduate Admissions website.


For more information see our Applications page.




UCL is not able to support applications made through agents. UCL expects that the email ID and password that you create will be used by you solely for the purpose of submitting your own application(s) to study at UCL.


Before you apply online, you should satisfy a number of conditions. Please read the statements below and if you satisfy them, please then click the ‘Accept and apply’ button and you will be transferred to the Apply Online pages.


– I have checked whether there is an application deadline and I will submit my application before any applicable deadline. I understand that references must be uploaded before any deadline.


– I can provide a valid email address for each referee and I have contacted both referees to advise them they will receive a request to upload their reference via a secure website. I understand that my application will be put on hold and will not be considered by UCL until references have been uploaded.


– I am able to submit my transcript in electronic format (.doc, .docx, .jpg, .pdf) at the same time as my application. This document will less than 2MB in size.


– If an application processing fee applies to my programme, I am able to pay the fee online as part of my application, or arrange for the fee to be paid on my behalf, and have read and understood the Terms and Conditions. I understand that if a fee is required, my application is not submitted to UCL before the fee is paid.


– I understand that if I am applying for a research programme or a taught programme which is exempt, that no fee is required.


– I will submit my own application and am not using an agent to do so on my behalf.


Further information on UCL’s processing of student personal data can be viewed in our Prospective Students (Enquirers and Applicants) Privacy Notice.




A step by step guide to applying for a research programme at UCL.


1.- Identify the degree programme at UCL you wish to study


All graduate research programmes offered at UCL are listed in the research degrees section.


Research programme directory


2. Investigate research opportunities across UCL


UCL is a large, multi-faculty university and it may be that your area of interest is represented in more than one department or in one of our multidisciplinary institutes or centres. There are two main types of research degree opportunities:




Some funded PhD programmes will be advertised as studentships. This is more common in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) areas. These opportunities may be listed on our studentships page, although some academics prefer to only advertise them on their websites. Each studentship will stipulate its own application process and entrance requirements.


Studentships are also offered in UCL’s doctoral training centres. Many of these studentships are funded by the UK Government and are only available to UK/EU students.


Speculative opportunities


Most opportunities, and potential funding, are not packaged as studentships or advertised. Exceptional students, that meet the entrance requirements, are therefore encouraged to be proactive to identify opportunities with UCL academics whose recent research closely matches their interests.


There are three main ways to identify an appropriate supervisor to contact:


– Browse research programmes to find centres of research in your area of interest. Click through to the department or centre website to find staff profiles.


– Look on UCL’s Institutional Research Information System (IRIS) where you can search for relevant academic units and potential supervisors by keyword. Not all academics are listed in IRIS but it is a good place to start.


– Search our online research repository (UCL Discovery) where all UCL’s research papers are published, subject to approvals. If you identify a research paper that particularly interests you it is likely that one of the authors would be a suitable research supervisor.


If an academic is very impressed with your research experience and proposal they may be able to help you to identify sources of funding, including from their own, or departmental, research funds. There are also UCL scholarships that they can nominate you for.


3. Making a research enquiry


All prospective applicants, except those applying for advertised studentships, are encouraged to send an informal research enquiry. This should either be sent directly to the academic you are interested in working with or the departmental contact.


Making a research enquiry helps define your interests, contributes to making your application successful, and also serves to ensure the identification of the best possible supervisor for your needs.


You can find contact details for academic departments at the bottom of relevant programme pages. Alternatively you can find Graduate Tutor information on the UCL Doctoral School website.
More information on how to contact potential supervisors and write a research proposal can be found in our guidance document.


4. Submit a formal application


Finally when you and your prospective supervisor are happy with your research proposal, you should submit a formal application.


5. Await decision


You will be able to track the progress of your application via the UCL Applicant Portal (log in required). If you are required to submit anything further after your application has been submitted you will be notified by email and in the portal.


UCL Applicant Portal

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General information
3 years full time / 5 years part time
Sophia Psarra
Not Confirmed
Email /
+44 (0)20 3108 6779
22 Gordon St, Kings Cross, London WC1H 0QB
Campus Location
The information of this PhD was extracted from the Official Website of the program.
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