PhD Browser

PhD History, Theory and Society

Berkeley University of California
College of Environmental Design
Berkeley, California
United States
History, Theory & Critic

The History, Theory and Society Ph.D program (HTS) offers degrees to students interested in studying the history and theory of architecture, the built environment and contemporary urbanism in a broad social, political, and cultural framework. This approach accommodates a range of topics across space and time. Based on their interests and background, students can draw on historical and theoretical material from across the humanities to formulate areas of study and thesis and dissertation topics. Historically, the program was a pioneer in the study of non-western environments, an approach now updated to consider issues of development and globalization in the 20th and 21st century. The program’s emphasis is on situating architecture, building and urbanism in a larger intellectual context through the use of contemporary social theory, historical analysis, and a variety of methods from ethnography to archival research.


Applicants are encouraged to carefully examine the research interests of the PhD Program Faculty listed below. Also, they can review other members of the Architecture Department Faculty. Students may situate their research interest in the comprehensive area of History, Theory and Society, or may choose concentrations in Environmental Design & Urbanism in Developing Countries or Social and Cultural Processes in Architecture & Urban Design.



The following are members of the Ph.D faculty who focus on the subject area of History, Theory and Society. Please also review the current list of all faculty in the Architecture Department. Samples of faculty research can be found in the faculty research projects.


Greg Castillo, Associate Professor of Architecture
20th Century Architecture with Emphasis on Mid-Century Modernism, Cold War-Era Design, Consumer Culture, Architecture and the History of Emotions.


Margaret Crawford, Professor of Architecture
History of Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History and Theory, US Built Environment Studies, Urbanism in China


C. Greig Crysler, Professor of Architecture
Architecture of Globalization, discourses of Architecture and Urbanism and the Arcus Chair in Gender, Sexuality and the Built Enviornment.


Andrew Shanken, Professor of Architecture
Architecture and Consumer Culture, Memory and the Built Environment, Paper Architecture and the Unbuilt, Expositions, Themed Landscapes, and Architectural Rhetoric.


Neyran Turan, Assistant Professor of Architecture

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Admission Requirements

NOTE: Details of these requirements are currently under discussion by the Ph.D. committee and will be updated when finalized. Program requirements will also be made available in a forthcoming student handbook.


The Ph.D. program in architecture is governed by the regulations of the University Graduate Division and administered by the departmental Ph.D. committee. Specific degree requirements include:


-A minimum of two years in residence.


-Completion of a one-semester course in research methods.


-Satisfaction of a foreign language requirement. Note: Language requirements for Ph.D. students are currently being discussed and may vary depending on the specialty area. Details will be forthcoming.


-Completion of one-to-two outside fields of study.


-A written qualifying examination, followed by an oral qualifying examination.


-A dissertation.




The College of Environmental Design’s admission cycle begins in September, when the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application becomes available. Application deadlines are in December but vary by program, so be sure to check your program’s deadline. Admission is for the fall semester of the following year. CED does not offer spring-semester admission.


All applicants must submit the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. In addition, applicants to the graduate programs at CED must meet CED program prerequisites and submit all required application materials, including any supplemental materials such as portfolios or writing samples.




All application materials must be submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application by your program’s deadline. Please be advised that Examination requirements vary by program, and some programs may require a portfolio of creative work or writing sample. Read our frequently asked questions, and contact our graduate program advisers if you have any questions.




Submit the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application, completing all of its sections.


UC Berkeley begins accepting applications in early September for the following Fall term only and on a full-time basis.




This is your academic statement.


It should include a description of why you want to study your proposed subject field, why you want to study at UC Berkeley, and how our program can help you achieve your professional goals.
For additional information, see our frequently asked questions page.


*Note to Ph.D. applicants and applicants to the academic master’s degree programs: The admissions committee will read your Statement of Purpose seeking an account of your prior research experience and looking for evidence that you are prepared to undertake a significant, sophisticated, independent and in-depth research project.


Your competence and intellectual potential to undertake research is among the most important criteria considered by the admissions committee.




Architecture Ph.D. and Master of Science applicants should structure their Statement of Purpose as follows:


Part 1: Goals (500 words). A statement describing your general academic and career goals, the field(s) in which you would like to study, and why you wish to attend UC Berkeley in particular (you may want to refer to specific classes, faculty, or research projects that interest you). Your ideas should be clear, specific and persuasive.


Part 2: Research Proposal (500 words). An example of a specific research proposal that you may wish to undertake while at UC Berkeley. You may present a single proposal, or perhaps two alternates, about your dissertation Although you are not committed to do precisely what you propose (and, if fact, it is expected that your ideas will evolve during your studies), the committee will use this proposal to assess your ability to conceptualize a research plan. Your research proposal should succinctly frame a research question, articulate why it is important, demonstrate an understanding of the relevant literature and gaps in current knowledge, and identify what types of research methods one might apply to address the problem. If possible, identify faculty in architecture and/or other departments with whom you would like to work.




The Personal History Statement should convey how a combination of life experiences, idealism, role models, education and work experiences have influenced your decision to apply.

You may also include any educational, familial, cultural, economic or social experiences, challenges or opportunities relevant to your academic journey.


For tips on writing the Personal History Statement, see UC Berkeley’s Personal Statement Guide.




Architecture Ph.D. and Master of Science applicants should structure their Personal History Statement as follows:


This essay (500 words, maximum) is a narrative description of your life background in terms of how it has prepared you for this next stage of your studies.


It should describe relevant aspects of your life story and achievements, as well as educational and cultural opportunities or circumstances that supported or deprived you of such achievements; family background; economic circumstances; special interests and abilities; and community or social service involvement.


Throughout, be selective in describing things that specifically relate to your academic goals and intellectual pursuits.


In particular, please be sure to focus on details of your research experience, and how your background has prepared you for the next stage of your studies.




A minimum of three letters of recommendation must be submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application by the application deadline.


Applicants may submit additional letters if desired.


The most helpful letters of recommendation are from individuals who have supervised the applicant’s work in either an academic, employment or community service capacity, and who can evaluate the applicant’s intellectual ability, creativity, initiative, leadership potential, and promise in your desired field.


Please follow the instructions on the online application for the online letter of recommendation submission process as only letters that are submitted online will be considered.


If your recommender is having trouble with the sumbitting online, please contact the department graduate advisor.




Applicants to the College of Environmental Design’s graduate programs may be required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and/or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)/International English Language Testing System (IELTS). See the table below for the examination(s) required by your program. Please plan ahead and schedule your examinations at least one month prior to the application deadline so that we may have timely receipt of your scores. It can take up to 2.5 weeks for your scores to be received and matched to your application.




Applicants taking the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must have their official scores reported to the UC Berkeley Graduate Division by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).


Only GREs taken after June 2014 are valid.


There is no minimum score requirement.


The LSAT and GMAT cannot be substituted for the GRE.


To assist you in preparing to take the GRE, ETS offers a variety of free and low-cost tools.


Reservations for the GRE exam should be made in advance through: The Education Testing Service (ETS), P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, Phone: (609) 771-7670 or 1-800-GRE-CALL or




Our institution code is 4833.


You do not need to list a department code.




All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English must demonstrate Evidence of English Language Proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


Only TOEFL and IELTS taken after June 2017 are valid.


Minimum TOEFL scores required are 570 for the paper-based test and 90 for the internet-based test (iBT).


Minimum IELTS overall score required is 7.


You may sign up for the TOEFL through an agent in your country or through: TOEFL, CN6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, Phone: (609) 771-7500 or


More information about evidence of English Language Proficiency, including qualifying for an exemption, can be found here.




Our institution code is 4833.


You do not need to list a department code.


We will only accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office.




Submit an electronic or scanned copy of your unofficial transcript(s) in PDF format from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.


If you studied abroad, either as part of an exchange program administered by your school or on your own, please upload each transcript separately.


Please make sure that transcript images are properly rotated, and not sideways or upside-down, and remove your Social Security number and birth date before submittal.


If you accept your offer of admission, all official transcripts of all college-level work will be required to be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office (318 Sproul Hall).




A Grade Point Average (G.P.A.) of 3.0 or better (on a 4-point scale) in the last two years of undergraduate study (also known as your advanced G.P.A.).


Please calculate your advanced G.P.A. (last two years of undergraduate study).


For those applicants whose undergraduate university does not use a 4-point scale, the calculation of an advanced GPA is not required.


If this applies to your previous institution(s), please enter “N/A” in the GPA section.




Submit an electronic copy of your resume or curriculum vitae in PDF format, reflecting your work experience, education, publications, awards, community/volunteer experiences and any other relevant information.


We advise students to be detailed and expansive.




A recent publication, report or writing sample must be submitted by applicants


-The publication, report or writing sample should support the applicant’s Statement of Purpose and clearly demonstrate research and writing abilities and/or analytical skills.


-Publication, report or writing sample must be saved as a single file in PDF format, 50 pages maximum (no minimum page requirement), and submitted via the UC Berkeley Graduate Division online application. Filesize must be no larger than 10MB.




– The application fee is not refundable.


If you are a U.S. Citizen or current Permanent Resident, the application fee is $105.


For all others, the fee is $125.


– Eligible applicants (U.S. Citizens or current Permanent Residents) may apply for an application fee waiver.


The form to request a fee waiver is included in the payment section of the online application.


To be considered, applicants need to select the waiver payment option before submitting the online application.


Unfortunately, there are no fee waiver options for international applicants.


– Applications that do not submit a payment or fee waiver application by the application deadline will note be reviewed and thus will not be considered for admission.

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General information
2 years full time
Greg Castillo
Not Confirmed
+1 (510) 642-4942
230 Wurster Hall #1820 Berkeley, CA 94720–1820
Campus Location
The information of this PhD was extracted from the Official Website of the program.
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