PhD Browser

PhD Program in Architecture

University of Pennsylvania
Weitzman School of Design
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
United States
Architecture & Design

The Ph.D. Program in Architecture is focused on the production of knowledge in the historical, theoretical, or technological development of architecture, landscape architecture, and historic preservation. Operating within the context of a design school in a university setting, it is a fundamentally interdisciplinary program, and seeks to explore opportunities in the wider university to reconsider the terms, methods, and futures of architectural knowledge.


To see current and recent student work from the program, go to the work link above. You can also explore recent events and programs sponsored by the Graduate Group and news about faculty and students. Faculty members of Graduate Group are listed below with their research focus.


The Program is, therefore, especially interested in interdisciplinary scholarship that explores and rescripts the boundaries of the discipline. Projects in History/Theory often explore connections between architectural histories and theories and histories of technology and environment; of race, class, and gender; of politics, economics, and equity; many are attuned to the role of media in producing and understanding architectural ideas. Technological research operates on structural and environmental knowledge. While much of the required coursework for the degree takes place within the School of Design, the curriculum allows extensive opportunities for students to take advantage of the rich resources of the University in their elective courses, in preparing their bibliographies and in writing their dissertations.


Requirements for the degree include twenty approved courses, the passing of two language exams, a qualifying examination, a preliminary examination, teaching experience, a dissertation and a final defense. Course work from previous graduate level programs can reduce the number of required courses for the Ph.D. Students generally spend three to four semesters on campus in order to complete requirements and advance to dissertation status. We encourage students to complete the degree in four to five years.


Students are assigned an advisor upon entering the program, and often choose their dissertation advisor within the first year. Most advisory committees are, like the work itself, interdisciplinary, and draw from experts within the School, the University, and the wider scholarly community.



The program is administered by a Graduate Group, consisting of faculty in the Department of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Historic Preservation, as well as from associated departments including History of Art, History and Sociology of Science, and other departments across the university. Students from the program often serve as pre-doctoral fellows in a range of University research centers, including the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities and the Penn/Mellon Colloquium in Humanities+Urbanism+Design.


The program accepts applicants holding Master’s degrees in architecture or a related field, such as landscape architecture or historic preservation. Applications to the Ph.D. program are accepted once a year as part of the Weitzman School’s admissions process.


The program accepts applicants holding Master’s degrees in architecture or a related field, such as landscape architecture or historic preservation. Applications to the Ph.D. program are accepted once a year as part of the Weitzman School’s admissions process.


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Admission Requirements

Our online application allows you to fill out portions of the application, save your information, and go back in at a later date. A non-refundable application fee of $80 must be submitted by credit card immediately after submitting your application. Directions for uploading supporting material are included in the application, as well as in our FAQ section.


Admissions decisions are released on March 12 at 12 noon (EDT).







– On‐line application form


– Application fee ($80)


– Three letters of recommendation submitted on‐line


a. At least two academic recommendations preferred


b. Use recommender’s professional e‐mail address if possible, not personal one


– Personal statement submitted on‐line. You must upload a personal statement, no more than 500 words long, describing your background, interest in your field, and your academic and career objectives. You should be as specific as you can about the area in which you plan to study. If you are an MFA applicant, you should include your ideas, as well as the stylistic and conceptual priorities for your work.


– Résumé submitted on‐line


– Scanned unofficial transcript(s) as PDFs or JPGs submitted on‐line


– Official paper transcript(s) from each US college or university attended for credit sent to Office of Admissions. If grades for study abroad or another institution are reflected on another transcript,
separate transcripts do not need to be submitted. If no credit was received for courses, a transcript does not need to be submitted.


Applicants completing more than one year of study for credit at a non‐US institution are required to submit a either a BASIC course‐by‐course evaluation from World Education Services (WES) or a course‐
by‐course evaluation from Educational Perspectives for each institution. You do not need to send us an official transcript from your school. Credentials received via the WES or Educational Perspectives
service are considered official. Both services charge a fee to evaluate your credentials.


You do not need to submit this course‐by‐course evaluation if you have taken courses for one year or less, or if you have attended an AAU‐affiliated school (McGill University or University of Toronto);
however, you will need to submit an official paper or electronic transcript from that institution.


– Graduate Record Examination scores (GRE) submitted by ETS for all but MFA applicants


– International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or PTE Academic


a.- required of all applicants whose native language is not English except those students who have completed four or more years at an English‐speaking undergraduate college or university


– Portfolio (required of all applicants to any Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Fine Arts, or Urban Design degree programs; also for MSD in Historic Preservation)


– Writing Sample (applicants to MS in Architecture and Historic Preservation, MSD‐AAD, MSD‐EBD, MSD‐HSP, MSD‐RAS, and Ph.D. programs)


– Research Paper (applicants to Ph.D.




– US Citizens and Permanent Residents should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as soon as possible. Recommended deadline for submission: February 15.


– Foreign Nationals should submit our International Financial Aid Application after January 1.


a.- Documentation must be provided to verify income and asset information, such bank statements, tax forms, etc.


b.- Submission via mail or through email as a PDF attachment of less than 4 MB.


c.- Recommended deadline for submission: February 15


Research Statement


Applicants to the PhD programs must submit a research statement. In a statement of no more than 500 words, describe the area or field of study you propose, and if possible the topic or kinds of topic you would like to research, explaining the importance of such a study, and the ways in which you are prepared to undertake this research and writing.




December 16 is the deadline for online submission of the application and receipt of all supporting material for


‐ MS in Architecture


‐ PhD in Architecture


‐ PhD in City and Regional Planning


January 2 is the deadline for online submission of the application and receipt of all supporting material for


‐ Master of Architecture


‐ Master of Science in Design – Advanced Architectural Design (MSD‐AAD)


‐ Master of Science in Design – Environmental Building Design (MSD‐EBD)


‐ Master of Science in Design – Robotics and Autonomous Systems (MSD‐RAS)


January 9 is the deadline for online submission of the application and receipt of all supporting material for


‐ Master of City and Regional Planning


‐ Master of Fine Arts


‐ Master of Science in Historic Preservation


‐ Master of Landscape Architecture


‐ Master of Science in Design – Historic Preservation (MSD‐HSP)


‐ Master of Urban Spatial Analytics


‐ Certificate Program

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General information
4 to 5 years full time
Masoud Akbarzadeh
Not Confirmed
Email /
+1 215 898 5728
210 S 34th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Campus Location
The information of this PhD was extracted from the Official Website of the program.
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