Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture


Architecture is inherently an interdisciplinary field of study, integrating knowledge from art, science, and the humanities. As a method of practice, it is a complex, collaborative, professional activity aimed at improving the quality of life for people and the planet. The discipline requires creative, critical, agile, and integrative thinking. Architecture deals with highly complex problems and aims to solve them not only competently, but in a way that ennobles society. The curriculum responds to these considerations by offering a series of overlapping sequences in professional and academic course work.

The Ph.D. in Architecture educates students to become more valuable to society through academic, business, and government organizations that require greater artistic, scientific, and investigative skills. It offers candidates opportunities to develop and deepen their education in 3 important ways:

  • Enhancing research and analytical skills with rigorous methods of inquiry and synthesis;
  • Acquiring advanced knowledge specific to their area(s) of inquiry through comprehensive scholarly investigations and distinguished documentation; and
  • Developing the ability to communicate knowledge in a clear and eloquent manner.

To realize this goal, the faculty has made a commitment to create, along with doctoral students, a climate in which scholarship and creativity can flourish. Underlying the advanced study of architecture at KU is an ethic regarding architectural inquiry and architectural practice; one that sustains the question, “What ought we do as architects and researchers to enhance the quality of life on this planet?” Examples of inquiry at KU that exemplify this underlying question are

  • Progressive models of practice embracing evidence-based design and design-build practices;
  • Affordable housing with a sensitive aesthetic;
  • Material investigations to create more affordable and sustainable building practices;
  • Rigorous evaluations of built artifacts to inform better design practice;
  • Translation of empirical findings of person-place interaction research into design guidelines; and
  • Critical perspectives on human settlement patterns.

Our research is founded on an ethical position. We are not involved in research simply to generate knowledge for its own sake but rather to improve the human condition through more thoughtful built form. The overall focus is on developing understanding that may inform the critical delivery processes by which humane architecture is created.

Note: Contact the Architecture department or program for more information about the Research and Skills and Responsible Scholarship requirement for doctoral students.