UTSOA

The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy is an academic degree with concentrations in the history of architecture and landscape architecture, historic preservation, and sustainability. It provides students holding an appropriate master's degree with a rigorous program of study intended to prepare them to conduct research and teach in these disciplines.

The concentration in the history of architecture and landscape architecture places special emphasis on understanding buildings or landscapes and their designers in their historical contexts as complex and interconnected wholes that include aspects of aesthetics, tectonics, function, culture, and meaning. The student's program of study may address the history of architectural theory; the history of design; the history of interior design; the history of urban design, settlements, or cities; the history of building technology; and the history of landscape design.

The concentration in historic preservation embraces multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse approaches to the conservation of historic resources. The student's program may address preservation planning and development; issues in the theory, history, and practice of the conservation of buildings, interiors, landscapes and neighborhoods; preservation-based strategies of sustainable development; and innovative methodologies for preservation practice.

The concentration in sustainability is practical, technical, and philosophical in scope and integrates three areas of inquiry related to the built environment, biophysical systems, building systems, and political systems. The study of biophysical systems relies upon the disciplines of natural and urban ecological sciences as they relate to architecture. The study of building systems includes investigating component technologies necessary to construct environmentally responsive architecture. The study of political systems situates the biophysical and building systems within the social and political contexts of architectural practice.

Admission Requirements

Students who enter the doctoral degree program must hold a master's degree or the equivalent in a discipline relevant to their area of concentration and must demonstrate the ability to excel in doctoral work. Admission decisions are made by the doctoral subcommittee of the Architecture Graduate Studies Committee.

 

Degree Requirements

The doctoral subcommittee of the Architecture Graduate Studies Committee determines course requirements, prescribes qualifying examinations, and approves dissertation topics. The degree plan requires a minimum of thirty hours. A minimum of twenty-one of these hours consists of seminars and reading courses leading to the qualifying examination. Nine of these hours must satisfy the program's core requirements, as specified by the doctoral subcommittee (credit may be awarded for core courses taken as part of a School of Architecture master's program). Nine of the remaining hours are to be taken outside the School of Architecture. All tracks require experience in design, which may be gained through design studio coursework or professional practice; reading proficiency in two foreign languages appropriate to the area of specialization; and/or proficiency in qualitative or quantitative analysis, as determined by the doctoral subcommittee.

 

After passing the qualifying examination, the student registers in the dissertation colloquium (three units) to develop a dissertation topic. Upon approval of the dissertation topic and the formation of the dissertation committee, the doctoral subcommittee will recommend the Graduate School promote the student to candidacy (ABD, all but dissertation status). The writing, oral defense, and revision of the dissertation follow.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination demonstrates broad mastery of the field of study in which the dissertation will be situated. In practical terms, it establishes a credential for teaching at the college level. The student's program director and the doctoral subcommittee in consultation with other faculty determine the scope of the examination and select the examiners. The examination consists of a written exam spread over two days followed shortly thereafter by an oral exam, which is open to other faculty and students.

Dissertation Colloquium

The dissertation colloquium culminates preparation of the dissertation proposal. The student presents the proposal for consideration by the doctoral subcommittee, prospective members of the dissertation committee, and other interested faculty and students. Upon approval of the dissertation proposal and formation of the dissertation committee, the doctoral subcommittee will recommend the student's promotion to candidacy status.

Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation must make an original contribution to scholarship. It normally requires at least two years of research and writing. The work is directed by a dissertation committee consisting of five or six members including a supervisor (or co-supervisors) and at least one member from outside the School of Architecture. The oral defense of the dissertation is a public event scheduled through the Graduate School.


Program of Work

Students entering the PhD program with a master's degree should anticipate two years of full-time coursework (nine units a semester) leading to the qualifying examination. The minimum registration requirement for the research and writing of the dissertation is three units a semester. Additional hours may be required for foreign language study or other courses the doctoral subcommittee determines to be pre-requisites for advanced study.

 

Program core requirements (9 units)

History of Architecture Concentration:

Methodologies of Architectural History

Historic Preservation Concentration

Research Design

Sustainability Concentration:

Research Design

All concentrations:

Two of the following three courses (substitutes allowed with approval):

1. History of Building Technology

2. Preservation History and Theory or

3. Society, Nature and Technology

Courses outside the School of Architecture (9 units)

These are graduate-level courses complementing the student's area of concentration.


 

Model Program of Work

Additional courses may be required for the study of foreign languages or other courses required by the doctoral subcommittee

Year 1

Fall (9 units)

1. Core course

2. Core course

3. Course in area of specialization

Spring (9 units)

1. Core course

2. Course in area of specialization

3. Course outside the School of Architecture

Year 2

Fall (9 units)

1. Course in area of specialization

2. Course in area of specialization

3. Course outside the School of Architecture

Spring (9 units; preparation for the qualifying examination taken at the end of the semester or at the beginning of the following fall semester)

1. Course in area of specialization or course outside the School of Architecture

2. Reading course in preparation for qualifying examination

3. Reading course in preparation for qualifying examination

Year 3

Fall (9 units; development and approval of dissertation topic; advancement to candidacy status)

1. Dissertation colloquium

2. Doctoral research or other coursework

3. Doctoral research or other coursework

Years 4 and 5 (research, writing, and defense of the dissertation; registration of 3 units of dissertation hours required each semester; 9 units required for students serving as teaching or research assistants)