University of Oregon

Department of Architecture

Programs in Architecture and Interior Architecture

About Ph.D. in Architecture

The Art + Science of Sustainable Design - Cities : Buildings : Materials

Lighting shades on the OHSU Center for Health and Healing in Portland, OregonBuilding upon more than forty years of excellence in environmental design teaching and research at the UO, the PhD program focuses on sustainable architecture and integrated design. Home to professional education in architecture and related environmental design fields since 1914, the PhD program in architecture is an advanced research degree that engages students in multidisciplinary investigations that create new knowledge in compelling and time-sensitive research topics.

With this exclusive focus, the program addresses the needs of the profession as society faces the environmental impact of buildings and cities. Students examine research topics that typically encompass an array of spatial, environmental, historical, social, political, technical, and economic factors. In addition to the rigorous understanding of building performance, aspects of sustainable community development, and broader social processes and policies, each student is also expected to demonstrate an understanding of the literature, theory, and research in a related focus area.

Applicants to the PhD program are expected to have professional experience in architectural practice and a keen interest in developing research expertise. The PhD program prepares students for careers at universities, and at other entities engaged in research related to sustainable design such as national research laboratories, industries, public agencies, and non-government organizations.

Students admitted to the program MUST already hold either a master’s degree in architecture from an accredited program or have an accredited professional degree in architecture and a master’s degree in a related field. A current architectural license and design practice, may be applied in lieu of a professional degree in architecture; however a master’s degree in a related field would still be required in this scenario. PhD students need to attend the Eugene campus for at least the first year of study and complete a minimum of two years in residence. Students admitted to this program will carry out a program of advanced study and research in sustainable design.

PhD students join a community of inquiring architects, engineers, and designers who are committed to solving multi-faceted problems and furthering knowledge by researching issues and processes that give form to the environment. We seek candidates with keen interests, career goals, and a clear capacity for research that are interested in topics that may include:

  • sustainable cities and livable communities design and policy
  • design for climate change and adaptation
  • cultural, social and economic sustainability
  • net-zero buildings and eco-districts design
  • resource forecasting and simulation of place and building performance
  • energy-efficient, adaptive re-use of existing buildings
  • indoor environmental quality and occupants’ health
  • high-performance envelopes and green technologies
  • life-cycle analysis design and modeling

Core PhD faculty include: G.Z. Brown (Architecture); Erin Cunningham, Ph.D. (Interior Architecture); Howard Davis (Architecture); Ihab Elzeyadi, Ph.D. (Architecture); Mark Gillem, Ph.D. (Architecture, Director of the Architecture PhD Program); Kingston Heath, Ph.D. (Historic Preservation); Alison Kwok, Ph.D. (Architecture, and Director of Grad Studies); Hajo Neis, Ph.D. (Architecture); Kevin Nute, Ph.D. (Architecture);  Kevin Van den Wymelenberg, Ph.D. (Architecture).

Prospective students interested in applying to the PhD program in the Department of Architecture are encouraged to contact prospective advisors to discuss research interests. Please review additional information about the PhD program including a typical course of study, review the PhD Handbook and funding before visiting PhD admissions for detailed instructions on making your application.


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