Ph.D. Program in Architecture
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.
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.
If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact the program administrator Sarah Lam or the member of the Core Faculty (listed below) most closely aligned with your research interests.
Graduate Group in Architecture
Masoud Akbarzadeh Assistant Professor of Architecture, Director of the Polyhedral Structures Laboratory https://psl.design.upenn.edu
Architecture and structural design, geometry-based structural design methods, innovative construction techniques, digital and robotic fabrication, performative architectural geometry, computational methods
Daniel A. Barber Associate Professor of Architecture, Chair of the Graduate Group in Architecture
Environmental histories of architecture, critical methodology, energy and climate in architectural history, architecture and the environmental humanities
William W. Braham Professor of Architecture, Director of MSD-Environmental Building Design and of the Center for Environmental Building + Design
Energy and environmental design in architecture, history and theory of technology, building science, and systems ecology applied to the built environment at multiple scales
Sonja Dümpelmann Standing Faculty of Landscape Architecture
Landscape and environmental history, urban studies, science and technology in landscape history, women and the built environment, landscape and the environmental humanities, plant humanities, history of landscape historiography
Sophie Hochhäusl Assistant Professor of Architectural History and Theory, Undergraduate Honor Thesis Coordinator
spatial histories of dissidence, resistance art; architecture and social movements, housing, cooperatives, and economic theory; eco-feminism, intersectionality, and gender theory in architecture
David Leatherbarrow Professor of Architecture
Theory and histories of architecture, technology in architecture, landscape architecture, and urban architecture
Franca Trubiano Associate Professor of Architecture
History and theory of architecture, building theories, tectonics, construction practices and architectural materials, sustainable design and environmental theories, high performance design
Aaron Wunsch Historic Preservation
Etienne Benson History and Sociology of Science
David Brownlee History of Art
Annette Fierro Architecture
Renata Holod History of Art
John Dixon Hunt Landscape Architecture (Emeritus)
Frank Matero Historic Preservation
Joan Ockman Distinguished Senior Lecturer of Architecture
Modern and contemporary architectural history and theory
Eduardo Rega Architecture
Fritz Steiner Landscape Architecture
Nancy Steinhardt East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Robert Stuart-Smith Architecture
Liliane Weissberg Germanic Languages and Literatures