PhD in Architecture & Design Research


College of Architecture & the Built Environment


Doctor of Philosophy


East Falls


Hybrid (Online and On Campus)




4 - 7 Years

The architectural discipline is in constant flux, requiring the ongoing development of new modes of design research. The PhD in Architecture & Design Research is focused on anticipating and shaping the future of practice. Our mission is to create new avenues of investigation, expand knowledge bases, solve time-sensitive, contemporary issues across architectural disciplines and yield new insights into the past, present and future of the field. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research are important elements of this program, which builds on the wide-ranging expertise of faculty within the College of Architecture & the Built Environment and across Jefferson, a National Doctorial Research University.

In this program you will choose a focus area and conduct original research on timely, discipline-specific topics. You’ll shape a research question and pursue transdisciplinary inquiry, drawing upon the broad array of professional expertise available throughout the University. The final dissertation phase is an individualized, self-driven process, through which you will make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in a specific focus area.

Choose your focus area from a wide array of topics supported by the diverse expertise and research agenda of faculty who study areas including sustainable architecture, high performance buildings, urban design, smart cities, geospatial technologies, historic preservation, public interest design and design for health, sustainable development, real estate development and innovative construction. Through your research you will reach beyond the primary field, collaborating with other disciplines relevant to your topic, including engineering, business and health sciences, in consultation with an academic advisor.

This program is offered through three different online/hybrid tracks:

  1. Architecture & Design Research, PhD – in person/hybrid
  2. Architecture & Design Research, Practice-Based PhD – online/hybrid
  3. Architecture & Design Research, SMARTlab Practice-Based PhD – online/hybrid
    • Offers a concentration in Inclusive Design & Creative Technology Innovation with SMARTlab

National and International Partnerships

Faculty have formed partnerships with several international institutions, including: Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China; TU Delft; Politecnico di Milano; Anhalt University and Hochschule Ostwestfalen Lippe – School of Architecture, Germany. We foster student and faculty exchange and research with a growing list of top-tier domestic and international partner institutions. In addition, you will benefit from CABE’s network with leading architectural firms around the world, such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Gensler, Stantec, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) and AECOM via joint design studio, funded research, workshops and other activities.

Collaborative, Transdisciplinary Research

Increasingly complex challenges are impacting the environment and conditions of human lives at unprecedented scales, from urban to ecological systems. These challenges require novel, transdisciplinary approaches and solutions that intersect the fields of academia with practice. The PhD in Architecture & Design Research benefits from the transdisciplinary nature of Jefferson that fosters the intersection of architecture and design with business, engineering and the health sciences. The program builds upon Jefferson’s institutional strengths to educate the next generation of innovators who understand how to think critically and creatively and collaborate effectively. 

The PhD in Architecture & Design Research is a STEM designated program. (04.0902 Architecture and Building Science/Technology)

Student Profiles

Meet our Student: Monique Chabot

Monique is in the PhD in Architecture & Design Research program within the College of Architecture and the Built Environment.