Architecture: PhD

Building upon more than 40 years of excellence in environmental design teaching and research at the UO, the PhD program in architecture focuses on sustainable architecture and integrated design. Home to professional education in architecture and related environmental design fields since 1914, the program 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. Learn more about what our faculty members are researching by reading their profiles or browsing the Guide to Research + Creative Practice

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 this program will carry out a program of advanced study and research in sustainable design. 

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 join a community of inquiring architects, engineers, and designers who are committed to solving multifaceted 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  

Degree Requirements (84 Credits) 

The usual program for the PhD consists of a minimum of 66 credits, including at least 50 graduate-level credits in the Department of Architecture, through a four- to six-year course of study. The PhD program in architecture is governed by the regulations of the University of Oregon Graduate School and administered by the Department of Architecture’s PhD program committee. Specific degree requirements include: 

  • the first year of study needs to be at the Eugene campus 
  • a minimum of two years in residence 
  • completion of three terms of courses in research methodology 
  • completion of two courses in design theory and history of sustainable design 
  • completion of two focus areas (one within and one outside the Department) 
  • completion of a written qualifying examination, followed by an oral qualifying examination 
  • completion of a dissertation 

The PhD in Architecture is a STEM-designated degree

For additional reference, see the PhD Handbook

Application at a Glance

You apply for admission through your program. This program has two separate applications, the University of Oregon application and a department application. Detailed instructions are available on the program’s website.

Application Available: September 15 

Departmental Application Fee: $35 USD 

Note on Application Deadline: Grace deadline through January 2, 11:59 p.m., PST

The following are required for your application:

Program-Specific Application Requirements:

  • GRE Test Results (UO Institution Code: 4846) 
  • Portfolio 
  • Recommendations 
  • Resume 
  • Summary of Goals and Intent 
  • Statement of Research Intent 
  • Writing Sample 


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
College of Design
Campus: Eugene
Fall Term:
Final Deadline - December 2