Online PhD in Architecture

Online PhD programs for architecture are designed for students who wish to pursue academic careers within the field. Once enrolled, students learn about the development and history of architecture, critiques of architectural design, and ways to plan and construct structures and buildings. To be successful within their fields, architecture experts must have an advanced understanding of space, form, and aesthetics. Students must also know how to draft structures, adhere to technical limitations, and determine the costs of architectural projects. Unlike undergraduate architecture degrees,architectural doctoral programsexpect students to know the fundamentals of building design and therefore delve deeper into construction research and planning.

Online PhD programs in architectureare structured a little differently from campus-based programs. Students enrolled in online programs do not need to visit a physical classroom. However, online students are still expected to complete research, reports, and building drafts, just as a traditional student would. The online curriculum is flexible, but many online programs still have deadlines for projects. Students must therefore be organized and able to efficiently manage their time.

About Online PhD Programs in Architecture

Doctoral degrees in architecture encourage students to take classes that build upon their knowledge of using space and materials to create functional and aesthetically-pleasing structures. Many universities offer students the opportunity to specialize in an area of architecture that interests them, such as building technology or architecture history and culture. All doctoral degree programs in architecture should include research into building design and development theories. Many of them include practicums or internships as well. Some examples of classes that doctoral students may take are outlined in the list below, which is derived from the University of Hawaii‘s architecture doctorate.

Year One:

  • Urban Design. This class explores urban development by exploring the social, political, and economical factors that influence the design and preservation of city buildings.
  • Design Communications. Using oral and written projects, this class explores design theory and encourages students to share their ideas through a variety of media.
  • Architectural History and Theory. This class examines architectural theory through a historical lens.

Year Two:

  • Sustainability. As green building design is becoming more popular, this class explores different options for environmentally friendly architecture.
  • Architecture Studio. In this class, students gain hands-on learning from research conducted in the field.
  • Advanced Practice. This course is a detailed survey of the architectural practices that have been utilized over time.

Before Ph.D. students can graduate from architecture programs, they typically need to complete a thorough research project known as a dissertation. To do so, they will need to conduct research and write a lengthy paper over their findings. Example topics of architecture dissertations include domestic architecture, Greek temples, and modern architectural practices. After writing their dissertations, students usually need to defend their dissertations to their professors.

Value and Criticisms of a PhD in Architecture

Ph.D. programs in architecture are specifically for students who wish to go into academia and research. Students with an interest in the history of architecture can benefit from a doctoral degree. In addition, students who want to gain an understanding of how socioeconomic and political factors influence architectural development can also find value in an architectural doctoral degree. For architectural students who wish to become practicing architects, a master's degree may be sufficient. Students who wish to focus primarily on the history and culture of architecture may want to look into a doctoral degree in archeology instead of architecture.

As online architecture degrees require students to be self-motivated, it is important for online students to be disciplined in their studies. Online students should also be good at managing time, as they will be responsible for adhering to deadlines. For students that struggle with completing tasks on time, a traditional architecture program may be a better alternative to an online program. Classroom-based programs also benefit students who prefer to have in-person contact with their professors.

Application&Admission Requirements

Applicants to online PhD programs in architecture are usually required to submit an application package that consists of transcripts, work history, educational achievements, and a personal statement. Most architecture programs also require students to submit a portfolio that showcases their professional and academic architecture experience. Some programs require students to complete exams prior to being admitted as well. In some cases, taking the Graduate Record Exam will suffice, although some universities require additional exams.

Career Options&Job Market

Graduates from online Ph.D. programs in architecture typically go into academia. They tend to pursue careers as researchers and post secondary instructors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that post secondary instructors earn an average salary of $62,050 annually. Another possible career choice for graduates is that of an architectural manager. According to the BLS, architectural managers earn an average annual salary of $119,260. However, keep in mind that salaries will vary depending upon location and experience.

Where to Find Information

How to Get Funding

Typically, universities provide some financial aid options to students through fellowships and scholarships. However, that is not the only option available to students. Many professional associations have fellowship and grant opportunities. In addition, some companies offer aid programs to architecture students as well. Listed below are some resources for financial aid.

  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan. This loan is provided to students as a low-interest financial aid option. Students can earn up to $20,500 each academic year.
  • Federal Perkins Loan. This loan is based on financial need and provides an average of $3,500 annually at a low interest rate.
  • Campus-Based Aid. Students are encouraged to seek aid through their universities, as many schools provide campus-based aid options.

Essential Advice

  • Get as much experience in the field of architecture as you can. Seek out internships as an undergraduate to get a good start.
  • Don't be afraid of contacting admissions offices for help with the application process. They are there to help.
  • To get a good sense of whether you will be a good candidate for a doctoral degree, talk to current and former students. They should be able to give you a sense of what will be expected of you once you are enrolled in a program.
  • If you are having trouble choosing an architecture program, try contacting some professors. They should be able to help you determine if you will enjoy attending a specific university.