Doctoral studies at the AA combine advanced research with a broader educational agenda, preparing graduates for practice in global academic and professional environments. Current PhD research encompasses architectural theory and history, architectural urbanism, advanced architectural design, city architecture, emergent technologies and sustainable environmental design in architecture. Architectural history and theory topics are directed by Mark Cousins and Marina Lathouri. Research on urban and housing issues addressing policy, strategic thinking and spatial design is supported by Lawrence Barth, Jorge Fiori and Hugo Hinsley. Research in emergent technologies in architectural design, including active material systems and urban metabolic design is directed by Michael Weinstock and George Jeronimidis. Research on sustainable environmental design in architecture and urbanism is directed by Simos Yannas and Paula Cadima. ‘City-Architecture’, a collective design research agenda, is directed by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria Giudici. PhD candidates in any of these areas may follow either the traditional route of the written dissertation or combine writing with design research for the studio-based PhD in architectural design.

PhD studies at the AA are full-time for their entire duration. This starts with a preparatory period during which candidates attend selected courses and seminars while developing their research proposals. Approval of proposals initiates the formal period of PhD study, which has a maximum duration of four years. Typically, some 30 doctoral candidates are enrolled in the programme on any particular year. Each PhD candidate is guided by two supervisors, one of whom is designated as Director of Studies.

Applications are welcome from graduates in architecture and related disciplines. Applicants should hold a Masters degree or equivalent qualification or professional experience in the areas of their proposed research project. Enquiries should be addressed to the AA Admissions Office or the Chair of the PhD Committee. Applicants should be prepared to come to the School for an interview. Tuition fee bursaries are available for highly qualified applicants. Teaching and training bursaries are available to eligible PhD candidates following registration of their research proposals. During their studies at the AA, PhD students are expected to produce work worthy of publication at conferences and other scholarly events. Travel bursaries are available to registered PhD students presenting work at external events.

Visiting doctoral and post-doctoral scholars from other institutions may apply to join who wish to undertake research relating to the areas of the AA School’s postgraduate programmes, may apply to join the AA PhD Programme for a period of study following the online application procedure. The maximum period of study as a visiting scholar is one academic year, for which the AA School’s tuition fees may apply pro-rata.

The AA is a Partner Institution and Affiliated Research Centre of the Open University (OU), UK. The OU is the awarding body for research degrees at the AA.


  • MA HCT & PhD History and Language Debate Series
    Marina Lathouri and Guest Speakers Debate 1 Ex Libris: Novel Architecture Guest speaker: Mark Morris Friday 2 February | 11:30am | HCT Room This talk examines the ways in which architecture is treated in fiction, specifically its role in the novel where descriptions of the built environment exceed the function of providing a setting. We will […]
  • What is PhD by Design? Symposium
    Date: Jan 26, 2018 Place: 36 Bedford Square, Lecture Hall. In a variety of fields, doctoral research conventionally culminates in the format of a text-based dissertation. Within the architectural discourse, a variety of institutions have started to acknowledge the relevance of integrating non-written components into doctoral dissertations in architectural design. A new kind of doctoral […]
  • HCT/PhD joint seminar on History
    On Friday 1st of December at 10:00am, seven PhD students will be presenting to the MA History and Critical Thinking students aspects of the work of seven historians, or better, seven modes of approaching and writing history. The emphasis will be put on the ways in which these have been significant in their own doctoral […]
  • Marina Lathouri: Dis-locutions, Architecture and the Political
    PhD Debates Marina Lathouri with visiting speakers / Term 2   The Debates, a joint MA History and Critical Thinking and PhD seminar, provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week, to position multiple voices and make possible a process of thinking in common, by definition a pedagogical […]
  • Michael Weinstock: The Scientific Method and Design Science
    16-18 October 2.00pm EmTech Studio The Scientific Method is an evolving set of procedures based on systematic observations and measurements, the formulation of ideas (hypotheses) and predictions from those observations that are tested by experiment, the subsequent modification of the hypotheses and further experimentation until there is no distance between the hypothesis, prediction and observed […]

PhD Projects