The AA School’s PhD programme combines advanced research with a broader educational agenda, preparing graduates for practice in global academic and professional environments. Current PhD topics at the AA encompass architectural theory and history, architectural urbanism, advanced architectural design, the city,  emergent technologies and sustainable environmental design. Under each of these strands, doctoral candidates may either follow the traditional route of a text-based thesis or a studio-based option of a PhD in architectural design, engaging with design as research tool as well as a product of the doctoral thesis.

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

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. Architectural research in sustainable environmental design is directed by Simos Yannas. Research in emergent technologies in architectural design, including active material systems and urban metabolic design is directed by George Jeronimidis and Michael Weinstock. A new research strand launched in 2014-15 on ‘City-Architecture’ is directed by Pier Vittorio Aureli and will be organised around a collaborative seminar and collective design agenda.

Applications are welcome from graduates in architecture and other related disciplines. Prospective applicants should hold a Masters degree or equivalent in the area of their proposed research. Enquiries can be addressed to one of the programme’s directors of studies or the AA Admissions Office, and applicants should be prepared to come to the school for an interview. Tuition fee bursaries are offered to highly qualified applicants. Travel bursaries are available to registered PhD candidates presenting work at external events. During their studies at the AA, PhD students are expected to produce work worthy of scholarly publication, including conference papers and journal articles. Opportunities for teaching at the AA School are available during the second and third years of PhD studies.

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

Doctoral candidates registered with another institution wishing to undertake a period of research at the AA must follow the procedure described for applicants online. The maximum period of study as a visiting doctoral student is one academic year, for which the school’s tuition fees will apply pro-rata. Applications by scholars with post-doctoral or equivalent qualifications wishing to do research related to any of the AA’s postgraduate programmes are considered subject to their relevance to the AA’s current research interests. Tuition fees may apply.


  • New PhD research projects
    Please join us for the presentations of the new PhD students at the Architectural Association. The presentations are meant as an informal introductory outline of the proposed research in plain language and in no more than 10 minutes. Each presentation will be followed by 20 minutes of questions and comments. The event will take place […]
  • Continuing PhD presentations second session
    Following the successful first session of presentations by continuing PhD students held on the 6th of March, the Architectural Association PhD Committee has the pleasure to invite you to join the second session of debates. Each presentation is to be preceded by a brief introduction from the student’s director of studies, positioning the research project. […]
  • 1960s: ‘Avant-Garde’ Roots, Function. A Terminological Approach
    Organised and hosted by Marina Lathouri Series: HCT / PhD Debates Date: 17/3/2017 Time: 14:00 Venue: 37 FFF HCT/PHD Debates The HCT Debates provide a venue for exchange of ideas and arguments. External speakers are invited every week to present and engage with tutors and students. The aim is to position the multiple voices making possible […]
  • Architecture and Its Theories
    Open seminar Date: Wednesday, 8 March 2017, 6:30pm followed by drinks at 8:30pm Place: 33 First floor front and back, Architectural Association, London Open seminar on architectural theory in conjunction with the launch of special issues of the book and the journal both titled This Thing Called Theory, an outcome of the 12th international conference of the Architectural Humanities […]
  • Unpacking Architecture’s Academic Work
    seminar with PhD students Date: Wednesday, 8 March 2017, 1-3pm Place: 33 First floor back, Architectural Association, London (tbc) This afternoon seminar prior to the evening event provides a smaller and more informal setting for PhD students to meet with This Thing Called Theory editors Teresa Stoppani, Doreen Bernath and Giorgio Ponzo, and George Themistokleous (Skype) and […]

PhD Projects