Doctoral studies at the AA combine advanced research with a broader educational agenda to prepare graduates for practice in global academic and professional environments. Current PhD research encompasses architectural theory and history, architectural urbanism, advanced architectural design, the city, emergent technologies and sustainable environmental design in architecture. History and theory research is directed by Mark Cousins and Marina Lathouri. Research on urban and housing issues, policy, strategic thinking and spatial design is directed by Jorge Fiori. 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 is led by Simos Yannas and Paula Cadima. ‘City- Architecture’, a collective design research agenda, is directed by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria Giudici.
Research groups organised under these streams come together in joint symposia and student-led events. Candidates with an architectural background may apply for the studio-based PhD in architectural design which allows them to combine writing with design research.
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 at any particular time, each guided by two supervisors, one of whom as Director of Studies. During their studies, PhD candidates are expected to produce work worthy of publication in journals and presentation in international conferences. Research travel bursaries are available to support the dissemination of excellent work.

Applications are welcome from graduates in architecture and related disciplines. Applicants should hold a Masters degree or equivalent qualification or professional experience in the area of their proposed research project. Applicants should be prepared to undertake an interview, in person or virtually. Visiting doctoral and post-doctoral scholars from other institutions may apply to join the AA PhD programme or one of the postgraduate Design Studios for study periods of three to six months. Enquiries should be addressed to the AA Admissions Office.

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.


  • PhD Lunchtime Talk: Matilde Cassani
    Celebration Days The spatial implications of cultural manifestations in the contemporary western urban context Friday 3 May 2019, 1:00-2:15pm, 33 FFF Since Baroque times a celebration has been an event that can be repeated more than once over time with the same rules but which starts in the same way and always ends in different […]
  • ‘What is Contemporary?’ – Conjuring with Ghosts (Geists): A Dialectical Fairy Tale
    History as Narrative of the Present (PhD seminar with Marina Lathouri and guest speaker Joan Ockman) Following on the seminar ‘What is Historical?’ in Term 1, discussions with guest speakers will take place this term. Continuing and expanding on the previous sessions, the theme is ‘What is Contemporary?’. For the first session on Thursday at 4:30pm […]
  • AHRA PhD Student Symposium
    The 2019 AHRA PhD Student Symposium will take place this year 24-25 April at the University of Manchester, UK. According to the event’s website, the ‘AHRA Research Student Symposium 2019 takes as its starting point a broad and prolonged transition occurring in architectural research during the past decade. New and interdisciplinary approaches emerge as a […]
  • AA PhD alumni commended in the RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2018
    In Dec 2018, AA PhD Alumni Dr. Jingru (Cyan) Cheng received a commendation from the RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2018 with her work titled ‘Care and Rebellion: The Dissolved Household in Contemporary Rural China’. This work is part of her PhD by Design thesis ’Territory, Settlement, Household: A Project of Rural China’ supervised by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Sam […]
  • What is Historical?
    PhD Seminar organized by Marina Lathouri and Will Orr | Term 1   This PhD seminar series introduces four key problematics from the philosophy of history and the theory of historiography. A question not simply of the “past” but of the present and the future, by asking “what is historical?” we hope to open a […]

PhD Projects