Architecture, PhD

The Ph.D. Program in Architecture, created in 1964, is the oldest in the country and is widely regarded as preeminent in the fields of theory, technology and representation. Its goal is to produce a body of graduates who will act as a reflective leaven to the architectural profession, providing an historical and/or theoretical context for current practice.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture is for the person who wishes to make a significant scholarly contribution to the discipline of architecture. Requirements for the degree include twenty approved courses, the passing of two language exams, a qualifying examination, a preliminary examination, teaching experience, a dissertation and a final defense. Course work from previous Master's degrees is taken into consideration when deciding the number of courses required for the Ph.D. degree. Students with a Master's degree from Penn may be granted up to 12 course units transfer credit, those with a Master's degree from another institution may be granted up to 8 towards their Ph.D. requirement.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.


A total of 20 course units are required.

Year 1
ARCH 8110Theories of Architecture: Environments, Techniques, and Expressive Means1
Select three electives3
ARCH 8120Methods In Architectural Research1
ARCH 8130Qualifying Research1
Select two electives2
Year 2
ARCH 8510Field Bibliography1
ARCH 8520Dissertation Proposal1
Select two electives2
Select four electives4
Year 3
Select four electives4
Year 4
ARCH 9950Dissertation0
Total Course Units20

 Program Milestones

  • 2 language exams
  • 2 semesters as a teaching assistant
  • Qualifying Examination
  • Preliminary Examination
  • Dissertation and Final Defense

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.