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A postgraduate research student from the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning

Postgraduate research degrees

Position yourself at the forefront of your field
Undertake a research degree in any of our five active research areas and work alongside some of the world's brightest and most accomplished academics.

Our research degrees

You can undertake a research degree – the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – in any of our research areas:

  • architectural design
  • architecture history and theory
  • architectural science
  • design
  • urbanism.

You may seek candidature in these areas, or pursue interdisciplinary studies across a range of fields within the school, or the University’s other faculties.

Master of Philosophy (Architecture)

The Master of Philosophy (Architecture) allows candidates to undertake research and advanced specialisation in any area of scholarship or design covered by the school.

Entry requirements include a bachelor’s degree – generally a four-year degree or a three-year degree with honours in a relevant discipline.

The program is generally completed in four semesters of full-time study (two years) or eight semesters of part-time study (four years).

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy is awarded for a thesis that is a substantial and original contribution to the discipline. You will need to produce a final thesis in the range of 50,000 to 80,000 words. Entry requirements include a master’s degree with a research component or a bachelor’s degree with first or second-class honours.

Alternatively, you may be admitted on the basis of outstanding innovative practice. Candidates usually complete the PhD within three years full time or six years of part-time study (part time is available to domestic students only).

Design PhD

The Design PhD is a studio-based program for architects and designers who are driven by a commitment to expand the frontiers of their practice and position themselves at the forefront of their field. Entry requirements include a research master’s degree or a bachelor’s degree with first or second-class honours. Alternatively you may be admitted on the basis of outstanding, innovative practice, or completion of a period of relevant advanced study and research towards a master’s degree at the University of Sydney. The program involves a substantial design work for exhibition and a thesis.

We support your work through training in research methods, one-on-one supervision and a collegial studio environment with other candidates and school members.

Why complete a postgraduate research degree in architecture, design or planning?

Our research is shaped by the big picture. We look at real-world problems from all angles, combining the expertise and talents of scholars from many disciplines.

The Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning places great emphasis on its research activity. We are home to a diverse community of scholars, researchers and practitioners, many of whom have taken national and international leadership roles in their fields.

Meet our research experts

Professor Martin Tomitsch
Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch, Head Design research group
"My research is often multidisciplinary and uses design as a way of driving innovation. In the built environment, we apply this design-led approach to conceptualise and evaluate how to link digital and physical spaces with the aim of empowering people and civic leaders to improve urban liveability."
Design research

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