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Overview

The Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning places a high emphasis on its research activities. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) may be undertaken across the school's active research areas: Architecture, Architectural and Design Science, the Design Lab, and Urban and Regional Planning.

The University of Sydney and the school itself enjoy strong research links with key institutions throughout Asia, Europe, Scandinavia and North America. The PhD in Architecture, Design and Planning comprises research and writing toward a thesis of 50,000 to 80,000 words. From 2021, Higher Degree by Research students will be required to complete some coursework as part of their candidature. Students will have access to a range of specialist units of study (found in Table R) relevant for research students. The pool comprises a range of development opportunities that include specialist analytical methods, professional development units and discipline-specific subjects relevant for research students.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

Applications will be accepted at any time. Please apply at least 8 weeks in advance of the relevant course commencement date. If your application cannot be assessed in time for commencement, it will be considered for the next possible start date. You may not apply until an has been accepted by the School.

Starting date

Research Period 2: Start date 1 Mar

Research Period 3: Start date 1 Jul

Refer to key research dates on the How to Apply website.

Applications will be accepted at any time. Please apply at least 8 weeks in advance of the relevant course commencement date. If your application cannot be assessed in time for commencement, it will be considered for the next possible start date. You may not apply until an has been accepted by the School.

Starting date

Research Period 2: Start date 1 Mar

Research Period 3: Start date 1 Jul

Refer to key research dates on the How to Apply website.

Research areas

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.

What you'll study

Changes to higher degree research in 2021

From 2021, the University is introducing a new coursework curriculum to support research success. PhD students will complete 12 credit points of coursework and be able to choose from a pool of 270+ units from any faculty. The pool comprises a range of development opportunities that include specialist analytical methods, professional development units and discipline-specific subjects relevant for research students. Browse all available units here.

There is no separate tuition fee cost for the coursework units of study you will undertake, it is part of the tuition fee for the course.

See the 'Your Fee' section for fee information. Additional non-tuition course costs vary depending on the units of study.

You will be able to see and enrol in any of the units available, subject to capacity constraints and your own background. Note that your faculty may elect to make certain units compulsory for a given PhD degree pathway.

Applying for admission

1.Find a supervisor within the University whose academic background aligns with your research. You may visit Research Supervisor Connect to start.

2. Contact a research supervisor either through Research Supervisor Connect or email and provide: your academic/educational background and research experience with examples such as an academic transcript your CV/resume the area of interest for your PhD why you believe your research topics align with this supervisor

3. In conjunction with your supervisor, develop a preliminary research proposal of at least 500 words that outlines the subject area, objectives and significance of your research. See our research proposal outline.

4. International applicants need to obtain two academic referee reports, each one written by a referee who is familiar with your previous academic achievements. Referee reports should be supplied on our template.

5. If you intend to study part-time towards a PhD, you will also need to supply: evidence that shows you will have sufficient time available to plan and carry out the research under the supervision of the University, and complete the course within the maximum period allowed for a part-time PhD enrolment a declaration from your employer (if relevant) confirming that you will be permitted to take the time required to effectively pursue your studies.

6. Your research proposal should be submitted along with your CV, academic referee reports, academic transcripts and other supporting documents.

7. Applications are made via the University's online application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the `Apply Now' button on the right hand side.

Admission requirement

To be eligible for admission to the Doctor of Philosophy (Architecture, Design and Planning), you must have completed the equivalent of one of the following in a subject area related to your proposed research area: bachelor's degree with first class or second class honours or, master's degree by research or, master's degree by coursework with an independent research component such as a thesis, dissertation or research project with a minimum overall credit average. Applicants who do not meet these admission requirements may be issued an offer of a place to the Master of Philosophy (Architecture, Design and Planning).

Outstanding candidates who successfully complete up to one year full-time or equivalent part-time of the University of Sydney Master of Philosophy (Architecture, Design and Planning) may apply for transfer into the Doctor of Philosophy (Architecture, Design and Planning) and be granted credit for work already completed: with approval from the supervisor and school meeting all higher degree by research progression requirements providing evidence that their research is of a sufficient scope and depth to sustain a doctoral thesis.

See Master of Philosophy (Architecture, Design and Planning) progression and completion requirements. 

Graduate opportunities

Through the completion of a PhD, students gain deeper understanding of a subject area and develop analytical, problem solving, communication and project management skills. These skills are highly valued by prospective employers. PhD graduates may pursue careers in industry, academia and research organisations.

Domestic students

International students

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To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.