The MPhil/PhD Architectural Design programme leads to a PhD in Architecture. It allows designers who are especially able and reflective to undertake research in keeping with the Bartlett School of Architecture's speculative and experimental ethos. Started in 1995, this course was the first of its kind in the UK and is one of the best-known doctoral programmes dedicated to design.
The programme draws on the strengths of design teaching and doctoral research at the Bartlett, encouraging the development of architectural research through the combination of designing and writing. Students present an architectural design thesis consisting of a project and a text - elements of equal importance - that share a research theme and a productive relationship. The project may be drawn, filmed, built, or make use of whatever media is appropriate.
The Bartlett is a major international centre for research of the built environment and was ranked first in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) in Architecture and the Built Environment.
The MPhil/PhD Architectural Design programme draws on the expertise and experience of the Bartlett School of Architecture's team of architects, historians, theorists and technologists, who produce and encourage work that is scholarly and innovative. The programme itself is very dynamic with an active series of talks, seminars, and conferences which students are expected to attend.
UCL's multi-disciplinary environment offers a stimulating and varied culture that connects research by architectural design to developments in related fields, and there are active collaborations with the departments of anthropology, fine art and geography, and the UCL Urban Lab.
The programme is intended for graduates of architecture and other disciplines who wish to pursue research through architectural design. Current MPhil/PhD candidates include graduates of architecture, art history, fine art, industrial design, geography, landscape architecture, literature and medicine. More than 40 students from over 15 countries are currently enrolled on the programme.
For queries concerning the programme, please contact:
For queries regarding the applications procedure, eligibility (including language proficiency), part-time and remote study, fees, timescale, obtaining referees, etc., please contact:
- Dr Steve Ridge (Graduate Faculty Clerk)
Once accepted onto the programme, students are registered as MPhil candidates, but after one year are expected to upgrade to PhD status. Part-time students are expected to upgrade within two years. Full-time students are normally expected to complete their PhD within three to four years; part-time students, five to seven years. This may include either one year (for full-time students) or two years (for part-time students) Completing Research Status (CRS). With permission, some of this period may also be spent outside the UK.
The thesis submission combines a design project and a text of approximately 60,000 words, with a maximum of 100,000 words. There is scope under UCL regulations for flexibility in the formal presentation of theses as appropriate to the individual research project.
The MPhil/PhD Architectural Design and Architectural History and Theory programmes jointly run a series of events which all students are expected to attend. They are:
Research Conversations: Fortnightly work-in-progress seminars and reviews for new MPhil/PhD students. MPhil students also present more in-depth seminars to meet the criteria for upgrade to PhD status.
Research Projects: Annual PhD conference and exhibition with invited critics as respondents, organised by the Bartlett School of Architecture with the Slade School of Fine Art. Critics have included:
- Professor Philip Beesley, University of Waterloo
- Professor Hugh Campbell, University College Dublin
- Professor Steven Connor, Birkbeck College, University of London
- Dr Maarten Dalbeke, University of Leiden
- Professor Mark Dorrian, University of Newcastle
- Professor Tony Dunne, Royal College of Art
- Professor Penny Florence, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena
- Sean Griffiths, FAT
- Dr Felipe Hernandez, University of Cambridge
- Dr Lorens Holm, University of Dundee
- Professor Rolf Hughes, Konstfack University College of the Arts, Craft and Design, Stockholm
- Dr Mark Morris, Cornell University
- Dr Sharon Morris, UCL Slade School of Fine Art
- Professor Mette Ramsgard Thomsen, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art School of Architecture
- Professor Leon van Schaik, RMIT University
See here for publications connected with the PhD Research Projects conferences in 2009 and 2010. Each book includes texts and visual material by research students following one of the two doctoral programmes at the Bartlett School of Architecture (MPhil/PhD Architectural Design or MPhil/PhD Architectural History and Theory) or the practice-related MPhil/PhD programme at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
These publications are available for purchase at the AA Bookshop and through Nadia O’Hare at the Bartlett School of Architecture.
All students have the option of auditing modules on the MA Architectural History course run by Professor Adrian Forty.
Students are also encouraged to take advantage from the variety of skills development courses run by the UCL Graduate School and the Language Centre. In particular, students are advised to follow the workshop, The Creative Thesis, run in conjunction with the Slade School of Fine Art, which is tailored to practice-led research.
The MPhil/PhD Architectural Design programme draws upon the full range of research expertise offered in the Bartlett School of Architecture. Each MPhil/PhD candidate has two doctoral supervisors. The principal supervisor is usually based in the Bartlett School of Architecture while the second supervisor is either from the Bartlett School of Architecture or another school within the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment or UCL, depending upon the required research expertise.
Supervisors in the programme currently include:
Other current doctoral supervisors include Dr Victor Buchli (UCL Anthroplogy), Professor Sir Peter Cook, Professor Colin Fournier, Professor Ranulph Glanville, Jayne Parker (UCL Slade), Professor Neil Spiller and Professor Phil Tabor.
The programme has an international student body with, on average, half of its students from overseas. A large number of students are funded by their home governments or by UCL, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) and other funding bodies such as the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) or Fulbright.
Students have regularly been shortlisted for the RIBA Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, and Dr Marcos Cruz won in 2008 for his dissertation, The Inhabitable Flesh of Architecture, supervised by Professor Sir Peter Cook and Professor Jonathan Hill.
Adam-Theodoros Adamis - Liquidity in Architecture
Nadia Amoroso - The Exposed City and Its Images: A Theoretical Study of Mapping as it Relates to Visual Representation of the City from the Early 20th Century to Today
Araujo - Patterning: Envisioning New Strategies for Architectural Design Based
on the Textile-Inspired Procedures of Repeating, Scaling and Masking
Shortlisted, RIBA Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, 2009
Katherine E. Bash - Spatial Poetries: Heuristics for Experimental Poiesis
Chadi Chamoun - Neorealist Director Architect: Critically Observing the Obvious
Nat Chard - Drawing Indeterminate Architecture, Indeterminate Drawings of Architecture
Emma Cheatle - Part-architecture:The Maison de Verre through the Large Glass, 2013
Marjan Colletti - Digital Poetics: An Enquiry into the Properties of 'Mimetic Intrafaces' and the 'Twoandahalf Dimensionality' of Computer-Aided Architectural Design
Cruz - The Inhabitable Flesh of Architecture
Winner, RIBA Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, 2008
Sophie Handler - A Little Bit of TLC: Towards an Alternative Urban Practice of Elderly Care
Penelope Haralambidou - The Blossoming of Perspective: An Investigation of Spatial Representation
Jonathan Hill - Creative Users, Illegal Architects
Teresa Hoskyns - The Empty Place: Democracy and Public Space
Ersi Ioannidou - The (Existenz-)Minimum Dwelling
Kattein - The Architecture Chronicle: Diary of an Architectural Practice
Shortlisted, RIBA Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, 2010
Rosalie Kim - The Hyphenation of the Void: From Eastern Ecology to Western Architecture
Kreider - Toward a Material Poetics: Sign, Subject, Site
Shortlisted, RIBA Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, 2009
Kwang Guan Lee - Cast & Camera: An intimate engagement with making at Grymsdyke Farm, 2013
Lesley Lokko - Out of Africa. 'Race', Space, Place: An Investigation of Architectural Response-ability
Manolopoulou - Drawing On Chance: Indeterminacy, Perception, and Design
Shortlisted, RIBA Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis, 2005
Juliet Sprake - Learning-through-Touring: A New Design Methodology for Situated Learning Derived Through Touring the Built Environment
Bradley Starkey - Post-Secular Architecture: The Spiritual in Models of Thought and Models of Architecture
Mette Ramsgard Thomsen - Discovering Mixed Realities: An Exploration of Digital Interfaces as a Site for a Space of the Event
William Tozer - A Theory of Making: Architecture and Art in the Practice of Adolf Loos
Victoria Watson - The Atmospheric Signifier: Miesian Form-Giving, Lefebvrian Space and Cotton Grid
Neil Wenman - A Space to House Nothing: Examining the Adoption of Architectural Terminology and Forms of Representation in Conceptual Art
Application procedures, fees, funding and scholarships
For information, please see the UCL Graduate Application and Entry page.
Programme-specific information follows below.
UCL has several main funding options:
Deadline: Friday 16 January 2015
UCL Graduate Research Scholarships aim to attract high-quality students to undertake research at UCL. Up to 17 UCL Graduate Research Scholarships (GRS) are available annually to prospective and current UCL research students from any country.
The UCL Overseas Research Scholarships (UCL-ORS), aim to attract high-quality international students to UCL to undertake research. Approximately 40 UCL-ORS awards are available annually.
For an application form and further information, please consult GRS and ORS
Deadline: Friday 30 January 2015
UCL has joined a partnership with King’s College and the School of Advanced Studies and the three partners have formed an entity called the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP). This entity will now distribute up to 80 awards to UK/EU PhD students a year.
For an application form and further information, please consult the LAHP webpages, which opens each year on 1st December.
BSA Staff PhD Award
Deadline: Friday 16 January 2015
We are happy to announce a new scholarship, BSA Staff PhD Award, aimed to Bartlett Architecture staff wishing to pursue PhD study. The award will cover the standard UCL postgraduate UK/EU rate fees for FT or PT study. Applicants must be employed by the Bartlett School of Architecture and in receipt of an offer of admission to, or currently registered at, a research degree programme in UCL, or another university.
For more information and an application form please contact Eleni Goule
Other Scholarship information
Students who plan to explore the nature of religious, racial and cultural prejudices and to find ways of combating them may wish to consider the Frederick Bonnart-Braunthal Scholarship (deadline usually falls end of April):
For a full list of scholarships or more general information, please consult: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/
For currently enrolled students
- Graduate students who wish to present their research at international conferences at home and abroad may apply for financial support through the UCL Graduate School Student Conference Fund and the Bartlett's Architectural Research Fund (ARF). Graduate students may also apply to the UCL Graduate School Research Projects Fund and the ARF to defray the research-related costs.Students who are RIBA members may be eligible for support through the RIBA Research Trusts. See here.
The Bartlett-Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection Research Grant Programme
The Bartlett and the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) have established a research grant partnership that enables Bartlett MPhil/PhD Architectural Design or Architectural History and Theory students to conduct research at the CCA's Library and Collections in Montreal, Canada, one of the world's leading centres devoted to the study of architecture. The Bartlett and the CCA will each contribute matched funding for stipends for up to four students per year to study at the CCA for a one-month period in the spring, summer or autumn term. (One month is the minimum period of the grant.) Students who are interested in being considered for this programme will need to make an application for a major award to the Bartlett Architectural Research Fund (ARF). There are two deadlines each year, one in March and one in October. For more information about the programme and past recipients, see here.
As well as enabling students to graduate from the MPhil/PhD Architectural Design with expertise in a particular area, the programme aims to provide knowledge of creative and critical techniques that can be of use in researching, designing and writing about any architectural issue, subject or site.
Graduates of the course have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, from architectural and design practice to curatorial positions. Many also carry on in academe. Recent graduates have taken up posts at the following establishments:
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London
Goldsmiths College, University of London
Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, Copenhagen
Royal Holloway College, University of London
University for the Creative Arts
University of Toronto
University of Westminster
The dissertations of graduates have been published as book chapters, refereed journal articles or as academic monographs. For instance, see Marjan Colletti, Digital Poetics (Ashgate, 2012); Marcos Cruz and Marjan Colletti, Interfaces/Intrafaces (Springer, 2006); Penelope Haralambidou, Marcel Duchamp and the Architecture of Desire (Ashgate, 2012); Jonathan Hill, Actions of Architecture: Architects and Creative Users (Routledge, 2003); and Yeoryia Manolopolou, Architectures of Chance (Ashgate, 2012).