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PhD Built Environment Overview


The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies offers research degrees across a full range of built environment disciplines including: Energy, Environmental Performance, Light and Lighting, Sustainable Heritage, Facility Management and Workplace Innovation. Computing and virtual reality in architecture. Morphology and space syntax of buildings and settlements.

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The research degrees of MPhil and PhD are awarded for the most advanced level of study available at UCL. Although part of the programme of study may include taught elements, the purpose of these degrees is to prove the capacity to organise, carry out and write up a substantial and original piece of research, presented in a thesis.

Candidates for research degrees in the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies are admitted on the evidence of their previous academic record, and the appropriateness of their chosen subject of research. The responsibility for identifying a promising subject lies with the candidate. Once accepted, research students may be required to follow all or part of a taught programme, when it would be to their benefit. In this case, there may be circumstances where the student will be asked to contribute towards additional teaching costs, and this will be stated in the offer letter.

The primary pedagogical relationship is always with the first supervisor, who will be one of the BSGS staff. With the supervisor, students prepare the programme of research, and in approximately monthly meetings, the supervisor follows students’ progress, advising on methods of research, commenting on their findings, and discussing what they are writing. The supervisor will advise on the final draft of the thesis before it is submitted for examination, and nominate the examiners.

Recognising the importance of the relationship between student and supervisor for a successful research degree, the Bartlett has safeguards to support and sustain the relationship. A second supervisor is always appointed to provide further support. The main and final product of the programme of study is the thesis, on the examination of which the result of the degree rests. At UCL there is no public oral examination: the oral examination of the candidate is conducted in private, usually by two examiners (and on occasion a third), at least one of whom is an external and both of whom have read the thesis previously.

Prof Laura Vaughan: Graduate Tutor
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Research Themes MPhil/PhD Built Environment

Morphology and space syntax of buildings and settlements: the effects of spatial design on aspects of social, organisational and economic performance of buildings and urban areas.

Computing and virtual reality in architecture: The integration of computational approaches at the heart of the design process, including structural, societal and environmental analysis, the generation of design solutions that combine machine learning, optimisation and technological innovation. The development and dissemination of designing, producing and operating buildings and urban areas using virtual-reality techniques.

Environmental design and engineering: fundamental studies in lighting, environmental design for tropical climates, health and energy use in buildings, climate change and the built environment, energy impact studies, sustainable heritage.

Sustainable Heritage: Effects of climate change on cultural heritage. Natural ageing of objects in the display or storage environment. Effects of indoor environments on collections, and how these problems should be addressed by conservation. Use of innovative technologies for cultural heritage.

Facility and Environment Management: Post-occupancy issues of design, construction, use performance and management of complex buildings. The refurbishment of occupied buildings; condition assessment and maintenance for buildings; facility risk and opportunity assessment and facility adaptation for change of us.


Space Computing and Virtual Reality in Architecture

Alan Penn
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Sean Hanna
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Ava Fatah
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Space and Society in Buildings and Cities

Bill Hillier
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Sophia Psarra
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Kayvan Karimi
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Sam Griffiths
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Laura Vaughan
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Kerstin Sailer
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Environmental Design and Engineering

Michael Davies
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Phil Steadman
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Ben Croxford
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Dejan Mumovic
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Ian Ridley
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Marcella Ucci
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Light and Lighting

Peter Raynham
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Kevin Mansfield
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Stephen Canon-Brookes

Sustainable Heritage

May Cassar
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Matija Strlic
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Kalliopi Fouseki
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Katherine Curran
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Facility and Environment Management

Alexi Marmot
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Michael Pitt
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Peter Mclennan
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Fursahn Nasiri
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Ljiljana Marjanovic-Halburd
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Application procedures, fees, funding and scholarships

For information, please see the faculty admissions information here.