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PhD/MPhil in architecture

Deliver culturally-informed research in architecture.

  Length Start dates (semester dates)

3 years full-time
6 years part-time

Apply for PhD in Architecture


Research in architecture seeks to redefine both the role of the architect and established practices, within a constantly changing social, cultural and environmental landscapes. Our research degrees advance fields of enquiry into theory and history of architecture as a practice, responsible design, community architecture, architectural heritage and urban design, sustainable buildings, and virtual architecture.

Your research

At York, our research identifies how design can empower communities, preserve and develop heritage spaces, and contribute meaningfully to informed, inclusive and sustainable futures. We welcome applications from home, practice and international candidates to undertake their PhD/MPhil studies at York School of Architecture. We collaborate with disciplines across the University and external partners to challenge current practices and enrich expertise across four interconnected areas:

  • Architectural heritage, historic cities and urban regeneration
  • Community architecture, housing and social policy
  • Sustainable architecture, ecological landscape, and Net-zero cities
  • Creative technologies, AI and virtual futures.

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York School of Architecture
General enquiries

Under the guidance of your supervisor, you'll work towards a final thesis of 80,000 words for the PhD or 60,000 words for the MPhil. A typical semester will involve a great deal of independent research, with guidance from your supervisor who will be able to suggest direction and address concerns. You'll work independently in a research environment that thrives on creativity and scholarship.

Throughout your degree, you'll have the opportunity to attend a wide range of research training workshops. These sessions offer research skills and specialist technical training tailored to the nature of your research project.

PhD in Architecture (Distance Learning)

We also offer the option of enrolling in a PhD in Architecture by distance learning. You'll have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. You'll attend online research skills training sessions in your first year and have supervision and progression meetings online.

You will need to attend two weeks of on-campus attendance per academic year. This includes registration and induction, training, meetings with the thesis advisory panel and our annual PhD Progression Day.


Find funding for postgraduate researchers in architecture.


Explore the expertise of our staff and identify a potential supervisor.

Training and support

You'll join a friendly, supportive academic community. You'll be taught and supervised by staff who are industry professionals delivering impactful research. 

Throughout your degree, your supervisor will monitor your progress, and will help you to hone the focus of your research.

We offer regular supervisory meetings to discuss planning, researching and writing the thesis. You'll receive training in research methods and skills appropriate to the nature of your work. Training in data analysis and technical expertise - including virtual modeling and laser scanning - can also be provided. You'll receive guidance in proposal writing, preparing and submitting material for publication and transferable communication skills.

Careers and skills

Your PhD or MPhil will give you the ability to apply analytical research to key discussions in architectural policy and practice. You'll graduate with the skills and mindset to drive culturally-informed, sustainable approaches that contribute meaningfully to societal well-being.

We'll discuss career opportunities with you and make professional development suggestions - including teaching and internships - alongside your course activities.

Our dedicated careers team offer specific support, including a programme of professional researcher development and careers workshops and 1:1 career support sessions. They will help you with your employability portfolio, and to engage in activities that will build up your skills and experience within and outside of your research work.

Course location

You'll be based in the York School of Architecture, though your research may take you further afield.

Distance learning students can study from anywhere in the world, but are expected to attend events and training in York several times per year.

Entry requirements

For research degrees, you'll need to hold a Master's degree, or equivalent experience.

Supervisors interview prospective research students to ensure good supervisory match and to help with funding applications. Most interviews take place over Zoom. UK-based applicants may also be invited to campus.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must provide evidence of your ability.

Check your English language requirements


Identify a supervisor

You should identify a potential supervisor whose area of research overlaps with yours. We encourage you to contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply.

You should note your preferred supervisor in your application.

Your research proposal

As an applicant to postgraduate research courses, you'll be asked to submit a clear, well-structured research proposal.

Take a look at the supporting documents you may need for your application.

The proposal should be around 2000 words long and include:

  • Provisional title of research
  • Summary of the topic and research interest
  • Brief overview of relevant research in the field and key research gaps/literature
  • Research broad aims and objectives
  • Potential research approach and methods
  • Key readership and references in this topic

Submit your application

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start, save, and finish it later.

We will respond to your application as soon as possible. You may track the status of your application and view any official correspondence online.

Apply for PhD in Architecture

Find out more about how to apply.

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Contact us

York School of Architecture
General enquiries