PhD in Architecture


Program Description


The Ph.D. degree program in Architecture Engineering is for the person who wishes to investigate architecture and the built environment in focused projects that unfold over a span of years. Students embarking on a doctorate conduct original research that yields new insights into past, current, and future developments of architecture and building practices. Doctoral Studies promotes independent critical thinkers and research specialists across a range of fields within the increasingly broad fields of architecture and the built environment.

The province of the Ph.D. is the exploration of new territories of design research, contributions to the knowledge base of the discipline, and steps toward the redefinition of aspects of design. The program also develops advanced technical research skills to prepare students for a career in industry, academia and other settings in which systematic and critical analytical skills are required. Candidates are supported and engaged in communities of practice where learning is fundamentally a social phenomenon; where knowledge is integrated into the life of these communities that share interests, ideas, discourses, ways of doing things and exploring the boundaries of design thinking.

Ph.D. in Architecture, designed to prepare individuals for university-level teaching and professional research as well and for leadership positions in industry and professional architectural practice with the following expertise:

  • Emphasizes the application of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies at the highest levels of scholarly rigor
  • Focuses on critical problems and opportunities facing the discipline of architecture
  • Generates an original and lasting contribution to the bodies of scholarly and practical knowledge in architecture and related sub-disciplines

Ph.D. Curriculum

The Ph.D. of Architecture Engineering requires completion of 44 credits, a set of core courses (15 credits), 9 credits of specialty courses and a Ph.D. thesis (20 credits). The main emphasis of the program is on the successful completion of an original and independent research project written and defended as a dissertation.

Comprehensive Exam

Comprehensive Exam should be taken at most at the end of the 4th semester and is required before a student could defend the Ph.D. proposal. Students will have two chances to pass the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam. If students receive an evaluation of “unsatisfactory” on their first Comprehensive Exam attempt, the student may retake the qualifier once. A second failure will result in termination from the program. The Comprehensive Exam is designed to ensure that the student starts early in gaining research experience; it also ensures that the student has the potential to conduct doctoral-level research.

Ph.D. Proposal

The Ph.D. proposal must contain Specific Aims, Research Design and Methods, and Proposed Work and Timeline. In addition, the proposal must also contain a bibliography and, as attachments, any publications/supplementary materials. The student must defend their thesis proposal to their committee in an oral exam.


A student should choose a thesis advisor (and one or two co-advisors if required) within the first year of being in the Ph.D. program, approved by the Faculty committee. In the second year, a thesis committee suggested by the advisor alongside by the Ph.D. proposal should be handed over for approval. The thesis committee should consist of a minimum of five faculty members. Two members of thesis committee should be from the other Universities at the Associate Professor level. Not later than the end of the 5th semester, a student has to present and defend a written Ph.D. proposal.

Research Progress

A student is expected to meet with his/her thesis committee at least once a year to review the research progress. At the beginning of each university calendar year, each student and the student’s advisor are required to submit an evaluation assessment of the student’s progress, outlining past year accomplishments and plans for the current year. The thesis committee reviews these summaries and sends the student a letter summarizing their status in the program. Students who are failing to make satisfactory progress are expected to correct any deficiencies and move to the next milestone within one year. Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the program.

Ph.D. Dissertation

Within 4 years after entering the Ph.D. program, the student is expected to complete the thesis research; the student must have the results of the research accepted or published in peer-reviewed journals. Upon submitting a written thesis and public defense and approval by the committee, the student is awarded the Ph.D. degree. The defense will consist of (1) a presentation of the dissertation by the graduate student, (2) questioning by the general audience, and (3) closed-door questioning by the dissertation committee. The student will be informed of the exam result at the completion of all three parts of the dissertation defense. All members of the committee must sign the final report of the doctoral committee and the final version of the dissertation.

A minimum GPA of 16 over 20 must be maintained for graduation.

Leveling Courses (not applicable to the degree)

The Ph.D. in Architecture Engineering assumes a Master degree in related fields. However, students holding any other master degree besides will be required to complete leveling courses that are designed to provide a background for the Ph.D. courses. These leveling courses are decided by the faculty committee and are not counted for graduate credits towards the Ph.D. in Architecture Engineering.

Core Courses, 5 courses are required, 15 credits

Specialty Courses, 3 courses in one of the endorsements are required, 9 credits

Course Descriptions

Contemporary Architecture, Theories, and Doctrines

Course contents:
  • Renaissance and emergence of humanistic culture and its impact on today’s architecture
  • Analyzing the contemporary philosophic and doctrines and their impact on architecture
  • Studying the latest philosophies and theories and around the world and their architectural expression
  • Impact of such evolutions on architecture

Architecture and Nature

Course contents:
  • Formal analysis the natural phenomenon in practical and stability aspects and introduction to concepts like a particle, gravity, force, static and etc. and how architecture interprets them.
  • Studying the scientific theories regarding energy and its various systems in nature.
  • Studying activated and deactivated energies and their usage in micro and macro scales.
  • Studying the natural ecosystems and their function in a life cycle.
  • Analyzing the constructive and destructive effects of various built-environments in history.

Islamic Architecture (Methods and Doctrines)

Course contents:
  • Analyzing theories regarding Islamic architecture.
  • Studying roots and evolution of Islamic architecture.
  • The geographical territory of Islamic architecture.
  • The concept of Islamic architecture
  • Definition of key concepts including religion, security, and etc.
  • Studying the literature and words of Islamic architecture

Selected Topics in Architecture

Course contents:
  • Studying written works of architects and philosophers in Persian or any other spoken language that students are familiar with.
  • Selecting and introducing written works of philosophers and analyzing their definitions to develop the theoretical knowledge of architects.

The Common Language of Architecture and Arts

Course contents:
  • Analyzing the picture language and common secret between visual arts and architecture.
  • Studying geometry, numbers and their application in arts.
  • Defining and analyzing the common connecting spirit and language of arts in a cultural context and the way of its expression in various artworks.
  • Studying the expression potentials in various arts and architecture.
  • Introduction to allegory language.

The Analytical History of Construction Technology

Course contents:
  • Studying the culture of using materials in process of creating man-made products from the beginning of human settlements until now.
  • Discussing turning points and major technologic evolutions of construction in history and its relevance to cosmology and epistemology.
  • Studying various viewpoints in technology
  • Studying the position of technology in relevance to the current and future expression of architecture in our society.

Methods of Applied Sciences in Spatial Design and Critic

Course contents:
  • Analytical study of the composition of applied sciences and architecture and the results, as environmental psychology.
  • Analyzing the perception, cognition, and behavior in the environment.
  • Investigating the valuable studies of built-environment regarding construction and use of it.
  • Pilot studies regarding perception and behavior of Iranian people in built-environment and introducing ways to improving them

Architecture of Religions

Course contents:
  • The difference of religious and unreligious cosmology; the origin and ultimate of architecture in religious cosmology.
  • Comparative study of architecture in two major religions; the characteristics and concepts of their architecture, while studying examples.

Climate and Architecture

Course contents:
  • Studying the characteristics of weather and culture within the climate
  • Introduction and analysis of recognized world climates and their examples.
  • Analyzing Iranian climates and their vernacular architecture.
Last updated Mar 2018

About the School

Kish International Campus was established in 2007 in order to facilitate the enrolment of foreign students.

Kish International Campus was established in 2007 in order to facilitate the enrolment of foreign students. Read less