Ph.D. in Architecture

Stephen Caffey, Ph.D. 
Associate Department Head for M.S. and Ph.D. Programs
Instructional Assistant Professor

Ginger White
Graduate Academic Advisor

The Department of Architecture recognizes the unique opportunities of the Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture within the structure of the University and College. The Ph.D. program’s mission is to develop, disseminate and create knowledge about architecture. To realize this, the faculty in the department have made a commitment to building on their diverse experiences and backgrounds and to work together to establish a climate in which scholarship and creativity can flourish. The Doctor of Philosophy Program in Architecture has a long and distinguished history that has produced many outstanding graduates having important impacts on the academy and profession.

History of Program

The doctoral program in architecture at Texas A & M University began in the late 1960s, and has been administered by the Department of Architecture in its present form since 1985. Originally, the primary focus of the program was to expand knowledge and research capacity in the technological and building science areas. Although its earlier emphasis was technically-oriented, the program has been expanded to allow students to focus their studies within a broad range of emphasis areas and exploration topics formally identified by the department. Applicants are invited to inquire about topics outside of these emphasis areas, providing they can identify a core of available faculty and support resources, and submit a clearly defined plan of study. Graduates from the Ph.D. program have accepted positions of responsibility throughout the world in many different disciplines. The majority of our alumni have assumed such positions as consultants, university faculty, and researchers, while others have started their own practices or are working for government agencies.

Purpose of the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture is intended to be an advanced research degree in architecture that develops rigorous research methodologies that focus on critical problems and opportunities facing the discipline of architecture and generates an original and lasting contribution along with a comprehensive understanding of the knowledge base of architecture. The Ph.D. in Architecture is a research degree appropriate for those seeking careers in teaching and scholarship in architecture and its related areas, or in roles in government or professional consultation that require depth in knowledge, specialization and experience in research. In addition, it is intended that the Ph.D. in Architecture augment the profession of architecture in significant ways through enriched knowledge areas, practice fields and critical thinking. The Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture is designed to make a significant contribution to the discipline of architecture at the highest levels of scholarly inquiry. It emphasizes the creation of new and appropriate knowledge through research and prepares student to share the results of this research.

Course Content

The Doctor of Philosophy degree requires a minimum of 64 credit hours beyond the master's degree or 96 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Course requirements are therefore designed to give entering students a solid foundation in historical knowledge and theoretical discourse, with sufficient flexibility to allow the initiation and pursuit of individual research agendas.


Approximately two years of course work and an original research dissertation on a subject approved by the candidate's advisory committee are also required. Credit distribution and required examinations in the program are listed below. In addition to completing the basic program, each Ph.D. student must demonstrate proficiencies appropriate to the chosen area of study that may require additional course work. Additional courses may include technical writing, language, or courses in other areas of deficiency identified by the graduate committee, the student's initial advisor, and the advisory committee. In order to enter candidacy, the student must demonstrate to the graduate and advisory committees that he or she has exhibited academic and professional competence to accomplish the dissertation research and that the proposed dissertation is academically sound and professionally pertinent. Although acceptance of the dissertation is based primarily on its scholarly merit, it must also exhibit credible literary workmanship. The final dissertation is presented and evaluated by the candidate’s committee. The required core courses are listed below:

Patterns of Study

Because we have one of the largest programs in the country, our range of faculty interest areas is broad. The College research centers provide clusters of research areas, which include the Center for Housing and Urban Development (Sustainable Urbanism), the Center for Health Systems and Design, the Center for Conservation and Preservation, the Hazards Reductions Center, the CRS Center. In addition research areas are provided in the Energy Systems Laboratory which is part of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station. Each of the Centers administers a certificate in their areas of concentration. The details are given here. In addition, within the Department of Architecture there are clusters of research interests in other areas, such as, History and Theory, Digital Fabrication, Sustainability and Building Information Modeling, Building Construction and Processes, Advanced Visual Communication and Simulation of Architectural Projects, and Architectural Theory and Processes.

Student Numbers

The program typically has 50 students in residence each year with an additional five-to-ten students who are not in residence. Although student course work is usually taken in residence at Texas A & M University, some course work may be taken at another university when approved. Students have come from all over the United States, as well as countries such as Algeria, Australia, China, Colombia, Egypt, Japan, Jordan, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Israel, Korea, Mexico, Chile, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Nepal, Turkey, South Africa and Uruguay. Approximately 60% of the Doctor of Philosophy program participants are international students. This is an average of a little over five degrees granted per year. Time of matriculation is typically 5 years. There is a broad spectrum of research topics reflecting the varied student-faculty interests in the field of architecture.

Representative Ph.D. in Architecture Dissertation Abstracts

International Students

International students should submit all applications to the Office of Admissions and Records by December 1st, Fall entry in the following year. With the application, international students must submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores of at least 146+ in Verbal and 305+ combined (V+Q) score, the “Confirmation of Financial Resources” form, a filing fee (cannot be waived or paid by the department), and official College Transcripts. Students must also submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 80.


Because of the many international students applying for admission, competition is strong and we cannot admit all who apply. We do not consider financial aid for international students until after they have completed their first semester. Unfortunately, we have very limited financial resources for supporting international students. Therefore, you should be prepared to finance your studies.

All international students from non-English speaking countries must take and pass the English proficiency test. Please refer to the following policy.

Policy on English Proficiency for Graduate Students (Icon 80.1 KB)


The Graduate Faculty of the Department of Architecture are available to advise and participate in research committees. There are more than 20 faculty in the Department of Architecture that hold doctoral degrees.

Admissions (Application for Graduate Admission)

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Architecture should be persons who, as a result of their academic and professional experiences, seek advanced knowledge in preparation for careers in Architectural research, university teaching, or specialized practice and consulting. They will be expected to enter the program with a clear idea of the concentration for their study. Students will determine a specific course of study and thesis topic in consultation with the faculty.


Admission to the Ph.D. program is offered to those students possessing professional degrees in architecture as well as to those possessing undergraduate degrees in related disciplines. Applicants must meet general university standards. Persons in fields other than Architecture may be admitted conditionally and may be required to take additional course work. Admission is also dependent upon the availability of appropriate faculty in emphasis areas identified by applicants. Besides completing the standard university graduate application, the applicant must also:

•Provide a one to two page resume giving an educational and work history.

•Provide a one to two page statement of purpose and outline of a proposed study program.

•Provide three letters of recommendation.


In some cases the applicant may also be asked to participate in an onsite interview.


All international students from non-English speaking countries must take and pass the English proficiency test.


Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores of at least 146+ in Verbal and 305+ combined (V+Q) score, Students must also submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of at least 80.

In general, the university application deadlines should be observed; however, students wishing to be considered for financial assistance, however, must submit all application materials to the university and department by December 1st for Fall admission in the following year. Students can apply electronically on the following website:


Spring and summer admission is not considered for the Ph.D. program.


All curricular inquiries regarding the Ph.D. in Architecture program should be directed to:

Stephen Caffey, Ph.D.
Associate Department Head for M.S. and Ph.D. Programs
Instructional Assistant Professor
College of Architecture
Texas A & M University
College Station, TX 77843-3137
Phone: +1 (979) 845-5134

All inquiries regarding application or admission to the Ph.D. in Architecture program should be directed to:

Ginger White
Graduate Academic Advisor
Department of Architecture 
College of Architecture
Texas A & M University 
College Station, Texas 77843-3137
Phone: +1 (979) 458-3042