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School of Architecture and Interior Design

Research + Work


The University of Cincinnati’s PhD Program in Architecture is a post-professional degree program of advanced theoretical studies in architecture with a focus on the acquisition of critical skills related to architectural production, both built and theoretical. It is intended primarily for students already in possession of a graduate degree in architecture or a related field such as interior design, planning, or landscape architecture. The PhD program is an outgrowth of the university’s longstanding MS Program in Architecture, whose focus has traditionally been on architectural history, theories, and criticism as they relate to architectural practice. The program exposes students to a range of concepts in the field and fosters the ability to question and assess the built environment and the documents that relate to it.

In addition to a common core consisting of coursework in architectural theories and research methods, students complete courses in a minor field, demonstrate mastery of a major with the qualifying exam, and successfully defend a dissertation proposal in the third year, qualifying for candidacy and achieving ABD (“all but dissertation”) status. Students research, write and defend the dissertation in the final years of the program. With faculty members with technical expertise in human and environmental factors, computation, parametric design, and robotics in addition to the program’s traditional strengths in history, theory, and criticism,  the program can accommodate a range of student interests. The major exam is a multi-day written examination based on a reading list agreed among the committee members.

To fulfill the minor requirement, students may propose an individual course of study, supervised by a professor other than the dissertation chair, or they may choose from among a number of approved graduate certificates offered by the university. Popular options include Historic Preservation; Urban Design; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Data Analytics. 

Degree: PHD

Full-time program duration: 3.0 Years

Location: West Campus

Contact Information:

College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
School of Architecture and Interior Design
Dr. Rebecca Williamson, Ph.D., Associate Professor
School of Architecture & Interior Design
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016
(513) 556-0770

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the PhD Program in Architecture should have completed a Master's degree in architecture or a related field prior to matriculation. Students with an undergraduate degree or with an unrelated graduate degree must enter the MS Program in Architecture. Some students enter the PhD program directly from the MS program. These students retain their credits from their MS studies and enter the PhD program at an advanced phase commensurate with their completed studies.

Unofficial transcript(s) from all colleges/universities attended are required. Official transcripts are not required during the admissions process, and only unofficial transcripts are required for the application. Applicants should not send official transcripts until they are offered admission. For complete requirements please visit:

A portfolio of design, art, or other graphic work is optional. The portfolio is an opportunity to demonstrate your design abilities, artistic talents, or other information you deem pertinent to your application. The content does not have to be architectural if your background is in another discipline. Written project statements to accompany visual work are helpful. Portfolios are submitted online. We do not accept hard copies of portfolios.

Three letters of recommendation from persons who are in a position to evaluate your abilities and your potential for success as a graduate student are required. There is no standard form to fill out; instead, based on information you provide in your application recommenders will be emailed instructions on the process for submitting letters of recommendation. 

A summary of your academic and professional experiences is required.

A two-page statement of your interest in graduate study in architecture is required. This should be a concise, articulate presentation of your academic and career goals, and any specific interests you have in architectural topics for graduate research and design. It should reflect your prior intellectual and professional engagement with these issues, and may also provide some additional perspective on the work illustrated in the portfolio.

Students applying to the PhD Program must submit one or two writing samples demonstrating the ability to conduct scholarly research and examine theoretical concepts. The essays can expand on the areas of research interest or on any topic.

Scores from the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) are required. Successful candidates have earned the following average scores: verbal 153 (prior 500); quantitative 151 (prior 650); analytic 4.5. The ETS University code is 1833. You do not need a department code.


Major Map Versions:
Ph.D 2019 Ph.D 2017 Ph.D 2018


The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


The architecture program of the University of Cincinnati has been accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) continuously since 1948, and its courses satisfy requirements maintained by various state architectural registration boards.

In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The NAAB, which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the bachelor of architecture, the master of architecture, and the doctor of architecture. A program may be granted a 8-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.The University of Cincinnati’s PhD Program in Architecture is not an accredited professional degree.

Program Details