PhD Programme

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PhD Programme2018-03-01T17:56:34+08:00


The PhD in Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is a programme for highly creative and motivated individuals who wish to engage in intensive research and scholarship related to the built environment. The programme covers a broad range of subjects and represents the cutting edge of design investigation. Based on a multidisciplinary approach, it covers areas such as architecture, design technology, urban design, urban planning, and environmental studies, providing rich opportunities for diverse approaches of investigation. The programme is composed of researchers and scholars whose areas of expertise and study are closely related to the various academic curricula offered at SUTD.

Once accepted to the programme, each student is assigned a faculty advisor. The advisor consults on the student’s initial plan to study and on the choice of subjects in subsequent terms. He or she assists the student in selecting an advisory committee and subsequently a thesis committee. Often, but not always, the faculty advisor becomes the thesis committee chair. At the beginning of the fifth term, the student must pass a general exam in that the advisory committee tests the student’s mastery of his or her general field of study and the ability to write a dissertation. Upon passing the general exam, the PhD student becomes a doctoral candidate and forms a thesis committee with input from his or her faculty advisor. The candidate then prepares a thesis proposal that must be presented to the committee before the end of the fifth term. The committee reviews the thesis proposal based on three important criteria: originality, contribution to the field, and feasibility. After the acceptance of the thesis proposal, the candidate advances his or her research project and writes the thesis. Doctoral candidates receive their PhD degrees from SUTD after completing their thesis and conducting their public thesis defence.

For enquires relating to application, admissions and scholarship matters, please write to Graduate Programme Office.

For other enquiries, please write to

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Course Work
PhD Students are expected to complete at least 144 credits of subject work while in residence at SUTD. This is usually accomplished over four terms by enrolling in an average of 36 credits per term – the equivalent of three or four subjects. A subject requirement for all PhD students is the PhD Pro-Seminar. All other subjects are selected in consultation with the faculty advisor. PhD students in ASD are expected to enroll in the Pro-Seminar during their first year in residence. The Pro-Seminar is meant to provide a rigorous grounding with a focus on specific research topics related to architecture and design practice. Students must maintain an average grade of B or better in each year of study.

General Examination
The general examination is given after the required subject work is completed and is taken at the beginning of the fifth term of residence. The general examination is meant to show broad and detailed competence in the student’s field of concentration and supporting areas of study. The student’s advisory committee in consultation with the student decides on the content and format of the general examination.

Thesis Proposal
The PhD thesis is a major work that makes an original scholarly contribution. It is the main focus of the doctoral programme in ASD, and it serves as the primary indicator of a PhD student’s ability to carry out significant independent research. The student’s thesis committee approves the dissertation topic, and supervises the research and writing of the dissertation. The student’s advisor is always a member of the thesis committee and typically serves as its chair. The chair must be a member of the ASD faculty. When specialized guidance is necessary, one of the three members of the thesis committee may be selected from outside of ASD. Approval of the thesis topic is gained through the acceptance of a proposal submitted by the student before the end of the fifth term of residence to his or her thesis committee.

Thesis Defence
An oral defence of the completed thesis in front of the student’s dissertation committee is required. The committee may accept the thesis at the oral defence or may ask for revisions. The PhD is awarded after two copies of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation have been submitted to ASD.

Areas of Research

  • Architecture and sustainable design and practice
  • Innovative city design and development
  • Environmental policy and planning
  • Computation pertaining to the description, generation, and, construction of architecture.
  • Historical, theoretical, and critical approaches to architectural design

Applicants are encouraged to refer to the various research interests of the ASD faculty members for more detailed information.