Institution / University College Dublin
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Architecture - Research

The School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy offers a wide range of specialist research fields from which to choose and delivered through a Structured PhD programme. This has proven to be highly successful and enables our PhD students to achieve the best possible experience of graduate research and training. Making a substantial and original contribution to knowledge, normally leading to peer-reviewed publications, remains the core objective of doctoral studies in the School. We offer structured PhDs in each of the major disciplinary areas of the School.

The School is committed to providing excellent facilities and training for research students, including well-equipped research suites and laboratories for students with state-of-the-art computing facilities, on-site library services, access to taught modules across the University and regular student and staff seminars. All research students are supervised by one or more members of the academic staff with a recognised expertise in a field related to your chosen area of study.

The structured PhD includes several measures designed to support you in achieving your academic and professional objectives. One of these measures is the requirement of each PhD student to have a Doctoral Studies Panel. The purpose of the Doctoral Studies Panel is to support and enhance the supervisor-student relationship, to monitor your progress during the course of your doctoral studies and to provide advice and support both to you and your supervisor(s). The panel consists not only of your supervisor(s) but also additional advisor(s). A further measure of support is the requirement to complete at least 30 credits of graduate taught modules at the early stages of your study. Thus, each student gains important experience not only in research but also in the broader academic field of study.

The Degree is awarded following successful completion of a programme of supervised research and advanced education and training. The degree will be awarded only where the outcome of the research makes an original and substantial contribution to knowledge and where the candidate has demonstrated the capacity to pursue original research and scholarship. The research is described in a thesis or similar appropriate format, in accordance with international norms, which forms the basis for the examination for the award of the degree of PhD, and which must contain material of a standard and form appropriate for peer reviewed publication.

For further information please contact a subject related member of academic staff directly or the School Manager, Mr. Adam Trodd.


T180/T181 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time.

Further enquiries

UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy
College of Engineering and Architecture
University College Dublin
Richview, Clonskeagh, Dublin

T: +353 1 716 2757/2711

Research areas

Research at UCD School of Architecture

Research in Architecture spans a wide range of themes including environmental, social, cultural, historical, technological, design and urban. Buildings and the urban environment embrace these issues simultaneously and so architectural research, by its nature, is interdisciplinary. It must be conscious of interactions across some or all of these intellectual fields. It transcends the traditional divides of science versus art and qualitative versus quantative.

The UCD School of Architecture supports a comparative range of research fields including Urban and Building Conservation & Heritage, Sustainable Building Design & Performance, History and Theory of Architecture and Architectural Design. Its staff, as individuals and as groups and members of several UCD Research Institutes, are research-active across these themes and support both Research Masters and Doctoral programmes.

Urban and Building Conservation & Heritage

For some twenty-five years the school has been research active in advancing the knowledge base in building and urban conservation and heritage. It has seen a growing awareness of the cultural, social and economic importance of conserving the built heritage of buildings and urban areas. There is a growing demand for the knowledge and skills required to maintain and manage the wide range of buildings that form the material culture of society. There is now an expectation that the care of historic buildings will meet the highest international standards requiring specialist knowledge and skills and the collaboration of a range of disciplines supported by an appropriate research framework. Many national and international peer-reviewed publications have resulted from this research and some significant funded research projects.

Sustainable Building Design & Performance

Since 1975 the UCD Energy Research Group has pursued a broad agenda through research, outreach and collaboration with industry, dissemination and education. It has specialised in the energy and environmental performance of buildings with an emphasis on passive design and in support of healthy indoor environments. The group is an integral part of the UCD School of Architecture. To learn more, go to the UCD Energy Research Group website.

History and Theory of Architecture

The school has a strong reputation in the area of history and theory, spanning both specifically Irish themes and broader issues. To date, the majority of PhDs awarded by the school have dealt with architectural, urban and landscape history. More recently, theoretical explorations have become more prominent, with the visual representation of landscapes and urban spaces being a significant theme. Many national and international peer-reviewed publications have resulted from this research and some significant funded research projects.

Architectural Design
Building on its reputation for excellence in design teaching and on the achievements of its staff and students, the school has more recently begun to develop research by, through and for design. To date, this has included the documentation and dissemination of critical practice through exhibition and publication, the analysis of design processes and products under social science and humanities research paradigms, as well as research into materials and construction techniques.

Enrolment and start dates

Start date: To be agreed with School

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