The Doctor of Philosophy degree is conferred upon qualified candidates in recognition of the fulfillment of the program requirements, command of specific areas of specialization, and an original contribution to the discipline. The dissertation, the culminating requirement of the Ph.D. degree program, establishes the candidate's mastery of the research methods of his/her specialized field and his/her ability to address a major intellectual problem and arrive at a successful conclusion.
The Ph.D. degree in Landscape Architecture and in Architecture is appropriate for those seeking careers in research and teaching or in roles in government or professional consultation, all of which require depth in specialization and experience in research.
For admission requirements, deadlines, and program structure, please visit the Ph.D. Program Website.
"My current role as a Principal and Director of Research in a design firm would not have been possible without my doctoral training at the University of Illinois. The university’s breadth and depth of environmental design experts and research resources allowed me to craft a strong foundation in the field of environmental psychology. The funny thing was that I was not fully aware of this at the time. I assumed that if I took the initiative and worked hard I would achieve and education similar to other doctoral students in my field at other universities. It was not until I graduated and was in architectural practice that I fully appreciated my education at the University of Illinois. I use the unique skill set I acquired at the university every day in practice. It continues to give my teams a competitive edge."
Nicholas Watkins, Ph.D.
History and Theory
History and theory are critical components of both architecture and landscape architecture, informing practice and education in both fields. They also, however, stand alone as independent disciplines that contribute to our understanding of human history. At the University of Illinois, histories and theories of the built environment are regarded as essential contributions to scholarship in the humanities. As such, our students and faculty engage in dialogue with a wide range of historians and theoreticians across the campus, contributing spatial and visual modes of inquiry. The concerns of this option encompass the evolution of the entire cultural landscape, including the work of architects, landscape architects, and planners, but also with builders, craftspeople, and the ordinary men and women who create the human environment. The study of architectural and landscape history continually incorporates new research and methods derived from its essential links to other humanistic, social scientific, and technical disciplines.
Social and Cultural Factors in Design
The option in Social and Cultural Factors in Design investigates the relationship between the designed and natural environment and human behavior. The implications of this relationship inform the basic questions of research in the option. The Illinois School of Architecture and the Department of Landscape Architecture each have well-established traditions of leading research in this area. Design-behavior interaction has been an area of concentration in the master's program of each unit and has been the focus of much acclaimed research at Illinois. Cultural study is reinforced by close ties with the Departments of Geography and Anthropology and by the campus presence of centers for race, gender, critical, and area studies.
Technology and Environment
The option of Technology explores and studies the tools, methods, and theories to improve our surroundings and building environments. This option presents a fertile field of research, which has a direct impact on design, management and construction, human comfort, economics, materials, and structural systems. Technology encompasses several areas of study:
Building Science and Environmental Technology deals with the science and theory of thermal, luminous, acoustical environments as they relate to building design and human comfort, and environmental control systems;
Ecological Design focuses on research related to the design of human-constructed environments as they relate to ecosystem health, human health and comfort, and restoration, remediation, and preservation of earth’s natural resources;
Structures, Materials, and Construction deals with the strength and properties of materials, structures, construction methods, and business practice and management;
Information and Digital Technology deals with the development of new methodologies of communication and design management, integration and execution of design, methods of visualization, representation and experiencing of designed environments.
Selected Current and Completed Ph.D. Dissertation Topics
Work in Progress in History and Social Factors Concentrations:
Globalizing Amman: Capital flow and the built environment, 1990–2010, Majd Musa
Home Grown: Thomas Affleck's advocacy for regional identity in the American South, 1848–1868
Narrated Landscapes: Re-visioning place in contemporary urban landscape
The Pilgrimage Site of St. Symeon the Younger: Designed by angels, supervised by a saint, constructed by pilgrims
Visualizing the Cultural Transition in Bithynia (1300-1402): Architecture, landscape and urbanism
Completed Dissertations in History and Social Factors Concentrations:
Breaking the Wall, Preserving the Barrier: Gender, Space, and Power in Contemporary Mosque Architecture in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Tutin Aryanti, 2013,
Space sharing, territoriality, and situational environments in Shanghai’s high-rise gated developments, Fang Xu, 2013, Architecture
Determining Critical Factors in Community-Level Planning of Homeless Service Projects, Abbilyn Miller, 2012, Landscape Architecture
The Spatialization of Knowledge and Power at the Astronomical Observatories of Sawai Jai Singh II, 1721-1743 CE, Susan Johnson Roher, 2011
The Impact of the French Protectorate on Cultural Heritage Management in Morocco: The case of Marrakesh, Assia Lamzah, 2008
Constructing the Navajo Capital: Landscape, Power, and Representation at Window Rock, Rachel Leibowitz, 2008
Domestic Space, Modernity, and Identity: The Apartment in mid-20th Century Turkey, Meltem Havva Gürel, 2007
The Journey Back to the World: Exploring the psychological effect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Vietnam War combat veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, Nicholas Watkins, 2004
Landscape of a Foreign Country: Memory, race, and identity discourse in America’s Chinatowns, 1965 - 2008,
Completed Dissertations in Technology and Environmental Concentrations:
Advances in the Application of Passive Down-Draft Evaporative Cooling Technology in the Cooling of Buildings, Daeho Kang, 2011
Balancing Human Visual Comfort and Psychological Well-being in Private Offices, Mohamad Tarek, 2008
Configuration and Operating Condition Design Analysis of SOFC Systems for Building Applications, Kwang Ho Lee, 2008
Knowledge-Based Model for Integrated Tall Building Design Factors, Ajla Zisko, 2008
Economic Performance of Architectural Firms: An Application of Production Theory, Douglas Sturgeon, 2013
Development of a hybrid heat source radiant system using an embedded concentric tube heat exchanger, Young Tae Chae, 2011, Architecture