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Built Environment

Program Overview

410 Gould Hall

The PhD in Built Environment is a College-wide, interdisciplinary degree program housed within the College of Built Environments. The PhD program provides students a common core of substantial, integrated knowledge concerning the multi-faceted built environment and then offers areas of specialization in three discrete fields of knowledge and practice:

  • Sustainable Systems and Prototypes (across a range of scales, from building elements and assemblages, to buildings, site, and neighborhood context, city, and region)
  • Computational Design and Research (covering the spectrum of design, planning, and construction processes, practices, and pedagogy)
  • History, Theory, and Representation studies (focusing on issues of regional-global modernity)

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
410 Gould Hall, Box 355740
(206) 543-5996

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  • Three letters of recommendation (Use the downloadable form.)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • An exhibit of work which best illustrates the applicant's interests and abilities in areas related to the built environment. This may be an essay, a paper, a publication, a report, or a project for which the applicant has had major responsibility. The exhibit is not returned and should fit in letter-size files.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  • Prospective international, immigrant, and permanent resident students whose native language is other than English and who have not received a bachelor's or master's degree from an accredited institution where the native language is English must submit a satisfactory TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score. The minimum allowable TOEFL score is 500. Students admitted with scores below 580 are tested for English proficiency upon arrival and are required to complete any assigned ESL courses along with their regular academic program.

Program Requirements

90 credits minimum, to include:

  1. Core courses (21 credits):
    1. B E 551, B E 552,B E 553
    2. B E 550 (6 quarters at 1 credit each)
    3. Research methods and design: choice of 6 credits from list, including both qualitative and quantitative coursework
  2. Specialization (minimum 30 credits): One of three fundamental areas (sustainable systems and prototypes; computational design and research; history, theory, and representation). Each student selects one of these areas, within which she or he takes advanced and specialized coursework and, eventually, conducts the dissertation research project. Each student must take 30 credits in the chosen area of specialization during the first several years in the program, before undertaking qualifying examinations. A broad selection of courses, both within the College of Architecture and Urban Planning and in other UW units, is available.
  3. Examinations: The qualifying examination consists of written responses to three questions, followed by an oral examination on the material. The written and oral examinations are composed, conducted, and evaluated by the student's formally appointed dissertation committee.
  4. Dissertation (30 credits): Involves 30 credits and concludes with a final oral defense.