PhD in Human Environmental Sciences with Emphasis in Architectural Studies

The Program

Our program is designed for individuals who are interested in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to conduct substantive, and original research that contributes to the theoretical and methodological foundation of architecture, interior design, and related disciplines. Curriculum emphasizes research and expands knowledge in the “major” areas of either environment and behavior or design with digital media. The major area is defined as that area of specialization in the doctoral program within which the student is expected to write his/her dissertation. Students will choose a “supportive cognate area” and courses in this area are selected from a broad spectrum of disciplines providing students with the opportunity to design an individualized program of study that capitalizes on their unique interests and talents. Also see the Department website for additional information on the two major areas of faculty expertise (Environment and Behavior, & Design with Digital Media) Online Study, Architectural Studies Graduate Handbook and Spotlight on Alumni.

Degree Requirements

The University of Missouri requires a minimum of 72 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree for the PhD.  The doctoral program committee provides departmental approval of the student’s plan of study (Form D-2), a list of the courses and the credit to be earned in each of them, which will, when completed:

  • Prepare the student for research or scholarly investigation in the chosen field of study.
  • Satisfy the credit-hour and residency requirement of the department.
  • Satisfy any special requirements (collateral field, other special research skills) imposed by the department.
  • Satisfy the Graduate School’s requirement for a minimum of 15 hours of course work at the 8000/9000 level (exclusive of research, problems and independent study experiences).

The committee also recommends as part of the plan of study, any request for transfer of graduate credit. The student must substantially complete the course work outlined in the plan of study to the satisfaction of the doctoral program committee and the Graduate School before being declared ready for the comprehensive examination. Details regarding the qualifying process, comprehensive examination and dissertation requirements are detailed below. See Architectural Studies Graduate Handbook for more details on minimum course requirements.

PhD Minimum Course Requirement Summary

Core Courses13 credits minimum
ARCHST 8850Seminar in Environmental Design1
ARCHST 8630Philosophy of Environmental Design Research3
ARCHST 8887Environment and Behavior II3
ARCHST 8050Research Methods in Environmental Design3
ARCHST 8950Qualitative Research Methods3
Coursework in Architectural Studies (choose 6 hrs from the following)6
ARCHST 8840Graduate Design Studio1-99
ARCHST 8960Readings in Environmental Design1-99
ARCHST 8001Topics in Environmental Design1-99
ARCHST 9555Recent Trends in Environmental Design1-99
Supportive Cognate Area9
Advisors and committee members will help you identify appropriate cognate courses based on the area of interest.
Pilot Project for Dissertation2
ARCHST 9995Pilot Project for Dissertation2
Dissertation Research6
ARCHST 9990Dissertation Proposal1
ARCHST 9090Doctoral Research in Environmental Design5

Qualifying Process

The program considers the experience of original research with data collection, analysis, and report as the D1 Qualifying Exam. This could be satisfied with Masters research project or a dissertation pilot project. See Architectural Studies Graduate Handbook for additional information on the qualifying examination process.

Comprehensive Examination Process

Based on the pilot project for the dissertation, students write a “Proposal-in-Principle”. Committee members set comprehensive exam questions in their area of expertise as it relates to the student’s research as described in the Proposal-in-Principle. The student has two and one half weeks to complete the exam and submit the responses. The oral defense part of the comprehensive examination evaluates the ability to further discuss each of the questions and responses and clarify follow up questions from committee members. The written and the oral examination must be completed within one month. If successful, members sign the Form D-3 and it is submitted to the Graduate School. The student officially becomes a Doctoral Candidate. Students must maintain continuous enrollment during their candidacy (the period after successful completion of the comprehensive examination).

Dissertation Requirements

Following the comprehensive exam, the student should develop the full Dissertation Research Proposal that is reviewed and approved by the committee through a formal proposal defense. A minimum of two weeks should be allowed for the committee members to review the proposal before the defense. The dissertation proposal approved by the committee sets the roadmap for dissertation research. The research-based plan of study leads to the written doctoral dissertation. PhD students must complete a final oral examination by an approved faculty committee. In order to pass the examination, and thus qualify as the basis for the award of the PhD degree, the dissertation should have the following attributes:

  • It demonstrates authority in the candidate’s field and shows evidence of command of knowledge in relevant fields;
  • It shows that the candidate has a thorough grasp of the appropriate methodological techniques and an awareness of limitations;
  • It makes a distinct contribution to knowledge because of the originality of the approach and/or interpretation of the findings and, in some cases, the discovery of new facts;
  • It demonstrates an ability to communicate research findings effectively in the professional arena and in an international context;
  • It is a careful, rigorous and sustained piece of work demonstrating that a research “apprenticeship” is complete and the holder should be admitted to the community of scholars in the discipline.

See Architectural Studies Graduate Handbook for additional information regarding dissertation requirements including expectations, timelines and guidelines.


Admission Requirements

Applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum qualifications for admission: the requirements of the Ph.D. program in Human Environmental Sciences with an emphasis in Architectural Studies and the minimum requirements of the graduate faculty, enforced by the Graduate School. Because requirements vary, you must refer to a degree program's graduate admission page to learn about specific admission criteria, application deadlines, eligibility and application process. Before official admission to the University of Missouri, your application materials will be reviewed by both the Graduate School and the degree program to which you've applied.

Admission Contact

137 Stanley Hall; Columbia, MO 65211
Telephone: 573-882-7224

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