SARUP’s Ph.D. in Architecture

Established in 1982, The School of Architecture & Urban Planning’s (SARUP) Ph.D. program is an internationally recognized center of excellence in research and doctoral studies. It attracts diverse, cross-disciplinary faculty participation from within the UW System and student enrollments both from national and international realms. Given its unique vantage to examine aspects of the man-made and natural environments, the doctoral program offers three primary areas of research focus for incoming students - Environmental Design Research (EDR), Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures (BLC) and Sustainability, Resources and Technology (SRT). These areas correspond to the core interests of leading faculty who guide students and encourage them to work under their mentoring from an early stage in their education.

The Environmental Design Research (EDR) focus utilizes the theories and methods rooted in both the environmental design professions and the behavioral/social sciences to explore a broad range of architectural and environmental research questions. Concepts and techniques utilized in EDR are adapted from architecture, urban and regional planning, interior design, and landscape architecture as well as fields such as ergonomics, cultural geography, anthropology, sociology, and environmental psychology. In addition to the study of complex relationships between people and their physical, social, and cultural environments, EDR examines the application of such research to create experientially rich, culturally responsive, sustainable, and well crafted environments. Students share a common core of theories and methods rooted in the environmental design professions, social and physical sciences, to pursue individually tailored, integrative programs of study. Examples of areas of interest shared by faculty and students include, but are not limited to, Environment-Behavior (Environment and Aging, Architecture and Organizations), Culturally Responsive Design and Sustainability (Sustainable Architecture, Integrative Building Performance, and Sustainable Community Development).

The Buildings-Landscapes-Cultures (BLC) focus introduces an interdisciplinary research track concentrating on the examination of the physical, cultural, and social aspects of the built environment. The program serves students enrolled in the architecture and art history doctoral programs at the UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison campuses respectively. It involves faculty members on both campuses with diverse research and teaching interests, including urban and architectural history, cultural landscapes, urban and rural vernacular architecture, housing, and urban and architectural morphology. BLC encourages the study of architectural, urban, and suburban cultural landscapes. Scales of analysis vary from the near environment to the architectural, urban, regional, and transnational. Core introductory courses present theories and methods related to the study and analysis of the built environment as material culture within a contemporary and historical framework. This includes observations on everyday and ordinary environments and the socio-cultural, political, economic, visual culture, and aesthetic aspects of these spaces. Building on these foundations, students pursue their specific interests through courses in art history, architecture and planning, landscape architecture, geography, anthropology, folklore, social and economic relations, and urban history. Fieldwork is an important aspect of this program and a cross-campus fieldwork school is anticipated in the future. For more information on SARUP’s BLC Program visit http://www.blc.wisc.edu

The Sustainability, Resources and Technology (SRT) focus encompasses a range of research issues regarding the sustainability of the built environment in terms of economics, equity, and environmental issues. Students in this area are expected to engage in research based on the methods and techniques found in the physical and natural sciences. Opportunities for research include examination of advanced architectural practice and the evaluation of both the allocation of resources and technologies. The SRT area also assumes that research may be integrated with the other major fields, both EDR and BLC. Consequently, cross-disciplinary research is encouraged.