Architecture and the Built Environment (PhD) 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

The Research Degree

A PhD is the highest academic award for which a student can be registered. This programme allows you to explore and pursue a research project built around a substantial piece of work, which has to show evidence of original contribution to knowledge.

A part time PhD is a six year part time programme of research and culminates in the production of a large-scale piece of written work in the form of a research thesis that should not normally exceed 80,000 words.

A PhD is the highest academic award for which a student can be registered. This programme allows you to explore and pursue a research project built around a substantial piece of work, which has to show evidence of original contribution to knowledge.

Completing a PhD can give you a great sense of personal achievement and help you develop a high level of transferable skills which will be useful in your subsequent career, as well as contributing to the development of knowledge in your chosen field.

You are expected to work to an approved programme of work including appropriate programmes of postgraduate study (which may be drawn from parts of existing postgraduate courses, final year degree programmes, conferences, seminars, guided reading or a combination of study methods).

You will be appointed a main supervisor who will normally be part of a supervisory team, comprising up to three members to advise and support you on your project.

Start date:
This research degree has multiple possible start dates including:
18 / 09 / 2017
08 / 01 / 2018
16 / 04 / 2018

Your start date may be decided in agreement with your supervisor.


The maximum duration for a part time PhD is 6 years (72 months) with an optional submission pending (writing up period) of 12 months, or full time 3 years (36 months) with an optional submission pending (writing up period) of 12.

Sometimes it may be possible to mix periods of both full-time and part-time study.

Entry requirements

The minimum level of attainment required for entry is:

A Master's degree or an Honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent, in a discipline appropriate to the proposed programme to be followed, or appropriate research or professional experience at postgraduate level, which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

For applicants whose first language or language of instruction is not English you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum of IELTS 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5, will be considered acceptable, or equivalent.

Further information on international entry requirements and English language entry requirements is available on our international webpages


Tel: +44 (0) 1484 473969

Places available:

This is dependent upon supervisory capacity within the subject area

(this number may be subject to change)

Huddersfield, HD1 3DH

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What can I research?

Research topics available for this degree:

There are several research topics available for this degree. See below for full details of individual research areas including an outline of the topics, the supervisor, funding information and eligibility criteria.

Research titleSupervisorsApply
Design of socially responsible and environmentally sustainable urban and rural built environment ; Traditional and cultural changes reflected in vernacular houses and traditional settlements in developing countries ; Cross-cultural architectural design ed

My research investigates how perceptions and understandings of sustainability affects the architectural design and built environment in urban and rural areas in developing countries. My projects study how the understandings of sustainability in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Algeria, not only led to the use of new materials and technologies, but also created different systems of urban and rural knowledge that focus on the sustainability-related design ideas, assessment techniques, and practical guidance. I am interested in the spatial arrangements, forms and ornaments of vernacular houses that frame the rituals of everyday life. My research also explores how modernization, and tourism in recent years, have had significant impacts on vernacular dwellings and settlements of ethnic groups living in Yunnan Province, Southwest China and in neighbouring countries of Southeast Asia. Skills and knowledge required for designing within different cultures, sometimes unfamiliar cultures, have played an increasingly important part in the architecture curriculum and practice. My research investigates how students and architects engage in overseas projects in recent year, and how architectural education can nurture and support cultural awareness in the design process, in a local context. Architectural students’ learning experience in practice during placement and their education, in the university, are integrated parts for students to become registered architects. My studies focus on how individual architecture students perceive and value their learning experience in architectural offices and how students understand and integrate what they have learned in university and in practice.


Please see our Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Standard University deadlines apply

How to apply
History and Theory of Architecture, Cities and Urban Design; Urban morphology in cities and open territory; Urban Quality in Housing neighbourhoods and the Built Environment; Commons and urban transformations

I am interested in supervising PGR projects that critically investigate the history and theory of cities, in particular with reference to the 20th century. While my own work is mainly focused on urban theories developed from the ‘50s to overpass modernism, I am open to suggestions relating to philosophy, architecture and planning


Please see our Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Standard University deadlines apply.

How to apply
Socio-economic measures for disaster risks; Preparedness for response for disaster risks; Gender and protection, public policy, governance and procurement; Built environment dimensions of disaster resilience, climate change and sustainability

Dilanthi Amaratunga is a Professor of Disaster Risk Management at the University of Huddersfield, UK.  She is a leading expert in disaster resilience with an international reputation. Since joining University of Huddersfield School or Art, Design and Architecture in September 2014, she leads the University’s Global Disaster Resilience Centre , responsible for supporting research on disaster management portfolios. Her research interests include post disaster reconstruction including “build back better”, gender and projection; Capacity building in disaster risk reduction and resilience; Socio-economic measures for disaster risks, Preparedness for response, recovery and reconstruction, Public policy, governance and procurement , Built environment dimensions of climate change and sustainability . An interdisciplinary background in Quantity Surveying, Facilities and Business Continuity Management, Education and Training, Gender and Disasters and Disaster Mitigation and Reconstruction provides her the opportunities to work across a broader disaster management research agenda including developing partnerships of international research teams, government, NGOs and communities. key contributions I have made in providing leadership within the international research community and peer respected research in issues relating to disaster mitigation, prevention and reconstruction are critical scholarship and leadership. Through my national and international research activities, I have contributed to the relevant strategic aims through collaborative working and have demonstrated real leadership. Although I have been working towards this goal for several years, it has become evident to me that the complexity of the challenge being addressed – the increasing threat posed by natural and human induced hazards – requires interdisciplinary cooperation and solutions. My recent work has sought to bring together scientists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, and to influence policy formulation and implementation, at both a national and international level. My research profile is available at It demonstrates, in detail, my exceptional level of engagement in research, intellectual capacity and commitment, my ability to manage ground-breaking research, and international presence, publication record, journal editing, advisory and leadership roles, performances and equivalent activities, including public recognition for research.


Please see our Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Standard University deadlines apply

How to apply
Thermal comfort in and around buildings and occupant evaluation of building environments and systems; Sustainability in rural areas and at the rural-urban interface; Integration of renewable energy and low carbon technologies into buildings; Retrofit of e

This project will address a range of themes associated with comfort in and around buildings and also link into ideas of healthy and productive environments. Potential students should have a technical background and an appreciation of the built environment, though a degree in a specific subject area is less important than other skills and attributes. Applicants should have a good understanding of environmental assessment techniques and preferably experience of using measurement and recording systems to collect environmental data. Theoretical studies will be undertaken within the university but measurement is likely to be of real buildings and support to understand these skills will be provided. Research could address elements of post-occupancy evaluation of buildings and how to build robust and long lasting solutions. Thermal alliesthesia and opportunities for sensations of ‘delight’ associated with optimised environments could also lead to novel solutions.

The worldwide movement of people into urban areas has naturally led to much research into sustainability of urban locations; however this presents only part of the issue. In many parts of the world a large number of people still reside in small towns and villages and their presence is essential to maintain support for those systems which ultimately provide resources such as food and other goods for cities. There is currently a great opportunity to understand better how to maintain and support the sustainable development of rural areas and in some countries such as China (with which we have a number of links) are actively supporting sustainability in the countryside. The research opportunity here could take a number of forms from cultural/social to technology based. The economics of sustainability in rural areas is also quite different to urban and often communication and transport systems are very different. Each of these factors would need to be incorporated in the research and analysis.

The risks of global climate change are tightly linked to the use of fossil fuels as demonstrated by reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This esteemed body has recognised the important role that energy efficiency and carbon saving from buildings can provide. Both international and national policies support reductions in carbon emissions and also enact numerous building related targets. As well as reducing energy demand in buildings here is also a need to seek ways in which energy generation on or near to buildings can be used to provide immediate supply benefits. There is a need to consider how different fuels/energy sources can be integrated within building design and one of the challenges to be overcome is the space requirement and the areas on buildings that can be utilised without compromising other factors. This project could therefore enable a range of features to be researched in a parametric fashion in order to develop robust decision support systems and also to provide design advice such that new buildings already have potential to change from conventional fossil fuel based sources to renewable and low carbon.

One of the biggest challenges for the future of buildings comes not with new build but with the upgrading required to deal with existing stock. This process is going to require enormous resources and there may not be the opportunity to go through the process a second time so we have to get it right first time. This means we need to consider how to future-proff design and construction – not only to allow for what we understand now but also to consider a range of future scenarios under global climate change. It is not just a technical challenge but also one that needs to embrace occupant perception and reaction as they too will have to adjust – adjust their expectations; adjust their interactions with buildings and systems; and also to actively engage with adjusting components of the building itself. The project will involve interaction with design and construction professionals in order to understand their roles in conjunction with other factors.


Please see our Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Standard University deadlines apply

How to apply
Urban design (design aspects; theory; participatory processes; health and built environment; public and private sector practice; influences on urban form and structure; design and development briefing) Research by design and practice-based research Urba

Dr Montague’s research engages with the field of urban design and focusses primarily on the relationship between theory and praxis in the built environment, the creative process and research by design methodologies. Her current projects include a book, to be published by Routledge in 2017, about the ways in which urban design concepts are represented and communicated in drawings and models, co-authored with Wolfson Prize winner, David Rudlin of URBED. She is also in the process of producing a review of current urban design theory and literature with Hooman Foroughmand Araabi at The Bartlett, UCL; and has contributed a chapter that explores the concept of place and placelessness from a design perspective, for a “Placelessness Revisited’ – a book co-ordinated by The University of New South Wales, Sydney and published by Routledge. She regularly reviews papers related to urban design for international journals.


Please see our Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Standard University deadlines

How to apply

The School of Art, Design and Architecture, home to award-winning staff members at the University of Huddersfield, fosters the next generation of creative researchers as part of a dynamic and interactive learning community enabling postgraduate students to nurture and develop their talents. The School has approximately 80+ research students , from a growing number of different nationalities. We particularly welcome inter and multidisciplinary research. Applications are welcome in, but not limited to, the following research areas:

•  Architectural Design

•  Architectural History and Theory

•  BIM

•  Conservation

•  Construction Project Management

•  Design Management

•  Disaster Resilience and Reconstruction

•  Healthcare in the Built Environment

•  Lean Construction

•  Modelling, Simulation and Serious games

•  Process and Performance Management

•  Supply Chain Management

•  Sustainable Environmental Design and Energy Efficiency

•  Urban Design

To find out more about the research we conduct, take a look at our Research, Innovation and Skills webpages, where you will find information on each research area. To find out about our staff visit ‘Our experts' which features profiles of all our academic staff.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes to aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the part-time tuition fee for UK and EU postgraduate research students at the University of Huddersfield is £2,115 (see Fees and Finance for exceptions).

Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.


The University offers a limited number of full and partial fee waivers. If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please read through the scholarship guidance and include the name of the scholarship on your online application.

Additional Programme costs

Additional programme costs (sometimes known as bench fees) may be charged for research degrees in which there are exceptional costs directly related to the research project. For some subject areas, such as Science and Engineering, these costs could range from £3,000 - £16,000 per year, dependent upon the research project. If you wish to know if these costs will apply to the course you’re interested in, please email the Admissions and Records Office who will direct your query to the relevant department.

Examples of exceptional costs include:

  • Equipment maintenance costs
  • Equipment hire
  • Access costs to specialised equipment
  • Patient/volunteer expenses
  • Tissue/cell culture
  • Special reagents/materials
  • Purchase of laboratory consumables
  • Purchases of additional special permanent laboratory equipment
  • Photography and film processing
  • Video tape filming, recording, CD archiving
  • Specialised computation
  • Travelling costs - where this is integral to the research, it would not normally cover conference attendance except in special circumstances
  • Access to specialist facilities/resources
  • Special statistical packages
  • Access to special databases
  • Data collection costs (eg. postage, envelops and stationary, questionnaire administration)
  • Interview translation and transcription costs.


All Postgraduate research students who do not have specific timetabled teaching sessions are required to maintain regular engagement with the University under the Attendance Monitoring Policy.

Information for overseas students with a Tier 4 visa: The University also requires that all overseas students with a Tier 4 visa comply with the requirements set out below:

•  Students are expected to remain in the UK at the address notified to the University until the official end of the academic year.

•  Students are expected to be able to demonstrate, to the University's reasonable satisfaction, that their domestic living arrangements, including their residential location, are conducive to their full engagement with their studies and to their ability to comply with Home Office and University attendance requirements for full time students.

How to apply

To make a formal application, complete the online application form.

This normally includes the submission of a research proposal. Read through the proposal guidelines first to make sure you cover all the information needed, and ensure you include the proposal (if required) when submitting your online application. You can check whether the degree you are applying for requires a proposal by checking the specific course entries.

If you wish to be considered for a scholarship, please read through the scholarship guidance and include the name of the scholarship on your online application.

Applications are assessed based upon academic excellence, other relevant experience and how closely the research proposal aligns with Huddersfield's key research areas.

Research community

The University of Huddersfield has a thriving research community made up of over 1,350 postgraduate research students. We have students studying on a part-time and full-time basis from all over the world with around 43% from overseas and 57% from the UK.

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through undertaking research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you develop knowledge and skills which are current and relevant to your specialist area.

Find out more about our research staff and centres

Research skills training

The University of Huddersfield has an exciting and comprehensive Researcher Skills Development Programme available to all postgraduate researchers. The Researcher Skills Development Programme supports our researchers to broaden their knowledge, allowing them to access tools and skills which can significantly improve employability, whether in academia or industry. It's important to develop transferable personal and professional skills alongside the research skills and techniques necessary for your postgraduate study and research. The programme is also mapped onto Vitae's Researcher Development Framework (RDF), allowing researchers at the University of Huddersfield to benefit from Vitae support as well as our own Programme.

We offer skills training through a programme designed to take advantage of technology platforms as well as face-to-face workshops and courses. The University has subscribed to Epigeum, a programme of on-line research training support designed and managed by staff at Imperial College London which will be accessed via UniLearn, the University's Virtual Learning Environment.

In addition, the School of Art, Design and Architecture run their own research training programme, offering specific skill/ practice based support in research methodology. These sessions will largely be accessible live via the web, and recorded for access at a later date via UniLearn.

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