Five reasons to choose the programme

Focusing on research by architectural design method, this PhD provides the opportunity for optimum reflection, interpretation and action.
You will contribute to the development of the discipline, working on independent interpretive experiments, fieldwork, design work and/or arguments. 
You will develop fluency in digital media and other modes of representation to engage in cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborative networks in creative work.
You will produce a carefully considered thesis that develops and supports an independent argument to international presentation standard.
You will hone your presentation skills, including your ability to plan and deliver university-level teaching using different studio, lecture and seminar formats.


A PhD in Architecture by Design will give you an informed awareness of the methods and theoretical frameworks that shape the ways in which practitioners and researchers have interpreted issues in the field and enable you to develop and justify your own interpretive experiments, fieldwork, design work and arguments. 

You will have the opportunity to pursue research by architectural design method, exploring the roles that design plays, and might play, within wider cultural processes.

This PhD provides the opportunity for optimum reflection, interpretation and action: a minimum of three years full-time study, or six years part-time. 

The programme draws on the strengths of design teaching throughout the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and you will work directly with a postgraduate supervisor from the School, but also closely with other postgraduate programmes and the full range of available staff and peer expertise in ECA and the University of Edinburgh as a whole.

How you will study

Your Architecture by Design thesis will be composed of both design work and text. We will encourage and enable you to use the full range of design media to develop both research method and thesis presentation, for example, as film, digital media, portfolio, exhibition, physical construction and installation.

To complement your academic supervision, you will have the opportunity to participate in a range of lectures and workshops, contributing to the development of specific, transferable and professional skills. You may also be offered the opportunity to contribute to teaching within ESALA. If so, you will be offered support and training to help develop your teaching skills more effectively.

The full facilities of the School will be made available to you, including extensive digital and specific material workshops. Together with fellow students, you will have the opportunity to contribute to ESALA's healthy design presentation culture, its print and e-publication output, international debate across a range of design-related fields and the organisation of symposia and conferences.

This is a research programme. Support and supervision may be provided by any of the teaching staff in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA).

Current students

How to apply and entrance requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to:

  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about study modes, start dates and fees
  • find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

Take me to the University of Edinburgh website on how to apply for postgraduate study

Preparing your application

Common to all research programmes are a set of research aims, a research context, a research process and a research product/outcome. The research proposal should include reference to all of these elements. All applicants for postgraduate research programmes must submit a research proposal.

Portfolios or writing samples are also required for some research degrees.

View the Architecture and Landscape Architecture guidelines (PDF)


Dr Dorian Wiszniewski

Senior Lecturer in Architectural Design and Theory


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2311

Facilities and resources

Students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online.

Resources for History of Art, Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture students.

Welding torches, a forge, forming and shaping tools, and a 1-ton gantry crane with access to main workshop areas.

The workshop facilities include band saws, pillar drills, sanders and wire-cutters.

This model workshop is equipped for constructing architectural models in a wide variety of materials.

Woodworking tools and machinery, including laser cutters, a vacuum former, and a 3D scanner and printer.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086