PhD in Environmental Design

The PhD program is an opportunity for graduates interested in an academic career to undertake quantitative and qualitative research at an advanced level. 

Message from the Graduate Programs Director

The PhD in Environmental Design is intended for students looking to undertake full-time doctoral research on a specific topic in the fields of architecture, planning or landscape architecture, typically as preparation for an academic career. Students work with faculty researchers in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape to develop and demonstrate knowledge and skills, synthesize related research findings, create new knowledge, and communicate these findings for real world application.

The PhD in Environmental Design intakes students once a year in the fall semester. If you have specific questions or want to be on the mailing list to find out more about the program, email SAPL admissions.

Barry Wylant, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director


Program Structure

The PhD in Environmental Design challenges master’s degree holders to become scholars and through quantitative and qualitative research at an advanced level. Students develop and demonstrate knowledge and skills, synthesize related research findings to create new knowledge in the field, and communicate these findings to those inside and outside the field who will use and apply them.

The PhD program consists of required coursework and electives tailored to the individual's need, followed by a thesis proposal, candidacy exams, thesis research and writing, and, ultimately, an oral examination of the doctoral thesis. The degree is intended for those who are capable of carrying out original research under the guidance of a suitable faculty member and supervisory committee. The PhD typically takes four to five years to complete and cannot be completed on a part-time basis.

PhD Course Requirements

The PhD in Environmental Design is a thesis-based program designed for students who wish to pursue a research or scholarly career. Courses are generally completed in the first year of the program.

Course Work:

  • EVDS 753 Research Skills and Critical Thinking
  • EVDS 683.97 The Practice of Writing, offered in the Winter term
  • A minimum of two half-course electives, selected in consultation with your supervisor.

Other Requirements:

  • A supervisor drawn from regular full-time faculty cohort in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
  • Thesis proposal approved by the Supervisory Committee
  • Written Field of Study Examination
  • Oral Field of Study Examination
  • Submission of a thesis document describing the research.
  • Satisfactory completion of the Thesis Oral Examination.

Student spotlight:

Courtesy Mohamed Imam

Class of 2019: Mohamed Imam studies how 'super tall' buildings yield super resources

PhD grad climbs new heights over resource generative skyscrapers

Explore student work


Explore other SAPL programs

If you're interested in this program, you might also consider other SAPL programs.

Master of Environmental Design

Doctor of Design

Explore other graduate programs

The UCalgary Future Students website provides a handy tool for comparing degrees. Learn more about this program and explore related programs.