Research course

Architecture (Practice-based)

Loughborough University · School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

Applicants will need to be qualified practitioner architects with a minimum of three years practice-experience. Applications will proceed via submission of an outline of the topic and methodology, a digital portfolio of design work, as well as interview.

As the PhD will be situated in practice several formal commitments will be required from the practice concerned.

These include:

  • a commitment to allow the candidate to work on their research for a minimum of 500 hours per annum;
  • a commitment to release the candidate for regular tutorials and crits;
  • safeguards on the IP (Intellectual Property) of the resulting research if that research is done in collaboration with others in the practice.

The candidate and School will also have to formally agree on any extra financial contributions that might be required to deliver on the PhD, for example materials required for manufacture or access to specialist laboratories or computation, and these will be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on topic.

Months of entry

January, April, July, October

Course content

One of four Royal Academy of Engineering designated Centres of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design, the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering is home to a thriving community of over 60 academic staff, 40 technical and clerical support staff and over 240 active researchers that include Fellows, Associates, Assistants, Engineers and Doctoral Students.

This part-time (6 year) PhD programme is tailor-made for practitioner architects wishing to explore an original research topic while remaining in practice. Unlike some practice-related PhD models, our programme does not involve the submission of an extended piece of self-reflective commentary by an architect on his or her previous built work and designs. Instead of this passive approach we take an active one, which involves:

  • An architect creating new, research-led work while in practice;
  • Critical reflection and analysis of this in written and practical form;
  • Presentation and defence of this work via the ‘design critiques’ typical of architectural pedagogy and practice

This approach reflects the close alignment of theory and practice in Lu-Arc – the new Architecture section – and also reflects changes in RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) expectations whereby practices are encouraged to build upon their design intuitions with original research that facilitates evidence-based design approaches.

PhD format

The PhD will take the format of a written thesis of 40,000 words as well as a substantial practical component. The practical component might take the format of contributions to the completion of a building project, hand-drawn or computerized visualizations (plans, elevations, sections, axonometrics, etc.), virtual spaces, traditional hand-made models, 3D printed models, structural and material prototypes, mock-ups and installations. It is expected that a semi-public exhibition and discussion of the work should take place towards the end of the period of study. The formal examination, however, will consist of analysis and interrogation of the practical and written components in line with the standard viva voce regulations and practise, and this will be conducted jointly by an internal academic referee as well as an appropriately qualified external practitioner.

Information for international students

See our website for further informaton for international students.

Fees and funding

See our website for more information on fees and funding.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Enquiries
+44 (0)1509 228744