Skip to main content

Architecture Practice-led PhD

Most students complete this programme in 6 years part-time

A flexible route that allows qualified architects or engineering professionals to study for a PhD while working part-time.

Our current research areas include:

  • architectural management
  • BIM and collaborative technologies
  • building conservation and upgrading
  • climate change, sustainable development and environmental modelling
  • design for building resilience
  • design management and strategies
  • digital design
  • environmental impact of design and construction
  • healthcare design
  • low carbon and low energy building design
  • the use of radical, low-carbon building materials and technologies

Study can reflect a company’s or individual’s interests and expertise and, ideally, will encompass both. The University also offers the potential for collaborative research in computing, psychology, management and other disciplines.

Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering

Programme structure

Most students complete this programme in 6 years. You cannot take less than 3 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 6 years.

You will start this programme in October.

You may also start mid-year, subject to agreement with your supervisor and the Doctoral College.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor.

Academic milestones

  1. Registration
  2. Induction
  3. Candidature
  4. Confirmation
  5. Research
  6. Writing up
  7. Give notice of intention to submit a thesis / portfolio
  8. Submission for examination
  9. Examination (Viva Voce)
  10. Examiners report
  11. Final submission of thesis / portfolio
  12. Graduation

Programme content


  • Doctoral skills online
  • Doctoral skills workshop
  • Research project
  • Seminars
  • Supervisory team

Research content

Join a cohort of like-minded mid-career professionals carrying out applied research, and incorporating practice at the forefront of their disciplines.

As well as the chance to complete a course of doctoral study while maintaining your principal employment, you will gain:

  • the internationally recognised title of ‘Dr’, emblematic of excellence in research standards and the generation of new knowledge
  • demonstrable status as an expert in your field
  • a PhD, increasingly seen as a passport into the upper echelons of senior management
  • the opportunity to develop a career specialisation with commercial value

The company will gain:

  • enhanced intellectual capital
  • recognition through innovative practice
  • bespoke, evidence-based research into the benefits of your innovations
  • access to the research network of one of the UK’s leading research universities
  • invitations to present to final-year students, potentially leading to recruiting some of the UK's best graduates
  • four free places at all our departmental conferences and research events
  • a way of offering staff an opportunity that will also benefit the practice’s strategic development interests
  • recognition of its status as a research collaborator
  • advertising space in the Department’s foyer (we attract c10,000 visitors a year, many of them influential in architecture and engineering)
  • the appointment of a member of the practice as co-supervisor, where agreed

Your practice has to ensure that their employee can free up 500 hours a year for study linked to ongoing initiatives within the practice. As a first step, the practice and student should agree an area of research commitment that satisfies both parties' needs.

Both academia and practices increasingly rely on the quality of Bath's research, since the intellectual capital embodied in the staff of any firm or university is a key measure of competitive advantage.

Enabling a member of the team to take advantage of this route to a PhD is likely to enhance their status and success and, by association, the practice's.

Professional Development

Professional development is a crucial element of doctoral study, not only in supporting your research but also as part of your longer term career development. Our DoctoralSkills workshops and courses will help you build your skills and help you succeed in your doctorate.

Read more about professional development support


Assessment methods

  • Thesis
  • Viva Voce

Assessment description

You’ll join the Department as a member of the research centre that best fits your broad research interest and as agreed on acceptance.

Most of our research students register as probationers for the PhD programme to begin with. Your PhD registration is confirmed subject to your passing an assessment process. This normally involves submitting written work and an oral examination. There is also an alternate by paper route which can be discussed with the Faculty.

We expect you to carry out supervised research at the forefront of your chosen subject, which must then be written up as a substantial thesis. Presenting your research findings is an important part of research training so we encourage you to prepare papers for publication throughout your PhD.

The final stage of the PhD programme is the oral or viva voce examination, where you must defend your thesis to a Board of Examiners.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Intended for qualified practitioners in relevant fields, this course is for committed mid-career professionals who can draw on their work and experience in practice as part of studying for a PhD.

Designed to be part-time, it allows you to continue earning while completing a consolidated programme. You'll register for six years, part-time but can submit within four years if you meet the requirements. The course presumes 500 hours a year of intensive and focused doctoral study. You can request to extend or suspend your registration for up to a year if your circumstances change.

English Language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 62 with no less than 59 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 90 overall with a minimum 21 in all 4 components

You will need to get your English language qualification within 24 months prior to starting your course.

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.


Two references are required. One of these should be an academic reference from the most recent place of study, and the other should be from the current employer.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding information for Architecture Practice-led PhD


Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home or Overseas student.

Learn how we decide fee status

Tuition fees are liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students. If you aren't paying your fees in British pounds, you should also budget for possible fluctuations in your own currency.

Find out more about student fees

How to pay

Funding options

Find funding for Doctoral research

Payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card or bank transfer.

Paying your tutition fees

Application information

Applicant profile

The PhD programme is an integral part of the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering and we welcome successful applicants as junior academic colleagues rather than students. We expect you to play a full and professional role in contributing to the Department’s objective of international academic excellence.

We seek applications from outstanding individuals from anywhere in the world. You should be strongly committed to carrying out high-quality academic research in any of the disciplinary areas covered by our research centres.

Your application should include:

  • a description (1-2 pages) of proposed research (unless applying to an advertisement)
  • identification of a knowledge gap within the subject area and how you intend to fill it
  • an indicative timeline of work for discussion with your potential supervisor

See our guide about how to apply for doctoral study

Selection process

You’ll be interviewed by the lead supervisor and at least one other relevant academic; this is typically done virtually and not in person. You will need to meet the minimum requirements of academic and language standard.

Immigration requirements

If you are an international student, you can find out more about the visa requirements for studying in the UK.

For additional support please contact the Student Immigration Service for matters related to student visas and immigration.

Programme enquiries

Apply for this programme

Apply Now

On this page