The Bartlett School of Architecture


Architectural Practice MPhil/PhD

Image: Cindy Walters


Architectural Practice MPhil/PhD

This new doctoral programme encourages the development of architectural research through a combination of designing and writing about applied ‘real-world’ projects that candidates are engaged upon through their own professional practice. It can be studied full-time or part-time, depending upon individual circumstances, and the supervisory team will include a subsidiary supervisor who is a noted practitioner within the field.

Throughout the programme students develop a thesis, consisting of design projects and a text, sharing a research theme. The research investigations for the applied projects may be drawn, filmed, built, or make using whatever media is appropriate. However, the key requirement in this MPhil/PhD programme is that the research work needs to be carried out on projects that have been completely built or are in the process of being built.

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Architectural Practice thesis submissions combine a design project(s) and a text of around 60,000 words. Supervised by a principal and secondary supervisor, candidates pursue their own independent design research investigations based upon themes and issues that they have identified through their professional practice. 

Given that this design research is based upon practice work the large majority of the work involved will be undertaken outside the university setting. However, all candidates have the option of auditing taught modules from the Architectural History MA, led by Professor Peg Rawes, or the Landscape Architecture MA/MLA, led by Professor Laura Allen and Professor Mark Smout.

In their first year, candidates are registered as MPhil students, but are then expected at the end of that year (or end of second year if part-time) to upgrade to PhD status. Full-time candidates are expected to complete their PhDs in three to four years, whilst part-time candidate complete theirs in five to seven years.


The route draws upon the wide range of design research expertise offered at The Bartlett School of Architecture in terms of the primary supervisor, who will be selected depending on the specific research area, plus there will be a noted practitioner relevant to the topic appointed as the subsidiary supervisor.

To discuss a potential Architectural Practice MPhil/PhD, it is recommended that you read the profile of the primary supervisor with whom you would like to work and email them a preliminary paragraph or two about your design research interests.

Current supervisors

Professor Peter Bishop
Application of urban design and urban planning theory; incremental urbanism; temporary uses and installations; role of conservation in distorting urban change; role of other stakeholders and political forces outside the design process in the construction of the built environment.  

Professor Murray Fraser
Architectural design; design research; architectural history and theory; cultural studies; architecture and globalisation; cross-cultural influences; cultural identity; urbanism.

Professor Yeoryia Manolopoulou
Architectural design and theory; design research methods; architecture and experience; collaborative, aleatoric and performative design; dialogic architecture; place, material practices and building; pedagogic settings; theories of embodied mind, action and environment; the architectural score; practices of drawing; architecture’s intersection with art, anthropology and neuroscience.


The programme differs from other doctoral programmes at The Bartlett School of Architecture in that candidates will already be employed either in their own practice or else working for another firm.

As one of the world's top-ranked architecture schools, the intention is that upon completion of their PhDs, candidates can become even more ambitious and successful in their future professional careers. It might also be the case that undertaking the PhD will enable them to take up part-time academic roles whether at The Bartlett or other higher education establishments.


Programme Director: Professor Murray Fraser
Programme Administrator: Drew Pessoa

Image: Courtyard of the Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat [Courtesy of Walters & Cohen Architects]