Doctor of philosophy in the Institute of Architecture is co-administered with the Institute of Civil Engineering and listed as Group E, PhD of Civil Engineering (majoring in Digital Architecture and Creativity). The duration of the program is between 2–7 years. Students are expected to take an examination of eligibility and show that he/she is qualified as a candidate within the first three years of residence. The degree of PhD is awarded upon the completion of graduation credits, examinations and the approval of dissertation.
The direction of the research in the PhD program aims at the study of theories and applications of the digital media. The program hopes to make contributions to the field of architectural design in general. In recent years, research topics that are related to architectural design and computers have stretched from Design Computation into New Media. Three fields of research include the following: Digital design process and methods, Virtual design space, Digital theory of architecture and design. The sub-topics of each research field are as follow:
Digital Design Process and Methods
Application of Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing Fabrication (CAD/CAM FABRICATION）related technologies to explore the new directions in architectural design and methods. Related research sub-titles include:
- Free-Form Design & Construction
- Parametric Modeling and Generative Design
- Process for Digital Design & Fabrication
Virtual Design Space
Application of VR-Cave and VR Technology related technologies to explore the new directions in the research of architectural space. Related research sub-titles include:
- Virtual Design Process
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Digital Theory of Architecture & Design
Exploration on research of new media in architecture and design theories. Related sub-titles include:
- Cognition & Design Thinking
- Traditional, Digital & New Media
- Media Theory & Methodology
Additionally, the faculty and students of the group also explore on two other research topics, “Network Space / Information Space” and “Human-Computer Interface / Interaction”.
Despite the direction of research that is stated above is only at an initial stage for the knowledge system of mankind, there is a growing number of universities and research units making developments in this field, for instance, MIT Architecture and its Media Lab, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, ETH Zurich, Delft University, Architectural Association School of Architecture, etc. In the face of such rigorous challenge, the first and foremost priority is to keep the vision for the development of new media in order to catch up and become the leading party in further evolution; the second priority is to recruit the best faculty and students in order to be able to proudly present reaserch qualities and results of excellence.