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Student Support

Ph.D. in Architecture is committed to funding each admitted student for four years of the expected time to complete the degree, including an annual stipend, full tuition, and health care during the academic year (Sept–April).


Typical funding for the doctoral degree includes four years of full funding (tuition fellowship, benefits, and stipend based on a Graduate Student Instructorship or a Graduate Student Research Assistantship) and two additional years of tuition only fellowship (TOF) with benefits, if required. Students are granted one non-work semester; they will generally serve as a GSI for at least two years, and may compete for GSRA positions for the other semesters in which they receive full funding, if such positions are available. Individual funding packages, which vary slightly from year to year, are described in the initial letter of admission. These letters set out the terms of support, including tuition remission, health insurance, and monthly stipends – guaranteed so long as students continue to make “satisfactory progress” in the degree. Arrangements for summer funding – to be used for travel, language study, and research during the first four years in the degree – may also be set out in these letters, if applicable. Students must be residents in Ann Arbor to receive stipend funding support beyond the one semester of fellowship.

In addition, limited funds are available (varying from year to year) to subsidize attendance at conferences in the area of the student’s dissertation research and to support publication costs.  If the student is presenting a paper at a conference, he/she should apply to the Rackham School of Graduate Studies for support. The maximum amount varies for national and international conferences.  When funds are available from the Architecture Program, the program will consider supplementing a Rackham award. Rackham also has funding available for pre-candidacy and candidacy research; students should consult the Rackham website for further information.

More Information on funding resources.


Doctoral Advisors and Mentoring

There are approximately twenty research and teaching faculty in Doctoral Studies in Architecture, and a growing number of affiliated faculty members. Students also have access to all Architecture, Urban Design, and Planning faculty of Taubman College.  For individual faculty profiles, consult the Taubman College website faculty directory.

Students choose faculty advisors in their field who work closely with them to shape a rigorous and appropriate program of study.  Students who have not elected an advisor before they arrive at Michigan are assigned an advisor (who may be the Doctoral Coordinator) until they have chosen a primary advisor, usually by the end of the first year, but in no case later than the middle of the second year.

It is expected that first-year students meet with their faculty advisors and/or the doctoral program coordinator at least once per term. The coordinator oversees graduate student affairs, serving as the initial academic mentor for incoming graduate students, providing cohort orientations and helping entering students choose their first-year courses in cases where an advisor has not yet been identified.

By the end of the second year and the conclusion of coursework, the student assembles a preliminary examination committee consisting of three faculty members. At least two of these should have appointments in the Architecture Program. One of these two will likely act as the principal dissertation advisor after overseeing preparation for the preliminary examinations. The third member of the preliminary exam committee should come from another program, and is responsible for supervising the student’s minor field exam. Committee members or advisors may change, if the student’s scholarly interests shift significantly during his/her time in the degree, and with the approval of the Doctoral Coordinator.

Faculty advisors assist the student in designing a program of study that fulfills degree guidelines and provides the best possible intellectual preparation for teaching and research in the student’s field of interest. They also offer advice on resources within and outside the Architecture Program and mentor students, giving advice on professional development, including writing grant applications, preparing for conferences, and seeking publishing opportunities. Upon completion of the dissertation, faculty advisors aid students in their search for professional and academic positions. For further information on faculty advising and mentoring, see the Rackham website for “How to Get the Mentoring you Want.”

Research Facilities

Taubman College is equipped with outstanding research facilities in the form of College computer laboratories, a Spatial and Numeric Data (SAND) Laboratory, substantial digital fabrication equipment, and 3D modeling facilities housed at the Duderstadt Center on North Campus. Equally, students have access to outstanding library collections at the University of Michigan, which contains one of the top ten research libraries in North America. In addition to the Special Collections Library of the Art, Architecture and Engineering Library (AAEL) largely donated by former Dean William Muschenheim, we have close ties to the Bentley Historical Library, which houses the archives of noted regional architects from Muschenheim to Gunnar Birkerts and beyond, and a range of specialized libraries around campus. Please see the UM Libraries website for further information (http://www.lib.umich.edu/).

Program Enrichment

Doctoral students benefit from the substantial lecture series and symposia hosted by the Architecture Program. Program funding also enables us to bring distinguished scholars to participate in events organized specifically by Doctoral Studies in Architecture. Collaboration with Urban and Regional Planning students takes place through the Planning and Architectural Research Group (PARG), created by students in 2005 to facilitate contact between the two doctoral degrees and promote research within the college. This group is the main doctoral student organization. Activities hosted by PARG and/or the Doctoral Degree in Architecture include:

  • Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference/ Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops: These began in 2005 with "Homeland(s) in Question-Relocating 'Europe' in the Spaces of Cultural Negotiation," followed three years later by "Global Suburbs: Discussing International Metropolitan Expansion." "The Lean Years: Infrastructure, Dwelling & Sustenance" was held in March 2011 (theleanyears.wordpress.com); “Bankrupt,” took place in Winter 2014. These student-initiated conferences create a forum for Architecture and Urban Planning doctoral students at the University of Michigan and elsewhere to discuss issues of particular relevance to contemporary doctoral studies in architecture. All students may be involved.
  • Emerging Voices: a lecture series sponsored by PARG that brings younger researchers and scholars to the college to share their work with the students.
  • Casual Colloquia: doctoral students from both Urban Planning and Architecture convene to share current research in progress.
  • Proof Positive: an informal seminar in the HT subfield in which visiting speakers to Taubman College as well as college faculty participate in a workshop exclusively for doctoral students and faculty, generally taking place in conjunction with a public lecture.
  • Regional Study Tours: Inaugurated in 2013, these regional study tours serve to introduce doctoral students to architecture in the Midwest. Advanced doctoral students engaged in preliminary dissertation research propose and lead these study tours, as appropriate.

Outside the university, students as well as faculty participate in national and international conferences of professional and academic organizations, delivering papers and posters, organizing sessions, and serving on panels. These typically include the Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC), the Association for Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), the College Art Association (CAA), the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), the European Architectural History Network (EAHN), the International Seminar on Urban Form (ISUF), Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD), the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH, SAHGB, and SAHANZ), the Space Syntax Symposia, and the Urban History Association. Student travel to participate in such venues is supported by Rackham Graduate School, Doctoral Studies in Architecture, and Taubman College.

Post-doctoral Life

The quality of the learning environment in Doctoral Studies is demonstrated by the conspicuous success of our graduate students in competing for international, national, and university fellowships and grants. Our students win prestigious fellowships from U-M as well as the Fulbright Program, the American Academy in Rome, the Social Science Research Council, the Getty Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, and others. After graduating, they regularly secure tenure-track academic appointments and jobs in research and practice. Recent graduates have been hired at Brown University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, the University of Kansas, and the University of Oklahoma. Although most of our graduates take teaching positions in architecture schools and/or universities, some return to professional practice, occupy positions in research institutions, or continue to post-doctoral training.

Health Care

See the Rackham website for information on Health and Wellness resources: https://rackham.umich.edu/rackham-life/health/
And on Gradcare and Benefits: https://rackham.umich.edu/rackham-life/health/

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