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The PhD programme

The PhD Programme at AHO offers a multi-disciplinary research environment in design, history and theory of architecture, preservation, architecture and its technologies, urbanism, and landscape studies. The Programme brings together research approaches from the arts, humanities, social sciences, and engineering to the study of architecture and design. 

The degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) is conferred on the basis of: 
  • Completion of the PhD Programme’s educational component (30 ECTS)
  • Approved academic doctoral thesis. The document may be submitted in the following forms:
    • a written monograph
    • a compilation of several written works (article-based thesis) 
    • a compilation of written and performing works (work-based thesis)
  • Approved trial lecture on a given topic
  • Approved public defence of the thesis (disputation)
The academic doctoral thesis consists of original research, or other advanced scholarship, culminating with a thesis that embodies the results of original investigations and analyses of such quality as to merit publication, meeting the standards of reputable scholarly publications. The submitted work must constitute a substantial contribution to the knowledge in the candidate’s field of research. 
PhD Candidates receive close follow-up and academic supervision, but must take responsibility for planning and carrying out the individual thesis work. 

After completion of the educational component and submission of the academic doctoral thesis, the PhD is examined by a doctoral committee of three peers. If the committee approves the thesis, the candidate must give a trial lecture and defend the thesis publicly in an open discussion with the members of the doctoral committee.

Learning outcomes

After completion of a PhD the candidate 
  • demonstrates thorough understanding of a substantial body of knowledge with expertise that is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice.
  • masters the field’s philosophy of science and/or artistic issues and methods.
  • can evaluate the expediency and application of different methods and processes in research and scholarly and/or artistic development projects.
  • can contribute to the development of new knowledge, new theories, methods, interpretations, and forms of documentation in the field.

After completion of a PhD the candidate
  • can conceptualize, design, and implement advanced scholarly research and/or artistic work for the generation of new knowledge, applications, or understanding.
  • masters the academic practices and/or artistic practices (conference presentations, publishing academic papers, writing research proposals) within their own discipline.
  • engages in critical reflection on the roles, formats, and objectives of academic research and/or artistic research.
  • comprehends advanced academic writing. 

General competence
After completion of a PhD the candidate 
  • manages complex interdisciplinary assignments and projects.
  • can communicate ambiguous ideas, issues, and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • can participate in debates in the field in international forums.
  • can assess the need for, initiate, and practice innovation.
The educational component of AHO’s PhD Programme consists of 1) AHO’s compulsory PhD courses (18 ECTS), which offer the candidates an interactive research environment in which the candidates develop their individual projects in a context of collective research, and 2) elective research activities (12 ECTS), which is planned in consultation with the supervisor(s) and the PhD Programme faculty who will make recommendations and approve it. One ECTS is equal to approximately 28 hours of study.  From 2022 onwards the educational component of AHO’s PhD Programme consists of the following components:

Compulsory courses examined by the Programme: 

The PhD Candidate must complete all following courses, comprising 18 ects:
  • “Designing Research Methods: Introduction to Interdisciplinary PhD Research in Architecture and Design” run by the AHO PhD Programme (7 ECTS)
  • “Apparatus: Reading” run by the AHO PhD Programme (7 ECTS)
  • “Apparatus: Writing” run by the AHO PhD Programme (2 ECTS)
  • “Apparatus: Framing” run by the AHO PhD Programme (2 ECTS) 

Training portfolio examined by supervisor and approved by the Programme:

The PhD Candidate must submit a training portfolio recording activities totalling 12 ects:
  • 2 ECTS Institute higher seminar presentations
  • 6-7 ECTS courses tailored to the individual field of study, e.g., national or international research schools/PhD courses or specially tailored collaborative courses with the AHO Masters Programmes
  • 3-4 ECTS in research mediation 
Time frame
  • “Designing Research Methods” October to December. 
  • “Apparatus: Reading” runs October to April. 
  • “Apparatus: Writing” runs March/April. 
  • “Apparatus: Framing” runs April/May.
  • Institute Seminar presentations, External courses and research mediation activities can be undertaken at any time to suit the timetable of the candidate. 

Relevant links


Chair of PhD programme:
Tim Ainsworth Anstey

PhD programme coordinator:
Susan Falkenås