School of Architecture

  • MPhil/ PhD in Architecture

    The school has a dynamic and thriving research environment representing a solid foundation for our research degree students. The degree can be pursued via three different models: the traditional PhD, PhD by design and PhD by practice.

    We have extensive links with over 90 universities across the world and we work closely with industry and practice. These links lead to many opportunities for collaborative research, exchanges, overseas study and many more.

    We offer four degree routes:

    • MPhil
    • MPhil transferring to PhD
    • PhD direct (Only for students who have recently completed a Master’s or MPhil degree in an area closely related to the proposed research topic.)
    • PhD by published work (Only for students who have prior association with Oxford Brookes.)
  • Research students will be affiliated with one of the School’s research groups:

    Projects can cover a wide range of areas in and associated with Architecture from construction, structural technologies, energy, low carbon, sustainability of the built environment, vernacular architecture, conservation, urbanization, humanitarian practice, housing and home.

    As a research student you will be joining a School that is involved with world-leading research in a dynamic and vibrant environment.

    • While you engage in your own research, you have opportunities to interact with a dynamic research environment that is actively engaged in research projects, consultancies, teaching and writing funding proposals
    • Students benefit from links with the wider faculty (which includes the School of the Built Environment, School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics and the School of Arts)
    • Students benefit from automatic membership of the Faculty Doctoral Training Programme (DTP). The DTP combines generic training and support with detailed subject specific methods training. Students in Architecture can join one of three strands, Environment (includes social science methods); Technology; and, Arts, Culture and Media, to get the training most suited to their topic
    • A wide variety of optional training courses, student events, lectures and other opportunities delivered through the DTP which brings together all students in the Faculty in a strong cohort
    • 24-hour access to digital suites with specialist programmes such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), ArchiCAD, Revit, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modelling, 3D Studio Max and, Rhino 3D
    • A purpose-built workshop offering dedicated spaces, tools and technologies for working with a wide range of materials
    • Close links that exist with the UK and international practice, civil society, industry and government
    • All students are allocated a Director of Studies and at least one other supervisor who they meet with regularly
    • A range of personal support that includes access to a wide range of staff who are available for consultation. The University operates a Research Student Entitlement which ensures students receive appropriate and generous support and opportunities to present their work at conferences.
    • Full-time and part-time study

    The application process is broken down into 5 steps:

    1. Check essential requirements
      In order to be considered for the programme you will have to meet our application requirements and programme entry requirements. Before you apply, please check you meet entry requirements (such as academic qualifications and English Language requirements), as well as the financial requirements of the programme. Ask yourself the following questions:
      • Do I meet the programme entry requirements?
      • Do I meet the English language requirements?
      • Have I considered the financial requirements? (including tuition fees and living costs)
      • Do I have the supporting documents that I am required to submit with my application form?
    2. Explore our research groups and supervisory staff pages
      Explore the research groups and their associated staff to see how your chosen field of study aligns with the research portfolio within the school.
    3. Agree your research
      At this stage you should contact Professor Cathrine Brun
      (cbrun@brookes.ac.uk, and advise her that you are considering making an application. You are also welcome to contact particular academics to help you develop your ideas.
    4. Formulate your proposal
      When you have agreed a research project with Prof Cathrine Brun ( cbrun@brookes.ac.uk), Postgraduate Research Tutor, you will be asked to prepare a proposal. You can indicate any staff members whom you would like to work with, or Cathrine will circulate your proposal to the most appropriate staff to get their comments. If the proposal is accepted Cathrine will ask you to make a formal application, or give you advice on how the proposal may be improved. For guidance on writing a PhD research proposal see our Guide to writing PhD Research Proposals.
    5. Gather required documents and submit:
      Our MPhil/PhD programme requires additional supporting documentation to be submitted as part of the application process. Before applying through the Oxford Brookes online application system please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:
      • Research proposal
      • Scan of your passport - to confirm your name and date of birth. We will then ensure that any offer letters issued to you correspond with your passport name, this will help when applying for a student visa.
      • IELTS Certificate or equivalent (if required) – no older than two years from the proposed start date of your programme.
      • Scan of your final degree certificates already awarded
      • Scan of transcripts
      • Two references (at least one academic) – your references must be on institutional headed paper and be dated and signed by referee(s). They can be sent directly to the Research Administrator in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment in a sealed envelope, or emailed. Please note that it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure their referees supply these documents.
      • Evidence of funding – (if sponsored by an employer or government, you must provide evidence in the form of a recently dated sponsorship letter on official headed paper. If supporting your studies from private funds, you must provide a recently dated bank statement).

    After you have completed the Oxford Brookes online application, these documents can be e-mailed directly to the Research Administrator in the Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment (tde-research-pgr@brookes.ac.uk).

    Submit your application through Oxford Brookes online application system

    You can apply for any of our MPhil/PhD programmes via the Oxford Brookes online application system.

    If English is not your first language you will need to provide an IELTS language certificate with an overall score of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any element).    

    IELTS language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the proposed start date of the programme, should your application be successful. Evidence of English language proficiency must be provided along with other supporting documents, in the form of a good quality copy of the certificate.

    As a result of very recent changes made by UK Visas & Immigration, please note we no longer regard TOEFL as an acceptable language test for entry to Oxford Brookes. This applies whether you require a Tier 4 student visa or not. You can find more details on our English language requirements pages.

    If you do not meet these requirements you may be able to take our University English as a pre-sessional course.

    For further information on current fees and living costs please refer to the university finance pages.

    Current students have awards from a wide range of external bodies including industry, government bodies and charities, and others are self-funded. The university have a number of faculty specific and competitively allocated scholarships which, when available, are advertised on our Research Funding Opportunities page and on jobs.ac.uk.

    In addition, details of available funding are available on the funding page for UK/EU students and international students.

    Applicants should be able to pay the university’s tuition fees, either personally or through grants, sponsorship or other awards made in their favour. Applicants receiving awards should be able to present evidence of their funding at the time of application, usually in the form of a letter from the awarding body. Self-funded international students should be aware that the UK Border Agency will require evidence that a candidate can pay their first year’s fees before they will grant a student visa.

    Our MPhil, MPhil/PhD and PhD Direct programmes are three term programmes and have a choice of start dates throughout the year in September, January and April. Our Masters by Research and PhD by Published Work programmes are two term programmes and have two possible start points, September and January. Applications to the research degrees programme can be made up to 12 months prior to the start of the programme. It is recommended that you apply at least 6 months in advance to allow adequate time for your application to be processed (in the case of UK/EU applicants no less than 4-6 weeks).

    You should allow sufficient time to complete the application process and apply for an appropriate visa (this usually takes between 3-6 weeks to be completed) and to make arrangements to move to Oxford in time for the start of semester.