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About the Program

CBC SyndeyThe Ph.D. program in Planning, Design and the Built Environment is designed as an interdisciplinary, three‐year post‐masters degree program. In most cases students will enter the program with a master’s degree in one of the design disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, planning,construction science or real estate development. Students with advanced preparation may take slightly less than three years. Students from other disciplines including engineering, business or the social sciences may be required to take prerequisite coursework as the core courses require some previous coursework experience.

The curriculum is divided into five content areas:

  • core courses,
  • concentration courses,
  • elective courses,
  • comprehensive examination, and
  • Dissertation research.

Students will select a field area from the traditional fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning, construction science or real estate development to build disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary foundations. Concentrations might be drawn from areas such as:

  • Built Environment + Health
  • Restoration, Sustainability + Land Ecology
  • Regional/Community Development + Design
  • Architectural Design, Technology + Construction Processes

Core Courses—The core consists of 29‐35 hours of coursework. Those hours will include advanced theory/history, advanced methods courses generally taken outside the college, a readings course within a primary field area, a contemporary issues seminar, courses in research design and teaching technique, a colloquium and workshop. The core provides a foundation with some flexibility to tailor curriculum to individual needs within primary fields of study as well as a forum to address issues of the built environment in an interdisciplinary setting.

Concentration Courses—Concentration courses may be taken within or outside the college. These courses add both breadth and depth in the student’s area of concentration. Students develop an individualized course of study to reflect their individual focus and career objectives. Coursework must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor and committee members.

Electives—These courses add additional breadth and depth to the program. Students may add to their concentration coursework, selecting diverse offerings to complement concentration or developing a minor with nine hours in a second concentration.

Degree Plan and Comprehensive Exam—Students will be assigned a program advisor on entering the program.
A program evaluation will be conducted and a dissertation advisor and committee will be selected at the end of
the first full year of study. A curriculum plan for the remainder of the degree program will be developed at that
time. Comprehensive and oral examinations will be administered following the completion of the second full
year in the program. Dissertation credit cannot be taken until comprehensive exams are scheduled.

Dissertation Research—Students will develop a dissertation in their area of concentration. A minimum of 24 hours in dissertation research will be taken.

Curriculum Overview

First Year Courses

PDBE 8010 Advanced Theory (3)
PDBE 8040/50/60/70/80 Readings in the Fields of Real Estate Development, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City and Regional Planning, or Construction Science and Management (3)
PDBE 8120 Planning, Design and the Built Environment Colloquium (1)
EXST 8010 Advanced Methods Course (e.g., EXST 8010) (3)
Fall Credits: 10

PDBE 8040/50/60/70/80 Readings in the Fields of Real Estate Development, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, City and Regional Planning, or Construction Science and Management (3)
PDBE 8120 Seminar (1)
EXST 8030 Advanced Methods Course (3)
Electives or Concentration Courses (e.g. CRP 8700 Sustainable Development) (3)
Spring Credits:

Second Year Courses

PDBE 8120 Seminar (1)
PDBE 8150 Research Design (3)
Electives or Concentration Courses (6)
Fall Credits:

PDBE 8120 Seminar (1)
PDBE 8160 Research Design (3)
PDBE 8200 Instructional Design Delivery (3)
Electives or Concentration Courses (3)
Spring Credits:

Third Year Courses

PDBE 9910 Dissertation Research (21)

Total Credits: 61

** Elective Courses—All Electives Must Be Approved by Advisory Committee