Architects and the designers of our surroundings are the driving force behind the design and development of our built environment. Whether they are designing new buildings, giving a new lease of life to existing ones, developing urban spaces, landscapes or contemporary interiors, architects have a profound influence on all our lives.
The Kent School of Architecture offers a full-time and part-time research programme, leading to a PhD research degree. The School promotes innovative and interdisciplinary research study in architecture, urbanism and related fields. The main objective is to combine contemporary advanced research with an educational agenda, preparing candidates to practise in a global academic and professional world.
A particular feature of the KSA research degree programme is the wide spectrum of investigation and the possibility of undertaking research by design. PhD students have access to all University of Kent facilities and a weekly seminar designed for research students only. Each candidate is entitled to two supervisors.
Think Kent video series
In this talk, Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin from the Kent School of Architecture examines new ways of writing and talking about buildings and asks if being a critical failure in architecture really matters.
About Kent School of Architecture
Research at Kent School of Architecture achieves excellence in both the history and theory of architecture and in sustainable urban, peri-urban and environmental design. School staff have design expertise and specialist knowledge; they are at the forefront of current architectural issues, including sustainability, technology, professional practice and research. Our staff are active at academic and professional conferences, both nationally and internationally, and appear and publish in local and national media. The School promotes innovative and interdisciplinary research, emphasising sustainable design.
Much of the project work involved in the Kent School of Architecture is located on 'live' sites in the local region, using real clients and engaging challenging issues. Students in all stages of the school have been introduced to real urban and architectural design challenges in Lille, Margate, Folkestone, Dover, Rye, Chatham and, of course, Canterbury. Much of this work involves liaising with external bodies, such as architects, planners, council and development groups.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Architecture was ranked 8th for research intensity and 8th for research output in the UK.
An impressive 100% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and 88% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international quality.
KSA supervisors include: Prof Gerald Adler, Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou, Dr Henrik Schoenefeldt, Dr Richard Watkins, Dr David Haney, Dr Luciano Cardellicchio, Dr Manolo Guerci, Dr Nikolaos Karydis and Dr Giri Renganathan.
Staff are active in research and give papers at conferences nationally and internationally.
The School of Architecture studios include a dedicated computing suite with a range of environmental construction software, and a new digital crit studio. There is a fully equipped architectural model-making workshop for constructing models and large-scale prototypes.
The School has excellent contacts with businesses and culture in the local area, including regional organisations such as the Kent Architecture Centre, Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Kent County Council and Kent Design Initiative. The Sustainable Communities Plan is particularly strong in south-east England, making the region the ideal place in which to debate innovative solutions to architectural issues.
Kent also has excellent links with schools of architecture in Lille, Bruges, Rome, Bauhaus-Dessau, Beijing, Venice, Instanbul, and in the USA, Virginia and California.
Academic study is complemented by a mentoring scheme organised in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and involving students in events with local practices.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Architectural Research Quarterly; The Architectural Review; Building and Environment; The Journal of Architecture; The World of Interiors; 'Journal of the Society of Antiquaries'; and 'Architectural History'.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A minimum 2.1 honours degree, plus a Master’s degree or MArch in architecture or an appropriate subject, or equivalent track record and professional experience in architecture.
As part of your application you are required to provide a CV and a detailed research proposal which should include the following
- have a suggested title
- be clearly written and demonstrates engagement with an area in one of the two Research Centres of the School
- demonstrates originality
- the proposed methodology
- timescale (FT PhD's are expected to be completed within three years)
If you have a prefered supervisor, please do state that in the application.
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
English language entry requirements
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Need help with English?
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
KSA has two research centres: the Centre for Research in European Architecture (CREAte), which focuses on research in architectural humanities and design, and the Centre for Architecture and Sustainable Environment (CASE), which promotes research in the field of sustainable architecture.
The Centre provides a focus for research in architecture in the European context. Its emphasis is on the role and contribution of humanities to architecture and urban design in the context of urban and regional regeneration, nationally and internationally.
CREAte provides a platform for evening lectures by contemporary architects and scholars; hosting debates and events that are at the heart of architectural agenda of today.
The Centre builds upon its staff specialisms, interests and skills in the following areas: regional studies, contemporary architectural and urban theory and design, architectural history and theory (ranging from antiquity to contemporary European cities), sustainability, European topographies (landscape, urban, suburban and metropolitan) etc. Staff participate in the activities of AHRA – Architecture Humanities Research Association and are internationally published authors.
The Centre promotes research in the field of sustainable environment regionally, nationally and internationally.
Its research focus encompasses different aspects and scales of the sustainable built environment from the individual building to the urban block, promoting the wider environmental agenda and keeping the School at the forefront of research and development in the field. CASE also pursues research into the historical and cultural dimension of environmental design to foster links between the sciences, arts and humanities. There is a strong interest in understanding the environmental behaviour of historic buildings and the strategies originally deployed to manage the internal environment.
The Centre has already secured funding from various sources. This includes three EPSRC projects on climate change weather data for a sustainable built environment, sustainability of airport terminal buildings and design interventions in the public realm for affecting human behaviour, and two TSB-funded projects on Building Performance Evaluation. CASE is also involved with the recent EPSRC large-scale network on Digital Economy Communities and Culture.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Professor Gerry Adler: Deputy Head of School; Programme Director: MA Architecture and Urban Design (Canterbury and Paris)
Twentieth-century architectural history and theory, in particular in Great Britain and Germany; Heinrich Tessenow; architecture in its wider cultural and philosophical contexts; the place of the ruin in the modern architectural imagination.View Profile
Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin: Senior Lecturer in Cultural Context
Nineteenth and early-20th century English architecture and, in particular, the work of A W N Pugin.View Profile
Dr Luciano Cardellicchio: Lecturer in Design and Technology & Environment
The relationship between form and construction; the connection among technical details, urban shape and construction tradition in contemporary architecture in Europe and modern architecture in Italy.View Profile
Professor Gordana Fontana-Giusti: Professor of Architecture and Urban Regeneration
Contemporary architectural and urban theory, in particular philosophy and its relation to architecture; perspective and its relation to architecture and the city; representation, conceptual art and the relationship between the arts and architecture; regeneration, public spaces and sustainable urban design; urban landscapes, cities and water.View Profile
Dr Manolo Guerci: Senior Lecturer in Cultural Context and Design; Director of Graduate Studies
Secular architecture, particularly domestic, ranging from Early-Modern European palaces with emphasis on connections between Italy, France and Britain in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, to post-war social housing estates; relations between European Modernism and traditional Japanese architecture; conservation of historic buildings, particularly 17th-century construction techniques in Rome.View Profile
Dr David Haney: Senior Lecturer in Cultural Context and Design; Director CREAte Research Centre
Relationship between landscape and architecture considered from both professional and cultural perspectives; history of modern architecture and landscape; history of ‘green’ or ecological design; ecological concepts in German modernism.View Profile
Professor Marialena Nikolopoulou: Professor of Sustainable Architecture; Programme Director, Architecture and Sustainable Environments MSc; Director of CASE Research Centre
Comfort of complex environments; urban microclimate; occupant perception and use of space; sustainable design and rational use of energy in the built environment.View Profile
Dr Nikolaos Karydis: Lecturer; Programme Director, Architectural Conservation MSc
Development of construction technology and the design aspect of city making, with specific focus on the European traditions; urban development in Early Modern Rome and the ways in which specific building projects of the 16th and the 17th centuries conditioned urban renewal.View Profile
Dr Giridharan Renganathan: Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture
Urban morphology and climatology (environmental design), with specific interest in the urban heat island (UHI) effect; outdoor thermal comfort; summer time over heating in buildings; passive ventilation strategies; use of cool materials.View Profile
Michael Richards: Senior Lecturer in Design; Programme Director, MArch
Design studio pedagogy in the area of ethics; the variances between the physical and fictional relative locations of ‘place’ in cinema; the implications for an understanding of contemporary cities.View Profile
Dr Richard Watkins: Lecturer in Sustainable Architecture
Urban microclimate and the urban heat island, refrigeration, air movement and air quality; daylighting; climate change; future weather data; building performance modelling and measurement.View Profile
The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
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For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
General additional costs
Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.
Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: