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Graduate program: Ph.D. in Design and Planning

The Doctorate of Philosophy in Design and Planning is a Faculty-wide program under the general supervision of the Faculty of Architecture Doctoral Studies Committee, currently chaired by Dr. Shauna Mallory-Hill. Applicants must demonstrate research capability through prior degree(s), publications, presentations and a record of appropriate experience in professional practice, teaching or other pertinent activities. The Ph.D. in Design and Planning program requires 12-credits of course work, a Candidacy Examination, a Thesis Proposal, and a written Thesis, which must be publicly defended in an oral examination. Candidates are expected to demonstrate mastery of their field and to make an original contribution to their discipline.

Application process

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must meet the requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Potential applicants should confirm eligibility for the program prior to starting the application process by reviewing the Admission Requirements on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website and the Faculty of Architecture Ph.D. in Design and Planning admissions requirements.

Preliminary application process

Review the available Faculty of Architecture Ph.D. Advisor profiles, and identify a potential advisor whose research aligns with your intended area of study.
 Email an appropriate advisor an expression of interest. Your initial email must include the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) - providing a clear outline of academic credentials, work experience, research publications, presentations, awards and related accomplishments.
  • Statement of Intent - describing your research interest in 500 words.

Note: Some advisors may additionally request samples of research.

If the potential advisor views the research initiative to align with their area, and if their workload allows, that faculty member will notify the applicant that a formal application is appropriate. If there is no response, applicants must assume that the faculty member is not available to serve as an advisor.

Formal application process

The formal application must be completed by January 10th to be considered for the following academic year. Only applicants with confirmed consent from an advisor will be considered. All formal application materials must be submitted online to the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS).

Applicants to the program must provide the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV), providing a clear outline of academic credentials, work experience, research publications, presentations, awards and related accomplishments
  • Research Proposal, a 5-10 pages description of the intended study
  • dossier of scholarly work, including examples of scholarly writing, as well as creative and/or professional work
  • evidence of financial support, indicating government sponsorship, fellowships, awards, personal support, and/or other funds provided through a possible advisor
  • three letters of reference, at least one of which must be written by an academic from a recognized institution
  • proof of identity – the University of Manitoba requires a copy of your birth certificate or current passport and proof of a name change if any documentation is in your former name. (Once admitted)
  • University transcript(s) – all official transcripts are to be sent directly to the Faculty of Graduate Studies. See FGS Transcript Requirements
  • English Language Proficiency – must be demonstrated by the admissions deadline date. See FGS English Language Proficiency requirements

Program of study

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

GRAD 8020: Doctoral re-registration (for each term in the program, as required) (0 credit hours)

Maximum time to completion: 6 years. Students will work with their advisor to create a schedule specific to their research.


Each student will be required to take a minimum of 12 credit hours of 7000 level courses. One 3 credit hour course must address theory, and one 3 credit hour course must address methods appropriate to the student’s area of study. At least 6 of the 12 credit hours of courses must be taken within the Faculty of Architecture. Appropriate courses will be determined in consultation with the student’s advisor, and be approved by the Doctoral Studies Committee Chair.

Students will normally complete the 12 credit hours of coursework by the end of their first year.

Each student is responsible for ensuring that they have approval for and have registered in the courses appropriate for their area of study.

Where necessary, the student may be required to complete additional coursework as identified by the advisory committee.

Advisory committee

Each student works with an Advisor who has agreed to supervise the research and program of study. An Advisor must be in place prior to commencement of the program. In special circumstances, approved by the program chair, a student may work with a co-advisor.

The advisory committee will be formed during the student’s first year in the program by mutual consent of the advisor and student, and approved by the Doctoral Studies Committee Chair.

The advisory committee shall include at least three members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies:

  • the student’s advisor, as Chair;
  • another member of the Faculty of Architecture with expertise that supports the student’s topic area; and
  • a third member from outside the Faculty of Architecture but within the University of Manitoba.

All advisory committee members must hold a Ph.D.

Candidacy examination

Prior to beginning the candidacy examination (GRAD 8010), each student is required to have completed all formal course requirements; defined a thesis topic; and formed an advisory committee.

The candidacy examination will normally be scheduled at the beginning of the second year in the PhD program.

The candidacy examination is intended to assess the student’s preparedness to pursue the thesis research. The student must demonstrate the following:

  • ability to articulate a focused research area;
  • knowledge of significant literature and/or precedents in the area of concentration; and
  • understanding and demonstration of suitable research methods.

The candidacy examination consists of the following:
1) submission of formal written review paper(s) and/or research project(s) prepared by the student in response to questions or topics posed by the advisory committee; and
2) an oral presentation by the student followed by questions by the advisory committee.

Advisors should use the Ph.D. in Design and Planning Candidacy Examination template.

Students must pass both the written and oral components of the candidacy examination. On successful completion of the candidacy examination, the student will be considered a candidate for the Ph.D. degree

Thesis proposal

Upon successful completion of the candidacy examination, the student may proceed to write and publically defend a thesis proposal. This written thesis proposal will normally consist of 50-100 pages and will include the following:

  • developed research question(s), or a problem statement, including identification of primary texts and/or case studies to be examined;
  • a sound rationale and/or framework for the study;
  • clearly stated objectives and anticipated significance of the thesis;
  • the proposed research methods and/or strategies;
  • a preliminary review of resources;
  • supporting images or documentation (where appropriate);
  • a substantial bibliography;
  • a 300-500 word abstract, to be publicly posted.

Doctoral thesis

An essential feature of Ph.D. study is the candidate’s demonstration of competence to complete a research project and present the findings. The thesis must constitute a distinct contribution to knowledge in the major field of study, and the research must be of sufficient merit to be, in the judgement of the examiners, acceptable for publication.

The final version of the thesis must be submitted by the candidate to the Faculty of Graduate Studies following the Faculty of Graduate Studies guidelines.

Thesis examination

All processes for thesis submission, distribution, identifying external examiners, and the oral defense follow Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations, outlined in the program’s Supplemental Regulations (5.11-12), and available on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.

Residency requirement & time limits

Residency requirements
Ph.D. students will normally be expected to devote two academic terms to full-time study at the University of Manitoba within the first two years that they are enrolled in the program.

Time limits
The maximum time in the program is six years following initial registration in the Ph.D. program. Requests for extensions of time to complete the degree will be considered on an individual basis and must be submitted to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies at least three, but no more than four, months prior to expiration of the respective maximum time limit.

Student experience in the Ph.D. program

The Ph.D. in Design and Planning offers many focused areas of research according to the expertise of faculty members. The program is for students intending to pursue independent investigation, original research and creative scholarship.


Ph.D. Student research profiles

Ph.D. Advisors

Contact us

Ph.D. in Design and Planning Program
Faculty of Architecture
201 John A. Russell Building
84 Curry Place
University of Manitoba
(Fort Garry Campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2M6 Canada


Admissions and registration enquiries

Faculty of Architecture Graduate Student Services