Graduate Catalog
Policies, Procedures, Academic Programs
Architecture and Design Research
College of Architecture, Arts, and Design
Academics and Architecture administration; construction begun 1966; major work completed 1969; dedicated April 30, 1970. Cost $1,388,968; 68,417 sq.ft. Building represents first major departure from traditional neo-Gothic architecture in academic buildings on campus; first building expressly for architecture use. Named after Clinton Harriman Cowgill (1897-1975) who was Department Head of Architectural Engineering from 1928 to 1956.
Cowgill Hall 201, Virginia Tech 1325 Perry Street Mail Code 0205 Blacksburg VA 24061
Cowgill Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Architecture and Design Research
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
National Capital Region
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Feb 15
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Cowgill Hall

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Interim Program Director : James Bassett
Graduate Program Director : Kay Edge (Graduate Program Chair)
Emeriti Faculty: Dean Bork; Brian Katen; Patrick Miller; Humberto Rodriguez-Camilloni
Professors: Markus Breitschmid; Paul Emmons (National Capital Region); James Jones; Mehdi Setareh
Associate Professors: Hilary Bryon; Terry Clements; Marcia Feuerstein (National Capital Region); Paul Kelsch (National Capital Region); Mintai Kim
Adjunct Faculty: David Lever (National Capital Region)

Architecture and Design Research Introduction

Ph.D. in Architecture and Design Research

Degree Tracks within the Ph.D. in Architecture and Design Research

There are two major tracks within the Architecture and Design Research degree, each of which has topical areas. The requirements for the tracks vary slightly, but both provide significant flexibility for each student to develop a plan of study consistent with his or her academic goals. The two tracks are Architecture and Design Research.

Architecture Track

The Architecture track includes Architectural Representation and Education, Architectural History and Theory, Historic Preservation, and Computing and Representation.

The Architecture track will share resources on the Blacksburg Campus and the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center in the National Capital Region. At the latter location, students have the best resources to develop their topics in architectural representation, since they can make use of the many research libraries available in the Washington, DC area, including the Library of Congress, National Building Museum library, American Institute of Architects Library, CASVA, Smithsonian Institution, the Dumbarton Oaks Library and many privately owned architectural archives.

Design Research Track

The Design Research track includes advanced study on Building Science, Industrial Design, Interior Design, and Landscape Architecture.  The Landscape Architecture Track includes concentrations in:  Design Learning and Professional Paradigms; Regenerative/Ecological Design, Planning and Technology; and Concepts of Community and Place.        

The Design Research track is currently located in Blacksburg, VA at the Virginia Tech Main Campus. In this location students have the best resources to develop their topics in design research given that the faculty of the School of Architecture Design have established collaborative relationships with other university centers and institutions.


The faculty are seeking to admit a highly selective group of students who have master's degrees in closely allied fields, such as Architecture, Environmental Design, Building Science, Landscape Architecture, Architecture History and Theory, Interior Design, and Industrial Design. In addition to the application requirements of the Virginia Tech Graduate School and those pertaining to all graduate programs within the School of Architecture Design, applicants to the PhD degree in Architecture and Design Research must submit a portfolio and a 2,500 word statement of research focus.

Research and Outreach Centers

International Archive of Women in Architecture
The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) documents the work of women architects and designers.

Center for High Performance Learning Environments
The Center for High Performance Learning Environments (CHPLE) serves as a resource for designers, engineers, system consultants, teachers, school administrators, facility managers, and others interested in improving the design and operation of K through 16 learning environments.

Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory & History of Art & Architecture
The Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory and History of Art and Architecture gathers and actualizes interests in teaching, study and research of contemporary and historic art and architecture and theory.

Community Design Assistance Center
The Community Design Assistance Center assists communities, neighborhood groups, and non-profit organizations in improving the natural and built environments through design, planning, policy, and research.
Offered In (National Capital Region)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • Paper
      • 600.0
    • Computer
      • 250.0
    • iBT
      • 100.0
Ph.D. in Architecture and Design Research:

* The Graduate School requires each Ph.D. student to complete 90 semester hours of graduate study and dissertation.
* All students, regardless of area of specialization, are required to complete a sequence of specific Architecture and Design Seminars. A two-semester sequence seminar will focus primarily on epistemology and the nature of discipline and practice of architecture, viewed in the context of architecture and the allied fields. Students will also enroll in a continuing seminar course required every semester of residence. In these seminars, Ph.D. students, the School faculty involved with the graduate program, and possible guests present their own research for critical review and feedback. The Ph.D. students in the Architecture track must also pass a test of reading ability in a foreign language related to their selected topics (native languages and English do not fulfill this requirement). Students who are undertaking Ph.D. studies in landscape architecture should include the following courses in their program of study:
  • ARCH 5045 - Design Research Methodology
  • LAR 5724 - Scholarship in Landscape Architecture
  • EDRE 6605 - Quantitative Research Methods in Education I
    • (or equivalent approved by student's committee).
  • EDRE 6504: Qualitative Methods in Educational Research I
    • (or equivalent approved by student's graduate committee).

* In addition, all students must complete a special Research Methods course organized by area of specialization. At the approval of the student's advisory committee the course may be also taken in the other area of specialization or outside of the school.

Architecture and Design Research Facilities Introduction

Washington - Alexandria Architecture Center in the Virginia Tech National Capital Region (Architecture track)

Cowgill Hall, Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus (Design Research track in Building Science and Industrial Design)

Burruss Hall,  Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus (Design Research track  Landscape Architecture and Interior Design)