Doctor of Design2024-03-15T16:05:22+00:00

Doctor of Design


The FIU Doctor of Design (DDes) is a 2-year low residency program, where candidates may opt to study either mainly online, or in person in Miami. The program is designed primarily for academics who are already in post, allowing them to remain in post, while completing their doctoral degree. It focuses on three main areas of research: Advanced Design Technologies, Environmental Studies and History, Theory and Criticism. The DDes prepares candidates to reach the highest levels of the profession and academia, and to contribute to the greater body of design knowledge through scholarship, research, and innovation. As a post-professional degree, the DDes provides specialized credentials for advanced professional and academic applied research.

FIU is one of the few universities in the world to offer a DDes program flexible enough to suit working professionals, who are unable to commit to a full time residency program. Moreover, the FIU DDes incorporates 15 transferred credits from masters courses, enabling this degree to be completed in 2 years. It is designed to be particularly attractive to those teaching or aspiring to teach in college/university departments of architecture both in the States and other countries worldwide, and especially those already research active.

“The Doctor of Design at FIU is a revolutionary new format for architectural education, that is designed to produce a generation of architects with doctoral degrees to meet the challenges facing the profession and discipline.”
– Neil Leach PhD, Director of Doctor of Design Program.


Doctor of Design- 60 credits

Post-Professional Degree
(Not eligible for accreditation by NAAB)

The Doctor of Design is a 60-credit post-professional degree program that prepares students for the highest levels of the profession and academia and to contribute to the greater body of design knowledge through scholarship, research, and innovation. The Doctor of Design is designated as CIP 4.0902, Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology. This entitles students to apply for up to 3 years employment in the States under the OPT system: This program focuses on the application of the latest computer tools to the design, visualization, and fabrication of the built environment.


The Doctor of Design Program is seeking highly motivated and independent applicants with a record of scholarly, academic and/or professional work. Each applicant will need to submit a preliminary statement of research interest as part of their application. Please note that there are two steps to the application. Each step requires the payment of a separate fee.

Step 1

Application to the Doctor of Design begins with an online application to the University Graduate School at Successful candidatesmust have an exceptional academic record and an earned minimum overall graduate GPA of 3.25 in a Master of Architecture degree from accredited program or equivalent professional architectural degree or other advanced degrees subject to program approval. The GRE exam is not required. Please review the Graduate School website, as well as, the link below for assistance with this portion of the process. GRADUATE CHECKLIST

International graduate student applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®) or for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 6.5. A total score of 80 on the iBT TOEFL®(equivalent to 550 on the TOEFL®) is required. FIU’s English Language Institute (ELI) students who are seeking admission to FIU may receive a TOEFL® exemption if they complete all of the six courses of ELI’s Intensive English Program level with a passing grade.

A minimal score of 105 on the Duolingo English Language Test is a convenient alternative to the above options. This test may be conducted entirely online, and requires no appointment.

Furthermore, applicants who hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English are deemed to fulfill the English language requirement for international students.

Please note that candidates must also complete Step 2

Step 2

The second step in the Application to the DDes involves uploading a portfolio and letters of recommendation to GetAcceptd.

Portfolios MUST contain:

  1. Examples of original scholarly and/or professional work.
  2. A two-page (maximum) statement describing the candidate’s proposal of research interest.
  3. A copy of the candidate’sMaster of Architecture degree from an accredited program or equivalent professional architectural degree transcript. 
  4. Portfolios shall include published articles. Those who have not published should supply two samples of academic writing.
  5. Curriculum Vitae and Letters of Recommendation

Formatting Submission Guidelines for Uploading:

  • PDF File Size: Minimum of 500 KB / Maximum 5 MB.
  • Image File Format: JPEG (JPG), 72dpi.
  • Convert images to color profiles RGB.
  • Do not submit slideshows, PowerPoint presentations, animations, movies, audio with images or embed images into Microsoft Word.

Letters of recommendations:

Submit three letters of recommendation to Mayra Ortega, from faculty members or supervisors qualified to evaluate the applicant’s potential for doctoral work.

Letters of Recommendation may be submitted up to 2 weeks after the deadline for complete admissions material.


The deadline for complete admissions material is February 15th, 2023
Submit portfolio and letters of recommendation to: Get Acceptd


The degree will be conferred when the following conditions are met:

  1. Completion of the 60- credit curriculum.
  2. Recommendation of the Doctoral Project faculty advisor and committee.
  3. Certification provided by the Department Chair, College Dean, and University Graduate School that all degree requirements have been met.
  4. Grade Point Average (GPA) ≥ 3.0.
  5. No grade below a “B-” will be accepted for graduation in all courses.


Taken as part of Master of Architecture Degree: 15 Credits


Fall Semester (12 Credits) 

ARC 6229 Theories of the Digital, 3 Credits 

ARC 6906 Independent Study, 3 Credits 

ARC 7980 Doctoral Project, 3 Credits 

ARC 7981 Advanced Research Methods, 3 Credits


Spring Semester (12 Credits) 

ARC 6184 Advanced Studies in Technology, 3 Credits 

ARC 6204 Architectural Philosophy, 3 Credits 

ARC 7980 Doctoral Project, 3 Credits 

ARC 6761 Miami Urban Studies, 3 Credits


Semester 3 (9 Credits)

ARC 7980 Doctoral Project, 9 Credits


Semester 4 (12 Credits)

ARC 7980 Doctoral Project, 9 Credits

ARC 7982 Doctoral Defense, 3 Credits


Total credits: 60 Credits


In the first year of this program candidates will take four required courses, two of which are STEM related. Theories of the Digital, provides candidates with a theoretical framework to understand and appraise the impact of the digital not only on architectural design and fabrication, but also on urban life in general. A particular emphasis is placed on Artificial Intelligence. Advanced Studies in Technology, focuses on emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, robotic fabrication, sensing, and advanced visualization tools (virtual and augmented reality).

Also included in the first year is a course on Research Methods, where candidates learn about a range of important research and writing skills, including qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, writing articles and book proposals and preparing research grant applications. Another course, Miami Urban Studies, addresses broader cultural and environmental issues, related to Southern Florida. The course examines the region’s unique ecology of the Everglades and coral rich marine life, its social, political and economic diversity and pressing issues related to global warming and sea-level rise. The program also provides candidates the flexibility to pursue their topic of interest with a faculty expert in one Independent Study and two Doctoral Project courses during their first year.

The second year of the program is devoted to the doctoral project that each degree candidate is required to complete. The program culminates with the submission of the doctoral project. Each candidate is also encouraged to publish two scholarly articles each year. These may be based on their course submissions.

ARC 6184 Advances Studies in Technology (3). This course explores the role of emerging technologies including robotics, digital fabrication, sensing, and advanced visualization tools for innovation in design and architectural production.

ARC 6204 Architectural Philosophy (3). This course explores how ideas from contemporary continental philosophy and other related fields might inform a discourse about architecture and urbanism. Prerequisite: ARC 6229

ARC 6229 Theories of the Digital (3). This course explores theories of the digital. The aim is to develop a theoretical framework to understand the impact of the digital on architectural design, fabrication and urban life.

ARC 6761 Miami Urban Studies (3). Studies concerning the social, political, economic and environmental of Urbanism in Southern Florida in general and Miami in particular.

ARC 6906 Independent Study (1-6). Coursework on a particular aspect of Architecture under the direction of faculty in an individual study format. Prerequisite: Program approval.

ARC 7980 Doctoral Project (3-9). Coursework under the direction of faculty for the completion of the Doctoral Project by a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Design.

ARC 7981 Advanced Research Methods (3). Advanced methods of data acquisition, analysis, and interpretation used in architectural research.

ARC 7982 Doctoral Defense (3). The formal defense of the Doctoral Project.

For YouTube video recordings of previous classes, click here.

For Bilibili video recordings of previous classes, click here.

For a YouTube video recording of presentations by DDes candidates, click here.

For a Bilibili video recording of presentations by DDes candidates, click here.

NSF Fellowship for Doctor of Design at FIU 

Interdisciplinary Environmental Research 

Florida International University (FIU) School of Architecture is seeking applicants for the Doctor of Design Program. The accepted applicants will receive an NSF fellowship from the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST). This Program supports interdisciplinary research at the intersection of technology and built and natural environments. With a focus on sustainability, resilience, and mitigation, the supported technology-driven research areas include robotics fabrication, big-data analytics, spatial computing, artificial intelligence, media design, game design, and interactive learning environments.  


The FIU Doctor of Design (DDes) is a 2-year post-professional degree that provides specialized credentials for advancing in architecture and related fields. Please visit the program’s website for further information: more information on CREST, please check the list of faculty mentors on the program website 


This appointment will leverage the FIU School of Architecture and FIU Institute of Environment‘s resources to accommodate the research requirements of the selected candidate. Within the School of Architecture, this will include access to the Robotics and Digital Fabrication Lab and Immersive Media for Environmental Explorations Lab. 


This position covers tuition and offers a standard 12-month doctoral stipend for the two-year duration of the FIU DDes Program. The appointments will begin in the 2023 Fall Semester (August 21, 2023) and continue until the end of the 2024-2025 academic year. See FIU’s Academic Calendar for more details. 


  • The candidate must be present in Miami and on campus throughout the program 
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 
  • A graduate degree (such as an M.A., MArch, MS) in Architecture or related fields 
  • Excellent command of the English Language 


FIU is a Carnegie-engaged public research university, classified as R1 highest research activity, and offers more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. FIU is the largest majority-minority R.I. institution in the U.S., with a student population of over 50,000. FIU is a vibrant, student-centered public research university, ideally located in Miami, committed to learning, research, entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity. CREST is part of the Institute of Environment, an FIU Preeminent Program. 


To be considered, the candidates must email the following required documentation as an attached PDF, with the subject line “DDES-CREST Fellowship Application,” to this position’s advisors, Assistant Prof. Biayna Bogosianbbogosia@fiu.eduand Prof. Shahin, by Jan.1, 2023, 11:59 pm EST. 

  • A cover letter that explains your aspirations for following an interdisciplinary Doctor of Design and your relevant academic and professional background 
  • Academic CV 
  • One writing sample 
  • 10-page portfolio including relevant research 
  • Name and contact information of three references 
  • A copy of the transcript from the latest degree 

DDes Faculty

Neil Leach

More Info & Bio

Gray Read

More Info & Bio

Shahin Vassigh
Shahin Vassigh

More Info & Bio

DDes Candidates

Luis Pacheco
Luis Pacheco
2023 Cohort
Aidan Ackerman
Aidan Ackerman
2023 Cohort
Marcelo Ertorteguy
Marcelo Ertorteguy
2023 Cohort
Dean McMurry
Dean McMurry
2023 Cohort
Deepti Zachariah
Deepti Zachariah
2023 Cohort
Teri Watson
Teri Watson
2023 Cohort
Lorena Knezevic
Lorena Knezevic
2023 Cohort
Misri Patel
Misri Patel
2023 Cohort
Jose Mejias
Jose Mejias
Felice Grodin
Felice Grodin
Bhavleen Kaur
Bhavleen Kaur
Lyla Di Wu
Barak Hemou
Barak Chamo
Yuyang Cheng
Deepti Dutt
Deepti Dutt
David Holzman
David Holzman
Maggie Kirk
Maggie Kirk
Theodoros Galanos
MattGorbet photo
Matt Gorbet
Soomeen Hahm
Jianan Peng
Philippe Morel
Darren Ockert
Darren Ockert
Sara Pezeshk
Fernando Rodriguez
Marina Rodríguez das Neves
Elena Tugusheva
Ana Zimbarg

DDes Candidates Presentations


The College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts has a team of dedicated academic advisors, readily available to provide guidance with course selection and keep you on track for an on-time graduation. To make an appointment with an academic advisor, call (305)-348-7500.

Mayra Ortega
Admissions and Recruitment
School of Architecture
Office: 305-348-4884

Neil Leach PhD
Director of Doctor of Design Program
School of Architecture