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Doctor of Design2021-10-06T13:50:02+00:00

Doctor of Design


“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

The FIU Doctor of Design (DDes) is a 2-year minimal residency program that 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.

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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.

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.

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 the Architecture Program Chair, Professor Jason Chandler, 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, 2022
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

Spring Semester (12 Credits)  

ARC 6229 Theories of the Digital, 3 Credits

ARC 6761 Miami Urban Studies, 3 Credits

ARC 6906 Independent Study, 3 Credits

ARC 7981 Advanced Research Methods, 3 Credits

Fall Semester (12 Credits)

ARC 6184 Advanced Studies in Technology, 3 Credits

ARC 6204 Architectural Philosophy, 3 Credits

ARC 7980 Doctoral Project, 3 Credits

ARC 6906 Independent Study, 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 two independent study 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 7XXX 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.

DDes Candidates

Yuyang Cheng
Theodoros Galanos
Soomeen Hahm
Jianan Peng
Philippe Morel
Sara Pezeshk
Fernando Rodriguez
Marina Rodríguez das Neves
Elena Tugusheva
Ana Zimbarg


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