PhD Architecture / Programme details

Year of entry: 2022

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Programme description

PhDs in the Manchester Urban Institute

PhD Architecture is based within the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG) , and looks beyond technical design to the complex processes and practices that run through the development adaptation and the use of built environments. 

We traverse the disciplinary boundaries of architecture and social sciences to open new areas of architectural research, create new standards of architectural study, and craft new conceptual language to inform and influence architectural policy. 

Sitting within the School of Environment, Education and Development, and the Manchester Urban Institute, allows us to benefit from synergies with Planning and Environmental Management, Geography, and several other disciplines. 

Through these connections, we have developed a distinctive expertise based on theoretical experimentation, methodological rigour, empirical attention, and a hands-on study of architectural practice, building technology and techniques of architectural representation and mapping. 

Our research themes include: 

  • architectural history and theory;
  • networks of architectural expertise;
  • social studies of architecture;
  • the politics of urban infrastructures.

We have specialist and research-active staff who provide a rich and stimulating environment for everyone. Many staff are practicing, or have practised, as architects and have strong links with the architecture community in Manchester and beyond. 

Although we welcome applications on any subject, we are particularly keen to receive research proposals on topics including: 

  • the politics of construction;
  • architecture and climate transformations;
  • urban infrastructure and global transformations;
  • political economy of architecture and politics of design;
  • art, architecture and architectural curating;
  • architectural collections, archives and exhibitions;
  • anthropology of design and construction practices;
  • technologies, media and innovations in architecture: epistemological and political implications;
  • architecture's globalization and material politics of infrastructure;
  • digital theory and history of architecture;
  • political economy of architecture.

Special features

Our research crosses disciplines to open new areas of architectural research. 

As a PhD candidate in the Manchester School of Architecture , you'll also be part of the School of Environment, Education and Development  (SEED), a unique interdisciplinary collaboration between the disciplines of Architecture, Education, Geography, International Development, and Planning and Environmental Management. 

What unites us is a shared commitment to highlight and address the uneven relationships between societies, economies and the environment. We want to better understand the world in which we live, and to offer solutions to the problems within it. 

We acknowledge that a complex and interconnected world presents many challenges for analysts, but researchers in SEED are pioneering new evidence, measures, concepts and theories to address these challenges in practice. 

SEED's world-leading research is rooted in everyday life but international in relevance and scope, addressing social, economic and environmental concerns across the globe. 

Our PhD and professional doctorate research community, grouped around a range of dynamic Centres and themes, is central to the SEED research agenda across all our disciplines. 

To further this agenda, we need fresh input and clear thinking from a fully engaged, curious, critical, and socially aware PGR community. 

We're not here simply to 'supervise' - we seek to discover and co-produce new knowledge with students as our partners. 

You will become part of a talented, energetic, committed and supportive academic and postgraduate research community.

Teaching and learning

When you become a postgraduate researcher, you'll join a diverse and vibrant community of doctoral students from nearly 100 different countries, all studying within the Faculty of Humanities.  

You'll be assigned to a specific research grouping that complements your research interests and have access to a variety of interdisciplinary research institutes. 

Our working environments are often spacious and open plan, giving you plenty of opportunities to communicate with colleagues and staff within the School, you will have your own desk space as well as access to our fantastic range of libraries on campus. 

All our academic supervisors are research active and will support you to work on challenging research problems and develop rigorous, creative and original research. You can expect to meet with your supervisor at least once a month to discuss progress on your project. 

As a postgraduate researcher, you'll have access to a large and diverse community of internationally-recognised academic experts offering an environment that will stimulate intellectual debate and development. 

We provide additional financial support for activities related to your PhD, including: 

  • presenting at international conferences;
  • attending workshops that provide relevant professional opportunities;
  • conducting fieldwork in the UK and overseas.

Scholarships and bursaries

We receive money from a range of sources to help you fund your research and have a variety of awards on offer, covering tuition fees and a generous stipend. 

Within the University we offer many school and departmental studentships as well as the President's Doctoral Scholar award

Many research students receive funding externally from places such as research councils, foundations and international government funding bodies. 

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often at the beginning of February for programmes starting the following September, and many external funders have earlier application deadlines. 

If you're planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, you'll normally need to hold an offer of a place from the University before applying. 

Search for current funding opportunities by country and research programme using our funding database search tool

The UK government now offers doctoral loans  for those studying PhDs and equivalent doctoral programmes including professional doctorates. The loan is for a maximum of £25,000 over the duration of the course. 

UK nationals who are ordinarily residents in England, aged 59 or under, who are not already receiving funding via a UK Research Council, are eligible.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email