Design environments for today’s society

Jan Parker

PhD Architectural Studies

Jan Parker found the online format of the doctoral program in architectural studies easy to understand and navigate. The doctorate helped her gain an appointment as dean of academic studies at the Art Institute of Dallas.

Kandace Fisher-McLean

PhD Architectural Studies '15

Having the time to get professional experience while pursuing her PhD was important to Kandace Fisher-McLean. That's why she turned to Mizzou’s online Architectural Studies program. She fit school into her busy schedule and enjoyed the camaraderie she developed among her online classmates.

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Delivery of this program is 100 percent online: no campus visits are required. However, we strongly encourage you to attend at least three optional summer workshops on campus (last week of June, Sunday through Friday), where you may present your research line of inquiry and obtain feedback.

Successful completion requires a minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, 15 of which must be at the 8000 to 9000 level. You may apply no more than 30 credit hours from the master’s level toward your PhD.

You also may add a concentration in design research to your course work if you require applied research skills to produce evidence-based design decisions or want to utilize design thinking for creative problem-solving. The design research concentration will not appear on your transcript or diploma, however.

The chart below shows when the courses are traditionally offered. Courses are 3 credit hours each, unless stated otherwise. The University reserves the right to change or cancel courses as needed.


ARCHST 7320 Materials, Methods and ProductsX  
ARCHST 7323 Sustainable Technologies and Systems X 
ARCHST 7325 Energy-Efficient Building Design X 
ARCHST 7430 Guiding Design with Historic PreservationX  
ARCHST 7960 Readings in Environmental Design   
ARCHST 7961 Design Research and Service Design1   
ARCHST 7962 Information Visualization and Visual Analytics1   
ARCHST 7964 Design Thinking and Creative Process1   
ARCHST 8050 Research Methods in Environmental Design
or equivalent1
ARCHST 8085 Problems in Environmental DesignXXX
ARCHST 8630 Philosophy of Environmental Design Research1 X 
ARCHST 8850 Seminar in Environmental Design
1 credit hour1
ARCHST 8887 Environment and Behavior II1   
ARCHST 9090 Doctoral Research in Environmental DesignXXX
ARCHST 9995 Pilot Project for Dissertation
On-Campus Class, 1–5 credit hours2
ARCHST 9995 Pilot Project for Dissertation
1-4 credit hours
ARCHST 9990 Dissertation Proposal
1 credit hour

You may choose other courses under the direction of your adviser.

1 Courses count toward the design research concentration.

2 We strongly encourage you to attend at least three summer workshops, held the last week of June on campus.

Note For courses that require a course consent request form, please visit for permission.

Post-baccalaureate enrollment

Prior to acceptance into the program, you may enroll as a post-baccalaureate (formerly nondegree-seeking) student in up to 12 credit hours. Enrollment does not guarantee acceptance. Learn more about nondegree-seeking university student admissions.


This program culminates in a comprehensive examination and a written dissertation embodying the results of your original and significant investigation. You must complete the comprehensive at least seven months before your final defense of your dissertation.


The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

State authorization

States require that the University of Missouri be authorized to deliver university-level distance/online education to their residents. Each state handles this process differently.

Please see our state authorization page.

How to apply

  1. Fulfill the admission requirements:

    • Completed bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of undergraduate education.
    • If English is not your native language, please submit a TOEFL score of at least 80 (internet-based test), an IELTS score of at least 6.5, a Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of at least 59 or a Cambridge C1 Advanced score of at least 180.
    • GRE scores are not required.
  2. Mark your calendar

  3. Application dates

    Apply by Jan. 15 for enrollment in the following fall semester

  4. Gather your papers

  5. Applying will be easier and faster if you gather these required documents beforehand:

    • Transcripts of all previous college or university education. Upload unofficial transcripts in your online application. If you are accepted, you will be asked to provide official transcripts.
    • Three letters of recommendation. In the online application, you will need to supply names and contact details of three people (excluding MU Architectural Studies faculty) who can attest to your professional competence, academic preparation and potential for graduate work. The Graduate School will contact your references with instructions regarding the letters.
    • Statement of purpose.
    • TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or C1 Advanced score reports for applicants whose native language is not English. For information on sending test scores, visit the Grad School website.
  6. Complete the online application

  7. Carefully follow the instructions on the application site.

    • Upload the above documents in the online application
    • Application type: Doctoral Program
    • Degree/Delivery: Doctorate- Distance (Online/Remote Site/etc.)
    • Academic Program: Architectural Studies/Human Environmental Sciences-Distance (PhD)

    Apply Here

This program is administered by the Department of Architectural Studies .

Program contact: