Environmental Design

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

This program is intended for students wanting to expand their professional or design-related backgrounds with advanced, interdisciplinary, practice-based research and study.

Blurring traditional disciplinary definitions, students undertake their research in one or more areas included in environmental design. Thesis documents may incorporate detailed design interventions, policy frameworks, neighbourhood guidelines, code research or combinations of these and other results. Students will work with faculty comprised of eminent design researchers and professionals, recognized internationally for their work. Students will develop knowledge and skills as individuals and in teams, synthesize related research findings, and communicate these findings for real-world application.

Completing this program

  • Core Course: Conceptual Bases of Environmental Design.
  • Field Work and Research: Off-campus fieldwork and research may count towards the fulfillment of the full-time study and research requirement.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
  • Additional Courses: May include topics such as design thinking, urban infrastructure, urban design, urban systems, special topics and others.
  • Candidacy: Students will complete both oral and written candidacy exams.


Academia, government/civil service, municipalities, engineering, energy resources, natural resources, environmental management, planning, urban design, research institutions, private sector.

A PhD in environmental design is usually considered a final degree.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Two core courses and two electives

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years full time; six years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.


Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree.
Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Enrica Dall'Ara

    Enrica Dall'Ara

    Accepting Inquiries
    Landscape Architecture
  2. Paul Galpern

    Paul Galpern

    Accepting Inquiries
    Conservation in prairie agroecosystems, Landscape connectivity and spatial genetics, Pollinator status, Urban informatics
  3. Caroline H-Vermette

    Caroline H-Vermette

    Accepting Inquiries
    Energy efficent/ energy producing buildings and neighborhoods
  4. Thomas P Tom Keenan

    Thomas P, (Tom) Keenan

    Accepting Inquiries
    Social Implications of Technology, Privacy and Security, Smart Communities, Technocreepiness, Cybersecurity and Cyberwarfare, Non-financial Applications of the Blockchain
  5. Noel Keough

    Noel Keough

    Accepting Inquiries
  6. David Monteyne

    David Monteyne

    Accepting Inquiries
    architectural history, history of architecture, urban history, urban studies, environmental design theory
  7. Dr Alicia Nahmad

    Alicia Nahmad Vazquez

    Seeking Students
    Computational Design, Robotic Fabrication, Human-Robot Collaboration, Machine Learning, Digital Design and Fabrication
  8. Brian Sinclair

    Brian Sinclair

    Accepting Inquiries
  9. Mauricio Soto-Rubio

    Mauricio Soto-Rubio

    Accepting Inquiries
  10. Joshua Taron

    Joshua Taron

    Accepting Inquiries

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 point system, over the past two years of full-time study (a minimum of 10 full-course equivalents or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A master’s degree.

Work samples

At least one example of the applicant’s previous academic or professional writing, such as a written essay, published research paper, major academic paper, design project or consulting report. At least one example of the applicant’s previous academic or professional work, such as a written essay, published research paper, major academic paper, thesis, or consulting report.


  • A research proposal that describes the nature of the thesis research the applicant expects to undertake
  • A funding plan that demonstrates that financial resources are available for the entire program of study
  • CV; portfolio (optional)

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Feb. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Feb. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Professional Faculties Building, Room 2182

2500 University Drive NW

Calgary, AB, T2N 1N4


Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit their website