PhD's programme at the Academy
The PhD is the highest academic qualification awarded by the USI. At the Academy it is possible to conduct doctoral studies leading to the awarding of the single qualification of Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture (Dr. Arch.), Doctor of Philosophy in Technical Sciences (Dr. Sc. Tech.), Doctor of Philosophy in Human Sciences (Dr. Phil.).
The qualification certifies that its holder has conducted personal, original research at a high scientific level and it is conferred after having successfully defended the PhD thesis. The doctoral programme has a maximum duration of 12 semesters. The principal objective of the doctorate is the training of future academics; however the skills and experience acquired during the doctoral course are also important for those who work in architectural practices or in other fields.
Admission to PhD studies at the Academy of Architecture is possible for:
- Holders of a Master of Science in Architecture degree or a Master of Arts in History and Theory of Art and Architecture degree awarded by the Academy of Architecture
- Holders of a Master of Science in Architecture, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering or a Master of Arts in Art History awarded by a Swiss university or a university with specific agreements with USI
- Holders of diplomas in other fields and/or from other university institutions deemed equivalent by the Doctoral College
The candidate is obliged to propose a thesis project that is structured and specific in terms of methodology and objectives (see Guidelines, in Italian) to a professor at the Academy of Architecture who is willing to act as supervisor (dissertation director). The PhD programme requires close collaboration between the student and the dissertation director. For this reason, admission to the PhD programme requires an explicit declaration by a professor of the faculty (whether full, associate, assistant, or adjunct professor) that he/she is willing to supervise the research. Lecturers and researchers may follow doctoral studies as co-supervisors. The list of professors and their respective fields of research can be found here. Without the letter of support from the supervisor professor, it is not possible to apply for admission to the PhD study programme.
For further information, see the PhD Study Regulations (in Italian).
The studies involve the traditional formula of autonomous work carried out under the supervision of a professor of the Academy of Architecture. There is no compulsory course attendance. However, attendance at doctoral meetings and Work in Progress seminars is recommended (for further information see here).
Candidates whose thesis project has been approved by a professor at the Academy of Architecture who is willing to act as supervisor must submit an application (either by e-mail or by registered mail) to the Doctoral College ([email protected]) using the form accompanied by a copy of their diplomas, a letter of motivation, a letter of support from the supervisor professor and a description of their thesis project (see Guidelines, in Italian). Applicants with a degree from a university outside Switzerland must submit at least one additional letter of recommendation. The complete list of required documentation can be found here. Incomplete dossiers will not be considered.
Papers must reach the secretariat by 1 June (for enrolment in the autumn semester) or 1 November (for enrolment in the spring semester). The Doctoral College meets twice a year and evaluates the applications. Selected candidates are thereafter invited to an interview.
The candidate who has passed the entire admission procedure for PhD studies is enrolled at the Academy of Architecture.
Enrolment in the PhD programme entails payment of a fee, as stipulated in the Regulations for admissions and matriculations (in Italian).
Admission to the PhD programme does not automatically imply a position as a doctoral assistant with an employment contract.
Internal PhD students and external PhD students
The Academy recognises both internal PhD students and external PhD students.
Internal PhD students have an employment contract. They work as a Doctoral assistant to a professor or as a PhD student within the framework of an SNSF project. Doctoral assistants carry out both research and teaching support activities. Assistantship contracts are annual and renewable up to a maximum of 10 semesters.
There are several possibilities to become a Doctoral assistant:
- The notices for any open positions for Doctoral assistant can be found here. Interested candidates may apply by following the specific instructions given in the call for applications
- Sending an unsolicited application to an individual professor(s) describing a research project and the motivation for undertaking PhD studies and collaboration with the Academy. The list of professors and their fields of research can be found here. Please select the professor(s) you wish to contact carefully, based on your research interests, and do not send random applications.
External PhD students do not have an employment contract with the Academy of Architecture and are required to pay the application fee as stipulated in the Regulations for admissions and matriculations.
Information on the availability and accessibility of scholarships can be found here.
Advancement and final stage of the thesis
The PhD student, together with the dissertation director, defines an individual learning path, which the dissertation director submits to the Doctoral College for approval no later than two months after admission to the PhD programme (see PhD Study Regulations, § 8.3).
The PhD student submits an annual report on the progress of his or her research work (see Guidelines and PhD Study Regulations, § 13).
For detailed information on the final stage of the dissertation (style and formatting of the dissertation, delivery, Jury, oral argument, publication of the dissertation) see the Guidelines for the Dissertation Submission and Discussion Procedure.
The procedure for admission and conduct of the PhD programme (including the role of the doctoral college, thesis director, thesis jury, etc.) is set out in the PhD Study Regulations.
- Prof. Dr. Daniela Mondini, President (History and Theory of Art and Architecture area)
- Prof. Jonathan Sergison, President (Architecture and Urban Studies area)
- Prof. Dr. Christoph Frank (History and Theory of Art and Architecture area)
- Prof. Franz Graf (Construction and Technology area)
- Prof. Dr. Mario Monotti (Structures and Exact Sciences area)
- Prof. Dr. Sascha Roesler (History and Theory of Art and Architecture area, Sustainability and Urban Studies)
Coordination: Dr. Mirko Moizi
For further information about the PhD at the Academy of Architecture, please contact: [email protected]