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Graduate Studies Calendar 2022-2023 Program Descriptions School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape SAPL Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Design
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Design
1. Degree Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Environmental Design

2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Admission, the program requires:

a) Research Proposal
A research proposal that describes the nature of the thesis research the applicant expects to undertake. This will be used by an admissions committee as an indicator of the applicant’s ability to conduct doctoral-level research and to determine if adequate supervisory resources are available. Only if such resources are available will the student be admitted. Please note that this research statement (maximum of 1500 words) must include the following sections: Background, research questions, literature review, research methodology, and broader impacts of the proposed research. The research statement should indicate potential supervisors and/or committee members, and whether they have been contacted by the applicant.

b) Digital Portfolio
A portfolio that provides examples of or illustrates the applicant’s design work, professional work, research, creative thinking, community action, planning products, or graphics and visual communication.

c) Curriculum Vitae
A current copy of curriculum vitae (CV).

d) Reference Letters
Three reference letters, of which at least two should be academic.

e) Proof of English Proficiency
For applicants who are required to prove proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 105 (Internet-based test); an IELTS score of 7.5; or a CAEL score of 70 with a minimum of 70 in each component. This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in each course.

f) Example of Writing
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.

g) Grade Point Average
An admission grade point average (GPA) above 3.50 on a four-point scale.

3. Application Deadline

Deadline for submission of complete applications is available on the Future Students website:

4. Advanced Credit

A student may apply for advanced credit for previous courses that have not been used to satisfy the requirements of any other degree or diploma program. See Advanced Credit.

5. Program Requirements

The PhD must include completion of the following academic requirements:

a) Core required courses:

b) A minimum of 3 units of elective credit at the graduate level that is relevant to the student's area of research, chosen in consultation with their supervisor.

c) Additional course work when recommended by the Graduate Program Director in consultation with the student's supervisor and supervisory committee.

d) A thesis proposal approved by the supervisory committee during a committee meeting.

e) A written thesis.

f) Successful completion of all examinations, as described in section 10.

Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade)

Students admitted to the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape will not be allowed to request the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for any course that is applicable to their degree; or apply any course awarded a grade of CG towards their graduation requirements.

Students may choose the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for courses outside of SAPL that permit the CG Grade and are taken extra to load.

The use of the CG grade will affect students' eligibility for internal awards.

6. Additional Requirements

Attendance at orientation for first year students is expected.

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies thesis submission requirements, all PhD students are required to submit one bound copy of the thesis (bound in standard black cloth-covered cases, bearing the author's name, title of work, year and the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape lettered in white), and one portable document format (.PDF) copy.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Not given.

8. Time Limit

Students are expected to enroll on a full-time basis and complete the degree requirements within four registration years. Maximum completion time is six registration years. See Time Limits.

9. Supervisory Assignments

At the time of admission, each student will be assigned an interim supervisor. The Graduate Program Director must approve a permanent supervisor no later than twelve months after first registration.

Within three months of confirming their supervisor, PhD students must establish, in consultation with their supervisor, a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee must include at least two members in addition to the supervisor and co-supervisor, if applicable. Of these two members, at least one must be from outside of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

10. Required Examinations

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Candidacy and Thesis Examinations, the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape requires:


Doctoral students are required to complete all candidacy requirements. For details, see SAPL Candidacy Requirements.

Thesis Examination

Final thesis oral examinations are open.

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

11. Financial Assistance

Please refer to the SAPL Funding Policy: