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Post-professional programs

M.Arch. (Post-professional), Ph.D.

  1. Introduction
  2. Programs
  3. History and Theory of Architecture
  4. Cultural Mediations and Technology
  5. Urban Design and Housing
  6. PhD (Architecture)
  7. Fellowships and Financial Aid (also see Scholarships, Prizes and Fees)
 

 

Introduction

The School of Architecture at McGill University offers a post-professional Master of Architecture program and a Ph.D. program for study beyond the professional degree in architecture. These programs have been conceived to respond to the needs of graduates with some professional experience who wish to acquire more specialized knowledge in architecture. The M.Arch. (Post-professional) programs reflect a McGill tradition of academic inquiry and research, and provide an opportunity for a select number of students and staff to work together. The programs are organized in such a way as to meet the needs of the professional practitioner and the researcher, and are intended to extend traditional architectural education as well as address new issues.


Programs: M.Arch. (Post-professional) and Ph.D.

The School of Architecture offers post-professional graduate programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Architecture (Post-professional) degrees. Each of the post-professional programs reflects McGill's tradition of advanced academic inquiry and research, and is structured to meet the needs of both the practicing professional and the researcher.

 

The three main areas of study are the History and Theory of Architecture, Culture + Media, and Urban Design and Housing.

  • History and Theory of Architecture: Teaching and research concentrates on the exploration and understanding of the complex connections between history, theory, design and interdisciplinary concerns, particularly in the areas of philosophy and epistemology.
  • Cultural Mediations and Technology: Cultural Mediations and Technology is a platform for inquiry into architecture as a mode of cultural production and media environment. Students in this option study architecture using concepts and theories from the history of architecture and from other fields, including social sciences, material culture, visual culture, and media and technology studies. It encourages transdisciplinary research methods for investigations into spatial practices. The option takes a broad view of what counts as architecture, with attention to the varied roles of the architect within such an expanded field.
  • Urban Design and Housing: Urban Design emphasizes the acquisition of skills pertaining to the analysis and design of the built environment, whether in existing urban districts or in newly-built areas. Our Urban Design component has a strong commitment to reflexive practice, to conducting research that can inform and improve design quality, to involving those who are affected by city design decisions, and to promoting a long-range perspective on the consequences of actions that shape the urban environment. The Housing component is comprised, historically, of two streams: Affordable Homes and Minimum Cost Housing. Affordable Homes focuses on the knowledge and design skills necessary to understand the relationship between the architect and the external forces that influence the production of affordable housing in North America. Minimum Cost Housing addresses problems and devises philosophies of shelter in developing countries.

 

Requirements for the Master of Architecture (Post-professional)

The Post-Professional Master's program is open to applicants who have a professional degree in architecture. Students holding a B.Arch. or the M.Arch. (Professional) degree or an equivalent professional qualification, with a CGPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale, are eligible for admission to the graduate programs. In special cases, applicants with a degree in a related field may be considered. The primary requirement for the M.Arch. post-professional program is 30 credits of course work, completed in the first two terms, and a 15-credit project report that is completed during the summer. The residence requirement for the M.Arch. (Post-professional) degree is three consecutive academic semesters (September to December; January to April; May to August) leading to a degree in twelve months.

The statement of research interest is a key component of the application. Applicants should include a clear description of their research interest, as well as a detailed explanation of why they wish to study at McGill University’s School of Architecture.

 

Requirements for the Ph.D. in Architecture

Candidates with high standing in McGill's M.Arch. (Post-professional) options, or those who hold an equivalent degree from another university, are eligible to apply to the doctoral program. The primary requirement for the Ph.D. is an original thesis that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field of architecture; the minimum residence requirement is three years.

The research proposal is a key component of the application. Ph.D. applicants should include a clear, four-page description of their research topics, as well as a detailed explanation of why they wish to study at McGill University’s School of Architecture. Ideally, the proposal should also name the potential advisor and articulate the relationship between the proposed dissertation research and the scholarship of the faculty member.



History and Theory of Architecture

(Website)

 

Faculty: Martin Bressani, Ricardo Castro, Alberto Pérez-Gómez
Frequent visitors: Louis Brillant, Marco Frascari, David Leatherbarrow, Stephen Parcell, Louise Pelletier

The History and Theory option is concerned with the reconciliation of ethics and poetics in architectural practice. The Master’s curriculum, which in most cases is also a required foundation year for a Ph.D. in the field, is simple in terms of course requirements, but demanding in terms of personal commitment to reading and writing. It is particularly suited to students with a professional background in architecture who want to explore and understand the complex connections between history, theory, and design. A thorough understanding of architecture as a cultural phenomenon, leading to a more serious definition of its true essence as it appears in history, is now regarded as crucial by practitioners and teachers who wish to come to terms with the present predicaments of architecture vis-à-vis the contradictions of the contemporary world.

The course of studies consists of two sequences of seminars in architectural history and theory (4 courses), a seminar course in critical writing, and a final project. Proficiency in spoken English and written English or French are requirements for admission.

Architectural theory is viewed not as methodology but as philosophical orientation. Crucial issues of contemporary culture are explored through readings of phenomenology and continental European philosophy. Key notions in architecture, such as technology, perception, theory and practice, meaning and symbolization, and the nature of history, are discussed through the presentation of carefully selected readings. The second theory seminar is dedicated to the exploration of nineteenth-century architectural theory and practice in Europe and North America.

The two history seminars examine architectural intentions, particularly through primary sources in the form of treatises, starting with pre-classical Greece and finishing in the nineteenth century. The questions addressed are always placed in the context of a worldview through a “hermeneutical” method, and are, therefore, related to the clarification of real problems facing architecture in the modern world. History is not seen as an independent or gratuitous discipline conveying neutral or specialized information, but understood as the only authentic ground for theory and practical reason in the making of architecture. Students are expected to make oral presentations to the seminar group and to produce a scholarly paper based on personally selected topics.

All graduate students entering the program must audit two lecture courses coordinated with the history seminars, Architectural Intentions from Vitruvius to the Renaissance and Origins of Modern Architecture.

A project preparation course during the second semester culminates in a summer project that represents the total workload during the third and last semester of studies. Reviews are enhanced by the presence of external critics. The project is thematic and aims to engage urban issues critically, raising questions of architectural program, form and representation. Projects pursue the notion of inquiry through design, the poetics of making and imagination. Students are expected to produce a final document including their critical project and the three major papers produced for their seminars. Course descriptions for the Masters/Ph.D. foundation year may be found at www.mcgill.ca/architecture-theory/curriculum/masters/. For further scholarly work in the area of History and Theory, the School offers a research-based Ph.D. (see the following section on Ph.D.).

McGill University’s History and Theory of Architecture option has a long-standing international reputation. Students are able to draw from the wide-ranging expertise of the faculty of the School and the University. McGill’s Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art which includes the John Bland Canadian Architecture Collection is one of the best in Canada for this specialty. The course of studies is further enriched by the presence of distinguished visitors, which have included architects, theoreticians, historians and philosophers such as Juhani Pallasmaa, Dalibor Vesely, George Hersey, Karsten Harries, David Levin, Edward Casey and Richard Kearney, among others. The program is greatly enhanced by the proximity of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, a unique institution that attracts internationally recognized scholars and with which the program works in close collaboration. The multiple resources of the Centre’s library and archival collections are available for students doing thesis research.

Required Courses

Course Credits
ARCH 650 Arch History Seminar 1 8
ARCH 651 Arch History Seminar 2 8
ARCH 652 Architectural Theory Seminar 1 4
ARCH 653 Architectural Theory Sem 2 4
ARCH 622 Critical Writing 3
ARCH 623 Project Preparation 3
ARCH 624 History & Theory Project 15
Total 45




Cultural Mediations and Technology

 

The Cultural Mediations and Technology M.Arch. option will not be offered in 2015-2016.

 

Faculty: Annmarie Adams, Martin Bressani, Robert Mellin, Aaron Sprecher, Ipek Türeli

Cultural Mediations and Technology is a platform for inquiry into architecture as a mode of cultural production and media environment. Students in this option study architecture using concepts and theories from the history of architecture and from other fields, including social sciences, material culture, visual culture, and media and technology studies. It encourages transdisciplinary research methods for investigations into spatial practices. The option takes a broad view of what counts as architecture, with attention to the varied roles of the architect within such an expanded field.

 

 

Required Courses

Course Credits
ARCH 684 Contemporary Theory 1 4
ARCH 685 Contemporary Theory 2 4
ARCH 627 Research Methods for Arch 4
ARCH 623 Project Preparation 3
ARCH 629 CM&T Research Report 15
Complementaries/Electives (approved by advisor) 15
Total 45



Urban Design and Housing

Faculty: Vikram Bhatt, Avi Friedman, Nik Luka

(Website)

The UDH program enables students who have already completed a professional degree in Architecture to develop specialised skills for contemporary practice in housing, urban design, and the management of human settlements. The 12-month program comprises three consecutive terms of coursework. Intensive seminars held during the first two terms focus on contemporary theory and research methods in urban design and housing. Students take ARCH 603 (Urban Design + Housing Studio) as an applied synthesis of the material discussed in the two core seminars. Nine credits of complementary coursework round out the fall and winter terms along with ARCH 623 (Project Preparation), in which students develop the strategy for a major independent project (ARCH 632, Urban Design and Housing Research Report) to be completed in the summer term.

Required Courses (21 credits)

Course Credits
ARCH 602 Housing Seminar 4
ARCH 603 Urban Design & Housing Studio 6
ARCH 604 Urban Design Seminar 4
ARCH 623 Project Preparation 3
ARCH 627 Research Methods for Arch 4
Total 21

 

Research Report (15 credits)

Course Credits
ARCH 632 UD&H Research Report 15

 

Complementary Courses (9 credits)

Group A

6 to 9 credits from the following:

Course Credits
ARCH 514 Community Design Workshop 4
ARCH 517 Sustainable Residential Dev 3
ARCH 520 Montreal: Urban Morphology 3
ARCH 521 Structure of Cities 3
ARCH 529 Housing Theory 3
ARCH 562 Innovative Homes & Communities 3
ARCH 564 Design for Development 3
ARCH 566 Cultural Landscapes Seminar 3

Group B

0 to 3 credits from any courses at the 500-level or higher, approved by an advisor.




Ph.D. in Architecture

Our Ph.D. is a research-based degree, with a primary requirement of an original dissertation that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field of architecture. The minimum residence requirement is three years. Every year only a few students are accepted into the Ph.D. program, which means that all incoming Ph.D. candidates compete for places as Ph.D.2 students. The most qualified students enter into their first research seminar in September.

Entrance Requirements

Candidates with high standing in McGill's M.Arch. (Post-professional), or those who hold an equivalent degree from another university, are eligible to apply to this program. The primary requirement for the Ph.D. is an original thesis that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the field of architecture; the minimum residence requirement is three years.

The research proposal is a key component of the application. Ph.D. applicants should include a clear, four-page description of their research topics, as well as a detailed explanation of why they wish to study at McGill University’s School of Architecture. Ideally, the proposal should also name the potential advisor and articulate the relationship between the proposed dissertation research and the scholarship of the faculty member.

Residence Requirements

The residence requirement is six full-time terms, but for students who hold a McGill M.Arch. (Post-professional) degree, this requirement is reduced to four full-time terms.

Advisory Committee

Each Ph.D. candidate works with a specially selected advisory committee. The Committee has three members: the research director, an internal member (from within the School of Architecture) and an external member (from outside the School, but not necessarily outside the University) who is a specialist in the area of research. The research director will chair the Committee. Its function is to indicate additional courses (where required), evaluate the student in the comprehensive oral exam, and periodically to review the student's progress in the program. The Committee is appointed when the thesis advisor has approved the dissertation proposal (301-700).

In addition, an elective Ph.D. seminar is usually offered. This seminar is designed around students' research topics, and provides enriching feedback by professors, other advanced students and distinguished guests.

Language Requirements

There is no specific second language requirement. However, students are expected to study and possess a reading knowledge of the language(s) appropriate to their area of research before presenting their comprehensive examination (ARCH 701). In certain cases, the research director may recommend that the student fulfil a language examination requirement.

Required Courses

ARCH 700 Dissertation Proposal
ARCH 701 Comprehensive Oral Examination
ARCH 702 Progress Report 1
ARCH 703 Progress Report 2

 

ARCH 700
Dissertation Proposal: Evaluation of research proposals to finalize a preliminary thesis proposal. Development of a comprehensive framework for the research project.

ARCH 701
Comprehensive Oral Examination: Presentation of research to an Advisory Committee, including a comprehensive review of material in the field.

ARCH 702
Progress Report 1: Research in progress and the writing of the dissertation.

ARCH 703
Progress Report 2: Final presentation of the dissertation to the committee.

Dissertation Examination
An internal examiner and an external examiner must both accept the dissertation before the student may defend his or her work at a formal oral examination. Every doctoral dissertation at McGill must represent an original contribution to the field of research.

Doctoral Oral Examination
Once the dissertation is accepted, the student must submit to an oral defence before a committee. The committee is usually composed of two faculty members of the School of Architecture including the research director, an external expert other than the external examiner, the director of the School, and others who may be appointed by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.


Fellowships and financial aid

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Fellowships and Awards

Students accepted to the Post-professional Masters and Ph.D. programs will automatically be considered by the School of Architecture Fellowships Committee for any awards available in that admission year. Registered Ph.D. and Masters students who are planning to pursue doctoral studies and meet the university’s eligibility requirements are encouraged to apply for a SSHRC Fellowship. Information on SSHRC funding can be found at: www.mcgill.ca/gps/students/fellowships/sshrc.

Differential Fee Waivers are restricted to international graduate students at McGill University whose visa status requires them to pay full international tuition fees. A few waivers are available each year to Masters students and are awarded to eligible students nominated by the department on the basis of academic merit (Summer term only). There are no application forms as all eligible students are automatically considered. Please note that there is no guarantee of being selected for a fee waiver.

School of Architecture Awards and Teaching Assistantships

The School of Architecture offers a small number of awards to both entering and registered students. Entrance awards are based on academic merit. There are no application forms, as all applicants are automatically considered.

A number of teaching assistantships are also offered by the School to students enrolled in the Masters or Ph.D. programs. Positions are posted on the bulletin board opposite the reception desk in the main office (Room 201) in late August (for the Fall term) and in November (for the Winter term). The appointment process is handled by the Administrative Officer of the School, in Room 204.

Since sources of funding are limited, applicants are strongly urged to seek support from aid agencies and foreign governments.

For a full listing of fellowships and awards, please click here.


Application procedures

The deadline for Post-Professional M.Arch. and Ph.D. applicants is JANUARY 15.

It is important to note that the Cultural Mediations and Technology M.Arch. option will not be offered in 2015-2016.

For detailed instructions on how to apply and how to upload required supporting documents in McGill’s new online application system (uApply), please see: http://www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/prepare.

The Post-Professional Masters program begins in September and is 12 months (three semesters) in duration (September – December; January – April; and May – August). Because of the sequence of courses, it is impossible to admit students in our programs during the Winter term.

To apply, the following items are required:

1. Application (Online)

Please complete and submit an online web application at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.

2. Application fee

A non-refundable application fee of CAD$104.86 is required, payable by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) after completing the online application.

3. Curriculum Vitae

4. Transcripts

Applicants are required to upload unofficial transcripts of all universities previously attended. If you are recommended for admission you will later be required to supply official transcripts. Transcripts in languages other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation provided by the institution issuing the transcript or by a certified translator.

Please refer to the following webpages:

5. Electronic letters of reference

Two confidential letters of reference are required for your application. Once you have identified your referees (you must provide a valid institutional e-mail address for each referee), McGill will send them an e-mail asking for a reference in support of your application (Gmail or Yahoo domains cannot be accepted).  Additionally, uploaded letters must be on university or company/business stationery and the referee must indicate his/her position and full contact information at the institution.

Please refer to the following webpage: http://www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/prepare/checklist/documents.

6. Statement of research interest (Post-professional M.Arch.) or Research proposal (Ph.D.)

Statement of research interest / Post-professional M.Arch. applicants: a one-page statement of research objectives indicating the option chosen and the reasons for that choice. Applicants should include a clear description of their research interest, as well as a brief explanation of why they wish to study at McGill University’s School of Architecture.

Or:

Research proposal / Ph.D. applicants: a four-page research proposal, as well as a detailed explanation of why and with whom they wish to study at McGill University’s School of Architecture.

7. Portfolio

A digital portfolio (pdf format) of not more than 15 MB must be submitted containing at least five examples of the applicant's work. Doctoral applicants should submit evidence of research accomplishments, which could, in some cases, replace the portfolio requirement.

8. Writing sample (Post-professional M.Arch.) or Written work (Ph.D.)

Writing sample / Post-professional M.Arch. applicants: a recent sample of the applicant’s written work, on any topic (not necessarily within the desired field of graduate study) and not necessarily previously submitted for evaluation or publication.

Or:

Written work / Ph.D. applicants:  a sample of the applicant’s written work, drawn from essays, papers, or other work previously submitted for academic evaluation or publication, and falling within the desired field of graduate study.

9. Proof of English language proficiency

Applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized Canadian institution (anglophone or francophone), must submit documented proof of competency in oral and written English. Before acceptance, appropriate exam results must be submitted directly from the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) Office. An institutional version of the TOEFL is not acceptable. Applications will not be considered if a TOEFL or IELTS test result is not available. For the TOEFL, a minimum score of 567 is required on the paper-based test (PBT), or a minimum overall score of 86 with each component score (i.e. reading, writing, speaking, listening) not less than 20 is required on the internet-based test (iBT). (The TOEFL Institution Code for McGill University is 0935.) For the IELTS, a minimum overall band score of 6.5 is required. Please refer to the webpage: www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/prepare/requirements/proficiency.

Submission deadline

The deadline for submission of your online application and all supporting documents (curriculum vitae, statement of research interest or research proposal, letters of reference, unofficial transcripts, e-portfolio, writing sample or written work, and a TOEFL/IELTS score [if required]) is January 15.

Recommended applicants will be notified by Graduate Studies to provide official documents. For information on sending official documents: http://www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply/ready/uapply/submit/send.

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TO APPLY, CLICK HERE.

 

Questions should be addressed to:

M.Arch. (Post-professional)
Ms. Marcia King, Graduate Secretary
Tel. 514 398 6700
Fax 514 398 7372
postprofmaster [dot] architecture [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)

Or:

Ph.D.
Ms. Wambui Kinyanjui, Ph.D. Program Administrator
(replacing Luciana Adoyo)
Tel. 514 398 6716
Fax 514 398 7372
phd [dot] architecture [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)