The College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, Shanghai has now launched a groundbreaking minimal residency international PhD program in DigitalFUTURES, for which there are minimal fees. The program looks at all aspects of the digital revolution, including its impact not only on the design and fabrication of buildings, but also on the social and cultural life in our cities.

The PhD program builds upon the DigitalFUTURES program of workshops, exhibitions, conferences and publications established by Philip F. Yuan and Neil Leach in 2011. It also fits in with Dean Li’s vision for the future of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning as a college with an international outlook and with Digital Design as one of its four key areas of research and teaching.

Applications are now invited for the second intake of students. Three PhD studentships are on offer. Applications are due by 21 April 2019, and the first summer series of intensive lectures and workshops will begin on 21 June 2019.

The decision to establish the new program stems in part from the limited number of PhD programs in computational design and digital fabrication, compared to the relative proliferation of masters programs around the world. It also stems from the growing expectation for academics to hold PhD degrees. So too, it stems from the need for an affordable route to a PhD degree. But, above all, it stems from the demand for a PhD program that is flexible enough to allow those working in architectural offices or academic institutions to continue their employment while undertaking their PhD research. 

All teaching and written submissions will be in English.


Successful applicants will be eligible for a scholarship to cover 60% of fees. The remaining 40% of the fees ($2400 approximately per year) may well be covered by a further internal CAUP scholarship. Although there is no absolute guarantee of this additional scholarship, all international PhD students who have applied for this scholarship in the past have been successful. The continuation of all scholarships is conditional upon the publication of two scholarly articles each year. However, students are responsible for covering all their own personal costs (application fee, accommodation, transportation, visa etc) incurred in attending summer residential courses, subsequent progress reviews and any other necessary visits. 


The DigitalFUTURES program is a minimal residency PhD program. Students may be based anywhere in the world for the rest of the year. However, they must attend a series of intensive courses and workshops in Shanghai for approximately 3 weeks over the summer months for each of the first two years. Thereafter students must attend an annual progress review in the summer months. The registration and re-registration process will take place each year during the 3 week summer residency.


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