Students are required to take a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 7 years to complete their research. During their studies at Tongji University, students are required to take no more than 2 academic years to finish all taught courses, and no less than 2 years to complete their dissertation research. Any PhD student with an excellent academic record, who has completed all the course work and academic requirements in advance and has fulfilled all graduation requirements, may have their dissertation defense and graduation brought forward upon approval from the school.

In the first year of their studies students will attend a 3 week residential program in CAUP, Tongji University, Shanghai. This program will consist of 4 intensive lecture courses, a design and fabrication workshop, exhibition, conference and other associated activities. Each lecture course will last 3 days, and the workshop will last 8 days. The program will also include a series of cultural events and excursions within Shanghai. This 3 week residential program is designed to fulfill the requirements of Tongji University regarding contact hours and student workload.

During their second year students will have the chance to study under another group of illustrious professors whose names will be published in advance. As they enter their third year, upon successful completion of all course work and progress reports, students will commence their dissertation research under their agreed supervisor.


In the program, students are required to obtain a minimum of 26 credits. According to Tongji regulations, PhD students are required to complete all courses and obtain the requisite credits before midterm evaluations at the end of their second year.


All students are expected to complete their research independently under the guidance of the advisors. Research is expected to be self-directed according to the European model, with supervisory advice offered either remotely or at progress meetings. The dissertation should demonstrate that the student has fulfilled all the requirements of the doctoral program.

The dissertation proposal is to be submitted no later than the third semester. Students are expected to adhere to their dissertation proposals, once approved. If any major revisions are required, a revised proposal must be submitted for approval.

The midterm evaluation must be completed no later than the fourth semester. The purpose of this evaluation is to conduct a mid-term review of the dissertation research proposal and other outcomes of the first- phase study, based on the student’s “Research Methods Report”.

The doctoral degree dissertation is double-blind peer reviewed. The double-blind review is normally processed in 2-3 months before the formal dissertation defense, which will take place ordinarily during the summer session. In order to qualify for a doctoral degree, candidates are expected to have maintained a substantial record of publishing their research in peer review journals and presenting it at international conferences.


In order to be qualified for the application for a doctoral degree, the candidates should also have publications in related journals or present the researches in international conferences.


  • 1 MayApplication Deadline
  • 23 JuneSummer session begins
  • 23-25 JuneAchimMenges, Machine and Material Computation (1 credit)
  • 26-28 JuneNeil Leach, Towards a Theory of Digital Technology (1 credit)
  • 30 June-7 JulyDigitalFUTURES Workshops (2 credits)
  • 8 JulyDigitalFUTURES Conference
  • Invited speakers include: Philippe Block, BiaynaBogosian, Matias del Campo, BehnazFarahi, Neil Leach, Sandra Manninger, AchimMenges, Gilles Retsin, Jenny Sabin, Patrik Schumacher, Roland Snooks, Nader Tehrani, Philip F Yuan, Mike Xie

  • 9-11 July Roland Snooks, Swarm Intelligence (1 credit)
  • 12-14 JulyPatrik Schumacher, Parametricism and Autopoiesis (1 credit)
  • 15 JulySummer session closes

In addition to the lectures, workshop and conference, a series of site visits, excursions, movie screenings and cultural events will be organized during the summer residential program and online Chinese Language tutorials will be made available to fulfill certain academic requirements of the program addressing Chinese Culture and Language.

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