Two Ph.D. graduates standing in line at commencement ceremony. One waving to the camera.

Ph.D. in Building Construction

Ph.D. in Building Construction

The program seeks to prepare graduates to become research leaders in their respective fields. One of the strengths of the School of Building Construction graduate studies is that students can take advantage of resources in all programs in the College of Design (Architecture, Building Construction, City Planning, and Industrial Design) and elsewhere in the Institute.

Advanced Knowledge in Your Chosen Area

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Photo: School of Building Construction

Graduates typically take positions in a range of research organizations or corporations such as universities, regional, state, and local government agencies, research and development firms, and private corporations.

  • The Ph.D. enables students of exceptional ability and a keen interest in research to undertake advanced study in the field of building construction.
  • Candidates take coursework as needed to prepare for advancing the knowledge in their chosen area, culminating in a written dissertation.
  • The dissertation demonstrates that the candidate possesses powers of original thought, a talent for research, methodological capabilities to do advanced work in their chosen area, and the ability to compose and present their findings.
Master's Degree

A master's degree in one of the following fields from an accredited institution:

  • Construction
  • Civil Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Landscape Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Facility Management
TOEFL & IELTS Requirements

Institute Code: 5248
Department Code: 12

Minimum Score Required:
  • Paper-based: 600
  • Computer-based: 250
  • Internet-based: 100

For the Ph.D. program, applicants must submit either an official GRE score or a sample research paper. A sample research paper can include any one of the following in the preferred order: (1) Published journal paper, (2) Published conference paper, (3) Master's thesis, (4) Unpublished journal paper, (5) Unpublished conference paper, (6) Sole author class project.

ESSAY (included on the application)
  • Explain your professional/personal post-baccalaureate experience in building construction.
  • Describe how your academic or professional background will support you as you pursue a Ph.D.

Three letters of recommendation.

The School of Building Construction reviews applications on a rolling basis between early and late deadlines; however, it is encouraged that full applications be completed by the early deadline, especially if the applicant is interested in being considered for limited GTA/GRA funding opportunities. 

Fall Admission:

  • Early Deadline on January 15
  • Late Deadline for International applicants on April 1
  • Late Deadline for U.S. Applicants on May 1

Spring Admission:

  • Early Deadline on July 15
  • Late Deadline for International applicants on September 1
  • Late Deadline for U.S. Applicants on October 1

A minimum of 12 credit hours of concentration electives, chosen from a list of approved electives (revised every semester by the faculty in the School of Building Construction), will be required. A minimum of 9 credit hours of course work required for the minor. A minimum of 26 credit hours of thesis, including a minimum of 12 credit hours of BC 8999 Doctoral Thesis Preparation and a minimum of 14 credit hours of BC 9000 Doctoral Thesis, will be required.

Additional requirements will be established by the Ph.D. Advisor, in consultation with the BC Graduate Faculty on a case-by-case basis, to ensure each student is taking courses that can directly assist them toward gaining advanced proficiency in their chosen area of research.

The four core courses required for all students in this program are taught on a regular basis each year. Additional requirements imposed by the Ph.D. Advisor and BC Graduate Faculty are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The Ph.D. degree program will not have any other core requirements; instead, the students will take courses directly in support of their research, including elective courses.

Specific courses ensure that students develop research methods, teaching techniques, and scholarly work worthy of critical peer review. Additionally, the courses require students to be directly engaged in current intellectual debates and provide them with the methods of analysis, inquiry, and scholarship to generate meaningful and original contributions to the significant and emerging issues in the discipline. The Minor Area encourages students to individualize their course of study by focusing on an area of complementary study outside of the College of Design. These courses, along with the make-up of the Ph.D. Dissertation Committee, will also promote collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

*Some students may be required to complete a qualifying paper to demonstrate their writing and analytical skills. Students who need to complete this requirement will do so at the end of their first year of study. The School will notify students who do not demonstrate adequate writing skills of any additional requirements during the admissions process.

Program Core (13 Credit Hours)

  • BC7100: Quantitative Methods in Construction Research (3 credit hours)
  • BC7200: Advanced Readings in Building Construction (6 credit hours)
  • BC8000: Ph.D. Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • BC8100: Research Methodology (3 credit hours)

Concentration Electives (12 Credit Hours minimum)

  • To include the study of history and precedent in the field; theory and concepts and their evolution; current debate; and methods of analysis and inquiry.

Minor Field of Study (9 Credit Hours minimum)

  • To include the study of relevant history and precedent in the field; relevant theory; current debate; and methods of analysis and inquiry.

Thesis Preparation (26 Credit Hours minimum)

  • BC8999: Doctoral Thesis Preparation (12 credit hours minimum)
  • BC9000: Doctoral Thesis (14 credit hours minimum)

Total Course Requirements: 60 Credit Hours (minimum)


Develop Program of Study Before the start of the 1st semester
Core Coursework Year 1
Minor and Electives Year 1
Qualifying Paper * End of Year 1
Comprehensive Exam End of Year 2
Defend Ph.D. Proposal and Ascend to Ph.D. Candidacy Year 3
Complete and Defend Ph.D. Proposal Year 4-6

Ph.D. Academic Support

Headshot of Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi.

Pardis Pishdad-Bozorgi

Associate Professor · Ph.D. Program Director

Headshot of Kirsten McLagan.

Kirsten McLagan

Graduate Academic Advisor

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Ph.D. Advisors

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