Doctorate in Architectural Engineering

Doctorate in Architectural Engineering

Architectural detail Bossone

The architectural engineering PhD from Drexel Engineering will engage you in learning and research at the forefront of architectural and building engineering. As a graduate, you will be prepared for a career in academia, industry or in research.

What is an Architectural Engineering PhD program?

An architectural engineering doctoral program prepares students for taking on emerging topics in today’s building designs and engineered systems. The program explores the frontiers of complex systems in buildings and for the analysis and improvement of the architectural environment of exterior and interior spaces and the related construction processes. As a student, you will address the important implications of urban planning, community development, building health and indoor air quality, sustainability and energy efficiency.

The Drexel PhD in Architectural Engineering has the following major aims:

  • Deliver education covering the breadth and depth of the most current and advanced knowledge in architectural engineering through in-depth study of a chosen subject of specialization.
  • Develop top research capabilities through discovery, faculty guidance and research training.
  • Prepare leaders in the field in careers in academia, research, and industry.

Delivery of Architectural Engineering PhD Program

  • On-campus
  • Full-time with a mix of coursework and research activities
  • The program typically takes three to five years to complete on a full-time basis

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Why choose Drexel for your PhD in Architectural Engineering?

Exterior of Bossone Research Center

As a Carnegie R1 research institution, Drexel is in the top tier of research output and one of only 34 US institutions with that designation. Drexel’s doctoral degree program in architectural engineering deepens knowledge of the building engineering design process and implementation through rigorous analysis and exploration. Students emerge prepared to take on the demands of industry, research or academia in architectural engineering and its related disciplines.

The Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering (CAEE) faculty directs thriving research that supports PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. In 2021, the department received nearly $3.5 million dollars in awards and over $3 million in research expenditures. Drexel PhD students shape the field through pioneering research that often leads to commercialization and entrepreneurship. Just in 2021 alone, the College of Engineering faculty have garnered 16 US patents, three license agreements and has produced a new startup company. 


Faculty in CAEE are experts with industry experience or are at the forefront of research and teaching. Our CAEE faculty have garnered many awards and numerous notable achievements — a few of these include:

  • Simi Hoque, PhD, Girls Inc. Strong, Smart, and Bold Honoree, 2018 and member of Board of Directors; Engaged Advocate Award, Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) WE Local Awards program, 2020 
  • James Lo, PhD, Drexel University Provost Office Faculty Summer Research Award (2020)
  • Michael Waring, PhD, National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2011);  Drexel University Faculty Office Materials and Equipment Award (2020)
  • Jin Wen, PhD, U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden (2019-2020)


The city of Philadelphia and the surrounding metro area are home to multiple industrial research and production facilities that attract advanced architectural engineering talent. Learn more.

Curriculum and Requirements

Both in research and in curriculum, the Drexel architectural engineering PhD program emphasizes a combination of fundamentals with topical specialization and interdisciplinary training.

At least 90 credits are required for the PhD degree. You will choose a doctoral thesis topic after consultation with the faculty early in the program. An oral thesis presentation and defense are scheduled at the completion of the thesis work.

For students entering the PhD program with a prior MS degree:

  • 45 credits of graduate courses out of which 18 credits are graduate courses exclusive of independent study and dissertation.

For students entering the PhD program with a BS degree without a master's degree:

  • The master’s degree is not a prerequisite for the PhD
  • 90 credits of graduate courses. 45 of these 90 credits must satisfy the MS in Architectural Engineering degree requirements.

Graduate advisors will guide your course selection and scheduling of core and elective courses. Visit the Drexel Catalog for more information or learn more about our admissions requirements.


All students in the architectural engineering PhD program engage in research as part of their degree. Candidates are encouraged to base their thesis on some aspect of faculty research.

Department research competencies touches areas of great importance to our society, including building performance, clean environment and green energy, environmental health, and indoor air quality. Funding comes from organizations such as the NSF, ASHRAE, US Department of Energy, Sloan Foundation and others.

A few examples of current faculty research covers:

  • Indoor and outdoor air quality
  • Building energy efficiency
  • Green design
  • Climate impacts for building resilience
  • Urban metabolism
  • Sustainability in construction
  • Recycled materials in geotechnics
  • Structural health monitoring
  • Evaluating impacts of energy strategies

Visit research areas for more about other research activity at the College of Engineering.

Funding Opportunities

The vast majority of incoming graduate students are funded by research assistantships, so we encourage you to contact faculty whose research interests you.

In addition, you may wish to investigate the following funding opportunities:

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