PhD in Building Technology
The program is open to qualified students with a suitable background in technology and a degree in engineering, science or architecture. It provides a focus for those interested in the development and application of advanced technology for buildings. Students in this program take subjects in engineering disciplines along with subjects that deal with the application of these topics to buildings.
The minimum residency requirement for the PhD degree is two years; two or three years in residence beyond the SM degree are likely to be necessary. Those entering the program with only a bachelor's degree, should plan on completing the program in five years. Candidates are expected to be registered at MIT until the PhD dissertation is completed. Only under special circumstances will students be allowed to carry out any of their research while not in residence at MIT.
Each admitted applicant immediately begins research under the supervision of a faculty member while also taking course work. Most PhD research projects will be a portion of a sponsored research project.
Each student is assigned a Building Technology faculty advisor upon admission. Generally the same faculty member also supervises the student's research. The advisor weighs in on the initial plan of study, including the selection of a major and minor field, and on each term's choice of subjects. The advisor monitors the student's progress and assists the student in selecting a dissertation committee.
Admissions for PhD in Building Technology
Candidates compete for the few places available each year in the Department of Architecture's PhD program in Building Technology. Admission is based on a careful examination of the applicant's previous academic record including relevant samples of completed academic and research work, a statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. The applicant should demonstrate superior intellectual achievement, and the ability to initiate and complete independent academic work in the Building Technology area. Successful candidates will have previous degrees in engineering or a closely related discipline.
Admissions Requirements (all applicants)
The Application Deadline is December 31 at midnight for all applications. Application material must be submitted by the deadline. Late applications will not be reviewed. It is the responsibility of the applicant to be sure that the application is completed. Applications will be reviewed using the information provided by applicants. Please do not call or email to check if official test scores have arrived. We will contact you if we do not receive them.
Three letters of recommendation. Letters from instructors are preferred unless you have been working for several years, in which case supervisors may be included. The application can be submitted with fewer than three letters, but be sure to remind your instructors to complete their letters. Applications still missing two or more letters when review begins will not be reviewed. Review the instructions for letter submission in the "Letters Status" section of the application system. Applicants will send prepared emails to the recommenders containing a secure link to the recommendation form. We prefer that letters be submitted through the online application, and not a third-party letter distributor.
Transcripts for all relevant degrees, official or unofficial, must be uploaded to the application system. PDFs must be clearly readable and oriented correctly on the screen. Only those applicants who are accepted for admission will be required to send a hard copy of an official, sealed transcript (with English translation) from each school attended. Please do not have official copies sent to our office unless you are admitted. Certificate and community college transcripts do not need to be sent unless the courses are not also listed on your primary college transcripts. Non-English transcripts must be translated into English, and if necessary, signed by a licensed notary and accompanied by the original version.
In addition to transcripts, applicants should complete the Subjects Taken section with any relevant course work. If you have taken studios, indicate this on the Test Scores/Experience/Electronic Portfolio section.
IELTS or TOEFL Score.
Applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit either an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score (Academic test) or a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), regardless of citizenship or residency in the U.S. while attending other educational institutions. No exceptions are made. The admissions committee regards English proficiency as crucial for success in all degree programs. In order to meet the admissions deadline, it is recommended that candidates take the IELTS or TOEFL on the earliest possible date.
Applicants must request that an official copy of their test results be sent directly to MIT by IELTS International or Educational Testing Service. IELTS and TOEFL Scores must be no older than two years as of the date of application. To avoid delays, please use the following codes when having your TOEFL scores sent to MIT:
- Institutional Code: 3514
- Department Code: 12
The minimum score required for MArch candidates is 7 and the minimum TOEFL score is 600 (250 for computer-based test, 100 for Internet-based test). While either test score is accepted, the IELTS score is preferred.
All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the IELTS/TOEFL requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in English as a Second Language (ESL), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required degree credits.
Curriculum Vitae, uploaded to the system.
A portfolio of work, uploaded to the application. See program-specific instructions for portfolio requirements.
An Essay of one or two pages must be uploaded to the application system. Indicate why you are applying, and describe your qualifications for the degree.
A non-refundable Application Fee of $75 USD. You will need to submit a credit card number on the Architecture Graduate Application to process this fee. If you have a financial hardship, you may apply for an Application Fee Waiver: http://gradadmissions.mit.edu/feewaiver
Submission of completed application form by the application deadline.
You may apply to two different programs within the Department of Architecture. If you are considering two programs, discuss your plans with our admissions staff to save yourself unnecessary fees. The link to apply is: http://gradapply.mit.edu/architecture/apply.
BT PhD-Specific Requirements
Graduate Record Examination
Applicants are required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. In order to meet the admissions deadline, it is recommended that candidates take the GRE on the earliest possible test date. Test scores must be no more than five years old. To avoid delays, please use the following codes when having your scores sent to MIT:
- Institution Code is 3514
- Department Code is 4401
Research papers or a portfolio of the applicant's work (maximum of 30 pages) may be uploaded to the Architecture Graduate Application to aid the admissions committee but are not required.
Interviews with faculty are recommended but not required. It is advantageous for an applicant to meet with the Building Technology faculty member whose research is most closely aligned with the applicant's interests. Faculty schedules vary, so students should contact faculty members directly at least two weeks prior to an intended visit.
Decisions and Notifications
Applicants will be notified by mail of the Department's decision by April 1. Decisions cannot be given by telephone.
Degree requirements for PhD in Building Technology
It is the student's responsibility to fill out the appropriate section of the Report of Completed BT/PhD Requirements upon completion of the requirements listed below. This document is submitted to the degree administrator and kept in the student's official departmental file. The degree administrator informs the MIT registrar when the degree requirements have been fulfilled.
The qualifying paper, which often emerges from the Building Technology Seminar (4.481), should demonstrate the student's potential for work at a high standard of scholarship. The paper must be completed and accepted by the dissertation committee before a student can continue to the general examination. Insufficiencies in the qualifying paper may require remedial subject work on the part of the student.
The PhD dissertation is a major work that makes an original scholarly contribution to the field of investigation. Most BT/PhD dissertation research will be a portion of a sponsored research project. The dissertation is the main focus of the doctoral program and the primary indicator of a PhD student's ability to carry out significant independent research. The Building Technology dissertation must result in advances in the state of the art that are worthy of publication in a respected technical journal in the field.
Approval of the dissertation topic is gained through a proposal submitted to the dissertation committee no later than the end of the second term of registration. Once the proposal has been approved, the student may register for Graduate Thesis (4.THG).
Coursework: Major and Minor Fields
Coursework is selected in consultation with the faculty advisor. A normal registration load is 36 units, which would be a combination of specific subjects and research. Though the core group of subjects will be within the department, students are encouraged to take outside subjects. Building Technology Seminar (4.481) is the only specific subject required for the degree and is taken during the student's first term. Typically a student's program will include at least five graduate subjects in the major field and three in the minor field. Preparation for Building Technology PhD Thesis (4.489) is used as registration for research until the dissertation proposal has been approved. After that point, Graduate Thesis (4.THG) is used as registration for research.
The purpose of the general examination is to determine whether the student possesses the attributes of a doctoral candidate: mastery of the disciplines of importance to building technology and ingenuity and skill in identifying and solving unfamiliar problems. The examination consists of written and oral tests in three areas and presentation of research. The research presented should be ongoing research or recently completed research carried out in Building Technology. The presentation should put the work in context, present research findings and propose future work.
Examinations are offered in January (last week of IAP) and May (the week after final exams). Students must obtain permission of their advisor to take the exam. All students must take the examination by the end of their third semester in the PhD program. Advisors of PhD students will submit to the BT faculty the proposed areas of examination for each of their students at least three months before the planned examination.
Allowable areas are listed in Table 1, Examination Areas for the Building Technology PhD Qualifying Exam. Students will be examined in three subject areas. Students may either choose one exam, each, from three different major areas such as structures or thermal science in Table 1 or they may choose two exams from one major area and the third exam from another major area. With permission of the Building Technology faculty, a student may propose one examination area that does not appear in Table1.
Students must pass the research presentation and at least two of the three subject examinations to pass the overall exam. Students who do not pass may be invited to retake portions of the exam or may be asked to terminate their enrollment in the PhD program.
A dissertation committee of three or more people, generally assembled in the first semester of registration, supervises research and writing of the dissertation. The student's advisor is always a member of the dissertation committee and typically serves as its chair. The chair must be a member of the Building Technology faculty. In special circumstances, one of the three members of the dissertation committee may be selected from outside the Department of Architecture. The student is responsible for arranging meetings with the committee at least once each term.
A final draft of the completed dissertation must be delivered to each committee member one month prior to the scheduled defense. The dissertation is presented orally in an open meeting of the faculty of the department; at least three faculty members must be present. After the presentation, the dissertation is either accepted or rejected.
The PhD is awarded after two copies of the defended, approved, archival-ready dissertation have been submitted to the Department of Architecture at its headquarters. The copies must be submitted by the Institute deadline for doctoral theses as published in the MIT Academic Calendar. Students must adhere to the Specifications for Thesis Preparation published by the Institute Archives.
Nonresident Research Status
Students are expected to carry out thesis research while in residence at the Institute. It is rare that a PhD candidate in BT will need to apply for nonresident status. However, should a student who has completed all requirements except for the dissertation need to continue thesis research in years beyond the awarded funding, he or she may opt to apply for nonresident research status with the permission of the dissertation advisor.
English Proficiency Requirement
All students whose first language is not English are required to take the English Evaluation Test (EET) prior to registration at MIT. Even students who satisfy the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language requirement for admission may be required to take specialized subjects in English as a Second Language (ESL), depending on their EET results. These subjects do not count toward the required degree credits but will prove valuable in helping students develop the skills necessary to comfortably write a dissertation. It is expected that required ESL subjects will be taken within the first year of the student’s program.