University of Calgary launches new Doctor of Design program

The University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL) is launching a doctoral program which is the first in Canada that specifically focuses on practicing architects, planners, and landscape architects, according to the university.

Photo Courtesy of University of Calgary School of Architecture Planning and Landscape

The Doctor of Design (DDes) is open to mid-career professionals with at least five years of work experience to leverage their existing expertise into new areas of innovation.

“The climate crisis, social inequality, and the digital revolution of smart cities, computational design, and robotic fabrication are rewriting the way cities are being designed, built, and operated. This creates enormous opportunities for architects, planners, and landscape architects to expand their practice, increase their value to clients, and make a bigger and more positive impact in the world,” says Dr. John L. Brown, SAPL Dean.

DDes graduates will use their research to create competitive advantages and clearly articulate their value proposition to clients and the broader public.

The Doctor of Design additionally provides a terminal academic credential for design-professionals interested in applying for post-secondary teaching positions.

“Mid-career professionals have the experience to identify and capitalize on these opportunities but often need a framework to help bring these ideas to life. Our new DDes program is a place for motivated professionals to develop their particular response to these opportunities and get them ‘project-ready’ for integration into practice,” says Brown.

The DDes is a practice-focused and design-based initiative, where students develop a work-integrated research program centered on an enquiry emerging from their experience and insights.

Three required courses offered in a blended distance-learning format help guide students through the early stages of their research. Twice a year, all DDes students gather for a four-day research symposium to present the progress of their research work in a ‘studio-crit’ format.

In between symposia, students work remotely with their supervisors to continue developing their projects. The degree is completed with a written thesis document, gallery exhibition, and public defense conducted during one of the research symposia.

“We designed the DDes to specifically accommodate the needs of active professionals who want to explore a particular innovation or practice insight that can elevate their practice to a new level,” says Brown. “The structure of the program allows students from around the world to complete the degree while remaining embedded in their professional offices. The semi-annual symposia, held in Calgary over long weekends in the spring and fall, are important and exciting opportunities for students to share their work and learn from each other.”

Applications are now being accepted for Fall 2020 program start; the deadline for applications is February 1, 2020.

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