Program Requirements & Curriculum
The Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Design (PhD-CD) was started in the late 1960's and is among the best known in the country. From the beginning, the program has benefited from close cooperation with other units in the university, most notably the School of Computer Science and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The PhD-CD program remains one of very few research-oriented graduate programs, and concentrates on fundamental issues that arise in connection with the emergence and evolution of computers as a design and decision-making tool and medium. Its general mission is to advance the state-of-the-art in computing technology and building design and to contribute to the establishment of a rigorous foundation for its use.
Current research exploits the potential of computation in researching and developing systems, methods, and tools for design that surpass limitations inherent in more traditional media. Students in the Computational Design program are encouraged to utilize the School of Architecture's cutting-edge Digital Fabrication (dFAB) Lab, which houses a 6-Axis Mill, CNC Router, 3D Printers and much more. Principal areas of research concentration have been formal grammars applied to the analysis and generation of design, knowledge-based design systems, integrated design systems, and cognitive studies of the way designers and architects perform their tasks. Recent projects relate to building information modeling (BIM), green CAD, parametric design, and parametric fabrication.
The School of Architecture's research is recognized internationally for its rigor and interdisciplinary orientation. Sponsored research in computational design includes work funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the US Army Corps ERDC-CERL. Faculty members also conduct collaborative research through their affiliations with the Institute for Complex Engineering Systems (ICES) and other Carnegie Mellon departments.
We seek a well-prepared and qualified student body capable of undertaking this rigorous and multifaceted program. We are looking for PhD candidates who are curious, innovative, collaborative and who are not afraid to take risks. We seek visionary students who are determined to make those ideas into reality. Graduates of the program have gone on to become leaders in government, industry, and academia as researchers, software developers, designers, professors, and more.