The doctorate in architecture

Master International urban planning and studies

DSA post-graduate architect-urbanist degree
DSA Architecture and heritage (Ensa Paris-Belleville)
DSA Architecture and urban project, option “Territorial architecture”

The doctorate in architecture

The doctorate in architecture is training for and through research. It is based on the Joint Research Unit, which receives students into its teams and provides them with the appropriate framework. This system was made possible by a pioneering initiative in which the ACS and IPRAUS teams played a decisive part: the creation of the pre-doctoral 'Architectural and Urban Project' course which, between 1992 and 2005, ensured architecture research training for numerous French and foreign students and culminated in PhD's for over a hundred of them.

The research units linked to the schools of architecture have enabled the development of a specifically architectural field of research aimed at enhancing knowledge of spatial systems and the processes of design, production and transformation of buildings and urbanised territories. 

The doctoral programme is now part of a new dynamic resulting from move by the National Schools of Architecture to the Bachelor-Masters-Doctorate system and the subsequent consolidation of the PhD in architecture. The programme is notable for the great diversity of its objectives, which bear not only on sensory, ambience-inflected approaches to inhabited spaces, but also on the use of models and simulation tools; urban typo-morphological studies with heritage and project implications; approaches involving citizen use of and relationship with the city; and recent socio-economic and environmental issues and their incorporation into the project process.

Doctoral studies take place in two schools:

- The 'Cities, Transport and Territories' school (ED 528), to which are attached the Paris-Belleville, Paris-Malaquais and Marne-la-Vallée architecture schools. This link with the doctoral school and the Université Paris-Est Community of Universities and Establishments highlighted demonstrated by the Unit's participation in the City hub and the Urban Futures excellence laboratory. This group of research bodies is aiming at becoming a world authority on architectural and urban questions through its combination of fundamental and applied research.

- The 'Geography of Paris' doctoral school (ED 434), to which is attached the AHTTEP research team from the Paris-La Villette School of Architecture. Since the beginning of the 2013–2014 academic year the doctoral students supervised by the team's research directors enrol for a PhD in Geography at Université de Paris 1, majoring in  Architecture, the City and the Environment.

By July 2015, 39 doctorates had been taken out by members of the Joint Research Unit; 51 theses were in progress within the Unit, 8 in co-tutelle and 8 in co-supervision contexts.


Christine Belmonte
01 53 38 50 60

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Master International urban planning and studies

This program is designed to prepare students for careers in urban and regional planning through the multi-disciplinary exchange of skills and perspectives on cities in developed, transitional, emerging and developing countries.

At the heart of the curriculum is a core set of common courses, planning studios and pratical activities. In addition, two optional tracks corresponding to two types of international spaces, allow students to explore urban questions according to their professional and scholarly interests :

Europe and more specifically, issues and practices at stake in Urban Regeneration and City Planning
Cities of the Global South / emerging countries.
An objective of this program is to train students who intend to work abroad or in international institutions and structures, as well as those who wish to accredit their expertise in international and/or European issues.

Overall, the goal of the international track is threefold: 1) to expose students to the issues and developments at stake in metropolization and globalization, 2) to generate capacity in the comparative analysis of globalized cities, and 3) to acquire professional skills and capacity oriented toward international structures, policies and projects. Working internationally calls for a particular knowledge-base and competencies. As such, this professional field requires mastering an understanding of the broad and complex context of actors involved in producing, operating and financing the city.

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DSA post-graduate architect-urbanist degree

The 'DSA' post-graduate architect-urbanist degree is intended for qualified architects and landscapers wishing to specialise in the field of public space design, urban projects and territories.

The course is largely devoted to prospectively oriented projects designed in response to actual commissions from territorial governments, public institutions and private bodies. This pedagogical emphasis means that students can deal directly with the concerns and requirements of a 'real' client – an elected representative, a director of town planning, the head of a semi-public company, etc. – in terms of redevelopment of high-rise housing estates, regeneration of old neighbourhoods, improvements to such major infrastructures as roads, freeways and ports, densification of suburban localities, conversion of brownfield and railway sites, and the designing of public spaces on a scale extending from the single street to extensive landscapes, and so on.

Once a month the urban and territorial project workshop gives way to thematic workshops involving numerous experts, researchers and other professionals, or to study tours within France and abroad.

Created by Yves Lion in 2005 at the School of Architecture in Marne-la-Vallée, the 'DSA' post-graduate architect-urbanist degree is now directed by Éric Alonzo and Frédéric Bonnet.

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DSA Architecture and heritage (Ensa Paris-Belleville)

This course examines the conservation, restoration and valorisation of architectural, urban and landscape architecture. It is designed to provide students with the capacity to intervene at every level of granularity on existing architecture, in order to objectively select the stance most suitable for a proposed transformation programme, be it a question of conserving or restoring a major historical work, of simply adapting an old building for a new purpose, or of adding new extensions to an existing building.

Students acquire an understanding of all phases of diagnosis, study, project creation, management of works and relations with contractors, with a view to enabling them to coordinate all of the actors, economists, historians, archaeologists, engineers, landscapers, legal advisors, art critics and general public in the pre-defined field, as well as taking charge of works in all areas of heritage.

The programme focuses on the analysis of architectural and urban works from the second half of the 19th century and the 20th century, periods during which the city of Paris, its suburbs and the region as a whole underwent major changes and hence became the huge metropolis we know today.

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DSA Architecture and urban project, option “Territorial architecture”

(Ensa Paris-Belleville).

The aim of the course is to examine issues of spatial planning and urbanism from the point of view of territorial architecture, i.e. through the acquisition of skills which provide a “spatial understanding of territory”. This involves considering morphologies, the ability to analyse and interpret territorial formations and spatial dynamics in order to reflect on the future of metropolitan territories.

The course focuses on two areas: the Paris metropolis and the cities of Asia-Pacific. The question of transport and mobility, transversal to the course, provides an entry point for metropolitan issues.

The subjects covered in the course were determined by Ipraus and UMR AUSser on the basis of past and current research: Architecture des territoires Predit-MEEDDAT research programmes, international competitions for ideas for the Plateau de Saclay, Architecture à Grande.

Echelle-BRAU-MCC, Consultation Internationale Grand Paris.

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