Auburn to launch state’s first doctorate program in building construction during fall semester

Published: June 25, 2020
Updated: June 29, 2020
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The McWhorter School of Building Science in Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction, or CADC, this fall will welcome the first group of building construction doctoral students in the state of Alabama when the semester begins on Aug. 17.

The start of the doctoral program—which is one of only seven such programs in the country—aligns the terminal degree of the McWhorter School of Building Science with comparable graduate programs in building construction/construction management—like the University of Florida, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and Purdue University—across the nation.

The doctorate in building construction is a research-based degree focused on the generation of new knowledge through innovative exploration of theory, development of creative perspectives and applications of new technologies to address the challenges of creating and maintaining a sustainable built environment. It emphasizes original, interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary scholarship in key and emerging areas of building construction.

The degree will be suited for students and professionals interested in advancing their knowledge and skills in the areas of high-performance buildings, n-D modeling and simulation of building construction processes, sustainable construction, integrated project delivery, facilities maintenance and management and innovative construction education.

“The Ph.D. program will create opportunities for the school to bring funded research from key funding agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Construction Industry Institute that have a Ph.D. program requirement for large research grants,” said Salman Azhar, chair of graduate programs in the McWhorter School of Building Science.

This program differs from traditional doctoral programs in civil engineering because of the McWhorter School’s close association with the allied design disciplines housed in the other CADC schools, specifically, architecture and industrial design. This association has contributed to a focus on the high-tech visualization and modeling of construction processes and products that makes the McWhorter program unique among other academic offerings in the construction field.

The average time to complete the doctoral degree is three years, and the program requires 62 semester hours of graduate course work beyond the bachelor’s degree. Students may take more or less time, depending on their academic background, number of graduate courses taken and/or area of research.

Graduates with a master’s degree in building construction, construction management, built environment, architecture, architectural engineering, civil engineering or a related field with a grade-point average of 3.00 or better are eligible for the program. The program requires evidence of GRE examination and some relevant industry and/or research experience, and participants must meet residency requirements that include full-time enrollment while physically being on campus during their studies when outlined by university guidelines.

The College of Architecture, Design and Construction embraces the land grant mission of Auburn University by actively seeking ways to address and anticipate the critical issues of the region, the nation, and the world. The College's highly regarded programs in architecture, industrial design, landscape architecture, construction management and real estate development as well as unique off-campus programs such as Rural Studio, Urban Studio, futures studio and the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Program expand the boundaries of the classroom and offer an unmatched educational experience.