Help solve environmental and social challenges in a stimulating, interdisciplinary environment. Discover the rewarding opportunities that are available to graduate researchers in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
You’ll join a faculty with a history of over 150 years of built environment education and research. It is structured in a way that allows for experimental and exciting research encounters. We are making design and construction more sustainable, housing more affordable and cities healthier. Our experts are from areas as diverse as (but not limited to) urban analytics, architectural humanities, design and construction management.
As built environment specialists, we teach across the disciplines of:
- landscape architecture
- urban design
- urban planning.
Our faculty has an explicit focus on applicable and engaged research, based in internationally published scholarship. We partner with major research centres and key stakeholders, locally and internationally.
As a graduate researcher, you will become a part of a thriving and diverse cohort of students. Staff and students within our disciplines come from more than 50 countries.
You will have the chance to hear from distinguished local and international guests. Our Dean’s Lecture Series and Visiting Scholars Program offer access to global perspectives. You can engage with top thinkers on the practice, and research, of the built environment.
We also provide graduate research degree candidates with:
- opportunities for enrichment, including research methods training and thesis writing workshops
- career networking and skills development
- funding to support fieldwork, conference travel and publication costs
- a high level of support from academic and research administration staff, tailored to your needs.
Learn how we’re making a difference
Graduate researchers in our faculty engage with industry, policymakers and the community. This collaboration helps to achieve real-world outcomes, and encourages a broad and multidisciplinary focus. We carry out innovative research into the past, present and future of built and natural environments.
We researched the effect of design on children in healthcare and wellbeing settings. This project led to resources to assist architects and government agencies to provide more supportive care environments for children and their families.
We determined how to design safe streets that prevent injuries. Together with Columbia University and the Barcelona Institute of Global Health, we analysed 1700 cities worldwide. The outcomes promote better data-based urban design for fewer road accidents.
We’ve worked alongside schools to evaluate learning spaces. The research findings then informed the re-design of these spaces across different school systems and hundreds of schools. We collaborated with the State Government of Victoria and independent schools organisations.
We’ve promoted greater attention for urban equality in planning and policymaking in cities around the world. To achieve this, we teamed up with the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at University College London, one of more than 10 international partners.
This is only a snapshot of research in architecture, building and planning. We’re continuing to push the boundaries of built environment inquiry, on a global scale.
To learn about current and past projects, visit the research projects page.
The Burden: the Paradox of Space (Audrey Cavalera)
Explore the research
Research hubs, centres and institutes
The faculty hosts research groups that bring together internationally recognised experts. They are leaders in built environment research across a variety of areas.
- Australian Centre for Architectural History, Urban and Cultural Heritage – specialising in historical and cultural analysis of the built environment
- Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network – focusing on spatial analysis and datasets of Australia’s cities
- Connected Cities Lab – working with international partners on the key drivers of urban development and city leadership
- Informal Urbanism Research Hub – focusing on the informal side of cities
- Learning Environments Applied Research Network to understand and improve the way learning and built environment intersect
- Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute – convening the University’s collaboration on sustainability and resilience
- Thrive Research Hub – focusing on the interplay of buildings and ecosystems
- Transport, Health and Urban Design Research Hub – driving research on wellbeing in cities, via urban analytics.
Our research directions address the University’s three broad research grand challenges: to understand our place and purpose, to foster health and wellbeing, and to support sustainability and resilience. Our research directions include:
- Architectural and Urban Past
- Cultural and Sustainable Landscapes
- Data and Value
- Design and Creative Research
- Future Cities
- Healthy Communities and Infrastructure
- Indigenous Place
- Practice and Construction Innovation
To learn about current and past projects, visit our research projects page.
Partner with an overseas institution
Current funded Joint PhD opportunities
When you undertake a Joint PhD, you are supervised by academics from two institutions. As well as the University of Melbourne, you can partner with an international institution. This means your research will benefit from a truly global perspective. And you will enhance your prospects for an international research career.
We are currently offering the following fully funded Joint PhD opportunities within the theme of architecture, building and design:
- Two fully funded positions undertaking a comparative study of housing creative workers in Shanghai and Melbourne, with Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China)
- Two fully funded positions in data and tools for improving the environmental performance of buildings and cities, with KU Leuven (Belgium)
Work with experts from other disciplines
Hallmark Research Initiatives
As a graduate researcher, you will have the chance to engage with the University’s Hallmark Research Initiatives. These initiatives support the development of multidisciplinary research. They are led by key staff from across the University.
The Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning is involved in several of these, including:
- Affordable Housing – facilitating research into the quality and sustainability of housing. It brings together researchers from a large range of disciplines.
- BioInspiration – exploring how knowledge of biology can be used to respond to technological and design challenges. It brings together researchers in science, engineering and design.
- Creativity and Wellbeing – investigating the relationship between creativity and wellbeing, and the impact of creativity across the lifespan. This initiative brings together researchers from seven faculties.
- Economic and Social Participation – investigating the accessibility of social, economic and political institutions.
Melbourne Interdisciplinary Research Institutes
Our interdisciplinary research institutes strengthen and spark interdisciplinary research at the University. They connect industry, governments and communities in areas of importance to society.
The faculty hosts the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. This Institute solves challenges of climate change, water and food, with cross-faculty ‘clusters’ focused on future cities and climate. It also hosts the City of Melbourne Professorial Chair in Urban Innovation and Resilience, in partnership with the University and the city.
Other institutes involving architecture, building and planning include:
- Melbourne Energy Institute – investigating how to transition to a low carbon energy system
- Melbourne Disability Institute – improving the social and economic wellbeing of people with disability
- Melbourne Social Equity Institute – addressing disadvantage across health, education, housing, culture, work and transport.
Multidisciplinary PhD Programs
PhD Programs enrich your core PhD studies. They create the opportunity to extend your networks beyond your own faculty. Through these programs, you can also attend seminars and workshops with researchers from other relevant disciplines.
Explore multidisciplinary research initiatives
Using design to build resilience in bushfire-prone areas
Researchers have developed nine principles to help urban planners, emergency services and communities work together to reduce fire risk.
The Affordable Housing initiative is working across disciplines to create new insights into the supply of affordable housing
Explore the University’s multidisciplinary research programs for graduate researchers. Collaborations include PhD programs, institutes and centres.
Work in a stimulating environment
Melbourne School of Design
You will be based in an inspiring building that enables multidisciplinary engagement. It also supports the exploration of complex built environment issues.
Graduate researchers have dedicated spaces to study and work. You can access contemporary facilities within our building and across campus to support your research. These include the faculty’s FabLab, NeXT Lab, Makerspace and MicroStudio.
When you research with us, you’ll be in the heart of Australia’s leading scientific and cultural precincts. All of these will inform your research within the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
Opening in 2024, our new engineering and design campus at Fishermans Bend will bring research to life at an industrial scale. Purpose-built facilities will allow researchers and students to collaborate with industry to tackle real-world challenges. Together, we will turn groundbreaking ideas into market-ready solutions. And we will create a globally connected and thriving public realm in the heart of Fishermans Bend.
See industry and research precincts to learn more about scientific, cultural and entrepreneurial precincts close to our campuses.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our graduate researchers have temporarily transitioned to a ‘virtual campus’. We are still accepting enquiries and applications for graduate research in 2021. The University is planning a gradual, phased and safe return to our physical campus, in line with government guidelines.
- Search for a supervisor in your field of research.
- Find out more about international applications or domestic applications.
- Explore the Melbourne School of Design website to learn more about research in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
- Read about the latest research findings in design.
Discover the University of Melbourne’s new world-class engineering and design innovation hub at Fishermans Bend.
Current Indigenous research initiatives
Discover why Indigenous research is a priority for the University. Share knowledge and improve outcomes in health, education, employment and housing.