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.
We undertake applicable and impactful research in partnership with major research centres and key stakeholders, locally and internationally. As built environment specialists, our expertise includes (but is not limited to) all aspects of:
- construction management
- landscape architecture
- urban analytics
- urban design
- urban planning.
We carry out innovative research into the past, present and future of built and natural environments.
As a graduate researcher, you will work with expert supervisors and access outstanding research training opportunities to achieve your research goals. You will be part of a thriving and diverse cohort and can collaborate on broader research opportunities through our research units.
You will also have the chance to hear from distinguished local and international guests, including our Dean’s Lecture Series, which offers access to global perspectives from eminent thinkers.
Learn how we’re making a difference
Our research teams are actively assessing the impacts of COVID-19. Projects range from analysis and models to assist decision makers and understanding its effects on global cities, through to predicting the necessary changes to our working 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. See the work of our research units to learn more.
The Burden: the Paradox of Space (Audrey Cavalera)
Explore the research
The faculty hosts research groups that bring together internationally recognised experts. They are leaders in built environment research across a variety of areas. They also offer platforms to engage with other faculties and disciplines.
Research units in our Faculty
- Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication Research Hub – exploring diverse fields, from data-driven design and robotics to 3D printing and mixed reality environments
- Informal Urbanism Research Hub – focusing on the informal side of cities
- Learning Environments Applied Research Network – understanding and improving the way learning and built environments intersect
- Sustainable and Healthy Environments Research Lab – evaluating the performance of spaces to positively affect satisfaction, productivity and wellbeing.
- Transport, Health and Urban Design Research – driving research on wellbeing in cities, via urban analytics.
University Centres and Institutes we host
- 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
- Hallmark Research Initiative for Affordable Housing – facilitating research into the quality and sustainability of housing
- Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute – convening the University’s collaboration on sustainability and resilience
- Melbourne Centre for Cities – working with international partners on the key drivers of city leadership
Work with experts from other disciplines
University Institutes and Initiatives
As a graduate researcher, you will have the chance to engage with researchers from other disciplines. Interdisciplinary research connects industry, governments and communities in areas of importance to society.
The Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning collaborates with the following University Institutes and Initiatives.
- 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.
- BioInspiration Hallmark Research Initiative – 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 Hallmark Research Initiative – 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 Hallmark Research Initiative – investigating the accessibility of social, economic and political institutions.
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.
Partner with an overseas institution
Current funded Joint PhD opportunities
We offer numerous opportunities to connect your graduate research experience to international partners and experts working with us to advance built environment research. We currently host joint PhD projects with internationally renowned institutes such as the University of Manchester, KU Leuven and Shanghai Jiao Tong University, for instance.
For example, two joint PhD projects are underway between the Melbourne Centre for Cities and the University of Manchester.
- A study by Caitlin Morrissey of global city-making in Manchester and Melbourne investigating how urban infrastructure is being reshaped in these city-regions, with the Manchester Urban Institute.
- A study by Hannah McNichol on the impact of the 'new cold War' in shaping the urbanisation of special economic zones in Asia, with the Manchester Global Development Institute.
When you undertake a joint PhD, your research will benefit from a truly global perspective. And you will enhance your prospects for an international research career. Search for opportunities within the theme of architecture, building and design, among our current fully funded Joint PhD opportunities.
Explore multidisciplinary research initiatives
Designing for resilience in bushfire-prone areas
Researchers have developed nine principles to help urban planners, emergency services and communities collaborate 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.
- 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.