Architecture, Building and Planning

5 minute read

An architectural model made from coloured perspex

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:

  • architecture
  • construction
  • landscape architecture
  • property
  • 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.

Research directions

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:

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:

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:

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

A mum sitting on the couch with her baby and toddler looking at an ipad

Affordable Housing

The Affordable Housing initiative is working across disciplines to create new insights into the supply of affordable housing.

People in a town hall participating in an emergency services scenario

Multidisciplinary research

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.

Next steps

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