The Yale School of Architecture’s Ph.D. program is now the school’s only academic program with its own dedicated website.
The five-year doctoral program, which has been offered since 2009 and currently enrolls nine students, had a soft launch of its website in October 2015. Officially announced by the School of Architecture two weeks ago, the website was not publicized at first as adjustments to the site’s content were still being finalized. The website provides viewers with brief biographical descriptions of the program’s students and faculty as well as event information. Director of Doctoral Studies at the School of Architecture Alan Plattus ’76 said the website was spearheaded by a current Ph.D. candidate, Eugene Han ARC ’20.
“A big part of our reasoning for launching the website was to establish an idea about what the program is,” Han said. “We had to speak amongst ourselves, meaning the Ph.D. students, and develop a unified front, a consolidated message about what the Ph.D. program is really about.”
Prior to the website’s official announcement on Feb. 19, the Ph.D. program only had an outline of its offerings and policies on the School of Architecture’s main website, which ran alongside the school’s other academic programs. While the main website’s information is still available, Gary He ARC ’21 said that compared to when he applied to the program last year, prospective applicants now have a much clearer idea of the program’s administrators and students’ current studies. Comparable architecture Ph.D. programs at other universities had online information as extensive as excerpts of students’ dissertations, he said, and while Yale’s program would not necessarily want to include that much information, prospective students now have a better sense of the candidates and professors involved and how big the program actually is.
Surry Schlabs ARC ’17 said the new website allows the Ph.D. program to extend its presence not just within the University, but also to other schools, providing a much-needed public forum. Previously, the only publicity method available for the Ph.D. program comprised internal emails and physical posters, but now events like the Ph.D. dialogue — a series of talks headed by Ph.D. candidates — can be broadcast to a wider audience, he said.
“The Ph.D. program is obviously a new program, so a lot of people don’t really know about it,” He said. “Some of us had expressed that there’s a sort of opacity even when we applied ourselves about what the program is, what goes on, and the website is an attempt to try and make those things better.”
Han said the actual process of getting the website online only took a few days as he had developed a number of websites in the past. Currently under his management, the website’s address only costs $5 a year, he said. Han added that while he currently has sole administrative control over the website, he plans to pass it on to someone else when he graduates and eventually give publishing rights to students and faculty so that the site can become a collaborative effort. The site has over 100 visitors a month now, he said, and is based off of WordPress.
The Ph.D. program is still relatively small compared to similar programs at peer institutions. Still, Schlabs said that Yale’s program is unique because it requires students to already have a professional background in architecture. Ph.D. candidates are asked to split their time between theory, history and studio courses, he said, and by doing so, Yale successfully merges both theory and practice in the field. Harvard’s equivalent doctoral program currently enrolls 34 candidates.
“Yale is a remarkable place with a pretty exceptional intellectual culture,” Schlabs said. “When it was time for me to pick a place to come for my Ph.D., Yale was near the top of my list and I was already so familiar with how the University worked and had previously built relationships with the faculty here.”
To be considered for the Ph.D. program, applicants must have a master’s degree in architecture or a related field and two years of professional experience in architecture.