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Research Degrees

The Faculty of Environmental Design offers two unique, thesis-based degrees: the MEDes and the PhD. Increasingly, natural, built and social environments are seen as intertwined, interdependent, and indeterminate, creating challenging conditions which must be addressed to achieve a sustainable future. Meeting this challenge requires environmental designers with exceptional leadership and visionary skills, who are able to inform, design, and manage interventions across the scales of human endeavour. Our two research degrees are designed to train and nurture these leaders.

The MEDes and PhD thesis programs in the Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS) are intended for those wishing to expand their current professional or design- related backgrounds with advanced, interdisciplinary, practice-based research and study. Blurring traditional disciplinary definitions, students undertake their research in one or more areas or disciplines included in EVDS. It is typically through the interdisciplinary synthesis of disciplines that environmental design is informed as a field of study and critical practice, and through which design interventions must be implemented.

In order to understand and solve complex spatial issues, EVDS thesis students mobilize a range of methods from different disciplines, including design explorations, participatory planning exercises, ethnography, surveys, statistics, laboratory science, fieldwork, and archival, visual, and textual studies. Thesis documents may incorporate detailed design interventions, policy frameworks, neighbourhood guidelines, code research, scientific proofs and recommendations, or combinations of these and other results. Collaboration with the private sector, communities, and/or government organizations is typical of research in EVDS.

Learn more about MEDes.

Learn more about PhD.


Successful applicants to our thesis degrees have excellent academic records, strong letters of reference, and a clear idea of their intended research topic. They often have professional practice experience or have published scholarly work. Our MEDes and PhD graduates assume leadership roles in academia, research institutions, government, and the private sector, both in Canada and in other countries.