Admissions to PhD in Planning, Design and Construction

April 4, 2019

Admission Requirements

To be considered for regular admission to the Doctor of Philosophy in Planning, Design and Construction degree program, an applicant must have all of the following:

  • Master’s degree in a related field.
  • A cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) scores required. Preferred minimum GRE scores of 301 in combined verbal and quantitative and 4.0 in analytical.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) scores (for international applicants):
    • TOEFL: no lower than 90 (with no sub scores below 19 for reading, listening and speaking, and no writing sub score below 22).
    • IELTS: minimum average score of 6.5. No sub score below 6.0.
  • Agreement from a faculty member to serve as Major Professor (see below for more details).
  • Funding commitment (see below for more details).

Additionally, students are encouraged to submit a sample of scholarly work or a portfolio of design work.

Major Professor

Applicants should communicate with the doctoral faculty in their desired concentration to identify a good match for them based on their and faculty’s research interests. If no Major Professor is identified in advance, the application will be circulated among the doctoral faculty in the desired concentration to identify a Major Professor.

No applicant will be admitted unless an approved faculty member is willing to serve as Major Professor. A list of approved faculty can be found in the PhD student handbook or on the Advisory Faculty for PhD Concentrations directory. (This information is important in reading this document.)

Funding Requirements

A funding commitment is a requirement of admission to the PhD Program. No applicant will be admitted without a funding commitment stated below. Preference will be given to candidates with funding in the following order:

  • Funding commitment from their Major Professor at the Graduate Assistant level for a minimum of one year (renewal subject to satisfactory progress).
  • Funding by an organization, including but not limited to Government, a domestic or an International agency (e.g., National Science Foundation, Fulbright, Home Country Government Fellowship or Foundations, other Fellowships, etc.), and Michigan State University.
  • A minimum commitment of 10 hours per week for three years by their Major Professor (renewal subject to satisfactory progress) and additional proof of self-funding.
  • Self-support with proof of financial documents.

Provisional Admission

The School of Planning, Design and Construction, with approval of the Dean of the Graduate School, may grant admission with provisional status to an applicant qualified for regular admission, but lacking English language proficiency.

Students admitted provisionally will be tested at the English Language Center upon arrival at MSU, and will begin studying in the English level determined by that test. Once a student meets the language proficiency requirements for regular admission, they will be issued a degree-seeking I-20. If the student has not met the language proficiency requirement at the end of two years, they cannot continue to enroll in courses. Provisional admission may increase program duration.

Dual Doctoral Degrees

All dual major doctoral degrees must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. A request for the dual major degree must be submitted within one semester following its development and within the first two years of the student’s enrollment at MSU.

A copy of the Guidance Committee report must be attached, see academic programs at the Office of the Registrar. In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Social Science, the student must meet the application requirements specified below.

How to Complete the PhD Application

Applicants will need to indicate their Major preference and code on the application using the following guide:

  • Doctoral in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in Construction Management: 5356;
  • Doctoral in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in Environmental Design: 5357;
  • Doctoral in Planning, Design and Construction with a concentration in Urban and Regional Planning: 5358.

Steps to Complete Application

  • Complete the Graduate Program application online and submit along with the application fee ($65 for domestic graduates and $75 for international graduates).
  • Submit an Academic Statement: A concise statement of your plans for graduate study, your research interests, your career goals, and how MSU’s PhD program will help you meet your career and educational objectives. Please include in the statement which area of concentration you wish to pursue and the faculty member you have been in contact with. This must be included in your application or uploaded as an attachment.
  • Submit a Personal Statement: A statement about how your background and life experiences, including social, economic, cultural, familial, education, or other opportunities or challenges that motivated your decision to pursue a graduate degree at MSU. This must be included in your application or uploaded as an attachment.
  • Upload your Resume or Curricula Vita as an attachment to the application.
  • Provide official Degree granting transcripts from all Colleges and Universities attended. Transcripts MUST be in a sealed, unopened envelope and mailed to the SPDC Graduate Secretary (address is listed below).
  • Provide degree certificate if your official transcripts do not explicitly state the degree was granted.
  • Provide a minimum of three recommendations from references using the method provided as part of the online application.
    • References may include a letter of support, in addition if they wish;
    • If the recommender cannot upload their recommendation directly to the application, they should email it to the SPDC Graduate Secretary at pdcgrad@msu.edu;
    • Log in to the Office of Admissions student portal to check the status of applicant’s letters of recommendation.
    • The student portal is available anytime the student logs back into their MSU application so they may check the status of recommendations or change reference names.
  • Have GRE scores (for all applicants) electronically reported to MSU by the ETS testing service:
    • For reporting purposes use School Code 1465 (MSU).
    • GRE scores can only be used if taken within the last three years.
  • International applicants must report TOEFL scores:
    • For reporting purposes use School Code 1465 (MSU).
    • TOEFL scores can only be used if taken within the last 18 months, and scores must be no more than two years old at the time of matriculation or entry to MSU.

All application documents sent by mail should be addressed to the following:

Attn: SPDC Graduate Secretary
Human Ecology Building
552 W. Circle Drive, Room 102
East Lansing, MI 48824-1030

Admission for graduate studies is on a rolling basis. For consideration of financial funding applications should be received by:

  • Fall semester admission – February 15; and
  • Spring semester admission – August 15.

Applications submitted after the deadline will be processed on a rolling basis and depend upon each applicant’s individual situation. International applications could take four months or longer to process due to immigration issues. We encourage these applicants to apply at least six months in advance of the desired semester.

The school’s decision to admit or not admit an applicant into one of its degree programs is based upon an evaluation of the complete application packet, which includes: All transcripts and grades, GRE scores, TOEFL scores (when relevant), recommendations/reference letters, academic statement and other pertinent information, such as a portfolio, awards, professional experience and related achievements.

Specific admission requirements and guidelines for each major are shown in program specific areas of this document. (This information is important in reading this document.)

Applicants from Chinese Universities

As of July 1, 2018, the China Academic Degrees and Graduate Education Development Center (CDGDC) no longer provides verification reports of postsecondary program participation or completion information and transcripts from China. Currently the CDGDC only offers individuals who completed postsecondary degree programs in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao) an electronic verification report of the diploma that was awarded. This report is in Chinese only. The China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center (CHESICC), however, provides an electronic verification report of Chinese undergraduate transcripts, in Chinese and English.

Starting Spring 2019, Michigan State University requires admitted Chinese students who earned bachelor’s degrees in mainland China to submit a degree conferral verification report from the CDGDC and a transcript verification report from CHESICC. Both of these reports must be made available electronically to MSU’s Office of Admissions.

1. Application and Admission

Chinese students who earned bachelor’s degrees from mainland China will need to submit ALL available official academic records (e.g., transcripts and diplomas earned, in Chinese and English, or English if issued that way) as part of their application for admission.

After admission, students will be informed via email they need to satisfy the CDGDC/CHESICC requirement.

2. Degree Verification 

Admitted MSU graduate students who completed postsecondary undergraduate degree programs in mainland China must contact the CDGDC and request an electronic degree verification report. This report must be 1) emailed directly to the Office of Admissions from the CDGDC or 2) the CDGDC verification report application number emailed to the Office of Admissions by the student or the CDGDC. The Office of Admissions email address is: admis@msu.edu.

3. Transcript Verification

Admitted MSU students who completed postsecondary undergraduate degree programs in mainland China must contact CHESICC and request an electronic transcript verification report in English. The report must include an official copy of the final transcript (in Chinese and English, or just English) along with an English version of the report, which includes all courses taken, program start and end dates, etc. This report must be sent electronically via Parchment directly to the Office of Admissions from CHESICC.

4. Deadline

The CDGDC and CHESICC electronic reports are due to the Office of Admissions AFTER admission and no later than the middle of the first semester of enrollment (see below):

Semester

Submission of All Transcripts and Degrees to the Department

CDGDC Diploma Verification Report & CHESICC Transcript Verification Report Deadline

HOLD EFFECTIVE DATE

Spring

X

March 1

March 1

Summer

X

July 1

July 1

Fall

X

October 15

October 15

 

Applicants interested in applying for two Graduate Programs

Michigan State University now permits concurrent applications for admissions into two graduate programs, each with a separate application fee.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Construction Management

  • All applicants must possess a four-year bachelors degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Preferred backgrounds: Bachelors and/or Master’s degree in Construction Management or Construction Engineering and Management.
  • Other backgrounds that will be considered: Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering, other Engineering, Architecture, Business, Management, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning
  • To be considered for regular admission, applicants must have background equivalent to the core MS-CM degree requirements (with either Plan A Thesis or Plan B Report) at MSU. All applicants will be evaluated based on the MS-CM degree requirements (with at least Plan B Report) at MSU. Applicants will be required to take additional collateral/perquisite courses to fill any gaps determined by the PhD Major Professor, Admissions Committee, Guidance Committee and the PhD Program Director.

Generally, one or more of the following courses will be considered as prerequisite/collateral courses:

  • All undergraduate courses considered as prerequisites and collateral requirements for admission to MS-CM.
  • One or more of following CM graduate courses:
    • CMP 801;
    • CMP 811;
    • CMP 815;
    • CMP 817;
    • CMP 822; and/or
    • CMP 898.
Research Areas
  • Building Deconstruction and Salvaged Materials Management (Domicology);
  • Building Energy Efficiency;
  • Construction Materials and Methods;
  • Construction Organizations and Communications;
  • Construction Project Management;
  • Housing;
  • Mass Timber Construction;
  • Sustainable/Green Construction;
  • Technological Innovations and Their Application to Construction Management (BIM, AR,VR and machine learning); and
  • International aspects related to these areas.

Environmental Design

  • Preferred backgrounds: Bachelors and/or Master’s degree in a design field, such as Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, Environmental Design and Architecture.
  • Students from other backgrounds should contact the PhD Environmental Design advisor faculty.
  • Regular admission: To be considered for regular admission, applicants must have background equivalent to the core Master of Environmental Design degree requirements (with either Plan A Thesis or Plan B Report) at MSU or a master’s degree in related fields. Additional course work to fill gaps will be determined by the PhD Major Professor and MED Faculty or PhD ED Admissions Committee.
  • Collateral/prerequisite courses:
    • Collateral courses will be determined by the PhD Major Professor, Admissions Committee and the PhD Program Director.
    • Students without sufficient or related background or experience may be required to take additional coursework. Additional course work to fill these gaps will be determined by the PhD Major Professor and MED Faculty, or the Admissions Committee.

Urban and Regional Planning

  • Preferred backgrounds: Bachelors and/or Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning.
  • Other backgrounds that will be considered: Related fields.
  • Regular admission: To be considered for regular admission, applicants must have background equivalent to the core Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree requirements (with either Plan A Thesis or Plan B Report) at MSU or a master’s degree in related fields. Additional course work to fill gaps will be determined by the PhD Major Professor and URP Faculty or URP Admissions Committee.
  • Collateral Courses:
    • Students without sufficient planning or related background or experience may be required to take additional coursework. Additional course work to fill these gaps will be determined by the PhD Major Professor and the URP Faculty or URP Admissions Committee.

Advisory Faculty for PhD Concentrations

The list of faculty that are designated as advisory faculty for PhD concentrations is available at Planning, Design and Construction Doctorate Program.

Tags: construction management, environmental design, phd, urban & regional planning


Related Topic Areas

Urban & Regional Planning , Construction Management, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture


For more information visit:

School of Planning, Design and Construction

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