Architecture and Urban Planning

  • Duration: 3 yearsLogo Polis University Tirana
  • Admission: academic qualifications and interview
  • Coordinator: prof. Roberto Di Giulio
  • Head office: international agreement with Università di Ferrara and Polis University di Tirana (Albania)
  • Internationalisation: teaching agreement with Slovak University of Technology / Institute of Management, Bratislava (SLK),  University of Minho, Guimaraes (POR), University of Portsmouth / School of Architecture Portsmouth (UK) and the Lawrence Technological  University / College of Architecture and design,  Southfield, Michigan (USA).
  • Associate Industrial Partners: Focchi SpA, Poggio Torriana (RN)  e Uteco Converting SpA, Colognola ai Colli (VR), Italy.
  • DepartmentArchitettura DA
  • Study abroad: at least 3 months
  • Educational purpose:

The aim of the “Architecture” curriculum of the Joint PhD Programme is to strengthen the synergistic cooperation of design, process and building.

The field of interest ranges from technologies based on innovative materials, to industrial design (inclusive design) and restoration and building maintenance according environmental sustainability. On the other side, the “Urban Planning” curriculum addresses the issues of public realm, with reference to the evolution and changes of the socio-economic and environmental context. In particular, the role of the discipline is taken in consideration as a tool for reading, understanding, planning and designing urban and territorial transformations in a sustainable development perspective, with an interdisciplinary approach open to international comparison. The PhD course shall explore cross field research approaches based on the research activities of the PhD Candidate, the active debate with the teachers (taking part at the joint sittings) and experts of real estate and construction market. The researches shall be developed under an international scale.

The educational goal is leading to acquire knowledge in disciplinary and interdisciplinary theories, methods and tools, inside the framework of current contemporary architectural and industrial design research through the development of networking abilities, inter-disciplinary research skills and capacities of elaboration of innovative theories and relationship with the productive and social world.

According to these aims it has been renewed the agreement for scientific collaboration with Focchi SpA (Focchi Group) an industrial leader in designing, manufacturing and installing of curtain walling with high technological and service content for original architectural building evenlope and it has been signed a new similar agreement between UniFe DA and Uteco Converting S.p.A., a Leader Company in the field of industrial digital print interested in developing innovation in the manufacturing industry. Uteco, starting from the coming XXXVII cycle, will co-fund together with the University of Ferrara of an additional scholarship specifically related to its industrial research aims. All this without forgetting to improve skills in the management of complex issues (legal, contractual, etc.) coming from research reports - to and from - the Public Administrations and knowledge of the prevailing European policies on environmental sustainability. About the specific doctoral teaching activities of the international programme - focused on the above mentioned purposes - these have been set and grouped within three Syllables titled:

1) Architectural Research Methods

2) Multidisciplinary approach to Urban Planning

  • Curricula:
  1. Architecture
  2. Urban planning
  • Educational plan: at the beginning of each year, the Doctorate student shall submit to the Academic Board an individual scientific-didactic plan regarding the research and educational activities planned for that year, the predefined courses and the ones to elect among the courses activated specifically for the Doctorate program and those activated at the Departments of the University of Ferrara, POLIS University, partners or affiliated elsewhere (Summer Schools, Workshops, etc). The Doctorate Program is divided in three academic years as follows:

1st Year: consists in 60 ECTS organized theoretical studies aiming to enhance further the scientific formation obtained in previous academic programs through the scientific offer of the University of Ferrara and POLIS University, as well as that of other eventual consortium partners, and finally starting the work with the thesis.

The 60 ECTS of organized theoretical studies are to be delivered according to the following scheme: 18 ECTS conducted by POLIS University – for all doctorate students 18 ECTS conducted by Ferrara University – for all doctorate students 24 ECTS conducted for each student by the respective home institution or any of the categories explained below The student must also attend the seminars organized by the research and didactic groups of the Department of Architecture of Ferrara (DA), the Polis University, or any other associate consortium partner (i.e Slovak University of Technology, Bratislava; University of Minho, Guimaraes, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth e Lawrence Technological University of Southfield, Michigan and the industrial partners Focchi S.p.A and Uteco Converting S.p.A.) or other seminars established specifically for the doctorate (activities provided by the Higher Education Institution for obtaining the complementary skills), as well as participate in conferences and workshops of particular relevance and scientific training by placing them in his program of study.

2nd and 3rd Year: are mainly dedicated to the research for the thesis. The student participates regularly in international scientific events in his field of interest and other related fields judged useful for his formation. Proficiency of the English language must be proved by the end of the third year, duly certified by a minimum CEFR C1.

By the end of October of each academic year, the student must submit a scientific and didactic report to the Coordinator on all training activities and research carried out by the student. The Joint Academic Board will have to assess the work done by the student and draw up a written report, with a recommendation about his admission in the following year. In case of a negative evaluation, the Joint Academic Board is entitled to decide on the exclusion from the course of the student or the admission to the following year under specific conditions, asking the student to attend a program agreed with the Board. The reports, prepared by the Board, must be attached, to the final report of the student, as well as the official documentation on the activities carried out by Doctorate students, kept at the doctorate program office.

At the end of the second year, the student must also present an oral report (the mid-term), including a presentation to the Joint Academic Board and any other scholars interested in the progress of their research projects. The positive assessment by the Joint Academic Board of the mid-term is a necessary condition for admission in the last year of the course; at the end of the third year the student must submit a written report to the Coordinator of the scientific activity, which, together with the opinion of the Supervisors (Tutors) and External Referees on the prepared thesis, will be used to decide on the candidate's admission to the final exam The Doctorate students will spend some period of their training abroad at a rate of at least 3 months to three years, in an appropriate institution, with which the doctorate program has a relationship of collaboration and trust. Regarding the duration of the period abroad, it is the responsibility of the Coordinator, after consulting the Joint Academic Board and the Supervisors (Internal and External Tutor), to decide on founded exceptions to this minimum.

  • Research topics:

Curriculum Architecture

1.1 Design theories and methods and sustainable constructions;

1.2 Inclusive design, design for all, accessibility to spaces, products and services, sustainable design;

1.3 Innovative technologies and materials for industrial, building and structural design;

1.4 Materials and techniques for the conservation of historical heritage, building maintenance and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) considerations.

1.5 Cultural heritages. Innovations and ICT processes for cultural heritages use and conservation.

1.6 Building envelope for the digital era. Strategies and innovative solutions for multifunctional prefabricated façade in digital construction.

Curriculum Urban Planning

2.1 The city of today and tomorrow, between environmental upgrading and rehabilitation of the existing urban fabrics: requirements of functional conversion and new social demand of housing quality and urban livability;

2.2 The role of historic and cultural heritage of built-up environment and landscape in post-industrial urban development, with special reference to policies for sustainable local development;

2.3 Territory, landscape and regeneration of the built-up environment: infrastructural interventions, new energy sources and climatic change

2.4 City governance and appropriate development policies through land management, and economic and financial tools, etc.

In addition to these cited topics some additional scholarships could be activated. These will be related to very specific binding topics that the applicant should consider in its research proposal and that will be highlighted in the call of the yearly selective process. These specific binding topics will be addressed by scholarship financing institutions or will be related to specific ongoing financed researches.


This year, POLIS University encourages and welcomes applications that incorporate subjects, objectives, or dimensions of just green transition, as defined under the frame of the EU Green Deal.

Some potential areas of interest that can influence or be incorporated in the research proposals’ themes are:
  • (Just) Green Transition policies and planning instruments;
  • Circular economy as a means to ensure the green transition in a territory, community, or industry;
  • Nature-base solutions for green transition; Ecosystem services for enabling green transition/s;
  • Costs and benefits of green transitions in a territory, community, industry, or space;
  • Initiatives, designs, and processes that align with the New European Bauhaus of EU, aiming at contributing to space transformation at any scale (city, public space, urban production, housing, etc.) by people through innovation, citizen science and engagement and aiming at the reduction of Carbon emissions.
  • Infrastructure and energy systems innovations and transitions to lower Carbon emissions and contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Innovative materials, structures and designs that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gasses and climate change adaptation and mitigation;
  • Climate resilience disaster risk reduction/management for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • Etc.