Remote Doctor of Design Degree for Practicing Professionals Now Accepting Applications

As a mid-career design-professional, what avenues exist for investigating questions and problems that arise from being embedded in practice? What opportunity is there for exploring or articulating an idea for a type of project or organizational structure that could improve professional practice?

The University of Calgary’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape now offers a Doctor of Design (DDes) degree that is aimed at giving mid-career professionals a space to develop ideas and innovation, complementary to the work they are doing. It gives people with significant work experience an opportunity to build recognized expertise in a particular area, allowing them to elevate their career by exploring a question or topic that is relevant to them.

Dean John Brown, PhD, explains: “The climate crisis, social inequality, and the digital revolution of smart cities, computational design, and robotic fabrication are rewriting the way cities are being designed, built, and operated. This creates enormous opportunities for architects, planners, and landscape architects to expand their practice, increase their value to clients, and make a bigger and more positive impact in the world.”

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Courtesy of University of Calgary

The Doctor of Design degree was created to meet this need for innovation. It allows creative professionals to disrupt the status quo of their professions by transforming, in some way, what they are doing and how they think about what they are doing – making the world better in small or large ways. This degree enables people interested in change to make it happen by giving them the structure and space to do so, without having to pause their careers.

Unlike other advanced degrees, the DDes does not require participants to step away from their professional lives to complete it. The program is designed so students can remain embedded in their practice full-time and complete the work remotely if they don’t reside in Calgary. The coursework allows students to develop their idea or research topic before launching into active research under the guidance of a supervisor, who helps with clarifying the research problem and refining its context. Cohorts gather twice a year for weekend-long symposia where candidates present their work to a supervisor, peers and a panel of external experts, followed by feedback through review and critique.


The application deadline for Fall 2021 admission is February 1, 2021. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. Significant professional experience will be considered in lieu of a graduate academic degree.

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Courtesy of University of Calgary

  • Tuition: $15,000 a year
  • Application requirements:
    • Curriculum Vitae
    • Letters of Reference
    • Portfolio of Relevant Work
    • Demonstration of Language Proficiency (if applicable)
    • GPA of 3.5 or Equivalent Professional Accomplishment

Visit the following links for more information:

Cite: "Remote Doctor of Design Degree for Practicing Professionals Now Accepting Applications" 15 Nov 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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