JOB by: Umea University, April 05, 2024

PhD student in Architecture with a focus on Critical Studies in Architecture and Urbanism

at Umea University, School of Architecture
Umea, SE

App deadline: April 28, 2024

Umeå School of Architecture (UMA) is looking for a PhD student in Architecture with a focus on Critical Studies in Architecture and Urbanism. The application deadline is 28 April, 2024. 

Institutional, policy or social changes are not seldom profound spatial changes, affecting humans and non-humans and their living environments in various ways. Architecture and the built environment can make a difference regardless of scale, e.g., small architectural adjustments may act as game-changers, an unfavorable localisation of a social function can make it hard to access and use, and the mere presence of a social infrastructure or a welfare institution may produce symbolic values to a community, desirable or non-desirable. Spatial arrangements are thus never value-free, rather they reflect and perform power relations in each society, while also challenge them.

Are you interested in a doctoral project where problematising and speculating how visions, norms, policies, and regulations in relation to urgent societal issues, e.g., inequalities, ageing population, welfare provision, segregation, mental health, and wellbeing, have been, are, and could be spatially translated are in focus? Are you willing to engage in investigating and theorising architectural agency, i.e., the performative, relational and caring aspects of the spatial organization and design? This doctoral project will be part of the research group Infrastructures of care: architecture, liveable lives and just environments at Umeå School of Architecture, which main interest is in the spatial, social, cultural, political, and experiential dimensions of architecture and urbanism. The notion of care is here understood broadly – as ethics; caring for places, people, other species, and things, as well as more specific – as health care, welfare or carceral spaces; hospitals, supported accommodations for older people and for people with disability, residential homes for young people, prisons, and forensic psychiatric clinics.

As a doctoral student you will have a large influence over the project’s direction, and thus are expected to use your creativity and your intellect to develop it further. If you have a strong interest in discursive, performative, and speculative aspects of architecture and urbanism in relation to infrastructures of care, and a will to contextualise this in relation to its users and to urgent societal issues – then this is the project for you!

Research environment

At UMA, you will be part of a forward-thinking and open environment where holistic, interdisciplinary and experimental approaches are seen as crucial to addressing the global challenges and opportunities in architecture.

Research and postgraduate education at Umeå School of Architecture is structured in four main thematic areas: architectural design; architectural history, theory, and critical studies; landscape and urbanism; and building construction, materiality, and computational design. Research groups at Umeå School of Architecture cross one or more thematic areas and are conceived as experimental laboratories with an impact on education.

The PhD Programme in Architecture aims to educate architectural scholars who are not only deeply knowledgeable in their specific areas of research, but also adept at navigating the complex intersections of architecture, urbanism, landscape, and technology from both a theoretical and practice within diverse cultural, social, and political contexts. Through collaboration with their peers, PhD students can nurture and advance their individual projects within a supportive environment of collective research.


To be eligible, you are required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level, or have an equivalent education from abroad, or equivalent qualifications. To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in architecture, you are required to have completed first-cycle courses of at least 90 ECTS credits within the field of architecture, or in a subject considered to be directly relevant for the specialization in question. Of those 90 ECTS credits, you should have acquired at least 15 ECTS credits at second-cycle level within the specialization in question, or an equivalent subject.

We are looking for a candidate with a strong interest in research, and the ability to work independently as well as in a team to accomplish the required tasks. You are proficient in both verbal and written English.

Terms of employment

The appointment aims at a PhD degree and the main task of the PhD student is to pursue their doctoral studies, which includes participation in research projects as well as postgraduate courses. Engagement in graduate and postgraduate teaching is recommended (up to 20%). Such engagement will extend the employment in proportion to the departmental service.

The employment is limited to four years full-time or up to five years when it includes part-time teaching. The salary level is determined according to the established salary level for doctoral employment.

The successful candidate will be based in Umeå and expected to be present in Umeå to fulfil their role.


Your application shall contain the following documents:

  • A cover letter summarizing your research interests, motivation for applying, main qualifications, and envisioned contribution to UMA’s research environment (max. 2 pages).
  • Curriculum Vitae with a list of published work including journal papers, conference papers, technical reports, exhibitions, artistic projects, architectural projects, and/or grey literature, and contact information to at least three references.
  • Up to 3 writing samples of published work from the abovementioned list.
  • A research proposal (max. 2 pages) which outlines suggested research questions, data and methods aligned with the research project presented above, and which describes how the proposal contributes to the current literature in the field.
  • Degree certificates.
  • Bachelor and/or Master’s theses, if available.
  • A portfolio of previous professional and/or academic work and describes your role in each project (max. 20 pages).
  • Applicants with a degree from a non-Swedish university are encouraged to provide their results from the GMAT, GRE and/or TOEFL tests, if available.

The application should be written in Swedish or English and submitted via our recruitment system Varbi. The application deadline is 28 April, 2024.

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