A web site by Ann Forsyth related to urban planning

There are two doctoral programs at Harvard’s GSD, the PhD and Doctor of Design.

  • While the PhD has a reputation for history and theory, it very much also involves the ”Analysis and Development of Buildings, “Cities, Landscapes, and Regions with an emphasis on social, economic, technological, ecological and infrastructural systems.” It covers the area of urban planning.
  • I also participate in the Doctor of Design primarily providing methodological and research design expertise. Not all DDes students are conducting research, some are exploring design issues using a scholarly approach.

While I am not listed as an associated faculty for the PhD, this is an administrative artifact and I am fully able to supervise or advise both PhD and DDes students across a range of subject areas.

I have brief advice on doctoral studies at See for other advice..

In terms of the application, I’ve provided advice on applying to masters programs–with much relevant to doctoral programs as well, and and. Advice on selecting programs is at and

As you will see in those columns, my advice about contacting students, faculty, alumni and such is that you do so after gaining admission–that’s a terrific time to get in touch: That’s a bit different to programs that support student on soft money grants–Harvard uses teaching stipends and fellowships. My advice to Harvard masters applicants is at and some of it is relevant to doctoral students.

I do not as policy pre-review materials from students. I also only take on doctoral students through the formal admissions process—that is I do not take on students who write to me separately. You do not have to have my approval or support for an application—this is in part because you would fully (for the PhD) or largely (for the DDes) be funded by Harvard, unlike other universities where you work on faculty grants. This gives you a lot more flexibility in your studies. As noted above I can supervise doctoral students so it is fine to indicate me as a potential adviser if that is of interest to you.

Funding is available but is not allocated until the admissions process so I cannot give you advice on whether you will be funded and how much.

My advice is to apply and see how things turn out!