Design, Environment and the Arts (Healthcare and Healing Environments), PhD

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The health care and healing environments concentration under the PhD program in design, environment and the arts focuses on the integration of evidence-based design, sustainable science and best practices benchmarks when planning health care facilities. Facility-related responsibilities supported by this area cluster into seven functional work units:

  • facilities analysis (physical and environmental)
  • human factors and user needs
  • interior planning and design
  • programming (long-range planning)
  • research methodologies
  • space management and planning
  • strategic planning

This multidisciplinary program integrates the principles of medical and clinical innovations, interior architecture, human health services, communication studies, architecture, and behavioral and engineering sciences. Students in this program will be mentored by local health care design consultants, teaming with nursing students and working directly with real clients and corresponding with forward-thinking health care research centers. Graduating students will be able to address contemporary issues facing the health care industry, address health care environments on multiple levels, apply evidence-based research techniques and effectively communicate with clinicians.

Upon graduation, students may pursue advanced positions in the following arenas:

  • elite consulting firms as facility programmers
  • large health care systems and corporations as strategic planners
  • leading manufacturers and vendors as expert representatives
  • planning divisions in architectural and planning firms as medical planners
  • research centers as decision-makers

Program offered

Design, Environment and the Arts (Healthcare and Healing Environments), PhD

Offered by
Herberger Institute for Design & the Arts


Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Program requirements

Required Core (6 credit hours)
EPD 700 Research Methods (3)
EPD 710 Current Research in Design (3)

Concentration (18 credit hours)

Electives or Research (18 credit hours)
EPD 792 Research (12)
Other electives or research (6)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
EPD 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students must be thoroughly familiar with design and the arts and are expected to demonstrate a high level of academic maturity before being admitted to the program. Up to 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's can count toward the requirements of the doctoral program. If the student has not completed a master's degree, elective courses approved by the supervisory committee may substitute.

The student is required to take 18 credit hours in the concentration and a minimum of nine credit hours of specialized coursework outside the area of concentration.

No transfer credits are allowed to fulfill the 54 credit hour minimum requirement completed after admission to the program. Each student entering the program is required to submit a plan of study during the first year.