The History, Theory and Criticism Section at MIT is one of the foremost PhD programs in architectural history and theory in the US. Its mission is to encourage advanced historical research and to promote critical and theoretical reflection within the disciplines of architectural and art history. The concentration on Islamic architecture and urbanism is an integral part of the HTC section. Usually, one student a year is admitted to work on an Islamic historical subject and is funded through the Aga Khan Program endowment. Students are expected to fulfill all HTC requirements before embarking on their thesis project.
Research projects vary in scope, method, and range from the classical period to the present. Recent projects include: architectural sensibility in eighteenth century Istanbul; planning colonial Beirut; Hasan Fathy's environmental concerns; the evolution of the Shrine of Shaykh Safi al-Din Ishaq in Ardabil, Iran; architecture and nationalism under Shah Muhammad Reza Pahalvi in Iran; Umayyad settlements in the Levant; the villas of 10th century Cordoba; and Venetian settlements in Aleppo.
This program offers interested students its concentration in Architecture and Culture as part of the two-year Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) degree. This program prepares students for careers in research, design, and teaching. Topics covered in this curriculum include the interaction between architecture, society and culture; critical study of the historiography of modern architecture in the Islamic and non-Western worlds; strategies and policies of urban and architectural preservation; environmental and material sensitive design programs. Cross registration: AKPIA Harvard/MIT cross-registration allows students enrolled in one institution to take advantage of course offerings in the other. Scholarships: AKPIA scholarships are made available for concentration in Islamic art, architecture, and urban studies to students formally admitted to MIT's History, Theory, and Criticism PhD program, or the SMArchS History and Culture Program.