The Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism (DrSU) is a post-professional, STEM-designated, applied research degree intended to prepare professionals and advanced urban design students for careers in multidisciplinary, evidence-based sustainable urban design and planning practice and teaching. This includes research-oriented positions in nonprofit organizations, community design and research centers, and government agencies as well as faculty positions at colleges and universities focused on applied research in sustainability and urban design.
This individualized program allows each student to pursue their particular research interest while ensuring the development of the necessary research competencies and broadening of the student's knowledge in sustainable urbanism. Students learn a holistic and integrative methodological approach to sustainability thinking involving complex social, political, economic and scientific issues as they are applied to a wide range of urban contexts and spatial patterns and conditions.
The program is based on a close working relationship between students and their faculty advisors, who work together to develop a detailed course of study that takes full advantage of the resources available at Washington University and through collaborative partners around the country and the world.
Much of the program's course work and independent reading and study is focused on preparing students for their two-part general examination. The nature of this preparation varies widely depending upon the candidate's background and research interests. Overall, the exam is a platform for the student to demonstrate a broad knowledge of evidence-based research methods, the multidisciplinary frameworks of sustainable urbanism, the best practices for sustainable urbanism and the technical knowledge base and skills necessary for implementing sustainability at a multi-scalar level in the city.