Visiting Ph.D. Program | The Penn State Stuckeman School Skip to main content

Visiting Ph.D. Program

The Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Penn State welcomes Ph.D. students from around the world to engage with our faculty in independent research or creative activity during one semester or a full academic year. Our requirement is that visiting Ph.D.s work with specific faculty members, chosen through preliminary correspondence, in mutually enriching ways. While in residence, visiting Ph.D.s are welcome to participate in the intellectual life of the School, collaborate with faculty, and conduct research in the Penn State Libraries and the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Library.

Admissions Procedure

Interested persons should complete and e-mail the required application form and materials listed below to Stuckeman School Visiting Ph.D. Student Program by January 15 for a residency beginning between July 1 and December 31, and by May 15 for a residency beginning between January 1 and June 30. Program questions or requests for additional information may be directed to Stuckeman Visiting Scholars.

  • Application form (form can be saved and completed as an electronic form);
  • Cover letter explaining why the specific Stuckeman School unit (Architecture, Graphic Design, Landscape Architecture) is the ideal place in the United States for you to pursue your research or creative work;
  • Curriculum vitae describing professional accomplishments, educational background, employment history, publications, and awards;
  • Detailed proposal with timeline and completion date, including the name of the faculty member(s) who has agreed to work with you;
  • A letter demonstrating available funding;
  • A confidential letter from the Penn State faculty host; and
  • A confidential letter of recommendation from reference of choice.

Applicants will be selected based on academic and professional background and credentials, proposed plan of research, dates of proposed residence, assessment of English language proficiency, and the capacity of the unit to which the applicant applies (Architecture, Graphic Design, Landscape Architecture). The unit will notify accepted applicants with an official letter of invitation and accepted candidates will be required to provide additional information concerning the application for a J-1 visa and, under Penn State policy, undergo a background check.

Requirements for J-1 visas

Demonstrated Funding: By federal regulations, Forms DS-2019 for foreign nationals and/or their families cannot be issued unless adequate funding for the full period is documented. The DS-2019 is issued by a U.S. government institution certifying that you have demonstrated sufficient financial resources to stay in the U.S. for the length of the DS-2019 form. The DS-2019 is officially titled the “Certificate of Eligibility” because with it, applicants are “eligible” to apply for a J-1 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

Health Insurance: J-1 scholars and their dependents are required to have health insurance coverage for their entire stay in the United States that meets U.S. government and Penn State requirements. This may be accomplished by purchasing health insurance through Penn State. Alternatively, if visiting Ph.D.s and their dependents have health insurance through their home government or employer that meets these requirements, a waiver may be obtained through Penn State Health Services (a copy of the insurance coverage must be provided in English). Detailed information regarding health insurance requirements will be provided through the Penn State Office of International Scholar Advising as part of the visa process.

English Language Proficiency: An English proficiency interview will be conducted by a Penn State representative to evaluate whether the language skills of the applicant meet visa requirements.

Fees: Penn State's College of Arts and Architecture charges accepted visiting Ph.D.’s a fee of $50 per month of residency to defray its costs. The fee is due upon arrival for the residence.

Research and Professional Development Opportunities

Visiting Ph.D.s in good standing shall receive a Penn State Access Account, e-mail address, and a photo ID. These credentials provide access to and assistance from Penn State Libraries (including academic access to electronic resources and databases).

Visiting Ph.D.s are welcome to attend the wide range of programs, symposia, and workshops for Stuckeman School faculty, students, and the public throughout the academic year. Visiting Ph.D.s may attend Stuckeman School classes and seminars with the instructor’s permission.

Other Services

  • Desk space is typically provided for visiting Ph.D.s, either in a common room or in the studio space.
  • Information about housing is available here:,,
  • Local bus service is available.
  • Information about obtaining a driver’s license in Pennsylvania is available via the DMV.
  • Visitors are entitled to purchase a parking permit for parking on campus; note that student parking is located at some distance from the Stuckeman Family Building.

Revised: 07 December 2015



Program questions or requests for additional information may be directed to Stuckeman Visiting Scholars.