Frank G. Bercha, Doctorate in Architecture

Frank G. Bercha, Doctorate in Architecture

Frank G. Bercha, Doctorate in Architecture
May 18, 2014

After considering various options to pursue my continuing interest in architecture, I selected AIU as the optimal institution for my graduate work leading to a doctorate in the subject. Already possessing advanced education in architecture and engineering, including a Ph.D. in engineering, and many years of professional experience, I felt that the freedom and motivation to design, research, execute, and present my program afforded by AIU was the best option to follow. From my perusal of other traditional graduate educational arrangements, I saw that most of the required doctoral architectural courses would be boring and unnecessary as I was already an expert in most of the material, and, considering my professional duties to my organization, residency at other institutions appeared onerous and unnecessary to me.

So, in 2011 I enrolled in a program leading to a doctorate in architecture at AIU. Certainly, my assessment of AIU to allow me the freedom to pursue research of my own choice was confirmed. So, following some preliminary administrative activities, I designed a curriculum integrating my expert skills in architecture and engineering, to address an architectural area of great significance, but relatively limited available research, and proceeded to carry out a series of courses and publications to shed light on this area. My work included melding information on natural and manmade hazards to building occupants with solutions to augment their safety, including consideration of human performance in emergencies, structural and systems engineering, existing codes and standards and safety practices, to generate a systematic approach to apply today and in the future in a warming world to provide buildings with better architectural protection for their occupants.

As I had hoped, the technical and creative research work was entirely left up to me. Only on a few procedural matters was assistance from AIU proffered, but encouragement and a positive advice were ever-present from AIU staff. Thus, I can strongly recommend pursuit of such a graduate program to anyone who is qualified and prepared to single-handedly pursue the main thesis of their research for as long as necessary to produce a body of original work in their area of interest, and have it acknowledged through the reception of a doctoral degree. AIU presents the ideal environment for them as it did for me.

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