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College of Design

Interdisciplinary Programs

Urban Design


The Master of Urban Design (MUD) is an advanced, interdisciplinary program of study that focuses on contemporary challenges of urbanism at the local, regional and global scales. Courses are taught by faculty from architecture, community and regional planning and landscape architecture, with an understanding that urban environments should be engaged through an integrated design process that includes ecological, social, material, economic and urban-policy factors.

The urban design degree reflects a deep commitment to resilient and just urban environments within the context of an increasingly concentrated, connected and diverse urban world. Accordingly, the coursework engages emerging urbanization topics, including:

  • the formation of more adaptable, flexible and resilient cities;
  • the exponential growth of megacities and steady decline of investments in traditional urban economies in the 21st century;
  • the transformation of industrial landscapes, particularly within the Midwestern context, and the global impact of transnational economic operations;
  • the spatialization of informal economies, practices and services across the south-north global divide; and
  • a reexamination of the potentials of hard and soft infrastructures, principles of the circular economy and a reframing of the urban-rural divide.

The program consists of 36 credits, typically distributed over three semesters (fall, spring and summer); however, students may choose to distribute these credits over four or five semesters. The degree is geared toward students with professional degrees in architecture (BArch, MArch), landscape architecture (BLA, MLA) or planning (BSCRP, MCRP, MUP). Graduate students can also pursue the following double degrees in the College of Design: MArch/MUD, MCRP/MUD and MLA/MUD.

Application Requirements
Curriculum *Note: Students may choose to distribute the credits over additional semesters beyond three
Course Descriptions

For application information and other questions, contact:

Seda McKilligan, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Interim Program Director

Graduate Recruitment Coordinator

Meredith Foley
295 Design
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-3091
(515) 294-0816

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