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Urban Design Graduate Degree


The Master of Urban Design
The Master of Urban Design (MUD) is a 30-credit, initial, interdisciplinary degree program focusing 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 30 credits (2022-23 curriculum pdf), 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). Applicants are welcomed from other related disciplines. Graduate students can also pursue the following double degrees in the College of Design: MArch/MUD, MCRP/MUD and MLA/MUD. Current undergraduate students can apply to pursue this degree, concurrently.

Admission Requirements

We have a two-phase application process. The priority application consideration date for fall admission is February 1. Please submit your pre-application by this date to receive first consideration for admission. Applications will continually be accepted and evaluated until the cohort is full. While typical admission is in the fall, we will accept applications for spring or summer semester admission.

  • Phase 1 – Pre-application: Please apply for pre-admission review at When you select “Urban Design,” you will be automatically directed to complete the pre-application. We require the following during the pre-application phase:
    • Completed pre-application
    • Digital portfolio (upload PDF into pre-application)
    • Unofficial transcripts (upload PDF into pre-application)
  • Phase 2 – Full application: If you are accepted through phase 1, you will be invited to complete the rest of your admission application. It will be at this time we require submission of the following additional materials, in addition to completing the admission application:
    • Official transcripts
    • 3 letters of recommendation (please use the electronic recommendation process offered through the admission application)
    • Statement of Purpose (500 words; upload PDF into application)

The MUD program is open to students from any undergraduate disciplinary background. We do not require a bachelor’s degree in a design discipline.

Additional information about our program and application instructions can be obtained online from the Grad College site, or send an email directly to Melissa Stenstrom, Graduate Student Recruiter, at

MUD Curriculum (2022-23 curriculum pdf)

Urban Design Local Studio (URB D 501) – 6 credits
Urban Design Global Studio (URB D 502) – 6 credits
History/Theory/Criticism – 6 credits from the list
Technology/Methods – 12 credits from the list

Graduate Minor in Urban Design
The graduate minor in Urban Design consists of 12 credits:
  • 6 credit Urban Design Studio (URB D 501 or 502)
  • 3 credit course from History/Theory/Criticism
  • 3 credit course from Technology/Methods
MUD learning goals
  • gain knowledge of new practices, technologies and methods of urban design,
  • learn advanced thinking skills and integrate concepts, ideas and approaches in a team-based, interdisciplinary design process, and
  • acquire knowledge and skills that support professional leadership in research and design work focused on local, regional and global issues in the contemporary built environment.

More Information

Seda McKilligan, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Interim Program Director
Melissa Stenstrom, Graduate Student Recruiter