The Program in the Design of Urban Places, leading to the Master of Urban Design degree, is a unique, interdisciplinary program of advanced study in which exceptional architects, landscape architects, and planners holding professional degrees partake of an intense, focused learning experience of 12 months’ duration. Students share working methods, acquire additional skills, and explore new avenues of development under the supervision of an interdisciplinary group of faculty members in the College of Environmental Design drawn from the Departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, and City and Regional Planning.
The program addresses the need for professionals who are specifically concerned with the design of varied urban areas open to public use. The activities of urban design are diverse in both type and scale. Urban designers may be concerned with settlement patterns in urbanizing areas, town layout, the restructuring of inner cities, and the design of streets and open spaces, buildings, and landscape patterns that establish neighborhoods and provide the settings for public life. They may shape the form and space of specific places such as civic or shopping centers, or they may design citywide systems such as streets, lighting, signing, greenways, or bicycle and pedestrian ways. They may work on infill in older towns and cities, or they may prepare plans, guidelines, or standards to manage extensive new development at the metropolitan growth edge.
Urban Design Curriculum
Five courses constitute the core of the Master of Urban Design degree program:
- ENV DES 201 Urban Places Advanced Studio — an intensive studio involving collaborative work on problems that are large in scope, yet require attention to spatial organization and design details; projects often involve the exploration of design options for areas under consideration by governmental agencies.
- ENV DES 251 Urban Places Seminar — an introduction to the program, the faculty resources, and issues arising in current urban design practice.
- CY PLAN 298 Urban Places Economic Module, which introduces key economic issues and concepts.
- ENV DES 252 Urban Place Studies, a seminar that brings all candidates in the program together to develop and discuss with core faculty their individual thesis projects.
- ENV DES 253 Urban Places Thesis Studio, offered during the summer and led by an urban design practitioner with part-time involvement of MUD faculty. The summer thesis studio provides students with guidance leading to completion of the thesis by late summer and presentation to faculty and students during orientation week of fall semester. NOTE: Because this course is offered only during the summer, the UC Berkeley General Catalog does not list it. For general and semester-specific descriptions of ENV DES 253, see Environmental Design Courses on the Architecture website.
An additional studio is selected from one of the graduate studios in the three departments. As advanced candidates, MUD students are expected to take a leadership role in these studios, assisting with the preparation, conduct, or evaluation of the studio and relating it to the content of the Master of Urban Design program. Students must also complete a course that offers instruction in methods for urban design practice or research; a course in urban design history or theory; and elective courses related to the thesis topic and selected in consultation with MUD faculty. See the MUD Program Statement for further information, including sample programs.
Applying to the Program
The application cycle for the Master of Urban Design program opens in September. Admission is for the fall semester of the following year. We do not accept spring-semester admissions. Please see Graduate Admissions for information about application deadlines and procedures.
Admissions Criteria and Prerequisites
Admission to the Master of Urban Design program requires:
- A prior professional degree in architecture (B.Arch. or M.Arch.), landscape architecture (B.L.A. or M.L.A.), or city and regional planning (M.C.P., M.U.P. with a strong design background).
- Evidence of high-quality academic and professional work, including GRE and minimum TOEFL/IELTS score requirements.
- Two years of professional experience after completion of the professional degree is recommended but not required. Applicants will be evaluated based on the quality of their work.
- Recommended: A course in history/theory of urban form (comparable to City Planning 240). Students without this course will be expected to enroll in City Planning 240 during the program.