Urban Design

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Master of Urban Design (MUD) degree program is a one-calendar-year, advanced, interdisciplinary program of study for students with a prior professional degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or city and regional planning. The program's goals are to further train designers who can work effectively in teams across a large range of scales and who have a well-developed understanding of urban places and the interdependencies of the fabric of buildings, landscapes, public ways, and the social interactions that shape them.

The Urban Design Program, 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-month 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.

Visit Program Website


Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant has completed a basic degree from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:

    • courses in English as a Second Language,

    • courses conducted in a language other than English,

    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and

    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years.


Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission Criteria and Prerequisites

Admission to the Master of Urban Design program requires:

  • A prior professional degree in architecture (BArch or MArch), landscape architecture (BLA or MLA), or city and regional planning (MCP or MUP 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 CY PLAN C240). Students without this course will be expected to enroll in CY PLAN C240 during the program.

Master's Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

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 Academic Guide 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.


Courses Required
ENV DES 201Urban Design Fundamentals Studio5
ENV DES 251Discourses in Urban Design3
CY PLAN 298Group Studies1
ENV DES 252Thesis Research and Preparation3
ENV DES 253Thesis Studio4
Second Studio Requirement: Students must complete one of the following courses: 5
Graduate Option Studio [5]
Advanced Studio: Urban Design/Environmental Planning [5]
Design of Landscape Sites [5]
Environmental Planning Studio [5]
Methods Requirement: Students must complete one of the following courses3-4
Research Methods in Environmental Design [4]
Citizen Involvement in the City Planning Process [3]
Special Topics in Architectural Design [1-4]
History/Theory Requirement: Students must complete one of the following courses2-3
Special Topics in the Social and Cultural Basis of Design [1-4]
Theories of Urban Form and Design [3]
Theories of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning [2]
MUD Summer Studio: Students must complete the following course: 5
Thesis Studio [4]
Electives relevant to thesis topic per approved study listVariable


Urban Design

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Christopher L. Calott, Associate Professor. Urban Design, Infill Housing, Mixed-use Infill Development, Urban Landscape Infrastructure, Participatory Design and Community Planning, Affordable and Informal Housing, US-Mexico Border Urbanism, Native American Planning and Development, Latin American Urban Development, International Development .
Research Profile

Renee Y. Chow, Professor. Field Urbanism: Systemic, Relational, Contextual Design, Collaboration, Agency, Accommodation of Change .
Research Profile

Margaret Crawford, Professor. History of architecture, architecture and urban design, urban history and theory, US built environment studies, urbanism in China.
Research Profile

C. Greig Crysler, Professor. Architecture, geopolitics of architectural discourse, globalization and social production of the built environment, architecture and identity.
Research Profile

Rene Davids, Professor. Architecture and Urban Design, connected to Watersheds, Landscapes, Affordable Housing, Architectural Materials and Detailing .
Research Profile

Kristina Hill, Associate Professor. Urban planning, urban design, urban ecology, surface hydrology, groundwater, sea level rise, climate change, adaptation, adaptation to flooding.
Research Profile

Richard Hindle, Assistant Professor. Landscape and plant technologies including horticultural and material processes, innovation, and patents; green roof technologies; landscape related technologies across a range of scales, from ecosystem to site.
Research Profile

Walter J. Hood, Professor. Urban design, community development, landscape architecture, environmental planning, landscape design, citizen participation, design of architecture and landscape.
Research Profile

Elizabeth S. Macdonald, Professor. Urban design.
Research Profile

Louise A. Mozingo, Professor. Urban design and planning, design history, social and cultural factors in landscape design.
Research Profile

John Radke, Associate Professor. City and regional planning, landscape architecture and environmental planning, geographic information systems, database design and construction, spatial analysis, pattern recognition computational morphology.
Research Profile

Daniel Rodriguez, Professor.

Emeritus Faculty

Richard Bender, Professor Emeritus.

Peter C. Bosselmann, Professor Emeritus. Urban design, architecture, city and regional planning, landscape architecture.
Research Profile

Elizabeth A. Deakin, Professor Emeritus. Urban design, city and regional planning, transportation policy, planning and analysis, land use policy and planning, legal and regulatory issues, institutions and organizations, energy and the environment, new technologies.
Research Profile

Harrison Fraker, Professor Emeritus. Environmental performance of buildings (passive solar, daylighting, natural cooling), Integrated whole systems design approach for resilient eco cities, neighborhoods and blocks, environmental performance of public space to mitigate urban heat island effect .
Research Profile

Randolph T. Hester, Professor Emeritus.

Allan B. Jacobs, Professor Emeritus.

Linda L. Jewell, Professor Emeritus. Urban design, landscape architecture, environmental planning, landscapes and structures, on-site design decisions, site planning, sustainable construction.
Research Profile

Donlyn Lyndon, Professor Emeritus. Architecture, structure of place, ethical dimensions of design.
Research Profile

Daniel Solomon, Professor Emeritus.

Michael Southworth, Professor Emeritus. Management, analysis, design, city and regional planning, landscape architecture, environmental planning, morphology of the post-industrial city, design of public space.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Urban Design Program

202 Wurster Hall

Phone: 510-642-4943

Fax: 510-643-6166

Visit Program Website

Chair of the MUD Executive Committee

Margaret Crawford

480 Wurster Hall


Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Jessica Ambriz

206 Wurster Hall

Phone: 510-642-2965


Back to Top