Urban Design

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Master of Urban Design (MUD) degree program is a one-calendar-year program of study for students with a prior professional degree in architecture, landscape architecture, or city and regional planning. The program last for three semesters, starting with the June Summer Session and ending at the end of May of the following year. The program offers advanced training in urban design in an interdisciplinary curriculum with faculty drawn from architecture, landscape architecture, and planning in the College of Environmental Design. Designers work in teams and individually across a large range of scales to develop an understanding of the complexity of urbanism and the interdependencies of buildings, landscapes, and planning in environments shaped by cultural, social, economic, political, and environmental forces. The program is an intense and demanding learning experience in which a global group of students shares working methods, acquire additional skills, and explore new challenges in the rapidly expanding field of urban design. As the only stand-alone urban design program in the state, the MUD program begins by focusing on emerging issues in California and the West at the urban, suburban, and territorial scales. As the fifth-largest economy in the world, the most diverse state in the U.S., and a global pioneer in technology, sustainability, and culture, California is a unique laboratory to investigate future spatial challenges. The final independent advanced design project offers students the opportunity to address topics that they are passionate about in sites around the world.   

The MUD program is STEM certified for 3 year OPT.

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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

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 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.

Master's Degree Requirements

Course Requirements

Five courses constitute the core of the Master of Urban Design degree program:

  • ENV DES 201 Urban Design Fundamentals Studio—an intensive studio involving collaborative work on problems that are large in scope, yet require attention to spatial organization and design details. This studio is scheduled in the 10 week Summer Session.
  • ENV DES 251 Discourses in Urban Design Seminar—an introduction to the program, faculty resources, and important  issues in contemporary urban design practice. This course is scheduled in the 8 week Summer Session.
  • CY PLAN 298 Economics Module, which introduces key economic issues and concepts.
  • ENV DES 252 Thesis Research and Preparation, a seminar that brings all candidates in the program together to develop and discuss their individual Advanced Design projects.
  • ENV DES 253 Thesis Studio, led by an urban design practitioner with MUD faculty. The thesis studio provides students with guidance to complete their advanced design project by mid-May, when they will present their work to faculty, students, alumni, and invited reviewers.  

Students can select an additional studio is selected from advanced urban design graduate studios offered in the three departments. Students must also complete courses in methods, urban design history or theory, and electives related to their interests.  See the MUD Program Handbook 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]
Community Engagement and Public Participation in Planning Processes [3]
History/Theory Requirement: Students must complete one of the following courses2-3
Theories of Urban Form and Design [3]
Theories of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning [2]
Special Topics in the History of Architecture [1-4]
MUD Summer Studio: Students must complete the following course: 5
Thesis Studio [4]
Electives relevant to thesis topic per approved study listVariable


Urban Design

Contact Information

Institute of Urban and Regional Development

316 Bauer Wurster Hall

Phone: 510-664-5500

Fax: 510-643-6166

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Chair of the MUD Executive Committee

Margaret Crawford

480 Wurster Hall


Graduate Student Affairs Officer



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