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 OPD.

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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. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  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, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  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.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement 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 for Graduate Organizations. 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 prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.


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

Faculty and Instructors

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

Zachary Lamb, Assistant Professor. Urban spatial politics, ecological design and uneven vulnerability to environmental ha.
Research Profile

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

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

Marcel Sanchez Prieto, Associate Professor. Border urbanism, social housing, urban renewal through housing.
Research Profile

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

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Chair of the MUD Executive Committee

Margaret Crawford

480 Wurster Hall


Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Eddie Chau

224 Bauer-Wurster Hall

Phone: 510-643-9440


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