The Master of Design for Sustainable Urban Environments (MDes) brings together the allied professional fields of environmental design, landscape architecture and urban planning.

The objective of the MDes is to offer advanced study and research opportunities in the design of ecologically and economically productive urban environments.

The program seeks to supply graduates for the rapidly growing field of sustainable urbanism through a dynamic curricular mix of design and technical courses. Graduate electives will supply the comprehensive education necessary to fulfill the curriculum from both an environmental and technical perspective. The MDes will link primarily with:

  • Architecture
  • Public Policy and Urban Affairs
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Earth and Environmental Science

Program Length

A one-year (36 SH) program for students holding an accredited, first-professional degree in landscape architecture, architecture, planning or urban design.

A two-year (64 SH) program for students entering without an accredited first-professional degree.

Total Number Of Credit Hours

One-year MDes: 36 semester credit hours.

Two-year MDes: 64 semester credit hours.

The program offers a core sequence of introductory and advanced studio, lecture, and seminar courses in design, graphics, technology, history/theory and policy complemented by electives in related fields.

Fall Year 1 

  • Masters Research Studio I
  • Pro-seminar I
  • Urban Ecologies + Technologies I
  • Elective

Spring Year 1

  • Masters Research Studio II or Co-op
  • Pro-seminar II
  • Urban Ecologies + Technologies II
  • Elective

For students entering the two-year program, the first year of study focuses on mastery of core skills sets including: design; site analysis, implementation and visualization.  This includes introduction to basic earthworks, water and plants systems as well as the principles of landscape and urban ecology.

Fall Year 1

  • Studio: Urban Sites
  • History/Theory
  • Analysis, Implementation + Visualization I
  • Optional Elective

Spring Year 1

  • Studio: Urban Systems
  • Policy
  • Analysis, Implementation + Visualization II
  • Optional Elective

For students in the second year of the two-year program or entering the one-year program, core courses offer advanced design methodology, research and training.

Fall Year 2

  • Masters Research Studio I
  • Pro-seminar I
  • Urban Ecologies + Technologies I
  • Elective

Spring Year 2

  • Masters Research Studio II or Co-op
  • Pro-seminar II
  • Urban Ecologies + Technologies II
  • Elective