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Master of Urban Design

The Master of Urban Design (M.U.D.) is a 12-month, 36-credit, three-semester (fall-spring-summer) program with an integrated 5-week summer travel immersion experience.  The program focuses on cities and suburbs that are being reshaped by shifting demographics, global capital, information technology, and environmental sustainability.   The M.U.D. Program is located in the University’s Center City Building in Uptown Charlotte, adjacent to the city’s light rail line.  Planned travel programs include cities in China and Europe.

The Master of Urban Design (M.U.D.) program is an applied research and design degree. It is structured to prepare beginning and mid-career design and planning professionals to engage complex issues faced by contemporary towns and cities in America, particularly those post-industrial landscapes that are being reshaped by information technology, global capital movements, rapidly shifting demographics, soaring urban and suburban growth, and new environmental challenges of sustainable development. The program takes the Charlotte metropolitan region as its laboratory while simultaneously examining issues of national and global import.  The Design+Society Research Center provides a point of contact for students to engage in funded research projects with the faculty.

The premise of the M.U.D. program is that urban design is a fusion of physical design, policy and implementation strategies. It mediates the professional disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, planning, development and engineering that together structure our urban environment, and constructs collaborations between these specialists and the citizens affected by urban development.

The typical curriculum is organized into a three-semester, full-time format of three, 12-credit hour blocks, each comprised of one 6-hr studio and two 3-hr seminar courses. Applicants with no previous design training will be required to enroll in an extra, 3-credit hour short summer preparatory course prior to fall enrollment.  To accommodate part-time students, courses can be taken in independent 3 and 6-hr increments, but full-time attendance is required for the third semester, 5-week summer travel immersion experience.

The cost of the integrated 5-week summer travel immersion experience is to be paid in three installments during the spring semester (January, February, March).  For students who qualify, summer financial aid is available to defray a portion or all of the cost of the travel program. Aid cannot be released, however, until late in the spring semester.  The amount of aid is determined by the Financial Aid Office.  Prospective students are encouraged to plan carefully to have funds available to pay the three installments prior to the release of financial aid.  For information about applying for summer financial aid, visit the Summer Financial Aid website.

For full-time students with a four-year undergraduate degree in architecture, the M.U.D. program also offers dual degrees with the two-year Master of Architecture (MII-track) professional program at UNC Charlotte. This dual degree can normally be completed in three academic years. Opportunities also exist for additional dual degree options with other UNC Charlotte graduate programs in Geography (Community Planning) and in Business Administration (Real Estate).

Students enrolled in the three-year Master of Architecture (MI-track) program may also add the M.U.D degree to their architecture degree at the end of their program with a separate application submitted during the last year of their architecture program. The enrollment period for these two degrees comprises 4 calendar years with two summer sessions.

Students enrolled in the 5th year of the B.Arch. program at UNC Charlotte may also enroll in the 12-month M.U.D. Program through an expedited application process in the spring semester of their fifth year. This allows students to obtain a professional architecture qualification and a post-professional urban design qualification within a two calendar year period.  B.Arch. students must take the GRE exam during the spring semester as an application requirement.  A separate portfolio submission may be waived.

In addition to the integrated 5-week summer travel immersion experience, foreign study opportunities exist for one M.U.D. student each year to study in China for a semester at Tongji University in Shanghai.  The College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji is one of the leading programs of architecture, city planning, and landscape architecture in China, and Tongji's location in cosmopolitan and rapidly changing Shanghai provides a unique opportunity for urban design students. Courses for exchange students are taught in English.

The M.U.D. program has a broad and inclusive admissions policy to attract a cross-disciplinary group of students pursuing academic opportunities and mid-career enhancement, and to meet a growing need in the planning profession for expertise in urban design. The program is designed to fit the needs of both full-time and part-time students. It is the policy of the School of Architecture and the M.U.D. program to provide equal opportunities to all students regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or national origin.

Please visit the Admissions page for more information.