Curriculum

MUD students explore Los Laureles Canyon area as part of the Tijuana studio.

The program consists of regular fall and spring semesters in St. Louis, followed by an eight-week international studio that is the Degree Project for the Master of Urban Design. Through the intensive design experience of these three central studios, students develop the skills to make design proposals for specific conditions within the metropolitan landscape.

The first studio introduces students to design concepts in architecture, landscape architecture, and infrastructure design through theoretical and speculative exercises that explore contemporary metropolitan conditions. This is followed by an “action-research” studio, taught by an urban design practitioner, that engages in ongoing American urban development issues. This studio introduces students to a wide range of issues typical of very large metropolitan areas, as well as to the immense intellectual and cultural resources of North American global cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto, among others. Students are expected to travel to selected cities for site visits.

The sequence culminates in the Global Urbanism Studio. This summer 10-12 week immersion urban design studio, which serves as the degree project studio for the MUD proogram, provides the students the opportunity to study, experience, and make design proposals in a number of significant global cities—cities that are imbued with the complexity of urban life and have an active and lively culture, arts, and design scene in which the making of the urban fabric is challenged by rapid growth, environmental stress, social complexity, and the need for a new approach to urbanism. Recently this studio has involved research in the following cities: Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tijuana. Because immersion is critical to a thorough understanding of place and culture, students are expected to reside for an extended period in the selected international city.

During these three semesters, students in the program are also introduced to design and planning research techniques through three required courses that support their abilities to interpret and represent contemporary urbanization. These courses introduce students to basic concepts in the history of urbanism, environmental and infrastructure systems, landscape ecology, urban development, and sustainability within the urban environment. Finally, students have the opportunity to establish areas of concentration with two urban electives and one free elective in related areas within the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design and the University at large, including, among others, the schools of Law, Business, Engineering, and Social Work. With faculty approval, students can craft an individualized experience according to their interests and needs through the combination of electives.

NOTE: While every effort is made to keep the costs low, the summer international studio and additional site visits are at the expense of the student.