Master of Urban Design

The Master of Urban Design (MUD) at CU Denver is a post-professional degree program for individuals who seek a career in urban design practice or for current planning and design professionals who want to enhance and expand their existing practice with urban design knowledge and expertise.

Program Overview


Using Colorado’s diverse urban landscapes as a laboratory for real-world learning, CU Denver’s MUD program will prepare you to become an exceptional urban design thinker, practitioner, and leader.

Our students and faculty collaborate closely with urban design professionals and local communities to explore innovative urban design solutions for project sites throughout the region and, in partnership with our Urban Design Advisory Council, promote urban design as the best approach for shaping communities that are sustainable, inclusive, healthy, and inspiring.

The MUD program consists of nine courses totaling 36 credits: one studio and three lecture courses in the fall, one studio and three lecture courses in the spring, and our global travel studio in the summer. You can complete the program in a single calendar year as a full-time immersive experience, or you can pursue the degree on a part-time basis over a longer timeframe.

To apply to the MUD program, you must already hold a master’s degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture, or a professional bachelor's degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture.

Students in CU Denver’s M.Arch, MLA, and MURP programs can apply to the MUD program and begin earning MUD credits before they have completed their M.Arch, MLA, or MURP program requirements through our MUD Dual Degree options.

Our MUD program will expand your perspectives and your career prospects! With a Master of Urban Design degree, you can…

  • Pursue a career in urban design practice where your primary work focuses on producing urban design solutions that holistically integrate buildings, parks and public spaces, streets and bike/ped/transit infrastructure, and a diversity of uses and activities into sustainable places that prioritize people over cars
  • Incorporate urban design knowledge, concepts, and skills into your existing architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture practice, making you a better architect, urban planner, or landscape architect and giving you a competitive career advantage over your peers

MUD News


Program Hallmarks


The following four Program Hallmarks distinguish the MUD program at CU Denver and are at the heart of our urban design curriculum:

Student pointing to student project with a guest critic. Our Master of Urban Design program prepares students for professional practice and positions them for career advancement through ongoing engagement and partnerships with distinguished practitioners in urban design, architecture, city planning, landscape architecture, and related fields.

The curriculum, which balances theory and practice, draws significantly from practicing faculty to elevate the professional competency of students and prepare them for long-term career success. Students are exposed to the many issues that cities currently face, including elements of planning policy; zoning and development regulations; public realm design; mobility and transportation; economics; social equity and environmental sustainability; and community engagement. This allows students to develop a deep understanding of the role of urban design in the city-building process and learn by engaging with practitioners who are actively crafting and implementing urban design plans.

 

Four people talking about a poster and pointing.

Our Master of Urban Design program develops sustained partnerships with local communities and organizations to work together to advance the goals of the MUD program, urban design practice, and the broader community through the exchange of ideas and the exploration of creative design concepts. It is critical that the design of cities and the spaces and places that urban designers help shape have people as their central focus.

For urban designers to best design cities as people-centered places, they must engage with the community in meaningful ways. These partnerships recognize the wealth of resources and wisdom that already exists within communities and focus on understanding their issues, problems, and challenges. These community partnerships require students and faculty to approach engagement with a “listen and learn” attitude, foster mutually beneficial relationships, and ultimately create lasting positive impacts for all people and places.

People in a park with bicycles.Our Master of Urban Design program focuses on the connections between urban form, public space, social equity and justice, ecological systems, environmental quality, and public health that exist at multiple scales. From the street to the neighborhood and from the city to the region, students explore the complex infrastructure systems, social networks, and ecosystems that affect our built and natural environments and look to develop new paradigms and design solutions that fight against environmental degradation, climate change, and social and racial inequities.

Emphasizing the imperative for multidisciplinary approaches, the MUD program focuses on the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental sustainability and resilience in our cities and towns and the ever-increasing role that urban design plays in addressing climate change, disparities and displacement in underserved and historically marginalized communities, and public health and wellness. 

Guest lecturer signing books at a table and talking to students.Our Master of Urban Design program is structured to train students how to communicate confidently with other disciplines, facilitate effective teamwork, and tackle complex urban issues to create the next generation of civic and design leaders. Urban design is positioned at the intersection of multiple professions that participate in the city-building process including architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, civil engineering, and public policy and finance.

A strong urban designer has a working knowledge of these allied disciplines and applies a breadth of knowledge to their professional work. The MUD program curates a student’s skillset to position them to play critical leadership roles guiding multi-disciplinary teams and to advance the careers of those already working in urban design as well as provide a rigorous and comprehensive platform for those newly embarking on an urban design career.

Curriculum and Course Descriptions


The MUD curriculum features a mix of lecture and studio courses that comprehensively cover the spectrum of urban design theory and practice and emphasize hands-on experiential learning and skills development. At the heart of our curriculum are our four Program Hallmarks, which are present in all courses as common themes.

The curriculum consists of nine courses: one studio and three lecture courses in the fall semester, one studio and three lecture courses in the spring semester, and a summer travel studio. To earn the MUD degree, a student must successfully complete all nine courses totaling 36 credits.

Fall Semester Course Descriptions

Spring Semester Course Descriptions

Summer Semester Course Descriptions

Note: Urban Design Global Studio (URBN 6700) is the default summer option. Urban Design Capstone (URBN 6725) is a substitute for URBN 6700 for students unable to travel internationally.

MUD Overlapping Dual Degrees


The MUD Overlapping Dual Degree gives students in the M Arch, MLA, and MURP programs at CU Denver the opportunity to apply to the MUD program and begin earning MUD credits before they have completed their M Arch, MLA, or MURP program requirements. By taking MUD lecture courses that qualify as open or cross-listed electives toward their M Arch, MLA, or MURP degree, students can reduce the total number of credits required to earn both degrees, saving time and money. Select a tab below to view the details about the MUD Overlapping Dual Degree option for each of the three programs.  

CU Denver MURP students may apply to the MUD program after they have completed at least 12 MURP credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. After completing the MURP degree requirements, students conclude the MUD program by taking the three MUD studios and any remaining MUD lecture courses. Upon completing the MUD degree requirements, students are eligible to graduate and receive both their MURP and MUD degrees. 

MURP students are allowed to take up to 6 credits of open electives offered by other programs, plus four of the MUD lecture courses—City Design Fundamentals; Design Policy, Process, and Regulation; Urban Design Economics and Equity; Urban Design and the Environment—are cross-listed as URPL electives. Therefore, MURP students could potentially take all six of the MUD-required lecture courses as MURP electives, reducing the total credits required for both degrees by 18. How many of these six overlapping MUD lecture courses a student takes, and which ones, is up to the student.

For more information, please review the MURP + MUD Overlapping Dual Degree guide or contact your academic advisor.  

CU Denver M Arch students may apply to the MUD program after they have completed at least 12 M Arch credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. After completing the M Arch degree requirements, students conclude the MUD program by taking the three MUD studios and any remaining MUD lecture courses. Upon completing the MUD degree requirements, students are eligible to graduate and receive both their M Arch and MUD degrees. 

M Arch students are allowed to take up to 6 credits of open electives offered by other programs, plus two of the MUD lecture courses—City Design Fundamentals, Urban Design Economics and Equity—are cross-listed as ARCH electives. Therefore, M Arch students could potentially take as many as four MUD required lecture courses as M Arch electives, reducing the total credits required for both degrees by 12. How many of these four overlapping MUD lecture courses a student takes, and which ones, is up to the student.

For more information, please review the M Arch + MUD Overlapping Dual Degree guide or contact your academic advisor.  

CU Denver MLA students may apply to the MUD program after they have completed at least 12 MLA credits with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. After completing the MLA degree requirements, students conclude the MUD program by taking the three MUD studios and any remaining MUD lecture courses. Upon completing the MUD degree requirements, students are eligible to graduate and receive both their MLA and MUD degrees. 

MLA students are allowed to take up to 9 credits of open electives offered by other programs. Therefore, MLA students could potentially take as many as three MUD required lecture courses as MLA electives, reducing the total credits required for both degrees by 9. How many of these three overlapping MUD lecture courses a student takes, and which ones, is up to the student.

For more information, please review the MLA + MUD Overlapping Dual Degree guide or contact your academic advisor.

Tuition & Fees


The University of Colorado Denver has one of the most affordable tuition rates in Colorado.  Our tuition and fees are set by the Board of Regents, the governing body of the University of Colorado.  Tuition is based on student classification (undergraduate, graduate, academic program, resident or nonresident) and you can find out what rates will apply to your situation here.
All CAP Graduate Programs have WICHE-WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program) status, which grants in-state resident tuition to students from 15 western states including California, Washington, Oregon and Arizona.

Living in Denver


Study Abroad Opportunities


Travel allows us to see and experience design perspectives from around the world. The College of Architecture and Planning offers a variety of study abroad opportunities each year. Additionally, CU Denver offers study abroad opportunities to students of all majors. 

Program Contacts


Ken Schroeppel headshot

Ken Schroeppel

Director of Urban Design, Assistant Professor CTT
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Jodi Stock

Manager of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment
Roxy New Headshot

Roxy New

Course Coordinator and Graduate Academic Advisor for MURP, MUD, MLA, MSHP, & PhD

College of Architecture and Planning

CU Denver

CU Denver Building

1250 14th Street

2000

Denver, CO 80202


303-315-1000

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