Program Overview

The Master of Urban Design (MUD) is an intensive 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.

To be admitted to the MUD program, an individual must hold an accredited master’s degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture, or an accredited professional undergraduate degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture. Students may apply to the program in anticipation of earning the prerequisite degree prior to the start of their MUD studies. See the Admissions Requirement section below for more information.

To earn the MUD degree, a student must complete nine courses totaling 36 credits, which consist of a mix of lecture courses, studios, and a final capstone or travel studio requirement. The MUD program is designed to be accomplished in a single calendar year (fall, spring, and summer semesters) as a full-time, immersive experience; however, students with qualifying circumstances may receive permission to complete the program over a longer timeframe. See the Curriculum Overview section below for details.

Using Colorado’s diverse urban landscapes as a laboratory for real-world learning experiences, our MUD program teaches and trains students to become exceptional urban design thinkers, practitioners, and leaders in their communities; collaborates with urban designers to advance the profession and position it at the intersection of the city-building disciplines; and engages with the community to create great places that are sustainable, inclusive, equitable, healthy, and inspiring.

Learn more about our urban design vision and mission at the College of Architecture and Planning.

denver downtown
Students working

Program Hallmarks


The MUD curriculum features a mix of lecture and studio courses that comprehensively cover the spectrum of urban design theory and practice and emphasizes 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 taken in the fall semester, one studio and three lecture courses taken in the spring semester, and the final requirement—a capstone project or travel studio (student’s choice)—taken during the summer.  To earn the MUD degree, a student must successfully complete all nine courses totaling 36 credits.

Students entering the MUD program who lack certain design knowledge or skills may be required to take the program’s Design Skills Workshop before the start of the Fall semester, as determined by the program’s admissions review committee.

The table below shows the required courses in the MUD curriculum, effective Fall 2021.

Fall Semester:

Course #

Course Name

Course Type

Credit Hours

URBN 6500

Urban Design Studio I



URBN 6525

City Design Fundamentals



URBN 6550

Design Policy, Process, and Regulation



URBN 6575

Advanced Visualization for Urban Design




Spring Semester:

Course #Course NameCourse Type
Credit Hours
URBN 6600
Urban Design Studio IIStudio6
URBN 6625Urban Design Economics and EquityLecture3
URBN 6650Urban Design and the EnvironmentLecture3
URBN 6675Design Practice and LeadershipLecture


Summer Semester - Student’s choice of one of the following: 

Course #Course NameCourse Type
6 Credit Hours
URBN 6700

Urban Design Advanced Travel Studio

URBN 6725

Urban Design Capstone

Individual Project



Total Required Credits



Course Descriptions

Expand the sections below to read the course descriptions for the MUD curriculum:

Fall Semester Course Descriptions

Spring Semester Course Descriptions

Summer Semester Course Descriptions


The Master of Urban Design program seeks exceptional, engaged applicants who:

  • have demonstrated academic excellence and a professional degree
  • are passionate about urban design
  • are excited to study in Downtown Denver and experience life in Colorado
  • can enrich the program through their unique, diverse perspectives and experiences

Minimum Academic Requirements

The Master of Urban Design at CU Denver is a post-professional degree. In order to be admitted to the program, an individual must hold (or will hold by the start of their MUD studies) a professional degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture from an accredited program. Professional degrees in architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture can be obtained at either the undergraduate or graduate levels.

Qualifying Architecture Degrees:

  • Master of Architecture

(M. Arch)

  • Bachelor of Architecture


Degree must be accredited through the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) for programs in the United States. For international applicants, please contact us for more information.

Qualifying Urban Planning Degrees:

  • Master of Urban Planning

(MUP, MURP, MCP or similar)

  • Bachelor of Urban Planning

(BSUP, BSURP or similar)


Degree must be accredited through the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB) for programs in the United States. For international applicants, please contact us for more information.

Qualifying Landscape Architecture Degrees:

  • Master of Landscape Architecture


  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture



Degree must be accredited through the Landscape Architectural Accreditation Board (LAAB) for programs in the United States. For international applicants, please contact us for more information.

Application Deadline

Program Start: Fall 2021

Application Opens: October 15, 2020
Priority Deadline: April 1, 2021
Final Deadline: May 1, 2021

Required Application Materials

  • Application fee ($50 for domestic applicants, $75 for international applicants)
  • Academic transcripts: see Minimum Academic Requirement section above
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA is required to apply to the MUD program. Applicants with a 3.20 GPA or higher do not need to submit Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores. Applicants with a GPA below 3.20 are required to submit GRE scores.
  • A portfolio that includes examples of student or professional projects that show your planning/design-related knowledge and skills, ability to graphically express planning/design and spatial concepts and processes, organizational and communication (written and graphical) capabilities, and competency in various planning/design computer applications
  • A statement of purpose that includes your educational and professional goals and a thoughtful explanation of how a MUD degree will allow you to achieve your goals
  • Resume describing your educational and professional background
  • Three letters of reference, at least one from an academic reference if your most recent academic degree was earned within the last five years
  • If you are a resident of any of the 15 western states (except Colorado) in the WICHE-WRGP region, please complete the WICHE-WRGP section of the online application.
  • International applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency. For more information regarding English Language Proficiency and international transcripts at International Admissions website.