Master of Urban Design

Program Overview


The Master of Urban Design (MUD) is an advanced 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 accepted into the MUD program, an individual must hold a master’s degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture, or an accredited professional undergraduate degree in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture. Students in CU Denver’s M Arch, MLA, and MURP programs may be eligible to apply to the MUD program and begin earning MUD credits before they complete their prerequisite master’s degree through the MUD Overlapping Degree Option (see below).

The MUD program consists of nine courses: one studio and three lecture courses in the fall, one studio and three lecture courses in the spring, and either a travel studio or capstone project in the summer. To earn the MUD degree, a student must complete all nine courses totaling 36 credits. 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 or students admitted through the MUD Overlapping Degree Option may complete the program over a longer timeframe. 


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


Curriculum


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

Studio

6

URBN 6525

City Design Fundamentals

Lecture

3

URBN 6550

Design Policy, Process, and Regulation

Lecture

3

URBN 6575

Advanced Visualization for Urban Design

Lecture/Lab

3

 

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
3

 

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

Course #Course NameCourse Type
6 Credit Hours
URBN 6700

Urban Design Advanced Travel Studio

Studio
URBN 6725

Urban Design Capstone

Individual Project

 

 

Total Required Credits

36

Course Descriptions


Fall Semester Course Descriptions

Spring Semester Course Descriptions

Summer Semester Course Descriptions

Travel Study Opportunities


Overlapping Degree Option


The MUD Overlapping Degree Option 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 complete their prerequisite master’s degree. By taking MUD lecture courses that qualify as open or cross-listed electives toward their prerequisite 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 Degree Option for each of the three programs.  
CAP Overlapping Degree

CU Denver MURP students may apply to the MUD program after they have completed at least 12 MURP credits. Students can then take MUD lecture courses and apply them to both their MURP and MUD degrees. After graduating with their MURP degree, students conclude the MUD program by taking the two MUD studios, any remaining MUD lecture courses, and the final MUD studio/capstone requirement. 

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. MUD lecture courses taken prior to a student’s acceptance into the MUD program can be applied retroactively toward the MUD degree. 

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

CU Denver M Arch students may apply to the MUD program after they have completed at least 30 M Arch credits. Students can then take MUD lecture courses and apply them to both their M Arch and MUD degrees. After graduating with their M Arch degree, students conclude the MUD program by taking the two MUD studios, any remaining MUD lecture courses, and the final MUD studio/capstone requirement. 

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. MUD lecture courses taken prior to a student’s acceptance into the MUD program can be applied retroactively toward the MUD degree. 

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

CU Denver MLA students may apply to the MUD program after they have completed at least 24 MLA credits. Students can then take MUD lecture courses and apply them to both their MLA and MUD degrees. After graduating with their MLA degree, students conclude the MUD program by taking the two MUD studios, any remaining MUD lecture courses, and the final MUD studio/capstone requirement. 

MLA students are allowed to take up to 9 credits of open electives offered by other programs, plus two of the MUD lecture courses—City Design Fundamentals, Urban Design and the Environment—are cross-listed as LDAR electives. Therefore, MLA students could potentially take as many as five MUD required lecture courses as MLA electives, reducing the total credits required for both degrees by 15. How many of these five overlapping MUD lecture courses a student takes, and which ones, is up to the student. MUD lecture courses taken prior to a student’s acceptance into the MUD program can be applied retroactively toward the MUD degree. 

For more information, please review the MLA + MUD Overlapping Degree Option 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.

Admissions


The Master of Urban Design program seeks exceptional, engaged applicants who are passionate about urban design, are excited to study in Downtown Denver and experience life in Colorado, and who can enrich the program through their diverse perspectives and experiences.

Minimum Academic Requirements - Prerequisite Degree

The Master of Urban Design at CU Denver is an advanced 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 (minimum GPA 3.00) from an accredited program. (Current CU Denver M Arch, MLA, or MURP students - please see the MUD Overlapping Degree Options section.) 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

(B.Arch)

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

(MLA)

  • Bachelor of Landscape Architecture

(BLA or BSLA)

 

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 2022
Application Opens: September 1, 2021
Priority Deadline: February 15, 2022*
Final Deadline: May 1, 2022

*All application materials must be received by February 15, 2022 to be considered for scholarships.

 

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.

Living in Denver


Urban Design Contacts


Ken Schroeppel

Kenneth Schroeppel MURP, AICP

Assistant Professor CTT & Urban Design Program Director
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Jodi Stock

Admissions Coordinator