Urban Design, MUD

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Learn to cocreate inclusive public places that represent a community's love of place, identity and future aspirations.

The MUD is a transdisciplinary post-professional graduate program in The Design School which provides students with actionable knowledge of urban systems that enables them to lead socially just urban transformations for community resilience.

Students study and apply newly emerging design knowledge from architecture, landscape architecture, creative placemaking and keeping, urban planning, community development, civil engineering and real estate development. Students also draw from critical works in nondesign disciplines including climate science, social justice, sustainability science, urban ecology, urban climate, smart city, law, and systems theory.

Program studio projects are run as service-learning studios whenever possible. This approach partners students with cities and communities to exchange knowledge and learn from each other. Recent studio topics have covered the climate crisis, urban watershed design, indigenous design knowledge and practice, social justice, community health, the integration of wildlife corridors in compact urban development, and smart city approaches to rapid technological change.

The Master of Urban Design curriculum is built around the analysis and understanding of these dynamic urban systems specific to rapidly urbanizing and arid regions of the world. The program leverages a number of local factors --- the rapidly expanding Phoenix metropolis, the arid climate and the area's cultural diversity --- in the development of responsible global initiatives and innovative design strategies for urban environments.

This program addresses the urban design transformations that are needed in order to build just, sustainable and resilient communities that can address a multitude of crises.

At A Glance

Urban Design, MUD

Plan of study

The Plan of study is the required curriculum to complete this graduate level program.

View Plan of Study


Application Procedures and Requirements

Application period

Online applications are open September 15 with a priority deadline of January 15 for the following programs: MArch 2-year; MArch 3-year; MIA 2-year; MIA 3+; MID 2-year; MID 3+; MLA 2-year; MLA 3-year; MS.Arch; MSD; MUD; MVCD 2-year; and MVCD 3+.

Fall Admission: MUD 1-year program only admit students for the fall semester. We accept applications until July 1st.

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Paying for College

Teaching and Graduate Assistantships

Assistantships are appointed each term to a select number of graduate students who are excelling in The Design School. Learn more about teaching assistantships including eligibility and application details.

Financial Aid

Learn more about your financial aid options.

Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP)

Students who live outside of Arizona may be eligible for 150% in-state tuition, find out if you qualify.


Degree requirements

Required Core (10 credit hours)
MUD 521 Advanced Urban Design Studio I (5)
MUD 522 Advanced Urban Design Studio II (5)

Electives (9 credit hours)

Other Requirements (12 credit hours)
LAP 598 Topic: Smart City Sustainability and the Environment (3)
MUD 598 Topic: Great Cities (3)
MUD 598 Topic: Principles of Collaboration in Design (3)
MUD 598 Topic: Urban Issues (3)

Culminating Experience (5 credit hours)
MUD 593 Applied Project (5)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students should see the academic unit for an approved design professional elective list.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. portfolio
  4. letter of intent
  5. two references
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency through either the TOEFL or the IELTS regardless of current residency. The minimum score for admission to the program is 80 (internet-based) or 550 (paper-based) on the TOEFL or an overall band score of 6.5 on the IELTS.

Other information for international applicants can be found at https://admission.asu.edu/international/graduate/english-proficiency.

Applicants who hold a studio-based four-year undergraduate design degree will be considered for the one-year MUD program. The Master of Urban Design is a postprofessional program.

Applicants must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree from a college or university recognized by ASU in a studio-based design discipline.

The portfolio, letter of intent and contact information for three references need to be submitted to SlideRoom (https://asudesign.slideroom.com/#/Login). The Design School requires that these be submitted in addition to the graduate admission application requirements.

Admission to the program is selective. Admission cannot be deferred; students must enroll in the semester for which they are admitted, otherwise they will need to go through the entire application process again for the year in which they are applying.

Applicants may be admitted to the one-year program with deficiencies if their previous coursework is not equivalent to the ASU undergraduate requirements and standards. Deficiencies must be completed prior to taking the required courses, if necessary. This may cause the student to take longer than one year to complete the program.

A personal interview is not required; however, a candidate wishing to visit the school is welcome, and the candidate should make arrangements by contacting the department.

Global Engagement Studios

The graduate program curriculum encompasses a travel studio which is completed in the fall semester of the final year. Students travel all over the world for the opportunity to experience a foreign place or country for one week at the beginning of the fall semester. This trip is faculty led and the cost is inclusive within tuition fees.  The benefit of this experience to our graduate students is invaluable. To hear what our students are saying about the Global Engagement Studios and their experience view this video.

Admission Requirements

Master of Urban Design One-year Program (MUD)

Applicants who hold an undergraduate degree from a studio-based program (Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, Bachelor of Science in Architecture and the Master of Architecture) will be considered for the one-year MUD program. Applicants who have extensive professional work experience in an urban design-related area may also be considered for admission. The MUD is a post-professional program.

  • Applicants must hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a studio-based design discipline form a college or a university recognized by ASU.
  • Applicants must meet the minimum GPA requirements as established by Graduate College. The last two years of applicant’s undergraduate GPA records will be reviewed.
  • A personal interview is not required; however, a candidate wishing to visit the school is welcome and should make arrangements by contacting designgrad@asu.edu.
  • Applicants to The Design School graduate programs are required to complete a two-step application process. Applicants must submit the Graduate College application as well as The Design School SlideRoom application.  For complete information on how to apply, please view the steps to apply on the admissions page.

Apply Now

Professional Organizations

Professional organizations serve as the public face for their respective professions, providing information to the general public about disciplinary practice and its role in improving the well-being of communities, promoting design excellence through the recognition of notable professional achievements, supporting the exchange of ideas and information about best practices between professional members through the development of conferences and through the support of opportunities for continuing education.

Learn more about professional organizations.

Student Organizations

Joining a discipline-specific student organization is a great way to help your long-term career plans and goals. Membership can add to your academic experience by building a portfolio, making important connections, networking and engaging with local and national professional communities.

Learn more about student organizations.

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