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Important Dates & Information:

Application Deadline: January 15
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application Deadline: October 1 - April 30
Intent to Enroll Deadline: April 15


Degree Requirements

The M.U.D. Program requires 45 academic credits. The program is 3 terms in length consisting of a fall full term (September–December), winter full term (January–April), and fall full term (September-December).


The year and a half long curriculum is comprised of a cohesive set of studios that build upon the centrality of design in any fundamental urban transformation.  The studios, with national and international focus, are complemented by seminars on real estate and finance, project development, theories and methods of urban design, policy, sustainability and cultural humanities.  

Fall Term Credit Hours
UD 712 Studio I 6
UD 713 History of Urban Form  3
UD 714 Representation 3
  Open or Directed Elective* 3
Total 15
Winter Term Credit Hours
UD 722 Studio II** 6
UD 715 Theories and Methods of Urban Design 3
UD 716 Urban Economics, Finance, and City Making 3
  Open or Directed Elective* 3
Total 15
Fall Term Credit Hours


Studio III / Thesis*** 6
UD 717 The City and Urban Design: History, Movements, Policies and Outcomes 3
  Open or Directed Elective* 3
  Open or Directed Elective* 3
Total 15

* Directed Electives (minimum one from each category): 1) Ecology, Landscape, Sustainability, 2) Policy, Law, Institutions

** The winter studio brings together MUD and MArch students in Arch 562 as part of an interdiciplinary degree component.

*** Students can pursue a MUD Thesis in lieu of UD 732

Students may take additional classes for which they are qualified during any term in the program, including courses in architecture, urban and regional planning, landscape architecture (at the School for Environment and Sustainability), and other departments within the university.

The MUD degree involves travel to a variety of national and international metropolitan regions to bring students into direct contact with the cummunities for whom they will be designing.  Through the highly competitive MUD Fellowships, the degree supports students' research agendas by awarding research stipends at the time of admission.

According to University of Michigan regulations, students in the program are required to maintain a cumulative grade point average of B to maintain their academic standing. Grade point averages below B during any term result in academic probation. If a student does not raise his or her program cumulative average above B before graduation, he or she will be denied a degree.


María Arquero de Alarcón; McLain Clutter; Robert Fishman; El Hadi Jazairy; Kit McCullough; John McMorrough; Anya Sirota; Roy Strickland; Geoffrey Thün

Faculty teaching urban-related courses:

Peter Allen; Craig Borum; Scott Campbell; Robert Cory; Kimberly Dowdell; Eric Dueweke; Harley Etienne; Robert Goodspeed; Lars Graebner; Joe Grengs; Sharon Haar; Lesli Hoey; Jeffrey Kahan; Douglas Kelbaugh; Kimberley Kinder; Larissa Larsen; Jonathan Levine; Steven Lewis; Jen Maigret; Meredith Miller; Martin Murray; Richard Norton; Ana Morcillo Pallarés; Cyrus Peñarroyo; Ana Paula Pimentel Walker; Sarah Rovang; Mary-Ann Ray; Julie Steiff; David Thacher; June Manning Thomas; Kathy Velikov; Claudia Wigger; Craig WilkinsLaura-Anne Wong

Sample Schedule


UD 712  Urban Design Studio I: (6 credits) This core studio introduces a series of design approaches to study complex metropolitan regions and the network of agents in their transformation. Students develop fundamental skills to integrate multi-scalar design strategies and experiment with advanced representation methods, such as GIS, digital video and other technologies. Participants will engage in examining diverse territories and constituencies related to a design project based in Detroit or the Region. During the semester, participants will visit the projects of interests and engage with local practitioners, designers, and policymakers.

UD 713  History of Urban Form: (3 credits) The course offers a study of the historical development of the physical form of western cities from ancient times to the present. The course will deal primarily with European and North American cities under the following headings: Ancient and Classic, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque, and Modern (nineteenth and twentieth centuries). Cities of Asia, Africa, and Latin America will be included where possible and applicable.

UD 714  Representation: (3 credits) This workshop exercises a wide range of techniques of representation to capture the multi-faceted and transient qualities of the built environment.  Urban Design Representation is conceived as a mode of inquiry and spatial thinking and a critical medium for the generation of urban imaginaries and new audiences. Structured around two interrelated components, students engage in making and conceptualizing the discursive capacity of their work.

UD 715  Theories and Methods of Urban Design: (3 credits) This seminar surveys contemporary theories of urbanism as a lens for understanding urban design discourse and practice. Cities are simultaneously participants in, and resultants of, systems of economy, culture, and power. Accordingly, they can be examined to reveal embedded relationships between urban form and space, the urban publics, and prevailing cultural, economic and political regimes.  This course presents an interdisciplinary cross-section of theories of urbanization, drawing from architecture, landscape, planning, urban design, cultural theory, geography, sociology, political science, and ecology, in order to critically examine cities and the methods that have been used in urban design practice globally.

UD 722  Urban Design Studio II: (6 credits) The studio positions urban design as a catalyst of vibrant urban cultural life. Participants will engage in the conceptualization, planning and design of a district-scale intervention while learning from regional and global initiatives of urban revitalization. Design work is expected to build upon intelligence gained from the previous semester’s work. Students will participate in the lottery system to choose from a series of urban- related studio offerings as part of ARCH 562: PROPOSITION STUDIO. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of UD 712.

UD 716  Urban Economics, Finance, and City Making: (3 credits) This seminar covers urban economics and real estate finance concepts through the study of integrated approaches to project development. The seminar provide an overview of public and private development strategies in contemporary urbanization logics. Private investment issues include market feasibility, valuation and risk, and project financing and complex deal structuring. Public investment issues include community benefits agreements, social housing, pricing of urban infrastructure and public transport, public sector development, legal, policy, planning and inclusionary zoning issues. The course seeks to build proficiency in a cohesive model of project development that accounts for multiple perspectives in city making.

UD 732 Urban Design Studio III: (6 credits) This studio draws upon the research, cultural investigations, technical study and design work developed during the first year. Participants will engage in a faculty-led project or a student formulated design thesis (upon faculty approval) structured to focus on specific research and developed for dissemination to a broad audience. The specific vehicle for project dissemination will vary annually and with the subject of focus, and may include a publication, exhibition; colloquia and symposia with invited thought-leaders from relevant disciplinary domains. Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of UD 722. 

UD 742 Urban Design Thesis: (6 credits) Urban Design Thesis --- Students opting for Thesis as the culmination of the academic course of study will draw upon the research, cultural investigations, technical study and design work initiated during the first two terms. Participants will focus on a specific urban research subject of their choosing in consultation with core faculty in the MUD degree. Project dissemination will vary annually and may include a publication, exhibition: colloquia and symposia with guests from relevant disciplinary domains.

UD 717 The City and Urban Design: History, Movements, Policies and Outcomes: (3 credits) This seminar provides a review of urban design methodologies by focusing on one of the world’s great laboratories of city design, New York City, and by relating its experience to that of other major cities around the world. The seminar is an adjunct to the MUD fall term studio and in part informs and is informed by the studio’s work. The seminar is divided into three sections: (1) Bibliographical readings and discussions led by instructor and participants, including tour of New York City; (2) Research into major examples of urban design and design exercises related to methods revealed by research; and (3) Development of implementation materials for fall term MUD studio.

Potential courses to fulfill directed elective in Ecology, Landscape, Sustainability

Arch 515 Sustainable Systems
Arch 555 Building Systems and Energy Conservation
Arch 605 Environmental Design Simulation
URP 527 Sustainable Food Systems
URP 532 Sustainability and Social Change
URP 533/Arch 506 Sustainable Urbanism and Architecture
URP 542 Environmental Planning: Issues and Concepts
URP 552 Healthy Cities: Planning and Design
EAS 534 Urban Sustainability

Potential courses to fulfill directed elective in Policy, Law, Institutions

URP 502 or URP 503Legal Aspects of the Planning Process
URP 525 Regional Planning
URP 542 Environmental Planning
URP 543 State and Local Land Management
URP 560 Transportation and Land Use Planning
URP 561 Public Policy and Transportation
URP 570 Urban and Regional Planning in Developing Countries
URP 571 Comparative Urban Policy
URP 572 Comparative Housing, Property, and Law
URP 581 Housing Policy and Economics
URP 582 Neighborhood Planning

* This is a tentative list of courses meeting electives areas of focus, and taught at Taubman College. Apart from these courses, you can also enroll in other schools on campus. As offerings change every year, prepare in advance and discuss with your advisors a good strategy to meet your interests.

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning