All Academic Programs

Why study Urban Design at Harvard?

Program Description and Emphasis:

The program leading to the Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD) is intended for individuals who have completed a professional program in Architecture or its equivalent. Similarly, the program leading to the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (MLAUD) is intended for individuals who have completed a professional program in Landscape Architecture or its equivalent.

Taking advantage of the remarkable international make-up of the faculty and student body, both the MAUD and the MLAUD programs establish a common intellectual ground among architects and landscape architects who have a strong interest in engaging the practice and theory of contemporary urbanism. As post-professional studio based programs, Urban Design at GSD combines intense design instruction, extensive applied research and knowledge of urban history and theory.

Conceived as a two-year (four semester) program, the MAUD and MLAUD share a strong core curriculum in its first semester that includes the Elements of Urban Design Core Studio, The Urban Design Proseminar and the Cities by Design lecture course. The remaining three semesters offer a more flexible academic path that allows students to engage in advanced studios and elective courses across all three GSD departments. The curricular structure encourages advanced individual and collective research and the possibility to develop an elective thesis.


The Urban Design Program at GSD engages multiple design topics that cut across a variety of scales and urban scenarios both within the North American context and in multiple international settings.  The program’s studio components focus on speculative design strategies that explore inventive design procedures within a diverse set of urban conditions.

Topics include schemes and scenarios for existing urbanized areas--including the analysis and restructuring of areas from the inner city to the metropolitan edge, the development of new territories--from cities to towns, districts and neighborhoods, and the extension or transformation of historic and contemporary contexts. Recently explored studio geographies include Istanbul, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York City, Quito, Rio de Janeiro, among many others.

In addition to the program’s core curriculum, Urban Design Students can construct a trans-disciplinary course of study with option studios, lectures and seminar courses from all three departments within the GSD as well as courses from Harvard and MIT’s offerings. As advanced students, Urban Design Candidates are encouraged to work closely with faculty through the many research labs within the GSD and in other ongoing faculty led applied research and design projects.

Content is loading...
Parent Page