UPD Independent Thesis

Urban Planning and Urban Design students are not required by their degree to complete an Independent Thesis. The thesis project is an opportunity for students to pursue a design project which they have researched and developed independently. UPD students are required to declare their second-year course plans in the spring of their second semester. UPD students who declare Independent Thesis will be required to enroll in Thesis Prep (ADV-9204; 4-units) in the fall of their final year.

Independent Design Thesis (ADV-9302) is a full-year commitment and carries a total of 12-units.

For MUP students, Independent Design Thesis satisfies the Project-Based Learning requirement.

For MAUD/MLAUD students who receive a grade of pass or higher in both first-year studios are eligible to meet their degree requirements by declaring an Independent Design Thesis for their final year. The Independent Design Thesis is taken in place of the fourth-semester Option Studio.  Students who elect to pursue an Independent Thesis instead of an option studio in the spring term of the second year may not petition to opt out of an option studio in the fall term.

UPD Thesis Handbook 2023-2024
Recent UPD Theses
Addendum: Open Source Thesis Guide at the GSD
UPD Faculty Eligible for Thesis Advising in 2024-2025

UPD students must declare thesis by Monday, April 1st, 2024 by submitting their second-year declaration forms:

MUP Declaration Form
MAUD MLAUD Declaration Form

Those UPD Students who declare Thesis will then be required to submit a secondary Thesis Petition by May 1, 2024, with their topic and the signature of their advisor:

UPD Secondary Thesis Petition
MAUD-MLAUD Petition for Alternative Thesis Prep

Selected UPD theses are available through HOLLIS (Harvard Library), or as hard copy in the Loeb Design Library.

For current thesis students, all final PDF theses must be submitted to the Thesis Director and Program Coordinator by no later than 9:00 AM (ET) on May 13th, 2024. The Department reserves the right to withhold student grades until thesis materials are submitted.