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-Base Course requirements.

For MAUD/MLAUD students, 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 second year may not petition to opt-out of studio in the fall term.

UPD Thesis Handbook 2022-2023
UPD Thesis Timeline
Recent UPD Theses
Addendum: Open Source Thesis Guide at the GSD

UPD students must declare thesis by Monday, April 4th, 2022 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, 2023, with their topic and the signature of their advisor:

UPD Secondary Thesis Petition
UPD Secondary Thesis Advisor 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 by 9:00 AM (ET) on May 15th, 2023. The Department reserves the right to withhold student grades until thesis materials are submitted.