As a post-professional studio based program, the Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD) and the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (MLAUD) combines intense design instruction, extensive applied research, and knowledge of urban history and theory.

Taking advantage of the remarkable international makeup of the faculty and student body, the MAUD/MLAUD program establishes a common intellectual ground among architects who have a strong interest in engaging the practice and theory of contemporary urbanism.

Conceived as a two-year (four-semester) program, the MAUD/MLAUD core curriculum includes the Elements of Urban Design Studio and the Urban Design Contexts and Operations seminar in the fall, followed by an Urban Planning and Design Studio and the Cities by Design seminar in the spring. An otherwise flexible academic path in each of the four semesters allows students to engage in advanced studios and elective courses across all three GSD departments as well as other schools at Harvard and MIT. The curricular structure also encourages advanced research and the possibility to develop an individual elective thesis.


The MAUD/MLAUD program introduces post-professional students, already trained in architecture or landscape architecture, to the critical concepts, strategies, and technical skills associated with contemporary Urban Design research and practice. Through studio and coursework, students are challenged to imagine new formal and organizational strategies for the delivery of housing, infrastructure, and a democratic public realm by taking on issues of inequality, climate change, the environment, and public health. Through history and theory lecture courses, seminars, and research projects, students engage a range of critical frameworks and conceptual models for understanding the complex socio-spatial dynamics of urban design practices and the technological, institutional, and political contexts in which they operate over time and across cultures and geographies.

Since the emergence of Urban Design as a modern practice in the 19th century and its establishment as a distinct field of study at Harvard in 1960, the scope and ambition of Urban Design has significantly expanded. As cities grow and diversify, so does the landscape of urban and peri-urban conditions. Globally, the expansion and transformation of metropolitan regions have introduced new scales and urban archetypes, producing an even wider range of local characteristics, cultural identities, and community needs requiring attention and resolution. This increase in formal, social, economic, and environmental complexity has further complicated the field of urban design, shifting the geography and focus from rigid specialization in primarily western contexts to trans-disciplinary and internationally varied processes that embrace complexity and anticipate change.

During their two years of study, students develop the necessary literacies to critically engage with, interrogate the character, and transform the form of complex built environments. In addition to diverse course offerings, numerous research opportunities with faculty further enrich a dynamic and exciting learning environment for exploring and advancing meaningful responses to the challenges of our time.


The MAUD/MLAUD program at the 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 Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, Mumbai, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Shanghai, among many others.

In addition to the program’s core curriculum, MAUD/MLAUD 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, MAUD 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.

Who Should Apply

The program leading to the Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD) is intended for individuals who have completed a five-year undergraduate professional program in architecture or its equivalent.

The program leading to the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (MLAUD) is intended for individuals who have completed a four-year undergraduate professional program in landscape architecture or its equivalent.

Students enrolled in the GSD’s professional program in Architecture are also encouraged to apply for a concurrent urban design degree, for which an individual curriculum will be arranged.

Two to three years of experience in professional practice is strongly recommended.

Please note that the MAUD/MLAUD program is designated as a STEM program. Accordingly, international students holding F-1 visas may be eligible for a 24-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension on top of their initial OPT of 12 months, for a total of 36 months, following graduation.  Each F-1 student must petition United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to approve the 24-month STEM extension, and Harvard does not represent or warrant that USCIS will grant any individual petition.

To inquire about admission to the MAUD/MLAUD program, please contact the Admissions Office.