Master of Urban Design

Program Overview

We live in the first urban century in history. As urbanization increasingly influences the human environment in both material and social terms, urban design continues to evolve as a cross-discipline creative practice actively engaged in the shaping of the contemporary city with its shifting demography, globalized economy, ubiquitous technology, and complex ecology.

The Master of Urban Design (MUD) in the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte is the first urban design program established in the Carolinas to meet the growing demand for expertise in urbanism both locally and globally. This post-professional graduate program explores innovative design, applied research, and transformative policies and implementation strategies in building cities and neighborhoods. It engages professional inquiries of architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, real estate, and engineering and connects with citizens in order to foster environmental and social sustainability. The program’s inclusive admissions policy attracts a diverse group of students interested in pursuing careers in design and planning practice, governmental agency, and non-profit organization. The program also welcomes professionals who seek opportunities for mid-career enhancement.

The MUD program is housed in UNC Charlotte’s Center City Campus located in Uptown Charlotte. It takes advantage of this fast growing metropolis as research laboratory, while investigating global urbanism through the structured studio sequence and immersive study abroad sessions. The City Building Lab (CBL), also housed in Center City, enables faculty and students to participate in research and community engagement projects on a wide range of scales.

For more information, please watch this video about the MUD Program.

MUD Program Director
Associate Professor Sekou Cooke

MUD Faculty
Associate Professor Nadia Anderson
Associate Professor Dr. Jose Gamez
Associate Professor Dr. Ming-Chun Lee
Associate Professor Dr. Emily Gunzburger Makas
Professor Deborah Ryan
Professor Emeritus David Walters


The Master of Urban Design is a full-time, 12-month and 36-credit curriculum. Each of three semesters — fall, spring, and summer — comprises a studio and two seminars. Applicants with no prior design training are required to enroll in an additional 3-credit summer course of design fundamentals.

A part-time track is also designed to accommodate working professionals. Courses can be taken in 3-credit and 6-credit increments, but full-time attendance is required for the final summer sessions.

Master of Urban Design curriculum

Global Study

Rio de Janeiro Favelas

The MUD program includes an integrated 5-week summer international travel-design immersion experience. In recent years, students have traveled to multiple cities in China to study high-density urbanism, historic regeneration, and new town movements. During the summers of 2015 through 2017, students traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to study hyper-density, verticality, infrastructure, and sustainability in urban design - all issues critical to the revitalization and expansion of urban centers. Currently, the MUD program is focused on a three-year cycle in Europe.

Dual Degree Options

For full-time students with an undergraduate degree in architecture, the MUD is also offered as a dual-degree program with Master of Architecture within the School of Architecture. There are additional options for students to pursue a dual-degree combining MUD with other graduate programs in UNC Charlotte including Master of Art in Geography (Community Planning track) and the Master of Science in Real Estate. 


Please visit the SoA Graduate Admissions page for more information about the application requirements and process.

Tuition, Fees, and Study Abroad Costs

Tuition and fees vary annually. Below is a cost estimate based upon past years as an example (tuition figures are not representative of 2018-2019); the figures below represent the cost of the Master of Urban Design (MUD) Program for AY 2017-2018. The study abroad program cost of the 5-week summer travel immersion experience is included in the overall cost estimate of the MUD Program, as described below. The study abroad program fee replaces the tuition and fees charge of Summer Session I or first half of the summer semester of the MUD program. You can access UNCC Financial Services website for additional information regarding tuition and fees.

  NC Resident Non NC Resident
Fall 2017 $4,800 $11,800
Spring 2018 $4,800 $11,800
Summer 2018 Session I - Study Abroad $5,100** $5,100**
Summer 2018 Session II $3,300* $5,800*
TOTAL $18,000 $34,500

*estimated summer session tuition + fees
**estimated study abroad trip fee. This fee can be paid in three installments during the spring semesters.  For students who qualify, summer financial aid is available to offset a portion of the cost of the travel program.  Aid cannot be released, however, until late in the spring semester.  The amount of aid is determined by the Financial Aid Office. For information about applying for aid, visit the Summer Financial Aid website.