New UWM urban design program offers accelerated degree for aspiring designers and planners

MILWAUKEE – UW-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning is launching a new Master of Urban Design program to respond to growing demand for professional designers and planners who can develop urban spaces that support robust economic development, environmental stewardship, equity and livability.

Applications are being reviewed for the program’s inaugural class, which will begin in September 2021. The departments of architecture and urban planning are jointly offering the accelerated, STEM-affiliated master’s degree program. More information about the 12-month, studio-based program can be found at this School of Architecture and Urban Planning website.

“A professional design community trained specifically in urban design is essential to helping communities capably address climate change, aging infrastructure, income inequality and population growth,” said Ivy Hu, professor and chair of the urban planning department. She also serves on the governing board of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and is president of the International Association for China Planning.

In Milwaukee, the Menomonee Valley serves as an example of the impact that a cohesive and comprehensive urban design strategy can have on a community. The area has been a focus for brownfield redevelopment, green infrastructure as public greenspace and modern light manufacturing architecture. This blueprint has helped to bring jobs within walking distance of the city’s diverse Near South Side neighborhood.

“These issues increasingly affect communities of every size, in every country,” Hu said. “We felt compelled to create an intensive new curriculum that offers relevant research- and practice-based coursework drawn from our school’s architecture and planning expertise.”

UWM’s urban design program could appeal especially to new or recent college graduates with degrees in areas like studio art, interior design or landscape architecture who are seeking to broaden their skill set. The program could also interest mid-career professionals looking to enhance their resumes.

Prospective Master of Urban Design students should have the following qualifications: a bachelor’s degree in architecture, landscape architecture, design-focused urban planning or interior design; design-studio background; minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0/4.0; ability to submit an electronic design portfolio. The GRE is not required for Master of Urban Design applicants.

For more information about the Master of Urban Design and the seven other graduate programs in the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, please visit the school online or contact Ivy Hu.