Graduate Urban Design (M.S.UD)

Request Information

The 33 credit, three-semester, fully encapsulated, ( Fall, Spring, Summer — Brooklyn campus only) post-professional program aims to expand a student’s previously established professional education by imbuing them with the disciplinary and technical precision to engage in evolving forms of advanced design research, thinking, and practice. Its specific focus is on the multifaceted reformulation of Architectural Context; an area of research that explores the ways in which urban design activates context and 21st century cities as they become increasingly more populated and dense, as they grow inward and accumulate on top of themselves to conserve resources; cultural, economical, and ecological. The program centers on cultivating an understanding of architecture and context as that which is fundamentally premised on the design of urban qualities for a dense city. The curriculum embraces an intertwining of architectural design, landscape architecture, urban design, interior design, and architectural/urban conservation.

At the pinnacle of Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD) Directed Research studio projects engage scales larger than a building yet smaller than a city. The goal of immersing students in Directed Research is to enhance their individual capacities to ask often difficult and challenging questions facing the profession and discipline; through design and with audiences outside of architecture and urban design. Specific to this program are questions of how we design and inhabit the urban realm as it continues to densify in the 21st century, using Brooklyn and New York City as its basis of study and projection.

Open to students holding a five-year (B. Arch) or equivalent (M. Arch) degree in architecture, the program helps students cultivate specific interests in architecture and urbanism through a precise disciplinary framework. All students are exposed to relevant issues through rigorous urban theory seminars, through architectural media seminars introducing contemporary methods of big data information modeling, through history-theory and architecture electives, and through a dense array of Lectures and Events, including the participation of prominent scholars. This ensemble of learning complements and reinforces the studios where the understanding, comprehension, and integration of design methods, and theoretical and technical knowledge is tested, pushed to its limits, and discussed in a critique format with faculty, guests, partners and the GAUD Critic at Large. Studio subjects engage an array of topics, including, but not limited to, urban interiority, composite building typologies, and alteration; all with an emphasis on challenging conventional notions of adaptive re-use, infill development, architectural and urban conservation. The broader strokes of this area of GAUD Directed Research shifts its discourse away from “architecture and the city,” away from its semiological and/or quantitative performance-based understandings of design toward one which conceives of context as a qualitative endeavor, requiring a ferocious curiosity and committed imagination to engage the inhabitability of contemporary and future cities.

Learning objectives for the Master of Science, Urban Design program:

  • Throughout the curriculum, design is approached with an emphasis on advanced urban and architectural, giving students opportunities to explore ecological, typological, methodological, and cartographical applications of cutting-edge design. 
  • Studios, seminars, and electives are coordinated to approach design and discourse as progressive cultural acts with cutting-edge to near-future potential for speculation and innovation.
  • The program provides intermediate and advanced experience with contemporary urban design techniques and technologies, physical and virtual media, cutting-edge theories of urbanism, new understandings of context and allied disciplines, discourse-generating and polemical writing techniques, urban-architectural research, publication and book design, new architectural graphics and representational logics, and exposure to prominent contributors to the discipline.
  • Coursework involves a combination of design studios, Directed Research studios, discursive seminars, Directed Research seminars, architectural media courses, and a combination of history-theory and architecture electives that give students opportunities to broaden or deepen their interests and the understanding of their work.
  • The program seeks to provide strong internal curricular frameworks for students to develop advanced discourse and design work while also providing Directed Research opportunities to connect with internal faculty and external partners in community-based organizations and with various constituencies vested in urban design throughout New York.

Pratt Online Consent Agreement

By clicking agree or continuing to surf this site's pages you understand that Pratt Institute may collect information that has been provided by you. To learn more about Pratt’s privacy policy, visit