Master of Urban Design

Urbanization is an increasing and constantly changing condition of contemporary society. This presents enormous opportunities for—and challenges to—the creation of resilient, livable, and healthy urban habitats. Cities are the largest consumers and producers of global resources and our greatest agents of social change. Through the design of our cities, we address the potential of the urban world.

At the Sam Fox School, students focus on how to transform cities for the 21st century as active and informed participants. Our innovative structure allows students to pursue advanced design and research while developing a rigorous theoretical and professional foundation. Studios integrate concepts of architecture, landscape architecture, and infrastructural and ecological urbanism. They are research-oriented, yet speculative and exploratory.

Founded by Fumihiko Maki and Roger Montgomery in 1961, our program provides students with opportunities for experiential immersion learning—the best form of education for an urban designer. Work is deeply engaged with place—in St. Louis, throughout the United States, and abroad. Locally, students collaborate with agencies and communities on real initiatives to create more equitable and environmentally conscientious strategies, systems, and cities. Internationally, they travel to select major metropolitan cities in North America, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia, working with Washington University faculty and renowned, local practitioners in intense, mega-growth developments to address evolving urbanization across the globe. Through this hands-on experience, students obtain a great appreciation for a range of cities and different approaches to the making of cities.

Urban design takes an expansive view of the built environment. It unifies the social, political, economic, and environmental forces in our cities. Students who graduate our program are prepared for global leadership in the development of humane cities for a more sustainable world.

The Master of Urban Design degree can be combined with study in other divisions at Washington University, including dual+joint degree programs in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Public Health, Social Work, as well as our Doctor of Sustainable Urbanism program.


Our program leads to a STEM-designated, post-professional Master of Urban Design degree; learn about degree requirements and our core studio sequence>>

Faculty & Visitors

Get to know our faculty, and the diversity of their teaching, practices, and research work>>

Student Work

Check out the latest edition of Approach, featuring a wide range of work produced by urban design students>>

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Spotlight: Summer 2020 Global Urbanism Studio

For summer 2020, the Master of Urban Design program rethought the idea of the global studio amidst social distancing and crises. Led by visiting assistant professor Jonathan Stitelman, the studio worked with an international network of designers across the globe, representing all of the continents plus the oceans, to understand how COVID-19, climate change, and other crises affect their regions. Working with these guests and Sam Fox School faculty, students designed proactive, site-specific adaptations to the public realm, infrastructure, and building typologies. Check out the video above, highlighting the studio's two-week Kampala Workshop, then visit the Global Urbanism Studio page for more information about the studio and recordings of some of the weekly lectures.


Theodore "Teddy" Levy Awarded 2021 NOMA Foundation Fellowship
Sam Fox School Announces Spring 2021 Public Events
Preserving the Past, Shaping the Future: Video Interview with Michael Allen for theSTL
Laboratory for Suburbia Project Relaunches
CityStudioSTL Fellows Embrace Remote Work in Efforts for the St. Louis Community
Sam Fox School Announces Fall 2020 Public Events
Reconfiguring Public Space: Summer 2020 Global Urbanism Studio
Approach Publications Released
Widmann Prize Digital Exhibitions
Samuels Wins National Architectural Education Award
Video: Kampala Workshop for the Global Urbanism Studio
Spring 2020 Sam Fox School Public Lecture Series
Fall 2019 CityStudioSTL Faculty Course Grants
Photos: 2019 Informal Cities Workshop
Mumford on Five Books that Have Defined and Redefined Urbanism since 1850
Hoeferlin Named Chair of Landscape Architecture and Urban Design
Designing Hyperloop Infrastructure
The Architects of Arbolope Studio
WashU Expert: Notre Dame "Symbolic Center of the Nation"
2018 Informal Cities Workshop + Lecture
Faculty Spotlight: Patty Heyda on Rebuilding the American City
WashU project honored by Missouri Chapter of the APA
WashU team wins NOMA Student Design Competition


We offer competitive scholarships and financial aid, including several full-tuition awards.

Learn about the application process here>>

Questions? We’d love to speak with you by email, phone, or video about our program. Please email us

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