Taubman College


Apply / Master of Urban Design

The Master of Urban Design (M.U.D.) Program welcomes applications from mature, talented, intellectually aggressive, and critical individuals holding professional degrees in architecture, urban planning, and/or landscape architecture. Applicants should be prepared for an intensive academic environment emphasizing both individual and group work. Given the program's international student body, candidates should be curious about and open to diverse insights into culture and urbanism and committed to communicating and interpreting ideas across national differences. Candidates should also be open to discussing themes of politics, culture, class, race, and gender as they relate to urban design, and to testing assumptions about these issues in light of the history, theory, and practice of urban design. (Because conversation and debate is central to the M.U.D. Program, candidates whose first language is not English should be prepared to focus on developing their English verbal and writing skills to extract full value from the program.) Finally, whether they are from architecture, landscape architecture, or urban planning, candidates may find it necessary to deconstruct their ways of thinking toward reconstructing themselves as urban designers.

Application and Portfolio Deadline: January 15

Check the Status of your Application

Please take the GRE test 6-8 weeks prior in order for test scores to be received by the application deadline.

Admissions Eligibility

Applicants to the Master of Urban Design (M.U.D.) degree program, applicants should already possess one (or more) of the following degrees:

  1. 5-year Bachelor of Architecture
  2. 5-year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
  3. Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, Master of Urban Planning, or their international equivalent.

Applicants must show evidence of understanding, aptitude, and achievement in the design of the physical environment, as well as an interest and a commitment to urbanism. Professional design experience will be viewed favorably.

Application Materials

  • Online Application
  • Non-refundable application fee: $75 U.S. / $90 fee non-U.S.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Unofficial transcripts (scanned from originals) from all universities/colleges attended including community colleges, study abroad, and summer programs (uploaded through the online application)
  • Portfolio (online)
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation including recommendation forms
  • GRE Scores (required)
  • TOEFL test scores (required Non-native English Speakers)
  • Financial certification documents (Non-U.S. Citizens)

Do not use the Rackham Graduate School online admissions application.

Non-refundable Application Fee

The fee for United States Citizens and those with permanent resident visa status is $75 (U.S.D). The fee for non-U.S. citizens is $90 (U.S.D.). The application fee is paid online, via credit card. DO NOT send cash. The application is submitted electronically to M.U.D. admissions.. There is no need to follow-up with a paper copy of the application. Applications received without fees will not be processed.

Statement of Purpose

Please write a concise statement outlining your reasons for applying to the master's degree program and why your application should be favorably considered. The following questions serve only as a guide. It is preferred if your statement of purpose is uploaded as part of the online application. The essay should be 1000 words and clearly communicate to the admissions committee:

  • Why you want to study urban design?

  • Your career objectives and long term goals?

  • What you want to learn/gain from the Program?

  • How the Program supports your career objectives?

  • What led you to apply to Taubman College?

  • Previous academic or professional experiences that have had a profound effect?

  • Is there a specific area of emphasis or specialization that you are interested in?

  • Your current strengths and weaknesses in reaching your goals?


It is preferred if your resume is uploaded as part of the online application.


The college requires all applicants to upload unofficial transcript or certified credentials (scanned from original transcripts) from all universities, colleges, community colleges, study abroad, and summer programs attended. The upload functionality is in the "Previous Education" section of the online application.

University of Michigan graduates and current students should upload unofficial transcripts (scanned originals) from the University of Michigan and all other schools attended.

If your academic credentials are in any language other than English, you must submit both the original document and a certified English translation. International credentials should include a certified copy of the diploma, if awarded. Applicants holding degrees from Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Burma, India, Nepal, or Pakistan must include detailed examination records for all years of the program showing subjects, marks received, and class obtained.

Official transcripts from the University of Michigan should not be sent to Taubman College, as an automatic process in place. Taubman College will require all enrolled students to submit official transcripts, with degrees posted, from all universities/colleges attended.


All applicants are required to submit samples of their academic work and, if possible, their professional work. Applicants are asked to submit portfolios electronically via Box. Slides, CDs, URLs, and hard copy materials will not be accepted.

All portfolios must use a cover page as the first page with the following information:

  • first and last name,
  • street address, city, state, postal code, country,
  • email address, and
  • telephone number.

Portfolio images/files must be formatted together in one Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) (up to 30 pages; no larger than 50 MB) and titled in the following manner: last name, first name – MUD. Your portfolio will not be reviewed if you upload individual images in your Box account. Applicants must submit their work by sharing their file with TaubmanCollegeStudentServices@umich.edu. Please note that application processing time may increase if your file is incorrectly titled or if a cover page is not included.

The following guidelines have been prepared by the Graduate Admissions Committee to help applicants select and prepare these samples. Please see the Portfolio Guidelines for further details.

Letters of Recommendation

Three (3) letters of recommendation are required for all applicants. If possible, two of these should come from former professors. Recommendations should be completed online as part of the online application process. Please ask your recommenders to complete the online form and attach their letter electronically. In order to "see" the online recommendation section in the online application, a term must be entered on the "Personal Information" page. The recommendation section can then be viewed on the "Personal Information II" page.

You can edit and send reminders to your recommenders by clicking on the "Manage Your Recommenders" link in the recommendation section before or after you have submitted the application.

If absolutely necessary, we will also accept hard copy recommendations if they are on university or company/firm stationery. The form and letter must be placed in an envelope, sealed, and signed across the seal by the recommender to ensure its authenticity. If submitting a hard copy, please have your recommender complete and attach the following recommendation form. Please request your letters of recommendation sufficiently early to ensure your recommenders submit their letters by the January 15th deadline.

Master of Urban Design Recommendation Form (PDF)

Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required of all students. Information about the GRE including test dates and locations can be found at www.gre.org. Please contact ETS (ets.org or gre.org) to have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code 1839, department code 4401) at least 4-5 weeks prior to the deadline. GRE scores must be no older than five-years old to be valid. There is no minimum requirement for the GRE test.

English Proficiency

All non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB examination. Scores must be no older than two years old to be valid. Non-native English speakers, who have earned their degree from a university, where English is the primary language of instruction, are not required to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB score. The student must have attended the institution for a minimum of four years, and achieved a 4 year degree from that institution to receive a TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB waiver. U.S. citizenship does not exempt applicants from taking the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB test if his/her native language is not English. Students only need to take one of the above listed tests.

TOEFL Examination (International Students Only)

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Internet Based TOEFL (IBT) is one of the approved English proficiency tests required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the TOEFL/IBT including test dates and locations can be found at ets.org/toefl. Please contact ETS (ets.org) and have an official score report sent to the University of Michigan (Institution code 1839, department code 12) at least 6-8 weeks prior to the January 15 deadline. TOEFL/IBT scores must be no older than two years old (not before 2012) to be valid. The minimum requirement for the TOEFL test is 250 computer based or 600 paper based. The minimum requirement for the IBT test is 100. If you have taken the TOEFL exam and not achieved the minimum score you must continue to take the test until you achieve the minimum score to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met the minimum score.

IELTS Examination (International Students Only)

The International English Language Testing System exam is another English proficiency tool required of all non-native English speakers. Information about the IELTS including test dates and locations can be found at ets.org/toefl. Please have IELTS send an official score report to the University of Michigan. IELTS scores must be no older than 2 years (not before 2012) to be valid. The minimum requirement for the IELTS test is 7.0. If you have taken the IELTS exam and have not achieved the minimum score, you must continue to take the test until you reach 7.0 to be considered for admission. Taubman College does not admit students that have not met the minimum score.

MELAB Examination (International Students Only)

Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) examination can be found at lsa.umich.edu/eli/testing/melab. Please take the MELAB exam 5 weeks prior to the January 15th deadline in order for your score to be received in time. The minimum score for the MELAB is 78.

Financial Certification (International Students Only)

The financial certification deadline is January 15th.

All international students are required to submit financial certification as part of their application to show they have funding available to study in the U.S.A. Scanned copies of financial certification documents should be uploaded in the online application. The estimated financial certification for 2014-2015 academic year is $89,112 USD. The final tuition rates will be set in July and an exact figure will be available then.

Financial certification is solely used for administrative purposes, since it is a required component for I-20 forms. Only funds in a liquid account, such as a checking or savings account will be accepted: Property, life insurance, stock, bonds, jewelry, mutual funds, land, medical savings, benefit certificates, trusts, securities, retirement accounts, and long term savings for housing do not qualify. If a student is supporting him/herself, we will only need a bank statement in the student's name showing sufficient funds (scanned copies of original documents are acceptable).

If a person other than the applicant will be sponsoring the student, the applicant must submit two important documents for the financial certification. You must submit either #1 and #3 OR #2 and #3 below. An applicant may have several different sponsors. We will need the following documentation from each source of funding.

  1. A letter of support (stating who will support the student and their relationship to the student) signed by the family member(s) offering financial support to the student. It must include a signature(s). OR
  2. A completed financial certification form (found in the online application) with signatures from the family member(s) offering support and the proper boxes checked. AND
  3. A bank statement (on bank letterhead), showing the type of account, the exact balance of the account, and be signed by a bank representative (original signature required). The statement must also show the account holder's name and it must exactly match the name of the person offering support.

Master of Urban Design Financial Certification Form

Passport Copies (International Students Only)

Each international applicant should submit a copy of their passport (and copies of any dependent family members' passport that would be accompanying the student to the U.S.A.) with their application materials. Passport copies are required in order to process an I-20 form. Please be prepared to submit passport copies with the online application.

I-20 / Visa (International Students Only)

Applicants that are currently in the U.S. should also send a copy of their current I-20 or I-94 form. A Transfer-In form is also required if an applicant is currently attending another U.S. school or college and is admitted to the program. If applicable, please be prepared to submit copies of current visas with the online application.