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  • Curriculum
    The MRUD is a 36-credit post-professional degree for graduates and professionals with prior design skills in architecture, landscape architecture, city and regionally planning. Those outside the design professionals are encouraged to apply.

    The three-semester program is conceptually organized in terms of physical scales (from human to neighborhood/corridor to metropolitan/regional) with themes of ecological balance and social equity running throughout.

    In addition, the degree emphasizes the four-part City Resilience Framework (Arup 2015), which includes health and wellbeing; infrastructure and environment; economy and society; and leadership and strategy, as these influence urban design decision-making. Each of the three required semesters includes a 6-credit Urban Design Studio, a 3-credit Urban Design Seminar, and a 3-credit Visualization/Communication/Implementation practicum course. The combination of design exercises, theory, field studies, and engagement with practitioners and communities maintains a fluid dialogue between theoretical knowledge, practice, and implementation.

    In their final term students will write a white paper that helps them to situate their interests relative to the field. This, in combination with a portfolio, is meant to facilitate students’ transition to employment.

    The curriculum for the degree consists of a studio; a seminar and a practicum course each term as follows:


    Urban Design Foundations 1 & 2 for students without design degrees


    RUD 8600 Urban Design Studio 1

    RUN 8610 Urban Design Seminar 1

    RUB 8620 Visualization and Communication 1


    RUD 8630 Urban Design Studio 2

    RUN 8640 Urban Design Seminar 2

    RUB 8650 Visualization and Communications 2


    RUD 8660 Urban Design Studio 3

    RUN 8670 Urban Design Seminar 3

    RUD 8680 Urban Design Implementation

  • Degree Tracks and Dual Degrees
    The typical course of study for the MRUD program is three semesters. Students without a Bachelor or Master degree in Architecture or Landscape Architecture or other related built environment design training and skills will be required to successfully complete 4 credits of courses in Charleston during Summer term prior to the Fall start.

    If applicants have completed one semester of M.Arch or MLA coursework at an accredited school (to include Clemson), that work may be used to substitute for the Summer course (subject to review and approval). Students can receive concurrent MRUD/M.Arch degrees which lessens their time by a semester (with appropriate planning in the MArch course of study). Students may apply to both programs simultaneously (completing both applications) or apply to one and, then, after matriculation apply to the other (while in this first year of study). Students also can receive concurrent MRUD/MLA degrees which lessens their time by a semester (with appropriate planning in the MLA course of study). Students may apply to both programs simultaneously (completing both applications) or apply to one and, then, after matriculation apply to the other (while in this first year of study).

    Approval for a MRUD + CommunityBUILD Graduate Certificate is also underway and would be available for the entering class of 2022.

  • Charleston: the Importance of Place
    Urban design is about local places and the City of Charleston is an extraordinary place for studying place and urban form. As one of America's oldest cities with a unique and well-preserved historic core, it is a globally important example of walkable urbanism. At the same time, as a growing mid-sized city, Charleston faces a number of complex urban design challenges that must balance social equity, historic preservation, environmental sensitivity and fragility, transportation, economic development, and investments in managing growth and change. With its unique combination of history, culture, tourism and expanding economic base, metropolitan growth, and sensitive coastal location, Charleston is a world-class living-learning-urban laboratory for examining contemporary urban design issues through a comprehensive approach to historical, cultural, social, economic, and environmental concerns. It is anticipated that graduates, coming to the program from the region, across the country, and around the world, will be able to apply lessons learned in Charleston to other environmentally, socially, and historically sensitive places, to other cities around the globe.
  • The Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C)
    Located in Charleston at the Cigar Factory (a former cigar and textile manufacturing plant, built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the MRUD degree is part of the Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C). The CDC.C provides studio space, classrooms, seminar rooms, fabrication facilities, a laboratory, library, multipurpose space, and faculty and staff offices for the MRUD and other related programs, including the Master of Science in Historic Preservation. The CDC.C also houses the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston (CAC.C), Architecture + CommunityBUILD studios, and an Architecture + Health studio providing one or two semester options for Clemson’s degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students in Architecture and Landscape Architecture. These disciplines, independently and in collaboration, are regularly and actively engaged in service learning and research on local, "real world" issues, with strong relationships with local governments, other academic institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and industry. The MRUD program builds on the work and local relationships established with the founding of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston in 1988. Today, the combination of urban design, architecture, historic preservation, and landscape architecture in this location establishes Clemson University as a premier provider of allied academic and research offerings in design and building in the Southeast.