Resilient Urban Design


Degrees Offered


The Master of Resilient Urban Design degree (MRUD) is a post-professional degree for graduates and professionals with prior design skills in architecture, landscape architecture, city and regional planning, and other related disciplines. The MRUD prepares individuals to engage complex cultural, market, and government policy forces through sustainable and resilient urban form. Inclusive of sustainability and cities’ abilities to help sustain diverse environments, cultures, and economies locally and globally, resiliency also implies the ability of a community to anticipate and recover from challenges. As such the MRUD program seeks to envision not only humane and ennobling places now, but to ask "what if" questions about the city and urban system as a whole.

The typical course of study for the MRUD program is three semesters. There are two alternative paths for students without a Bachelor or Master degree in Architecture or Landscape Architecture, and for current Architecture students. 


More information can be found in this graduate handbook.


Program of Study

The Three-Semester Master of Resilient Urban Design program is conceptually organized in terms of urban scale, from the human scale of the block/street/building to the neighborhood/district/corridor scale to the ecological/regional/metropolitan scale.

Each of the three required semesters includes a 6-credit Urban Design Studio, a 3-credit Urban Design Theory course, 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. Throughout the Plan of Study, coursework 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.


This program is based Clemson Design Center in Charleston (CDC.C), which is located at 701 East Bay Street in Charleston, in The Cigar Factory, a former cigar and textile manufacturing plant built in 1881 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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; visiting Master of Architecture, Master of Architecture + Health, and BA in Architecture studios as part of our Fluid Campus; and Bachelor and Master of Landscape Architecture studios, for programs otherwise based in Clemson.

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 of the urban design-focused "Studio U" 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.


Application Information

A complete application will include a portfolio of creative work; prior degree transcripts; GRE scores; a statement of purpose; and TOEFL scores for international applicants. This Three-Semester program expects interested students to start with design skills such as may have been developed in a Bachelor or Master program in architecture or landscape architecture, or other undergraduate or graduate degree in which the applicant has developed relevant manual and digital representational abilities. These abilities will be judged by an admissions committee on the basis of a design portfolio.

Required Documents


Assistantships are not offered to students in this program. For tuition and fees, see


Program Contact(s)

Program Coordinator(s)