Certificate in Urban Design

The Urban Design Certificate program is open to graduate students in any department of the School of Architecture who want to pursue an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the critical questions raised by planetary urbanization.


The Urban Design graduate certificate program is designed to equip Master’s candidates from the School of Architecture’s four departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban and Environmental Planning, and Architectural History with the expertise and skills to engage with multi-scalar issues facing urban environments, from urban and infrastructural development, to social equity and resilience. The program will provide students with practical spatial design strategies and analytical tools as well as foundational historical and theoretical knowledge supporting urban design and planning strategies. As a cross-disciplinary program of study, the Urban Design certificate effectively complements the school’s other graduate degree programs by preparing graduates that are able to join, and meaningfully contribute to, interdisciplinary teams concerned with the urban realm and urban spaces, whether in government, private practice, or in an institutional context.

Architects pursuing the Urban Design certificate will be prepared to join the making of an urban plan, and deploy their design skills to create synergy between multiple buildings and the spaces between and around them. For landscape architects, the certificate will provide tools and strategies to prepare them to coordinate the needs of local and regional ecosystems with needs of urban development. The Urban Design Certificate will build spatial skills and design thinking for students from Urban and Environmental Planning. Students in History will gain concepts and strategies to help ensure that historic buildings and districts maintain or renew their vitality in a changing urban context.

For official requirements of this certificate, students should consult UVA's Graduate Record.


To complete the program requirements of the Urban Design Certificate students will fill their elective classes with Urban Design certificate credits. Students are recommended to start with the core classes as these build a foundation for the certificate. Students without design experience in their undergrad education are further required to participate in the Summer Design Institute prior to enrolling in the Urban Design Certificate program.

Full-time degree-seeking student at UVA School of Architecture taking 12-18 credit hours per semester would complete the certificate in 2-3 years (4-6 semesters). The program is only available to full-time students. All certificate course requirements are to be completed within the time it takes to complete the graduate degree in which they are enrolled, ensuring no additional time is added to the expected length of graduate study.

Current students enrolled in the Urban Design Certificate program must consult UVA's Graduate Record for the official requirements for this certificate.

Students wishing to enter the Urban Design graduate certificate program must be a current graduate student at the School of Architecture. Students must apply to Urban Design graduate certificate program, following the admissions requirements outlined below:

+ An online application

+ A statement of professional goals [approximately 300 words]

+ Curriculum Vitae

+ Successful completion of the Summer Design Institute [for students who do not have an undergraduate degree in a design discipline]

+ Good academic standing in their department, with a GPA of at least 3.0 [B average]

+ Approval of the Urban Design Certificate Program Director

Degree-seeking students may transfer a maximum of 3 credits toward the certificate requirements if earned at the University of Virginia and if they have attained a minimum of a B in the course and have received approval from the Urban Design Certificate Program Director.

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