Academic Programs

Academic Programs

The Minnesota Design Center's Academic Programs have been developed to facilitate the ever increasing requests for better and more sustainable urban design solutions from which to respond, assess, and resolve pressing questions confronting metropolitan regions in the twenty first century. While it is true that during our last two decades the quality-of-life of American cities has improved considerably, we still fall short of restructuring our appetite for energy consumption, reducing our carbon footprint, providing better and more diverse sustainable residential design solutions in response to a wider demographic diversity, curbing our transportation policies to give way for a wiser integration of public transportation options with land use policies while designing the public space of the city - the human habitat - that offers the greatest levels of safety and comfort contributing to an even greater urban vitality and livability. The Minnesota Design Center's academic programs respond to the above needs by providing a M.S. in Metropolitan Design and a Graduate Certificate in Metropolitan Design.

M.S. in Metropolitan Design

The Metropolitan Design Program at the College of Design focuses on the challenges confronting 21st century cities. As demographic and economic shifts continue to reshape urban and suburban communities, cities have become talent attractors and innovation generators prompted by the rise of a knowledge-based economy.

Students in the M.S. in Metropolitan Design program will learn how cities have reached this point, how these urbanization trends play out in particular case studies, and how to apply this knowledge in an urban-design studio. This degree equips its graduates with the skills to contribute to urban design decision-making in professional offices, in municipalities and government agencies, and in urban-oriented non-profits.

For admission information, see the School of Architecture Admissions Page For program details, see the M.S. Metropolitan Design Program Page at the School of Architecture.

Graduate Certificate in Metropolitan Design

The Metropolitan Design Certificate at the College of Design prepares students with the essential knowledge and understanding of urban issues within the complexities of the twenty-first-century metropolis. As traditional cities evolve in response to the increased popularity of city living, there is a growing need for professionals who can bring an integrative approach to urban design challenges.

The Certificate program is open to graduate students in the College of Design or colleges with related urban-planning or urban-studies programs. There is no additional tuition charge to complete the Certificate. The Certificate has been designed to allow graduate students in architecture, landscape architecture, or planning to integrate it into their existing curriculums and with adequate planning, students should be able to achieve the certificate without any additional time if you enroll during the second semester (spring) of graduate studies. We accept applications after that, but it may require extra time to complete the coursework.

  1. A two-page statement of interest in the program,
  2. University transcripts (unofficial copy is fine)
  3. A portfolio of design work (no more than 10 pages).

Application materials can be dropped off in person at the MDC Office in Rapson Hall or forwarded by email to

If you are accepted into the program, you will need to meet briefly with the MDC Director to review your course plan. For additional registration information and permission numbers, please contact Nicole Kennedy at 612.624.8873 or