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Design for Sustainable Urban Environments, MDes-SUEN

Northeastern’s Master of Design for Sustainable Urban Environments (MDes) brings together the allied professional fields of environmental design, landscape architecture, and urban planning. The program offers advanced study and research opportunities in the design of ecologically and economically productive urban environments.

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The one-year Master of Design for Sustainable Urban Environments (MDes-SUEN) is open to students holding an accredited, first-professional degree in landscape architecture, architecture, planning, or urban design. The two-year program is open to all students.

The Master of Design for Sustainable Urban Environments (MDES-SUEN) combines the fields of environmental design, urban planning, urban ecology and landscape architecture. By bringing together technical and design-focused courses, the MDES program helps students understand the fields of landscape and urban design with a focus on ecological well-being and social justice – and there has never been a better time to do so. As today’s landscapes rapidly urbanize and industrialize, experts in green, just and healthy communities are increasingly in demand.

The program focuses on a number of key topics, including urban resiliency, environmental justice, and innovative approaches to public space design, and offers diverse opportunities for students to engage in related research. The City of Boston is the perfect backdrop for these fields of study and research, with its long history of global leadership in environmental design and urban redevelopment. Throughout their time at Northeastern, students have access to a number of educational, professional, recreational and cultural opportunities in the city and both inside and outside the university’s campus. The MDES program is executed through a variety of class formats. In addition to traditional courses covering subject matter such as visualization, urban planning policy and design implementation, students will also engage in fully immersive studio-based courses. These include advanced research studios, professional seminars and ecology and technology workshops.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Northeastern University with a degree in architecture, architectural studies or landscape architecture will have:

  1. Thorough 2D and 3D representation and modeling skills for deciphering and designing the built environment.
  2. Awareness of how global socio-cultural contexts influence the built environment, and how the built environment influences global communities.
  3. Thorough knowledge of sustainable and resilient design goals, strategies, and methods.
  4. Skills of communication and collaboration necessary for managing complex projects.
  5. Understanding of fundamental construction systems and techniques that shape the built environment.
  6. Critical ability to analyze and decipher complex environments.
  7. Exposure to the diverse range of professional opportunities and avenues for design of the built environment.
  8. Understanding of ethical responsibilities for designing the built environment.

Career Opportunities

  • Architect
  • Project Manager
  • Urban Designer
  • Historic Preservation
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Resiliency Consulting
  • Transportation Advocate
  • Surveyor
  • Municipal Leadership

Multidisciplinary Skills

Critical thinking
Landscape literacy
Visual analysis
Community engagement
Clarity in writing
Analytical observation


Additional resources

Program Coordinator

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