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Master of Urban Planning/ Urban Design
The Department of Architecture and Design offers an integrated graduate program leading to two degrees: Master of Urban Planning (MUP) and Master of Urban Design (MUD).
The objective of the two-track program is to produce highly qualified and well-rounded professionals who will be able to investigate and deal with urban issues in Lebanon and the region. The program is designed to provide a professional education in Urban Planning and Urban Design with emphasis on analytic skills and critical professional abilities needed for urban research, policy analysis, and planning and design interventions. Courses offered have a multidisciplinary approach to the issues tackled.
Program Structure
The track leading to the degree of Master of Urban Planning provides students with the knowledge, methods, and analytical tools, needed to fulfill multidisciplinary and polyvalent urban roles,; while the track leading to the degree of Master of Urban Design focuses on studio-based professional education that deals with design considerations related to urban form. Each track requires students to take a total of 36 credits, including a final thesis.
The two tracks share a common core of 18 credits consisting of four core courses, thesis and seminar. Undergraduate prerequisites for the program are determined by the academic advisor. They are dependent on the student’s prior educational background. All students enrolled in the MUP/MUD programs are required to take the zero-credit seminar entitled City Debates at least twice during their university enrollment.
Three courses from one concentration area are required of students in the urban planning track. Suggested concentration areas are: engineering management, urban transportation, environmental studies, policy studies, urban economics, or as agreed upon with the MUP-MUD program advisor.
All students enrolled in the MUD or MUP programs will be required to attend a graduate seminar series of zero-credit hour value (URPL 600), at least twice during their University residence.
The suggested two-year course agenda for urban planning and urban design tracks is to be distributed as shown below (Thesis not included). Courses distribution is subject to approval by the student adviser.
Urban Planning Track:
Year 1 Year 2
Fall Spring Fall Spring
URPL 631URPL 6441 Free Elective 2 Concentration Area Electives1 Free Elective URPL 6231 Concentration Area Elective URPL6811 Free Elective
total credits: 9 cr total credits: 9 cr total credits: 6 cr total credits: 6 cr
Applicants who meet all AUB and FEA requirements governing admission to graduate study (including EEE or TOEFL scores) and who hold the equivalent of a professional bachelor of architecture degree may be admitted to the master of urban design program as regular graduate students. Students who do not have a professional bachelor of architecture degree will not be admitted to the master of urban design program.
Applicants who meet all AUB and FEA regulations governing admission to graduate study (including EEE or TOEFL scores) and who hold the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in architecture, landscape architecture, environmental design, urban or regional planning, engineering, economics, public administration, or sociology may be admitted to the master of urban planning program as regular graduate students.
All such applicants (i.e., those admitted as regular graduate students) must have achieved a minimum average of 75 over all courses listed as undergraduate pre-requisites. Upon entry to the program, applicants who have not already completed the equivalent of these courses as undergraduate students must enroll for these courses within the first two semesters of graduate study and may also enroll for approved graduate courses for which they have satisfied prerequisite requirements.
For admission purposes, the cumulative undergraduate average of all students, regardless of undergraduate major, will be computed over all courses taken during the last two years of undergraduate study.
Undergraduate courses, such as ARCH 331 (Urbanism) and others, may be required of students in both the urban planning and urban design tracks on a need basis, upon admission, based on the recommendation of the MUP-MUD program advisor; no credit is given for these courses toward the graduate degree.
In addition, students will be required to complete the undergraduate prerequisites for any graduate course that they include as part of their programs of study.
URPL 600 Seminar 0 cr.
Various topics in urban design and urban planning.
URDS 601 Design Studio 6 cr.
Studio in urban design. Selected problems and case studies. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in urban design.
URDS 602 Design Studio 6 cr.
Studio in urban design. Selected problems and case studies will be presented. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in urban design.
URDS 603 Design Thesis 6 cr.
A course of supervised research and design conducted by students individually and constituting a final thesis in urban design. Prerequisites: URDS 601, URDS 602, URPL681.
URPL 621 History and Theory of Urban Planning 3 cr.
A course of lectures and discussions on the role of planning as a profession which is dedicated to helping society to manage change, and a discussion of the history of planning and its changing structures, scope and objectives. This course investigates, on the one hand, the development of planning theory that focuses on key systems (such as land use, infrastructure, socioeconomic patterns and politics) affecting the different fields of urban planning, and on the other hand, the way in which market process and social forces function in interaction among these systems. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
URPL 623 Economics of Urban Planning and Development 3 cr.
A course that discusses real estate markets, economic development, and issues in urban economics through an understanding of the national economy, economic institutions, and an analysis of the theory of political economy for planners. This course examines and analyzes decisions in property development and investment processes, as well as markets for urban land, housing, commercial, and industrial real estate. Models are considered with respect to the private and public sectors. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
URPL 624 Urban Land Use Planning 3 cr.
A course that provides policy context for understanding land use issues, examines various theoretical approaches to urban spatial structure for bringing market oriented influences and public oriented interests into balance through the land use plan and guidance system, and how this structure evolves and changes. This course focuses on the basic framework by which this balance can be achieved. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
URPL 625 Housing Problems and Policies in Lower Income Countries 3 cr.
This course aims at introducing students to the major debates in the field of housing policies, as well as looking at the modes of production, the actors, and the institutions involved in the production of and access to housing. To this end, the course combines a mix of theory and applied case studies, borrowed whenever possible from the Lebanese context.
URPL 626 Negotiations 3 cr.
A seminar course on case studies in which students assume roles that represent the various parties that are directly involved in the implementation of a solution to a certain urban planning problem. Discussions highlight political, economic, technical, and sociological aspects, or stands and interests affecting decisions and policy making. Students will learn negotiation methodology. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
URPL 631 Research Methods in Urban Planning 3 cr.
This course discusses main qualitative research methods in their application to urbanism. It addresses the process and practice of academic research. The course equips students with essential tools for conducting ethical and independent study. It teaches how to develop research questions, to elaborate conceptual and methodological frameworks, to make critical literature reviews, to enter and research the field, and to write-up a research document.
URPL 632 Bridging the Urban Landscape: 3 cr.
Spatial Theory and the Question of Urban Form
A course that explores two poles in the study of the urbanization process: Urban Structure and Spaces created through social practices. These poles will be investigated through studying the relevance of analytic tools grafted in different theoretical approaches.
URP 641 Urban and City Management 3 cr.
A course that raises the issue of the need for a new urban and local government strategy within a changing domain of urban planning concerns and activities. This course investigates the present activities of municipalities and studies mechanisms that touch upon the multifaceted aspects of municipal management. This course is directed to the behavior of cities in Lebanon, methodologies in defining their problems, and success stories in addressing them.
URPL 642 The Analysis of Public Policies 3 cr.
This course introduces students to theories of public policies, privileging a qualitative approach to the analysis of policy making and policy implementation. Through the deconstruction of case-studies from Lebanon and the Middle-East region, it deals with policies as collective stakes that confront a multiplicity and diversity of actors operating on the local, national and international levels.
URPL 644 Introduction to Planning in Lower Income Countries: 3 cr.
Actors, Institutions, and Processes
A course designed to introduce students to current debates and practices in the field of planning in lower income countries. This course addresses these practices in the context of current theoretical trends and looks at how, where, and by whom planning is being currently practiced and how goals have evolved over the past decades. The course also encourages students to develop a position vis-à-vis this trend.
URPL 645 The Culture of Planning and the Planning of Cultures 3 cr.
A course that evaluates a number of central assumptions made by planners in their practice by building on discourse in the field of cultural studies, post-colonial studies, and others.
URDS 646 Urban Regeneration. The Presence and Future of the Past. 3 cr.
This seminar course introduces the discourse concerning the viability and sustainability of the built heritage. The main emphasis is on the negotiation of the theories, processes, and policies of the management of urban change, and the exploration of the various corresponding schools of thought, their philosophy and ethics of intervention. The course concludes in a series of case studies and how they specifically contribute to urban design and planning in Lebanon.
URPL 647 Decentralization Debates. 3 cr.
This course introduces students to contemporary debates in the decentralization literature. It critically analyzes the two underlying premises in favor of decentralization processes towards local governments – namely local democracy and economic performance – by examining different theoretical models, and a variety of case-studies. The course also addresses the Lebanese scene of local government, and engages students in the evaluation of decentralization reforms in Lebanon.
URPL 671 Environmental Impact of Urban Growth 3 cr.
The course introduces the concept of sustainable development as pertaining specifically to the urban. It aims at providing the theoretical and historical framework of sustainability: its definitions, goals, and methodologies of assessment. The problematic of urban development is analysed specifically from an environmental perspective, and related to topics of planning, policy making, management, geography, and ecology, and their application at the national level. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.
URPL 681 The Analytic Process and Methods Thesis Preparation 3cr.
This core course prepares students who have completed most of their graduate coursework for the writing up of their final thesis. It requires them to come up with a research problem, to develop their hypothesis and methods of inquiry, and to draft their conceptual framework. The course final output is the submission of a thesis proposal, and preliminary thesis chapters. Pre-requisite: Graduate standing
URPL 699 Thesis 6 cr.
Supervised research conducted individually by the student and constituting a final thesis in urban planning. Pre-requisite URPL681.

American University of Beirut
4 Semesters
€ 0
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