Master of Environmental Design
A research-based master’s degree for recent graduates of professional architecture, planning, or landscape architecture programs who want to develop an area of specialization early in their career.
Message from the Graduate Program Director
The Master of Environmental Design is a research-intensive degree that enables recent graduates of a professional architecture, planning, or landscape architecture degree to explore an area of expertise or practice specialization that will build their cv, increase their value to prospective employers, and accelerate their career objectives. The MeDes typically involves 4 semesters of study and can be completed in two different formats. The first is 16-months of continuous study starting in the Spring term (to coincide with a spring graduation from a first professional degree program with graduation the following September. The second format extends the four-semester program over two years with a fall start, summer break, and spring graduation the following year.
Students in the 16-month stream typically undertake projects that contribute to one of the School’s larger industry-partnered research endeavors within the City Building Design Lab. They are also eligible to participate in the Mitacs Accelerate program, which pairs graduate research students with partner organizations for half of the duration of their degree program. The partner organization, the student, and the supervising professor develop a research project for the student to work on for one or two four-month paid internships. Students spend 50% of their time with the organization, and 50% with the university. Partner organizations are typically leading consulting firms interested in empowering their professional practice with leading design-based research.
During the application process, students identify their area of research interest and are admitted into the MeDes program under the supervision of a faculty member whose research focus aligns with the student’s interests.
If you have specific questions or want to be on the mailing list to find out more about the program, email admissions.
The Master of Environmental Design is a two-year, thesis-based degree. Some required courses are typically completed in the first year of the degree; the rest of the time is spent writing the thesis.
Required courses address the fundamental principles and conceptual paradigms of design-based research and establish a context in which students define their research project.
- EVDS 753 Research Skills and Critical Thinking
- EVDS 683.97 The Practice of Writing, offered in the Winter term
- A minimum of two half-course electives, selected in consultation with the supervisor
- A supervisor drawn from regular full-time faculty cohort in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
- A thesis proposal approved by the supervisor.
- Submission of a thesis document describing the research.
- Satisfactory completion of the Thesis Oral Examination.
For details of thesis format, submission and other regulations and forms, visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.
Mitacs Accelerate program
The MEDes can be done with the Mitacs Accelerate program, which pairs thesis students with partner organizations for half of the duration of their thesis degree.
The partner organization, the student, and the supervising professor develop a research project for the student to work on for one or two four-month paid internships. The idea behind Mitacs is that the student spends 50% of their time with the organization, and 50% with the university.
Timeline for this program is 16 months (eight months with a firm, eight months with the university).
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Explore other graduate programs
The UCalgary Future Students website provides a handy tool for comparing degrees. Learn more about this program and explore related programs.