Master of Environmental Design

A research-based master’s degree tailored to recent graduates of professional architecture, planning, or landscape architecture programs — those who want to develop an area of specialization early in their career. 

As a research-intensive, thesis-based degree, emerging professionals are enabled to extend their education beyond the basic professional 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.


Program Structure

Four semesters of study. Two formats.

  1. 16-month program with Spring start (coincides with completion and graduation from first professional degree). Graduation in September.
  2. Two-year program with Fall start.

Students typically undertake projects that contribute to one of the School’s industry-partnered research initiatives within the City Building Design Lab. Students can participate in the Mitacs Accelerate program.

MEDes Requirements

Required courses address fundamental principles and conceptual paradigms of design-based research. Courses establish the context in which students define their research project. 

Course Work

  • LAND 680.01 Design Research Methods

  • LAND 680.02 Design Research Writing

  • LAND 680.03 Design Innovation

  • Minimum two (2) half-course electives, selected in consultation with the supervisor

Other Requirements

  • Supervisor who is a regular SAPL full-time faculty 
  • Thesis proposal approved by the supervisor
  • Submission of a thesis document describing the research
  • Satisfactory completion of the Thesis Oral Examination

For thesis format details, submission and other regulations and forms, visit Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Mitacs Accelerate Program

The Mitacs Accelerate is a unique 16-month version of the MEDes that partners students with industry organizations. Students split the time of their studies between the organization (8 months) and the University. Partner organizations are typically leading design firms.

In the application, students identify an area of interest within SAPL's broader research program, and after admissions, work under a faculty supervisor with aligned research.

Paid internship is part of the program. To establish the internship, the student, supervising professor and organization jointly develop a research project. Internships are four months long, and can be one or two terms.

Successful applicants can start in either the Spring or Fall. 

MEDes In The News

Digital analysis + design = award-winning sculpture

Guy Gardner of UCalgary design lab tackles innovative commission on behalf of Calgary software firm.

Seyi Arole, Kristen Forward and Hayden Pattullo graduated with MEDes degrees as part of the Mitacs Accelerate program

Class of 2019: Students envision practical, low-carbon ways to build cities
Mitacs Accelerate program celebrates first graduates Seyi Arole, Kristen Forward and Hayden Pattullo.


Graduate Projects

NICK HAMEL
RECALIBRATING RUSTIC

GORDON SKILLING
MODULAR URBANISM

KRISTEN FORWARD
CONTEMPORARY ORNAMENT FOR CIRCULARITY 

OLUWASEYI AROLE
PROCEDURAL PASSPORT

HAYDEN PATTULLO
DIGITAL FABRICATION FOR CONTEMPORARY MATERIAL SPECIFICITY


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 4-6 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 program over two years with a fall start. 

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.

 

Barry Wylant, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director


More SAPL programs

Interested in expanding your research and design skills? Consider these other SAPL programs:

Master of Architecture
Master of Planning
Master of Landscape Architecture
PhD in Environmental Design
Doctor of Design