Environmental Design

Environmental Design

Master of Environmental Design (MEDes)

Thesis-based program

Program overview

Natural, built and social environments are increasingly seen as intertwined, interdependent, and indeterminate, creating challenging conditions which must be addressed to achieve a sustainable future.

Meeting this challenge requires environmental designers who are strong leaders and visionaries. In order to understand and solve complex spatial issues, thesis students in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape mobilize a range of methods from different disciplines, including: design explorations, participatory planning exercises, ethnography, surveys, statistics, laboratory science, fieldwork, and archival, visual, and textual studies.

This research-based master’s degree is 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.

Completing this program

  • Core Courses: Design Research Methods, Design Research Writing, Design Innovation
  • Additional Courses: One required elective; may include topics such as design thinking, urban infrastructure, urban design, urban systems, special topics and others.
  • Thesis Proposal: A thesis proposal approved by the supervisor.
  • Annual Progress Reports: Student progress reports must be submitted annually by the student and the supervisor.
  • Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.


Consultancy, civil service, government (e.g. Natural Resources), municipalities, planning, architecture, landscape architecture, academia, research institutions, real estate development, engineering, industrial design, product design.

Thesis-based program

Students are required to prepare a thesis and successfully defend in an open oral defense.


Three core courses and one elective

Learn more about program requirements in the Academic Calendar

Classroom delivery

Time commitment

Four years maximum


A supervisor is required, but is not required prior to the start of the program

Fees and funding

See the Graduate Calendar for information on fees and fee regulations, and for information on awards and financial assistance.

Virtual Tour

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For our thesis programs, we can only offer admission to applicants who we can match with a supervisor. We don’t require applicants have a confirmed supervisor upon application, however it’s strongly recommended to reach out to any professors whose research interests match yours. You will be asked to list the names of a few professors you feel are a good fit in your online application form. Learn about faculty available to supervise this degree (https://sapl.ucalgary.ca/about/people/faculty). 

Please note: additional supervisors may be available. Contact the program for more information.

  1. Enrica Dall'Ara

    Enrica Dall'Ara

    Accepting Inquiries
    Landscape Architecture
  2. Tawab Hlimi

    Tawab Hlimi

    Accepting Inquiries
  3. Thomas P Tom Keenan

    Thomas P, (Tom) Keenan

    Accepting Inquiries
    Social Implications of Technology, Privacy and Security, Smart Communities, Technocreepiness, Cybersecurity and Cyberwarfare, Non-financial Applications of the Blockchain
  4. David Monteyne

    David Monteyne

    Accepting Inquiries
    architectural history, history of architecture, urban history, urban studies, environmental design theory
  5. Dr Alicia Nahmad

    Alicia Nahmad Vazquez

    Seeking Students
    Computational Design, Robotic Fabrication, Human-Robot Collaboration, Machine Learning, Digital Design and Fabrication
  6. Brian Sinclair

    Brian Sinclair

    Accepting Inquiries
  7. Mauricio Soto-Rubio

    Mauricio Soto-Rubio

    Accepting Inquiries
  8. Joshua Taron

    Joshua Taron

    Accepting Inquiries
  9. Sasha Tsenkova

    Sasha Tsenkova

    Accepting Inquiries
    housing policy and housing market performance, planning sustainable communities
  10. Placeholder Profile Image

    Barry Wylant

    Accepting Inquiries

Admission requirements


A minimum of 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 point scale, over the last two years of study (a minimum of 20 courses or 60 units) of the undergraduate degree.

Minimum education

A four year baccalaureate degree, or equivalent from a recognized institution.



All documents should be submitted in digital form (.PDF files), uploaded by the applicant to their Student Centre, following submission of their online application. Additional descriptions, specifications, and details about the application documents can be found on the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape website at: https://sapl.ucalgary.ca/future-students/admissions/medes. 

  • Portfolio: Provide examples of or illustrate design work, professional work, research, creative thinking, community action, planning products, or graphics and visual communication. If any of the work submitted involved collaboration with others, the applicant should clearly identify their individual contributions.
  • Examples of Writing: Provide at least one example of the applicant's previous academic or professional work such as a written essay, published research paper, major academic paper, thesis, design project, or consulting report.
  • Statement of Research Interest: A clear, concise, and substantive statement of interest, which informs the Admissions Committee of the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the MEDes degree. Please include educational, professional, and personal background alignment with environmental design; you research within an interdisciplinary content; personal/professional goals and how the MEDes program furthers this vision.
  • Funding plan: Provide a two-year funding plan that demonstrates that financial resources are available for the entire program of study, including scholarship and student award funding to supplement personal funds.
  • CV/Resume: A summary of your experiences in education, work, volunteering, and other relevant areas. 

Reference letters


Test scores


English language proficiency

An applicant whose primary language is not English may fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of the following ways:

*Please contact your program of interest if you have any questions about ELP requirements.


For admission on September 1:

  • Canadians and permanent residents: Feb. 1 application deadline
  • International students: Feb. 1 application deadline

If you're not a Canadian or permanent resident, or if you have international credentials, make sure to learn about international requirements

Learn more about this program

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

Professional Faculties Building, Room 2182
2500 University Drive NW
Calgary, ABT2N 1N4

Contact the Graduate Program Administrator

Visit the program website

Learn more about UCalgary by taking a virtual tour