Harvard Graduate School of Design

The Harvard Graduate School of Design (also known as The GSD) is a professional graduate school at Harvard University, located at Gund Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The GSD offers masters and doctoral programs in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, urban design, real estate,[2] design engineering, and design studies.

Harvard Graduate School of Design
Coat of arms of the School
Established1874 (First courses taught)
1936 (GSD established)
EndowmentUS$480[1] Million
DeanSarah Whiting
Academic staff
362 (Architecture)
161 (Urban Planning and Design)
182 (Landscape Architecture)
173 (Doctoral/Design Studies)
Gund Hall, Cambridge
, ,
AffiliationsHarvard University

The GSD has over 13,000 alumni and has graduated many famous architects, urban planners, and landscape architects. The school is considered a global academic leader in the design fields.[3][4][5]

The GSD has the world's oldest landscape architecture program (founded in 1893), and North America's oldest urban planning program (founded in 1900). Architecture courses were first taught at Harvard University in 1874.[6] The Graduate School of Design was officially established in 1936, combining the three fields of architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture under one graduate school.[7]

The market value of the school's endowment for the fiscal year 2018 was approximately $480 million.[8]



Charles Eliot Norton brought the first architecture classes to Harvard University in 1874.[9]

Urban planning

In 1900, the first urban planning courses were taught at Harvard University, and by 1909, urban planning courses taught by James Sturgis Pray were added into Harvard's design curriculum as part of the landscape architecture department. In 1923, a specialization in urban planning was established under the degree program of Master in Landscape Architecture. In 1929, North America's first urban planning degree (at graduate level) was established at Harvard under short-term funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. The degree program closed after MIT established a degree program in 1935. In 1980, the program was temporarily moved to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government until it returned to the GSD in 1984.

Landscape architecture

In 1893, the nation's first professional course in landscape architecture was offered at Harvard University. In 1900, the world's first landscape architecture program was established by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and Arthur A. Shurcliff. The School of Landscape Architecture was established in 1913.[10]


The three major design professions (architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture) were officially united in 1936 to form the Harvard Graduate School of Design. In 1937, Walter Gropius joined the GSD faculty as chair of the Department of Architecture and brought modern designers, including Marcel Breuer to help revamp the curriculum.

In 1960, Josep Lluís Sert established the nation's first Urban Design program. George Gund Hall, which is the present iconic home GSD, opened in 1972 and was designed by Australian architect and GSD graduate John Andrews. The school's now defunct Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis (LCGSA) is widely recognized as the research/development environment from which the now-commercialized technology of geographic information systems (GIS) emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s. More recent research initiatives include the Design Robotics Group, a unit that investigates new material systems and fabrication technologies in the context of architectural design and construction.[11][7]


Joseph Hudnut1936–1953Architect
Josep Lluís Sert1953–1969Architect and urban planner
Maurice D. Kilbridge1969–1980Urban planner
Gerald M. McCue1980–1992Architect
Peter G. Rowe1992–2005Architect
Alan A. Altshuler2005–2008Urban planner
Mohsen Mostafavi2008–2019Architect
Sarah M. Whiting 2019–present Architect

Degree programs

The degrees granted in the masters programs include the Master of Architecture (M.Arch.), Master in Landscape Architecture (MLA), Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD), Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (MLAUD), Master in Urban Planning (MUP), Master in Design Engineering (MDE), Master in Design Studies (M.Des.) in more than eight concentrations. The school offers a doctoral degree, Doctor of Design (D.Des.), and jointly administers a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.[12]

  • Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
  • Master in Urban Planning (MUP)
  • Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)
  • Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD)
  • Master in Design Engineering[13] (MDE)
  • Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design (MLAUD)
  • Master in Design Studies (M.Des.) with distinct concentrations:[14]
    • Art, Design and the Public Domain
    • Critical Conservation
    • Energy and Environments
    • History and Philosophy of Design
    • Real Estate and the Built Environment
    • Risk and Resilience
    • Technology
    • Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology
  • Doctor of Design (D.Des.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture, Urban Planning, and Landscape Architecture (PhD)[15]


As of 2016, the program's ten-year average ranking, places it 1st, overall, on DesignIntelligence's ranking of programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

Executive Education

Executive Education operates within GSD providing continuing education classes, they are located at 7 Sumner Rd.[16] Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate (AMDP) is a six-week executive development course. The program is open to established professionals with 15+ years of experience in real estate. Upon graduating from AMDP, participants are full-fledged Harvard University Alumni. As of 2013, AMDP is in its 13th year.[17]

The other large program organized by Executive Education is summer Open Enrollment. In 2013, Executive Education held 18 classes throughout the month of July. Each class lasts from 1 to 3 days and is eligible for continuing education credits through American Institute of Architects, American Society of Landscape Architects and/or American Planning Association. Open Enrollment classes are open to everyone, though basic knowledge of the subject is recommended.[18]

Student body

As of 2012–2013, there were 878 students enrolled. 362 students or 42% were enrolled in architecture, 182 students or 21% in landscape architecture, 161 students or 18% in urban planning, and 173 students or 20% in doctoral or design studies programs. Approximately, 65% of students were Americans. The average student is 27 years old.[19] GSD students are represented by the Harvard Graduate Council (HGC), the main university-wide student government organization. There are also several dozen internal GSD student clubs.[20]

Research and publications

In addition to its degree programs, the GSD administers the Loeb Fellowship, and numerous research initiatives such as the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure. The school publishes the bi-annual Harvard Design Magazine, Platform, and other design books and studio works.

Design Research Labs

The GSD Design Labs synthesize theoretical and applied knowledge through research with the intent to enable design to be an agent of change in society. There are seven current labs: Material Processes and Systems Group; Energy, Environments and Design; New Geographies Lab; Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab; Social Agency Lab; Urban Theory Lab; Geometry Lab.


The GSD campus is located northeast of Harvard Yard and across the street from Memorial Hall. Gund Hall is the main building of the GSD, and it houses most of the student space and faculty offices. Other nearby buildings include space for the school's Design Research Labs, faculty offices, the Loeb Fellowship program office, and research space for students, including those in the M.Des. and D.Des. programs.

Gund Hall

Gund Hall is the main building, which has studio spaces and offices for approximately 800 students and more than 100 faculty and staff, lecture and seminar rooms, workshops and darkrooms, an audiovisual center, computer facilities, Chauhaus, the cafeteria, a project room, Piper Auditorium, and the Frances Loeb Library. The central studio space, also known as the Trays, extends through five levels under a stepped, clear-span roof. Gund Hall has a yard that comprises a basketball court and is often used for events, as an exhibition area for class projects, and as the setting for commencement ceremonies. The building was designed by architect John Andrews and supervised by structural engineer William LeMessurier both GSD alumni.[21]

Frances Loeb Library

The Frances Loeb Library, is the main library of the Graduate School of Design. The library has a collection of over 300,000 books and journals. It also has a Materials and Visual Resources Department, and the Special Collections Department, which houses the GSD's rare books and manuscript collection.

Fabrication Lab

The Fabrication Lab has both traditional tools and state-of-the-art technology available for model making and prototyping to faculty research and student course work. The Fabrication Lab has a full wood shop, metals shop, printing labs, 3D printing, CNC tools, robotic machines, laser cutter machines, etc.[22]

Distinguished alumni and faculty

As of 2013, the GSD had over 13,000 alumni in 96 countries. The GSD had 77 faculty members and 129 visiting faculty members. 45% of the faculty members were born outside of the United States.[8]


Current faculty

Current faculty include Anita Berrizbeitia, Antoine Picon, Farshid Moussavi, Jeanne Gang, John R. Stilgoe, K. Michael Hays, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Martha Schwartz, Mohsen Mostafavi, Preston Scott Cohen, Rahul Mehrotra, Rem Koolhaas, Sarah M. Whiting and Toshiko Mori.

Emeritus faculty

Former faculty


  1. (PDF) https://www.gsd.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/GSD-Factbook.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. "About - REAL ESTATE and the BUILT ENVIRONMENT". REAL ESTATE and the BUILT ENVIRONMENT. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  3. "The Best US Architecture Schools for 2014 are..." 4 November 2013.
  4. "2013 United States Best Architecture Schools". 21 November 2012.
  5. "The 10 Best Graduate Programs In Urban And Regional Planning for 2017". 1 January 2015.
  6. "Harvard Graduate School of Design". www.gsd.harvard.edu.
  7. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-10. Retrieved 2014-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Endowment" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-04. Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  9. "Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. The GSD History Collection, Administrative Affairs: An Inventory". Retrieved 2017-11-22.
  10. Alofsin, Anthony (2002). The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City Planning at Harvard.
  11. . gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved on 2012-04-03.
  12. "Doctoral Programs". Harvard Graduate School of Design. Harvard University. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  13. "Harvard Graduate School of Design - Homepage". www.gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  14. "Harvard Graduate School of Design - Homepage". www.gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  15. "Doctoral Programs". Harvard Graduate School of Design. Harvard University. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  16. "Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education". Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  17. "Advanced Management Development Program". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  18. "Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education Programs". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  19. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-03-20. Retrieved 2014-05-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. Student Group Directory, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Retrieved 22 April 2018
  21. "Architectural Forum - December 1972" (PDF). Retrieved July 14, 2019.
  22. "Harvard Graduate School of Design". www.gsd.harvard.edu.
  23. "Harvard Graduate School of Design - Nader Tehrani". www.gsd.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2016-07-01.
  24. Emily Young, Building a Name for Herself, The Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2002
  25. "Judges 2009 Bjarke Ingels". World Architecture Festival. Archived from the original on 2012-02-26. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  26. Alan Powers, "Chermayeff, Serge", Grove Art Online

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