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Graduate Studies Calendar 2022-2023 Program Descriptions School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape SAPL Master of Environmental Design (MEDes)
Master of Environmental Design (MEDes)
1. Degree Offered

Master of Environmental Design (MEDes) - thesis-based

2. Admission Requirements

The MEDes is a research degree that typically targets graduates of professional programs in architecture, planning and landscape architecture. In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Admission, the program requires:

a) Research Statement
A clear, concise and substantive research statement (1,000 to 1,500 words), which informs the Admissions Committee of:

  • the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the MEDes degree
  • how the applicant’s specific educational background and professional and personal experience relates to their proposed thesis project
  • the applicant’s thesis research interests and how they align with an existing research group or individual researcher within the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape
  • any communication the applicant has had with potential supervisors

It is highly recommended that applicants communicate with potential supervisors prior to making an application to ensure that their proposed project aligns with one of the School’s research areas.

b) Digital Portfolio
A portfolio that provides examples of or illustrates the applicant’s design work, professional work, research, creative thinking, community action, planning products, or graphics and visual communication.

c) Curriculum Vitae
A current copy of curriculum vitae (CV).

d) Reference Letters
Three reference letters, of which at least two should be academic.

e) Proof of English Proficiency
For applicants who are required to prove proficiency in English, a minimum TOEFL score of 105 (Internet-based test); or an IELTS score of 7.5; or a CAEL overall score of 70 with a minimum score of 70 in each component. This requirement can also be met by completing the Academic Communication Certificate with a minimum grade of "A-" in each course.

f) Example of Writing
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, or consulting report.

g) Funding Plan
A funding plan that demonstrates that financial resources are available for the entire program of study.

3. Application Deadline

Deadline for submission of complete applications is available on the Future Students website:

4. Advanced Credit

A student may apply for advanced credit for previous courses that have not been used to satisfy the requirements of any other degree or diploma program. See Advanced Credit.

5. Program Requirements

The MEDes must include completion of the following academic requirements:

a) Core required courses:

b) A minimum of 3 units of elective credit at the graduate level that is relevant to the student's area of research, chosen in consultation with their supervisor.

c) A thesis proposal approved by the supervisory committee.

d) A written thesis.

e) Thesis examination, as described in section 10.

Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade)

Students admitted to the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape will not be allowed to request the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for any course that is applicable to their degree; or apply any course awarded a grade of CG towards their graduation requirements.

Students may choose the Flexible Grade Option (CG Grade) for courses outside of SAPL that permit the CG Grade and are taken extra to load.

The use of the CG grade will affect students' eligibility for internal awards.

6. Additional Requirements

Attendance at orientation for first year students is expected.

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies thesis submission requirements, all MEDes students are required to submit one bound copy of the thesis (bound in standard orange cloth-covered cases, bearing the author's name, title of work, year and the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape lettered in white), and one portable document format (.PDF) copy.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Only undergraduate courses numbered 500-599 may be considered for graduate-level credit and are subject to approval by the Program Director.

8. Time Limit

Given the post-professional nature of the MEDes degree, students are expected to complete their degrees within four terms. Note that Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations require that students must complete all degree requirements within four registration years. See Time Limits.

9. Supervisory Assignments

At the time of admission, each MEDes student will be assigned a supervisor. 

MEDes students are only required to have one supervisor. MEDes students may, in consultation with their supervisor, choose to have a committee. If so, then within three months of admission, MEDes students must establish, in consultation with their supervisor, a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee must include at least one other member in addition to the supervisor and co-supervisor, if applicable. This additional member must be from outside of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

10. Required Examinations

Thesis Examination

In addition to the Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for Thesis Examinations, the program requires:

Scheduling of the Examination
All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee
The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

11. Thesis Proposal Requirements

The supervisor (or the supervisory committee, if applicable) will approve final thesis proposals. Thesis proposals should clearly describe the project in terms of Title, Objectives, Background, Methodology and Expected Outcomes. Students are encouraged to include an explicit interventionist or problem-solving component.

12. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to highly qualified students but cannot be guaranteed. For information on admission and academic awards, see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this calendar, the SAPL website and the Awards Database on the Faculty of Graduate Studies website.