Master of Advanced Studies ETH EPF in Urban and Territorial Design

Territorial Project

Recently, with deepening realisations of the atrophy of anthropocentric philosophies, with increasing social and environmental awareness, with widening activism – from Occupy Wall Street and the Me Too, to Fridays for Future and Black Lives Matter – and with signs of governance and policy efforts gradually inching toward greener and more inclusive action, there is an increasing sense – not only among architects – that urban and territorial design, as a field of synthesis among scientific disciplines, practice and politics, is again gaining currency and it engages social and environmental imaginaries. A territorial project is once again understood as a possibility through which to explore common epistemic horizons and new biopolitical paradigms through design.

The new joint Master of Advanced Studies at the ETH Zürich and EPF Lausanne offers urban and territorial design education addressing multiple social and environmental challenges within cities and settlement areas, and across wider landscapes and territories that support them. Engaging with notions of transformation, reuse, regeneration, reparation, and transition of habitats and ecologies, the MAS will deploy the territorial project as the crucial field of knowledge production, through inter- and transdisciplinary synthesis across scales.

Two design and research studios at ETH and EPF at the core of the programme will explore design in an expanded field through inter- and transdisciplinary exchange and synthesis. The proposed curriculum extends beyond the traditional scope of urban design teaching, to include in particular novel developments in urban theory and history (e.g. planetary urbanization, Anthropocene and postcolonial thought), landscape architecture, urban and landscape ecology (e.g. agroecology), and civil and environmental engineering (e.g. sustainable construction, low carbon mobility, urban hydrology).

The MAS will serve as a laboratory and a forum, creating agendas, design strategies and governance models for concrete territories. Both Swiss and international case-studies will offered, with intensive fieldwork visits, in situ workshops, and embedding the studies within their contexts by supporting communities, urban actors, NGOs and governance bodies.

Through situated, interdisciplinary design across the urban and territorial domains, the programme builds on the legacy of MAS ETH in Urban Design, led by professor Marc Angélil until 2019.

Degree, Timeline, Eligibility

The MAS ETH EPF UTD is a full-time 1-year programme of two semesters, for a 60-credit joint degree, taught in English.

The MAS will commence in the Autumn Semester 2021 (September-January) at the Habitat Research Centre (HRC) EPF Lausanne, under professor Paola Viganò, followed by the Spring Semester 2022 (February-June) at the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies (LUS) at the ETH Zürich, under professor Milica Topalović.

The programme is addressed to national and international students. The applicants should have at least two higher education degrees; in particular, he/she has (1) a bachelor degree in architecture, architecture-engineering, engineering (civil and environmental) or landscape architecture (3 years) and (2) the first Master’s degree (2 years) in architecture, urbanism/planning, landscape architecture, architecture-engineering, civil and environmental engineering, or city management. Other diplomas can be considered on the basis of a motivation letter and portfolio (e.g. social sciences).

How to Apply?

The call for applications will be open from February to May 2021. The candidates are selected on the basis of a design portfolio, CV, motivation statement, recommendation letters and published essays.


Dr. Nancy Couling, programme coordinator at ETH Zürich
Dr. Martina Barcelloni Corte, programme coordinator at EPF Lausanne


ETH School of Continuing Education
ETH Architecture of Territory