The Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design offers educational excellence for students who seek a career in the professions of architecture, urban planning and design, historic preservation, landscape architecture, interior architecture, and product design. We seek to produce planning and design professionals who will bring a fresh approach to the spatial problems of the 21st century. This requires teaching students to question standard assumptions and to reconsider old solutions. We aim to produce innovators who will address the challenges of an urbanizing world. Our department builds partnerships with neighborhoods, communities, and municipalities in the Kansas City region and beyond to engage in applied research and give students experience in their chosen field of study.

The department is guided by the highest academic standards as well as national professional standards. We value equal opportunity, hard work, entrepreneurship and creativity. We expect students to maintain high ethical standards, while building critical skills in listening, reasoning and leadership. The future demands no less.

Message from the Chair

Design education is a process of becoming informed, thoughtful and able to find solutions to complex problems in a changing world. The UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design has a comprehensive array of professional degree programs to choose from.

Architectural Studies

A special partnership was formed with Kansas State University more than 25 years ago. The UMKC architectural studies program is the only state institution in Missouri that leads directly to an accredited degree in architecture, landscape architecture, and interior architecture/product design.  Our partner has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the nation over the last decade according to DesignIntelligence.

Urban Planning + Design

More than 10 years ago, UMKC initiated the urban planning + design program, the only one of its kind in the University of Missouri System.

We had a distinct opportunity to ask:

What should an undergraduate planning degree be today?
What will the profession be in ten or twenty years from now?

It is an exciting time to be a planner; the rate of change and problems facing our urbanized areas need flexible and creative approaches. Students are trained to think about issues and put them in context and to think systematically about how to solve or adapt to these future questions.

As founding director and chair of the department, I have had the front row seat in watching the excellence and program development. I have observed the sustained reputations of our faculty, students, and alumni as they go out into the professional world.

Design education develops a strong sense of self and self-critical perspectives, which are attributes that employers look for. Having the future that you envision is about developing relationships with local and state governments and professional connections. These connections are nurtured through our studio sequences, internships, and many student-led activities. The Kansas City region affords us all these opportunities with national and international practices, multiple agencies and governments.

I encourage you to contact us and start imagining your future.

Joy D. Swallow, FAIA
Chair / Architecture, Urban Planning + Design