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Masters Degrees (Urban)

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In an increasingly urbanised world, there is growing international demand for urban design graduates. This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to participate in this rapidly expanding profession. Read more

In an increasingly urbanised world, there is growing international demand for urban design graduates. This course will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to participate in this rapidly expanding profession. Urban design involves shaping the physical setting for life in cities. The pace of urban change, and the challenge of making cities efficient, sustainable and meaningful, demands creative solutions to design and management. The Urban Design courses at Westminster provide a coherent approach to issues that face our cities, combining structured academic study with live design projects, allowing you to develop practical skills, a theoretical understanding and an informed approach to sustainable urban development.

Our Urban Design course is one of the largest and longest established in the UK. It enjoys an excellent reputation and our graduates are highly respected in the profession. Our students are from a variety of professions and backgrounds, including architecture, landscape architecture and planning, from the UK, Europe, and across the globe. They range from recent graduates seeking to expand their skill base before commencing their career or those considering a shift from an allied profession, to established professionals seeking to specialise or develop a more informed critical approach. Our central London location allows you to interact with a huge variety of practitioners and organisations, as well as drawing on the city’s huge range of resources; you will be at the heart of the debate over the future of cities.

The course places a strong emphasis on design, practical outputs and a multidisciplinary approach. While focusing on UK examples, the lessons from the courses are applicable to a wide range of international and economic contexts. This flexible and student-centred approach is highly valued by former graduates and their employers. The course is delivered by staff with many years' experience in practice, education, training, research, and consultancy in the UK and overseas. Outputs from the course combine into a portfolio demonstrating your ability to deal with the complexities of urban design in a practical and informed manner.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you study on this course.

Core modules

Optional modules

Career path

Graduates of this course typically find employment as urban designers in private consultancy or local authorities. Many find the course useful when developing careers in architecture, planning or landscape architecture.



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In an increasingly urbanised world, there is growing international demand for urban design graduates. These courses will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to participate in this rapidly expanding profession. Read more

In an increasingly urbanised world, there is growing international demand for urban design graduates. These courses will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to participate in this rapidly expanding profession. Urban design involves shaping the physical setting for life in cities. The pace of urban change, and the challenge of making cities efficient, sustainable and meaningful, demands creative solutions to design and management. The Urban Design courses at Westminster provide a coherent approach to issues that face our cities, combining structured academic study with live design projects, allowing you to develop practical skills, a theoretical understanding and an informed approach to sustainable urban development.

Our Urban Design programme is one of the largest and longest established in the UK. It enjoys an excellent reputation and our graduates are highly respected in the profession. Our students are from a variety of professions and backgrounds, including architecture, landscape architecture and planning, from the UK, Europe, and across the globe. They range from recent graduates seeking to expand their skill base before commencing their career or those considering a shift from an allied profession, to established professionals seeking to specialise or develop a more informed critical approach. Our central London location allows you to interact with a huge variety of practitioners and organisations, as well as drawing on the city's huge range of resources; you will be at the heart of the debate over the future of cities.

The course places a strong emphasis on design, practical outputs and a multidisciplinary approach. While focusing on UK examples, the lessons from the courses are applicable to a wide range of international and economic contexts. This flexible and student-centred approach is highly valued by former graduates and their employers. The course is delivered by staff with many years' experience in practice, education, training, research, and consultancy in the UK and overseas. Outputs from the course combine into a portfolio demonstrating your ability to deal with the complexities of urban design in a practical and informed manner.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

Optional modules

Career path

Graduates of this course typically find employment as urban designers in private consultancy or local authorities. Many find the course useful when developing careers in architecture, planning or landscape architecture.



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The programme offers you the broad theoretical perspectives of urban studies on cities and regions. It aims towards you who are genuinely interested in cities, urban life and all expressions of urbanity. Read more

The programme offers you the broad theoretical perspectives of urban studies on cities and regions. It aims towards you who are genuinely interested in cities, urban life and all expressions of urbanity.


What is Urban Studies?

Malmö_urbanity_200pxThe subject of urban studies involves interdisciplinary studies of urban areas content, form, planning and development. Urban Studies offers theoretical and academic perspectives on the developments in cities and the environmental changes that surrounds us.


What will I learn?

You will learn about cities both as stable and slow-changing structures of buildings, streets, cables and pipelines, and as dynamically crossing flows of people and goods. You will also learn about urban visions, programmes and plans and the various processes and projects that shape them. In addition, you will learn that the city is largely expressed through its everyday life and through the unplanned and spontaneous actions that contribute to its atmosphere and attraction.

Theoretical studies are combined with independent case studies about complex urban phenomena. The case studies are organised with agencies, organisations and companies. You will have plenty of opportunities to apply your theoretical knowledge in case studies dealing with urban situations and problems. The education takes place in the midst of the Öresund region, which offers an abundance of examples and issues reflecting global urban development.


The necessity of Urban Studies

Understanding contemporary urban development, planning and management strategies requires a broad and advanced expertise in social and spatial processes.

Working with urban development has increasingly come to require understanding forms of mobility and shifts over time, a perspective quite different from viewing the city as a static physical entity. Projects that consciously deal with time, experiments and development processes question results of planning in the form of specific products and thus leave more space for spontaneity and initiated processes. Participatory processes involving wider and alternate groups in society open up possibilities for deepening democracy and increasing equality, not least by making use of everyday users' experience. The programme emphasises boundary-crossing work methods, answering to the need for intersectoral and interdisciplinary competence in the field of urban studies.


Forms of teaching and academic structure

The programme is based on student-active learning which expects you to contribute actively and enthusiastically. Your experience of urbanity – ranging from everyday practicalities to academic studies – forms an important starting point for the programme.

You will present, comment and discuss your work and be the critic of your fellow students work. You will – independently and in groups – carry out studies of environments and contexts in the city and the region. You will also present the results of your studies in the form of texts and illustrations, oral presentations as well as sketches for solving problems in the form of schedules and suggestions for concrete designs.

The Urban Studies research field comprises a set of methods that you as a student will face from the very beginning. Theoretical studies will alternate with empirical field studies, made independently or in groups. Basic knowledge about the complex processes involved in the organisation, planning and administration of cities and urban regions form an important part of the programme.

The teaching also covers several geographical levels – from the local to the global – and their mutual influence. Urban actors' varying power and possibilities to influence the development are emphasised.

During the first two terms, the focus is on discovering and understanding the city as a range of phenomena where humanities and social science perspectives – with a strong emphasis on space, flow and rhythm – play an important role. During the second year, you will be offered in-depth and specialisation studies. The third semester you can spend either on an elective international programme with relevance to urban studies or attend one of the elective courses at Malmö University. The fourth term will be devoted to essay-writing and seminars focusing on the essay topics chosen by yourself and your fellow students.


Career opportunities

After completing your education you can work across organisation boundaries with management and coordination of city development. This may involve working in projects and processes with tasks spanning across different sectors in public authorities and in companies, for instance as researcher, coordinator and project leader. Your future employers may be found in businesses, public authorities and organisations working with aspects of buildings, cities and regions.

The master’s programme also provides a solid basis for PhD studies.


Organisation

The aim of the programme is that students should deepen their knowledge of Urban Studies to be able to participate in research or qualified urban development reports. 

In the first year students will acquire an overview of the field of Urban Studies and its development. Students will then deepen their knowledge about current urban challenges in a global perspective as well as the growth of different urban conditions and forms. After this, students will deepen their abililty to critically examine and describe the encounter between people's everyday life and the physical forms of the city. At the end of the first year an independent project is conducted. 

During the second year students take elective courses of 30 credits. To complete this part of the programme they can choose to do international studies at one of Malmö University's/Urban Studies' partner universities or take elective courses at the Department of Urban Studies and Malmo University. The second year concludes with a Master's Thesis of 30 credits.


Content

Course list:


Degree

Master's Degree (120 credits).

Degree of Master of Science (120 Credits) with a Major in Urban Studies



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This MA course will give you the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to practise professionally as a spatial planner. Read more

This MA course will give you the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to practise professionally as a spatial planner. It is designed to meet the growing employer needs for staff who can investigate changes in the natural and built environments, manage the challenges of climate change through sustainable development, and debate and critically reflect upon the knowledge and values underpinning current approaches to land use development. Completion of the MA course is the first step to become a full member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The course will support your personal and professional development. You will be able to work in the interdisciplinary and cross-sector environment of urban and regional development, in a variety of private, public and community contexts, and apply your knowledge to practise in specialist areas of planning. The course builds on the University's experience of delivering postgraduate courses in town planning for more than 60 years.

The course explores the current context and content of spatial planning. It does so from a UK and European perspective, and also investigates underlying theoretical debates.

If you want to gain a greater understanding of spatial planning, but do not want to study for a full Masters course, we also offer an Urban and Regional Planning Postgraduate Diploma and an Urban and Regional Planning Postgraduate Certificate. Scroll to the bottom of this page to find out more about these courses. 

Course structure

For the award of the MA students need to pass modules totalling 180 credits. MA students take all core modules and choose one specialist option module.

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

Optional modules

Professional accreditation

On successful completion of the MA course students can become licentiates of the RTPI. After two years' experience in practice, they may make a submission for their Assessment of Professional Competence and, if successful, are then entitled to full RTPI membership.

Industry links

Visiting lectures are given by a wide range of external practitioners. The teaching team has extensive links with planning institutions including the RTPI and the Town and Country Planning Association. The course includes part-time students working in planning-related positions in private and public sectors.

Career path

Most of the students on the course are already in planning or planning-related posts. Full-time students graduating from the course as qualified planners will normally be offered planning positions in the public or private sector on graduation.

Examples of companies that have recruited our graduates include:

  • Belinda Greenwell
  • Graduate Planner, Savills UK
  • Marisa Teuma
  • Town Planner, Transport for London (TfL)
  • Yvonne Sampoh
  • Project Officer (Planning), Southwark Council
  • Kiran Curtis
  • Managing Director, Kiran Curtis Associates
  • Adam Hunt
  • Tottenham Planning and Regeneration Manager, London Borough of Haringey


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The Masters in Urban Design course combines students' existing strengths with focused design training to produce urban designers capable of managing the complex problems of development, urban space and form. Read more
The Masters in Urban Design course combines students' existing strengths with focused design training to produce urban designers capable of managing the complex problems of development, urban space and form.

The certificate and diploma stages of the Masters in Urban Design course introduce theoretical concepts and practical methods of urban design. They will enable you to understand processes of urban design production and consumption, and to develop skills and techniques for communicating three-dimensional urban design.

Why choose this course?

Our graduates have very high success rates in gaining employment and have secured posts in both the public and private sectors, in planning, architecture, landscape and urban design practices; undertaking design, consultancy and research work. Several have also gone on to take up senior posts in universities in the UK and abroad. This is the longest established programme of study in urban design in the UK, and consequently has a vast network of graduates across the globe.

Staff are engaged in world-leading research (69% either world leading or internationally excellent in REF 2014) which feeds directly into the teaching and studio work. A major strength of the course is its multidisciplinary, collegiate, team-based approach to project work and presentation.

Based in Oxford, we are well located for access to both this historic city, to London and other urban centres in the UK.

This course in detail

The Masters in Urban Design is offered as a linked PGCert/PGDip/MA. The aim of the PGCert and PGDip stages is to provide a framework of current knowledge and skills in urban design and masterplanning.

The PGCert stage of the course focuses on the basic concepts and theory of urban design, establishing a solid grounding in the practical realisation of design qualities in a case site situation.

The PGDip stage increases the emphasis placed on the application of more specific design skills in differing contexts, through live projects and a more in-depth examination of design history. Theory and new research are provided through a series of history and theory lectures and seminars.

The aim of the MA stage is to provide an opportunity for developing urban design research skills through individually selected topics in theoretical and practical fields of study in urban design.

The MA dissertation gives students the opportunity to explore in depth a subject related to urban design, and to integrate the various elements of the course. Past topics for the MA include local identity, transport and design, public art and urban design, urban coding, environmental design, digital cities, and eco-towns.

The course is structured around nine modules.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from the ones shown here.

The PGCert stage of the course consists of the following compulsory modules and is worth 60 level 7 credits:
-Urban Design Studio I
-Urban Design Theory I
-Urban Design Practice I and II
-Urban Design Studio II

The PGDip stage of the course consists of the following compulsory modules and is worth 120 level 7 credits:
-Urban Design Theory II
-Urban Design Issues II
-Urban Design Development Seminars
-Research Methods in Design

The MA stage of the course consists of the following compulsory module:
-Master's Dissertation

Teaching and learning

Teaching and learning methods reflect the wide variety of topics and techniques associated with urban design in practice.

Lectures provide the framework, essential background and knowledge base for the course, while you are encouraged to probe deeper into different topics by further reading and review.

Analysis, synthesis and application of material introduced in lectures are demonstrated through studio sessions, workshops, seminars and practical project work. Site visits and a fieldwork component are an important component.

Careers and professional development

Our graduates have very high success rates in gaining employment and have secured posts in the public sector, private consultancy, the voluntary sector, and research and teaching areas.

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APPLY BY 3 MAY 2018!. As events and transformations of the recent decades have forcefully shown, the urban question permeates all major social, economic and political developments of today. Read more

APPLY BY 3 MAY 2018!

As events and transformations of the recent decades have forcefully shown, the urban question permeates all major social, economic and political developments of today. The two-year Master’s programme in Urban Studies critically engages with the wide-ranging manifestation of contemporary urbanity. What shapes have the processes of urbanisation assumed today? How are urban spaces produced?

The programme foregrounds the unitary perspective of the city as a physical space, a social space and a space of design. It combines rigorous academic research with intensive fieldwork. The programme is situated at the trans-disciplinary crossroad of urban studies, urbanism and urban planning, architecture theory, sociology, urban ethnography and geography. Our students have academic backgrounds in architecture, social sciences or humanities. Integrating critical interrogation and experimental practice, the programme has a triple focus on social uses, spatial programmes and urban forms.

The form of assignments includes term-long research studios, intensive workshops, lectures, seminars and field trips. The distinctive mark of the Urban Studies programme is its reliance on theoretically-informed action in the field. We take students’ efforts seriously: the programme engages ‘real’ actors and create opportunities for public presentation, discussion and publication of the best works.

The Master’s programme is fully in English and has a strong international orientation. We cooperate with a network of partner institutions in Europe, and we are connected to regional partners in Finland, the Baltic countries and Russia. The curriculum includes a number of workshops and lecture courses by international scholars, architects, urban planners and activists.

The education prepares students to engage with urban issues at the intersection between design practice, political practice and theoretical knowledge (urban design, urban and spatial planning, state and municipal policy making, public expertise, community advocacy, social activism, academic and practice-based research). Our graduates work in public administrations, urbanism-focused NGOs, architecture design offices, private consultancies and advocacy organisations. The programme also prepares graduates for further study at the PhD level.

Programme structure

Knowledge and skills

The broad themes of the first three semesters are: 1) key concepts in urban studies, urban history; 2) urban scenarios and urban agenda setting; and 3) urban regeneration, the logic of urban interventions. The fourth semester is reserved for the Master’s Thesis project and Master Studio.

Structure of the Curriculum

Pedagogically, the curriculum consists of:

  • lectures courses, in which key debates in contemporary urban and architectural theory is presented;
  • reading seminars, where students are engaged in critical discussion of these debates;
  • projects (the core element of the programme), in which students learn how to deal with real situations, engage in them, analyse and propose solutions; a wide range of methods is introduced, including interventions, research, creative planning, urban design, urban management, and scenario planning; 
  • invited guest lecturers, in which bring the projects are complemented with the up-to-date knowledge from the field of urban design practice;
  • annually changing intensive modules on topical themes; these modules are shared between first and second year MA students, helping the two groups integrate;
  • excursions to cities in the Baltic Sea Region and Europe, where studied theoretical and design problems can be grasped in situ and in transnational perspective.

In many courses, Urban Studies students work in collaboration with students of architecture and urban landscapes. The student groups are small, and there are more contact hours per credit than in most comparable programmes.



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The production, reproduction and transformation of urban space via socially, economically, and environmentally just methods presents a complex challenge for professionals. Read more

The production, reproduction and transformation of urban space via socially, economically, and environmentally just methods presents a complex challenge for professionals. This MSc combines cultural, social, economic, political and spatial analysis to recalibrate the urban design project, presenting a holistic response in which informality and marginality are central features.

About this degree

The programme will equip students with a political economy understanding of space; a comprehension of the needs, abilities, aspirations and forms of resistance of urban dwellers; the ability to respond with strategically co-ordinated proposals to leverage local abilities to meet local needs; and an ability to critically engage with the practice of urban design and architecture in developmental processes – particularly in the Global South.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), either one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a development and planning dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development
  • Participatory Process: Building for Development
  • The BUDD Studio: Building and Urban Design Practice

Optional modules

  • Critical Urbanism Studio I. Learning from Informality: Case studies and alternatives
  • Critical Urbanism Studio II: Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Post Disaster Recovery: Policies, Practices and Alternatives
  • Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options
  • Housing as Urbanism: Housing Policy and the Search for Scale
  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • The Political Ecology of Environmental Change
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
  • Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics
  • Social Policy and Citizenship
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • The City and its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning
  • Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice
  • Transport Equity and Urban Mobility
  • Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Food and the City
  • Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: Knowledge Systems in the Global South
  • NGOs and Social Transformation
  • Contemporary Approaches to Development Management

Please note, the availability of some modules may be dependent on student numbers

Dissertation/report

All MSc students submit a 10,000-word report on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic can be chosen to enhance career development or for its inherent interest.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of weekly lectures, seminar presentations, group exercises and workshops. The BUDD studio includes a fieldwork project in an urban reality of the Global South, developed in partnership with local organisations, networks of communities, slum dweller federations, universities and governments alike. Students are encouraged to explore different tools, concepts and ideas throughout the programme and test these during the field project. Assessment is through coursework, design work, written examinations and the 10,000-word report.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Building and Urban Design in Development MSc

Careers

The programme enables graduates to work in NGOs and local government – facilitating community organisations and households to improve their living conditions. Graduate destinations range from UK-based organisations in the public, private and community sectors, to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, which operate in a development capacity in the South. Recent graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies and architectural and design practices. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in urban design and architecture practice, teaching, or research of urban development there; others have successfully sought employment away from their own countries.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Architectural Assistant, Callison
  • PhD in Housing Policy, Sapienza University of Rome
  • Project Manager, Home Office
  • Urban Designer / Visual Designer, Nanjing Yangtze River Urban Architectural Design Co., Ltd
  • Construction Manager, Protemus

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Bartlett is the UK's largest multidisciplinary faculty of the built environment, bringing together dozens of scientific and professional specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the buildings and urban environments of the future.

The Development Planning Unit is an international centre concerned with promoting sustainable forms of development, understanding rapid urbanisation and encouraging innovation in the policy, planning and management responses to the economic, social and environmental development of cities and regions, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Its programmes are supported by international agencies as well as by national and provincial governments.

The Building and Urban Design in Development (BUDD) programme in particular reflects on the necessity of design practices to contribute to changing the mainstream paradigm of working with the urban poor, with communities and the city itself.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Development Planning Unit

81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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The world we live in is an increasingly urban one as cities currently account for half the world’s population. By 2030, it is expected that three out of every five people will live in an urban environment. Read more

The world we live in is an increasingly urban one as cities currently account for half the world’s population. By 2030, it is expected that three out of every five people will live in an urban environment. Sustainable management of the urban environment has become one of the major challenges of the 21st century as you will learn during the two-year master's Urban Environmental Management programme at the university. This development calls for control of the environmental impacts of urbanisation like growing traffic, increasing waste emissions, deteriorating air and water quality, and growth in energy and resource consumption. 

Study programme

Inadequate water supply, sanitation, waste collection and waste management systems are the cause of serious urban pollution and health hazards in many Asian, African and Latin American cities. The MSc programme Urban Environmental Management is an international and interactive programme providing a balanced curriculum of theory, tools and application. It aims to train students like you to guide the future along the path of sustainable urbanisation.

On the Programme of Urban Environmental Management page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.

Thesis tracks

Within the master's programme you can choose one of the following Thesis tracks to meet your personal interests.

Your future career

Graduates from the MSc Urban Environmental Management (MUE) programme are well-equipped with the skills and knowledge to continue academic training (PhD) or continue their career outside the University.

Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme and Career preparation during your studies.

Related programmes:

MSc Environmental Sciences 

MSc International Development Studies 

MSc Landscape Architecture and Planning



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The Inter-disciplinary Urban Design MRes is a faculty-wide one-year research degree designed to allow students to tailor their own learning to their background and future aspirations. Read more

The Inter-disciplinary Urban Design MRes is a faculty-wide one-year research degree designed to allow students to tailor their own learning to their background and future aspirations. Students can construct their study in an inter-disciplinary manner, enabling them to explore urban design as a critical arena for advanced research and practice.

About this degree

This programme provides an interdisciplinary space in which students can examine the challenges of urban design from comparative disciplinary perspectives; students are exposed to the latest cutting-edge urban design research and teaching at the UCL Bartlett and are offered the opportunity to conduct a substantial piece of individual urban design research, receiving training in methodologies appropriate to the conduct of urban design and urban scale research.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (totalling 105 credits), and either a 15,000-word dissertation or a 10,000-word disssertation and a research-based design proposal (75 credits).

Core modules

  • Inter-disciplinary Urban Design - this module draws from a range of named feeder modules from across The Bartlett and across UCL (see below)
  • Urban Investigations - this module explores cutting-edge research and research techniques in urban design

Feeder modules

  • Adaptable Cities
  • Architectural Phenomena
  • Cities, Space & Power
  • Creative Cities
  • Design as a Knowledge-Based Process
  • Design and Real Estate
  • Detailed Urban Design
  • Embodied and Embedded Technologies, Cities as Interface
  • Environmental Masterplanning
  • From Strategic Vision to Urban Plan
  • Geographic Information Systems and Science
  • London, Aspects of Change
  • Participatory Process: Building for Development
  • Public Space & the City
  • Social Dimensions of Sustainability
  • Spatial Modelling and Simulation
  • Spatial Cultures
  • Spatial Justice
  • Strategic Urban Design
  • Theorising Practices: Architecture, Art & Urbanism

Dissertation/research project

All students undertake an independent urban design research project culminating in either a dissertation of 15,000 words or a 10,000-word dissertation and a research-based design proposal.

Teaching and learning

Methods of delivery will vary (because of the flexible nature of the programme) but a typical student might encounter studio teaching, formal lectures, analytical modelling, small-group tutorials and discussion, formal presentations, and site visits. Student performance is assessed through individual and group work, essays, and project work.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Inter-disciplinary Urban Design MRes

Careers

The programme opens up a range of future opportunities for participants along two primary paths:

  • It provides an opportunity for students seeking to further their professional careers, to specialise in urban design and, within that broad arena, to engage deeply with a particular research agenda of direct relevance to their future professional practice
  • For students seeking a research or academic career, the MRes provides the ideal training for a PhD and eventually an academic or other research position.

The first cohort of students on this programme graduated in 2015. A significant proportion - approximately 50% - are embarking on PhD studies, while others are developing their professional careers in a range of research, institutional or professional settings.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Architect, GR Designs
  • Architectural Consultant, Space Syntax
  • Assistant Planning Manager, Hubei United Investment Group Co. Ltd. and studying MRes Inter-desciplinary Urban Design, UCL

Employability

The programme is globally unique and will give students an important employment edge in allowing them to tailor their studies to their own individual circumstances, building on existing strengths or extending their knowledge. It will deliver a research training in urban design whilst also helping to build a unique and first-class portfolio of work in which the student, rather than syllabus, is the driving force.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Bartlett brings together literally dozens of scientific and professional specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the buildings and urban environments of the future.

This MRes is a faculty-wide programme, and students are able to access perhaps the largest global concentration of urban design related researchers and professional expertise.

The programme has a simple and highly flexible structure, designed to allow students to tailor their learning both to their own background, and how they wish to specialise in the future.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Bartlett School of Planning

81% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.



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Applicants are eligible for the Master in Urban Studies if they have completed a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media and communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Read more

About

Applicants are eligible for the Master in Urban Studies if they have completed a 180 ECTS academic bachelor degree or its equivalent in geography, planning, architecture, history, criminology, political science, sociology, demography, media and communication studies, cultural studies, or a similar discipline. Additionally, proof of fluency in English is required and should be sought well in advance of the application window.

Programme structure

The 120 ECTS curriculum combines the attractiveness of a flexible, modular and interdisciplinary programme that allows you to focus on your own interests within the domain of urban studies with a common core of compulsory courses to ensure that you develop the necessary urban skills and competences.

Common core

The common core contains a course on Brussels, one on the European dimension of cities and urbanisation, and a number of theoretical courses introducing you to the field of urban studies. By using Brussels as a unique case study in the programme and by organising various site visits in and around Brussels and excursions to cities in Europe, we benefit from our location in the centre of Europe. The common core also contains two modules introducing you to various urban methods and research approaches.

The core consists of the following courses:

Geographies of a Globalizing Europe (VUB, 6 ECTS, Bas van Heur)
Urban Social Geography (VUB, 6 ECTS, David Bassens)
Urban Economic Geography (ULB, 5 ECTS, Mathieu Van Criekingen)
Urban Sociology (ULB, 5 ECTS, Martin Rosenfeld)
Urban Sustainability and Circular Economy (ULB, 5 ECTS, Ahmed Khan)
Global City-Region Brussels (VUB, 6 ECTS, Joost Vaesen)
Urban Analysis I (VUB, 3 ECTS, Eva Swyngedouw)
Urban Analysis II (ULB, 5 ECTS, Corentin Debailleul)
Excursion I (VUB/ULB, 3 ECTS)
Excursion II (VUB/ULB, 3 ECTS)

Elective modules and courses

Before starting with the Master in Urban Studies, you are expected to choose two elective modules. The elective modules have a disciplinary and/or thematic orientation: this will allow you to specialise within subdomains of urban studies, while at the same time ensuring interdisciplinary training on the level of the overall programme.

We currently offer six elective modules, incorporating a large variety of disciplines from across the social sciences and humanities:

Urban History (18 ECTS)
Urban Criminology (15 ECTS)
Urban Geography (12 ECTS)
Urban Architecture (15 ECTS)
Urban Planning and Mobility (14 ECTS)
Urban Design (16/18 ECTS)
Besides the elective modules, we also offer a wide range of individual elective courses.

Internship

You can also choose to replace one elective module with an internship (15 ECTS), allowing you to gain experience in a working environment that is relevant to urban studies, such as an NGO, local government administration, consultancy firm or European network or institution. If you want to pursue a PhD following your Master education, you can also choose to do a research-oriented internship by working in a university department or another research institution.

Semester abroad

In the second year of your studies, it is possible to go abroad for a semester and study at one of our partner universities.

Master thesis

30 ECTS of your 120 ECTS programme is dedicated to the Master thesis. In the first year of your studies, you will choose a topic and develop your research design, whereas in the second year you will conduct most of the empirical research and write the actual thesis. Throughout the two-year process, there will be various moments of collective and individual supervision.

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Making Change in New York. The first graduate program of its kind in the United States, the two-year Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies explores the urban complex and its interconnections with political, social, economic, and environmental systems. Read more

Making Change in New York

The first graduate program of its kind in the United States, the two-year Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies explores the urban complex and its interconnections with political, social, economic, and environmental systems. Using world cities like New York as a laboratory and working in transdisciplinary teams, students design processes for urban transformation alongside and with — not for — the communities most affected by these processes.

Studio in the City

Bringing together the academic strengths of Parsons and other schools and colleges of The New School, this studio-based program trains graduates to become agents of change, working with the communities and institutions that shape urban ecosystems. Guided by internationally recognized urbanists, designers, and activists, students confront urgent problems facing cities and develop new research methodologies, design frameworks, and critical practices, using the city as an urban laboratory.

The 60-credit Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies program radically reframes the study of cities and urban design methodologies. By combining research, fieldwork, and participatory action, students gain a broad understanding of the complex forces that influence urban growth and development. In accordance with The New School’s historic commitment to social justice and design, students develop and implement innovative strategic projects that bring about real, transformative urban change. 

This studio-driven program is part of Parsons' School of Design Strategies (SDS), and shares a 12-credit core curriculum with the 36-credit, research-based MA Theories of Urban Practice program. Explore our blog to see what students, faculty, and alumni are doing in NYC and around the world.

You can request more information here: http://www.newschool.edu/m/parsons-urban?utm_source=find_a_masters&utm_medium=hyperlink_listing&utm_campaign=pm_parsons_grad&utm_term=design_urban_ecologies

Engaging Urbanism from All Angles

Focus areas include community organizing, the solidarity economy, food systems, public space, housing, infrastructure, public transportation, nonprofit management, cultural development, environmental equity, and socially engaged art and technology. Graduates are prepared for careers in urban design; urban and regional planning; public and urban policy; social, cultural, and environmental enterprises; community organizing; research; nonprofit management; teaching; government administration; municipal and regional development; and consulting. The program also provides a foundation for those who wish to pursue doctoral studies at top universities around the world.

Future Opportunities

Graduates are prepared for careers in urban design; urban and regional planning; public and urban policy; social, cultural, and environmental enterprises; community organizing; research; nonprofit management; teaching; government administration; municipal and regional development; and consulting. The program also provides a foundation for those who wish to pursue doctoral studies at top universities around the world.

You can request more information on future opportunities here: http://www.newschool.edu/m/parsons-urban?utm_source=find_a_masters&utm_medium=hyperlink_listing&utm_campaign=pm_parsons_grad&utm_term=design_urban_ecologies



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The Urban Development Planning MSc explores international practices in urban development policy, planning and management that address contemporary spatial, socio-economic and political transformations in cities of the Global South. Read more

The Urban Development Planning MSc explores international practices in urban development policy, planning and management that address contemporary spatial, socio-economic and political transformations in cities of the Global South.

About this degree

This MSc aims to equip participants to work effectively as development practitioners in urban contexts through a deeper understanding of the processes that generate urban change. The programme aims to enhance their diagnostic and strategic capacities to respond to such change within the framework of socially just urban governance.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (90 credits), either one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma, three core modules (90 credits), one optional module (30 credits), full-time nine months, is offered.

Core modules

  • The City and its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning
  • Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice
  • Practice in Urban Development Planning

Optional modules

Please note, not all optional modules may be available.

  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • An Introduction to Public Economics and Public Policy
  • Critical Urbanism Studio I - Learning from Informality: Case studies and alternatives
  • Critical Urbanism Studio II - Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Food and the City
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • Housing as Urbanism: Housing Policy and the Search for Scale
  • Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options
  • Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Knowledge Systems and Sustainable Food Production
  • Managing the City Economy
  • Neo-Structuralism and the Developmental State
  • NGOs and Social Transformation
  • Participatory Processes: Building for Development
  • Post Disaster Recovery: Policies, Practices and Alternatives
  • Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
  • Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics
  • Transport Equity and Urban Mobility

Dissertation/report

All MSc students submit a 10,000-word report on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic can be chosen to enhance career development or for its inherent interest.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, group work, workshops and field trips. Field trips so far have taken place in Egypt, Ghana, India, Thailand, and Tanzania. Student performance is assessed through essays, coursework, team project reports, written examinations, the overseas field trip and a 10,000-word dissertation.

Careers

This MSc is widely recognised by international organisations and agencies (such as UN agencies and the World Bank) and bilateral aid organisations from different countries. Graduate destinations range from UK-based organisations in the public, private and community sectors to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations which operate in a development capacity in the South. Graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in the practice, teaching or research of urban development practice; other graduates have successfully sought employment in international development organisations away from their own countries.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Shelter Delegate, CARE
  • Town Planner, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development
  • Urban Governance Assistant, World Resources Institute
  • Development Manager, NAS Properties
  • Housing Development Consultant, Unspecified NGO

Employability

The programme aims to help students:

  • prepare balanced, critical and comparative analysis and argument based on theory and empirical evidence
  • undertake a comprehensive diagnosis of the problems and opportunities in urban development in specific contexts
  • formulate systematic and reasoned proposals that address the multi-dimensional complexity of various urban development situations, including organisational and institutional development
  • build presentation, advocacy and negotiation skills
  • develop research skills including interviewing, conceptual framework formulation, and the abilitiy to analyse a range of information sources
  • enhance their teamwork skills
  • operate professionally in an unfamiliar environment within the context of a developing country.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme argues that planning is key to dealing with urban problems and opportunities presented by rapid urbanisation in the Global South, but that its potential cannot be harnessed without a critical understanding of the processes that generate urban change in specific contexts.

The programme seeks to equip students with the capacity to develop critical diagnoses of urban issues, as a basis for developing propositional responses within the framework of socially, spatially and environmentally just urban governance.

The programme promotes a deeper understanding of community-led and partnership-based urban development planning. Students also benefit from the Development Planning Unit's longstanding and geographically exhaustive alumni and partner network.



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The MA in Architecture and Urban Design (MAUD) is a wide-ranging mainstream Master's programme in architecture that gives you an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective on contemporary architecture and urban design. Read more
The MA in Architecture and Urban Design (MAUD) is a wide-ranging mainstream Master's programme in architecture that gives you an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective on contemporary architecture and urban design. The programme informs you about the latest knowledge of architecture and urban design in order to prepare you to become a successful professionals working on a global scale.

You are taught how to combine academic analysis with the development of creative and intellectual skills. We regard theory and practice of architecture as equally important, and believe that joint effort and excellence in both areas are necessary for communicating architecture and urban design competently and successfully. You are encouraged to develop your creative and imaginative abilities; to produce ideas and undertake work that conveys your understanding of architecture and cities in fresh and effective ways.

You learn how to approach contemporary architecture and cities and their relation to the society, culture and arts including film and theatre. Through the analysis of wider social and environmental aspects and through modeling of cities’ life and its dynamic forces, programme considers the ways in which both the heritage buildings and the new design proposals can facilitate in the sustainable development of cities in the future.

Kent School of Architecture (KSA) has developed a unique partnership with Farrells, the internationally renowned architects and urban planners. John Letherland, the Head of Master Planning, currently leads a design module for all students on this programme.

This is a versatile Master’s qualification for architects, urban designers, surveyors, historians, landscape architects, theorists, engineers and other related professionals involved with planning and design of contemporary cities, as well as graduates interested in pursuing further postgraduate studies and an academic career.

This programme is taught at our Canterbury campus. There is also a version of this programme which allows you to spend a term in Paris (https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/181/architecture-and-urban-design-paris).

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/180/architecture-and-urban-design

About Kent School of Architecture

Research at Kent School of Architecture achieves excellence in both the history and theory of architecture and in sustainable urban, peri-urban and environmental design. School staff have design expertise and specialist knowledge; they are at the forefront of current architectural issues, including sustainability, technology, professional practice and research. Our staff are active at academic and professional conferences, both nationally and internationally, and appear and publish in local and national media. The School promotes innovative and interdisciplinary research, emphasising sustainable design.

Much of the project work involved in the Kent School of Architecture is located on 'live' sites in the local region, using real clients and engaging challenging issues. Students in all stages of the school have been introduced to real urban and architectural design challenges in Lille, Margate, Folkestone, Dover, Rye, Chatham and, of course, Canterbury. Much of this work involves liaising with external bodies, such as architects, planners, council and development groups.

Course structure

The MA is composed of four taught modules (two modules per term full-time, one module per term part-time) and a dissertation on the topic of your own choice. The programme leads to an MA but may be taken as a Postgraduate Diploma without the dissertation.

Graduates have worked at the cutting edge of the architectural profession on a global level and progressed to work in academia.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

AR831 - Urban Landscape (30 credits)
AR832 - Research Methods and Analysis (30 credits)
AR848 - Theory and History of Urban Design (30 credits)
AR847 - Urban Design Project (30 credits)
AR999 - Dissertation:Urban Design (60 credits)

Assessment

Assessment is by coursework and the dissertation.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- ensure that you achieve excellence in your knowledge of architecture and cities through the development of your understanding, research, design and other related abilities

- promote creativity and excellence in architecture and urban design; from understanding concepts to thoughtful project development and the integration of research, strategically and in detail

- develop your knowledge of the theoretical, historical and professional contexts of architecture and urban design and ensure that you are aware of your responsibilities

- develop your understanding of architecture, cities and urban design within a broader cultural context that would include studies of arts and humanities

- promote and support independent research and high-quality skills

- accommodate a wide range of views and develop your specialised original interests

- develop understanding of how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research and promote originality in applying knowledge in architecture and urban design

- develop initiative, responsibility and sound critical judgement in making decisions about complex architectural and urban design issues

- enable you to develop strategies for self-improvement and commitment to research and learning

- support you in achieving your full potential in all parts of the programme.

Careers

Our Master’s programmes have been devised to enhance your prospects in a competitive world. Professionals in the architectural, planning, environmental design and conservation fields who develop higher-level skills, accredited by relevant bodies, will find themselves well-placed to progress in their field. Our students have gone on to work for major public agencies and universities, as well as leading practitioners in the private sector.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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The Liverpool School of Art and Design offers you the space to explore your creative potential and understand how its application in design can interact with, adapt and change the landscape of cities and urban spaces and our experience within them. Read more
The Liverpool School of Art and Design offers you the space to explore your creative potential and understand how its application in design can interact with, adapt and change the landscape of cities and urban spaces and our experience within them.

•Course available to study full time (1 year) and part time (2 years)
•A new programme open to applicants from a wide range of first degree disciplines such as architecture, spatial design, landscape design, environmental art, geography and planning
•Join a strong research-focused academic community
•Prestigious Susan Cotton Travel bursary and the Michael Pugh Thomas and Julia Carter Preston Legacy postgraduate study awards available
•Develop your work in state-of-the-art workspaces and facilities within the RIBA award-winning John Lennon Art and Design Building

In a world of rapidly rising and migrating urban populations, there is a palpable need for smarter, more inclusive approaches to city planning, adaptation and spatial design.

Liverpool is a creative hub with a heritage of high quality civic design and creative urban engagement. The study of Urban Design is perfectly suited to the rich infrastructure of this truly global city. Read more about the outputs from the programme by visiting the Urban Design blog.

This programme has strong links with the RIBA North and the Liverpool Biennial which, every two years, delivers an international programme of exhibitions and projects that lead to a rediscovery of the city.

Based within the School’s Architecture and Urban Design subject area, this studio-based programme is nourished by the School’s burgeoning research in Urbanism and close association with the University's European Institute for Urban Affairs.

The curriculum has creative place-making at its core and we welcome applicants from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds such as architecture, planning, landscape architecture, art and spatial design.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

Research & Practice 1

An introduction to some of the common principles of research in Art and Design, tailored to help you develop the skills required to become an effective independent researcher / practitioner.

Studio Practice (Urban Design)

Upon successful completion of an urban design project, you will acquire skills to analyse contemporary urban design themes through in-depth research and the intelligent development of a critical argument. You will also be able to evaluate innovative and visionary urban design theories and precedents in the context of the project work and synthesize knowledge and skills in the production of an urban design strategy for the redevelopment of a substantial piece of cityscape.

Research & Practice 2 (Urban Design)

You will be presented with an overview of urban scale sustainable design principles and objectives. You will then explore a range of contemporary sustainable best practice case studies. These principles will then be applied in practical project work, exploring urban design sustainability benchmarks and audit methodologies. You will thereby be provided with a range of theoretical tools to support independent conceptual and critical evaluation of sustainable urban design. Tools will be explored such as to enable students to understand and evaluate the environmental impact and ecology of urban design proposals

Collaborative Practice

Here you will be given the opportunity to think through, re-situate and re-imagine how the term ‘collaboration’ can affect and develop your own developing art and design practice in the broadest sense. A framework of teaching, study and assessment that will allow the student to develop a realizable collaborative project proposal that has the capacity to be developed into a fundable/sustainable project/collaboration.

Final Major Project (Urban Design)

Through a major project you will explore and apply a contemporary urban design theme through in-depth research and intelligent development of a critical argument or creative piece of work.

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Academic Framework reviews are conducted by LJMU from time to time to ensure that academic standards continue to be maintained.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

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Goal of the pro­gramme. Gen­eral Know­ledge and Skills. Upon completing the master’s programme in Urban Studies & Planning, you will be able to. Read more

Goal of the pro­gramme

Gen­eral Know­ledge and Skills

Upon completing the master’s programme in Urban Studies & Planning, you will be able to:

  • Understand theories and identify concepts and empirical research methods relevant to urban studies and planning from the related fields of social sciences, humanities, ecology, engineering, architecture, design and art
  • Demonstrate a working understanding of the role of urban government, policy-making and planning in urban development
  • Critically and creatively pose and answer significant research questions relevant within and across multiple fields of theory and practice
  • Gather, process and develop relevant conclusions based on information from multiple sources
  • Produce, collect and analyse cases and data relevant to urban phenomena
  • Use digital and other tools to collect, analyse and share data
  • Develop responses to urban problems using relevant tools and techniques for representing, modelling, prototyping, testing and evaluating solutions
  • Understand and develop integrated approaches within and across urban research and applied planning
  • Communicate your understanding of and responses to urban phenomena visually, graphically, orally and in writing
  • Write academic, professional and popular texts on urban themes based on relevant literature
  • Apply and develop skills for co-production of knowledge and co-design
  • Work productively and cooperatively in multidisciplinary, multiprofessional and international environments

Know­ledge and Skills Re­lated to Spe­cial­isa­tions and Pro­fes­sions

Upon completing the Master’s programme in Urban Studies & Planning, you will be able to:

  • Apply the general knowledge and skills introduced, developed and demonstrated within the courses and thesis work
  • Place urban analyses and proposals in relation to your specialisation and contextualise them in relation to others
  • Identify, differentiate and articulate relations among various theories and methods relevant to your specialisation 
  • Develop and reflect on your competence in urban studies and planning in relation to your professional role
  • Carry out independent research on urban issues in your field using relevant research methods and responsible scientific practice
  • Analyse phenomena and develop solutions through the use of digital and other tools, such as GIS and CAD
  • Fulfil specific professional degrees in accordance with the relevant professional codes and directives (such as those of architects, landscape architects, and urban planners
  • Demonstrate your competence to work as a professional and/or researcher in urban studies and planning
  • Communicate professionally and constructively with different experts, practitioners and stakeholders in the field of urban studies and planning
  • Articulate your professional identity in terms of established and emerging roles relevant to urban studies and planning

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

The Master's programme in Urban Studies and Planning is offered by the University of Helsinki (Faculty of Science, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Arts) and Aalto University (School of Arts Design and Architecture and School of Engineering).



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