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This Master's programme pioneers a fresh and critical approach that promotes architectural and artistic interventions which rejuvenate and reinterpret historic urban environments at all scales. Students work with leading historians, theorists and practitioners to offer creative solutions which enable historic urban environments to thrive, rather than just survive.

About this degree

This programme links the core research challenge of innovative design with in-depth processes of urban surveying, recording, mapping and analysis. As such, the programme has a strong international component, viewing cities around the world as fascinating laboratories for new ways of investigating and actively engaging with historic urban environments, with London being the prime example.

Compulsory modules

  • Issues in Historic Urban Environments (15 credits)
  • Design Research for Historic Environments (15 credits)
  • Surveying and Recording of Cities (30 credits)
  • Design Practice for Historic Environments (30 credits)
  • Final Project (60 credits)

Optional modules

Students choose one of the following:

  • Representation of Cities (30 credits)
  • Critical Spatial Practice: Site Writing (30 credits)
  • Multiple Modernities Architecture (30 credits)
  • Practices of Criticism (30 credits)
  • E-merging Analysis and Design Project (30 credits)
  • Sustainable Strategies (30 credits)
  • Histories of Global London, 1900 to the Present (I) (15 credits)
  • Histories of Global London, 1900 to the Present (II) (30 credits)


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words or a major design project with a minimum of 5,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical workshops, fieldwork visits, and individual and group tutorials. Assessment is through project critique reviews, project portfolios, coursework essays, individual and group presentations, dissertation/major project and a viva voce examination with an external examiner.


An annual programme field trip (optional) takes place at the end of Term 1 or beginning of Term 2. The Department contributes £250 towards the Field Trip, with students paying a maximum additional £500, however every effort is made to keep the costs below £250.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


 UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies. 

Any additional funding available from the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of this programme will be expected to assume leading roles in design disciplines engaged with historic urban environments at all scales using emerging design approaches and new technologies that are already changing our understanding of and response to contemporary building production and design in historic contexts. With experience of different cities and urban conditions in a global context, graduates are highly skilled in working flexibly and resourcefully in different cultural, geographic and professional enviroments.


The MA equips graduates with the advanced knowledge and skills required to operate across the areas of urban research, design, management and implementation, combining subject expertise with design creativity, and linking theory, history and practice. Graduates typically pursue careers in professional practices associated with the built environment, as well as policy-making or heritage management, and academia.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Bartlett School of Architecture is widely regarded as one of the leading architectural schools in the world, with a strong reputation for generating knowledge and insights in architectural design, building technology and architectural history and theory.

In October 2013, the renowned Survey of London team moved to join the school, providing an opportunity to launch this new programme which also draws upon the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research expertise within the Bartlett, UCL's Faculty of the Built Environment, as well as the cross-faculty UCL Urban Laboratory, and within the university generally.

The programme includes modules that investigate numerous international case studies which gives students the opportunity to carry out design research work in cities outside the UK should they wish to. A field trip each year to a non-UK city will provide staff and students with the knowledge of, and links to, those who are working at the forefront of architectural and urban heritage internationally.

Department: Bartlett School of Architecture


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This programme is primarily intended for architects or urban designers, or those in cognate design fields, but is also open to those who are able to demonstrate the benefits of bringing associated skills to the kinds of urban issues that are studied. We welcome students from countries around the world, especially where there are strong tensions between the pressure to modernise and globalise, whilst also trying to retain continuity in urban forms and cultural values.

Application deadlines

26 July 2019

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Architecture and Historic Urban Environments at graduate level
  • why you want to study Architecture and Historic Urban Environments at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen profession
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your resons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver. Applicants are required to submit a portfolio when they apply, either in hard copy or digital format.

Visit the Architecture and Historic Urban Environments MA page on the University College London website for more details!