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Future Cities with Advanced Practice - MSc

Course Description

Be part of the Future. Cities around the world are facing acute challenges and with this course, could you be the person who finds the solutions?

The MSc in Future Cities is the first course of its kind in the UK that is looking into the future of cities and provides you with the skills and knowledge to establish long term solutions using data and social science.

The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050, seven out of ten people will be living in cities; yet as the UN-Habitat programme explains, cities are already using 78% of the earth’s resources and produce 60% of its CO2.

While the future of cities has become the main topic of discussion for local governments around the globe, it is becoming more apparent that the issues need a more holistic approach. This course will equip you with an in-depth understanding of the geography, space, location and built and natural environment and their growing connection and dependencies on data in order for you to develop holistic solutions.

In the second year, for one semester, you’ll undertake an internship, study in another country or join a research group. This valuable experience will enhance your employability and further develop your theoretical and practical skills.


This option offers the opportunity to spend three months working full-time in one of the many companies/industries with which we have close links. You may be able to extend this over more than one semester in cases where it is adjacent to a vacation period. We will endeavour to help those who prefer this option to find and secure a suitable position but ultimately we are in the hands of the employers who are free to decide who they take into their organisation.


If you take this option, you will be assigned to our Architecture and Built Environment Research Group. There is every possibility that you may contribute to published research and therefore you may be named as part of the research team, which would be a great start to a research career.

Study Abroad

We have exchange agreements with universities all over the world, including partners in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. If you take the Study Abroad option you will spend a semester at one of these partners, continuing your studies in English but in a new cultural and learning environment. Please note that this option may require you to obtain a visa for study in the other country.

Learn From The Best

ou will be taught by a range of academic staff who bring a wealth of professional experience from the Architecture, Built Environment and Geography fields. Coupled with their research experience, whereby the staff have published work in prestigious authored journals and conferences, you will be taught the essential and up-to-date skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your future career.

In a dynamic learning environment with an expert team of staff, you will be also taught theoretical and practical research skills such as information literacy, as well as problem solving skills within the subject related task, self-directed learning and communication skills. You will develop an understanding of important research methods and various data communication techniques which will directly support your future career demands.

The Advanced Practice semester will be assessed via a report and presentation about your internship, study abroad or research group activities.

Teaching And Assessment

This course encourages you to develop independent learning skills as well as the ability to work efficiently and efficiently in a group. You will be taught discipline specific knowledge and will learn transferable intellectual and professional skills which will be directly relatable to your future career.

You will be provided with a wide range of learning opportunities, including lectures and seminars, practical use of tools and equipment, professional practice speakers, guided study and self-directed independent learning.

You will be supported in your learning, where appropriate, via an electronic learning portal (Blackboard) that provides remote access to course materials, by electronic submission and feedback on your assessments, and online reading lists.

Module Overview
Year One
KA7000 - Smart Cities (Core, 20 Credits)
KA7001 - Mobility in Future Cities (Core, 20 Credits)
KA7002 - City Information Modelling (Core, 20 Credits)
KA7003 - City Theories (Core, 20 Credits)
KA7004 - Data Concepts and Research Methods (Core, 20 Credits)
KE7000 - Sustainability for Future Cities (Core, 20 Credits)

Year Two
KA7005 - Dissertation (Core, 60 Credits)
KF7005 - Engineering and Environment Advanced Practice (Core, 60 Credits)

Learning Environment

You will have the opportunity to access state of the art facilities and equipment which will encourage your individual intellectual freedom and allow your creative vision to become a reality.

You will benefit from Northumbria’s longstanding expertise in numerous digital technologies for built and natural environment including Building Information Modelling (BIM), Geographic Information Systems, and Virtual City Modelling.

Experimenting with data from different sources and completing tasks during workshops and hands-on sessions in Northumbria’s fantastic computer labs and VRV Studio, you will develop your technical and practical skills in an encouraging and supportive environment.

As part of our student focussed approach, you will also use smartphones, tablets and wireless networks and social media tools to retrieve and exchange information in various workshops, allowing for you to experience manifold of tools and techniques.

Research-Rich Learning

This course lies within the Architecture and Built Environment department, ranked within the top 30 research departments in the UK, with 50% of our outputs ranked world-leading or internationally excellent according to REF 2014, UoA16. Colleagues from Department of Geography also contribute towards this course. They also boast excellent research, with 55% ranked as world leading or internationally excellent, which makes the department top-30 based on research power.

You will be immersed in a research-rich environment, taught by staff with a strong academic background in leading-edge research areas such as big data, data mining, disaster management, energy systems, transport planning, urban analysis, city information modelling and visualisation.

With access to diverse research work carried out by our expert academic staff, we seek to promote innovative and excellent learning and teaching practice, which will improve your student experience here at Northumbria.

Give Your Career An Edge

By exploring the challenges and opportunities of integrating smart city solutions and smart urbanism that shapes and manages complex and multidimensional places, you will be able to provide solutions with innovative approaches to the multifaceted problems cities are facing.

You will be given the opportunity experience different built environments, cultures and working practises on a European field trip in semester two which will provide you with a wealth of practical knowledge at a European level.

Our connections with the Singapore-ETH Centre’s Future Cities Lab will also provide an international approach towards future city solutions. Connections with potential employers, combined with a close working relationship with the UK Government Office for Science and its Future of Cities Project and strong links with various local authorities across the North East will help you to enhance your employability prospects.

The Advanced Practice semester will help you develop a track record of achievement that will help you stand out from other job applicants.

A two-year master’s course, like this one, will carry particular weight with employers. They’ll understand that you’ll have a deeper understanding of topics as well as more hands-on practical experience.

Your Future

Urban planning and the future of cities are changing and this course will equip you with the skills needed for a career in this exciting and innovative industry.

We place a real emphasis on developing the transferable skills that will open doors to a range of urban planning, urban management, urban design careers and advanced study opportunities. These include communication, analytical and problem solving skills, analytical research skills and the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

You will develop practical applications to complex urban problems which also will support your case for employability with your future employers. Local and international field trips will put you in touch with government officials in this field across the world and extend your network of opportunities.

Visit the Future Cities with Advanced Practice - MSc page on the Northumbria University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK Bachelor’s degree (1st, 2:1 or 2:2) in any built and natural Environment subjects or computer programming related subject area or equivalent overseas qualification (Geography Landscape Architecture, City Planning, Urban Design, Architecture, Architectural/Environmental Engineering, Computing etc.)

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