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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. 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).

Part-time studnts must complete the 75 credit 'black box' module, 'BPLN0021: Interdisciplinary Urban Design', in their first year.

Compulsory modules

  • Interdisciplinary 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

You will take 75 credits of optional modules as part of 'Interdisciplinary Urban Design'. Options include the list below. 

View the full list of options.

  • Anthropology of the Built Environment (Anthropology)
  • Digital Infrastructure: Materiality, Information and Politics (Anthropology)
  • Spatial Cultures (Architecture)
  • Architectural Phenomena (Architecture)
  • E-merging Analysis and Design Project (Architecture)
  • E-merging Design Research (Architecture)
  • Space Syntax Methodology and Analytical Design (Architecture)
  • Design as a Knowledge-Based Process (Architecture)
  • Principles of Analytical Design (Architecture)
  • Introduction to Urban Design Theory (Architecture)
  • Social Dimensions for Sustainability (Environmental Design and Engineering)
  • Geographic Information Systems and Science (Geography)
  • Migration and Urban Multicultures (Geography)
  • Detailed Urban Design (Architecture)
  • Smart Cities: Context, Policy & Government (CASA)
  • Urban Stimulation (CASA)
  • Transforming Local Areas and Urban Design for Development (DPU)
  • Participatory Processes: Building for Development (DPU)
  • Critical Debates in Urban Design (Planning)
  • Transport Planning and the City (Planning)

Whilst the MRes offers huge flexibility and choice (see Content), the final choice of feeder modules into the first Inter-disciplinary Urban Design module may be restricted by the UCL timetable, which is not fixed until the summer preceding entry. In addition, some modules have specified prerequisites and others are not available every year. 

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.


The purchase of books many constitute an additional cost, but there is no requirement to purchase any book as part of the programme. Optional modules may incur additional expenses.

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.


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


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 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.

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.

Department: Bartlett School of Planning


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.

Who can apply?

This programme will be particularly suitable for students from architectural, planning, urban design, landscape, real estate or civil engineering backgrounds, although others might also be considered

Application deadlines

26 July 2019


30 August 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 Inter-disciplinary Urban Design at graduate level
  • why you want to study Inter-disciplinary Urban Design at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this 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 reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Visit the Inter-disciplinary Urban Design MRes page on the University College London website for more details!