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    Cardiff School of Geography and Planning Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees


  • Last Updated

    04 July 2018

This MSc will provide you with a broad education in international planning and a specialism in urban design, enabling you to acquire the knowledge and critical understanding to make a significant contribution to the management and design control processes of cities.


We live in a rapidly urbanising world. Over 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities and this trend predicted to increase over the next 30 years.

The most rapid growth has been within cities in Asia and the Global South and these cities now face critical urban problems and challenges related to over-crowding, congestion, pollution and environmental damage, poor and failing infrastructure, sharpening inequalities in wealth, health and well-being, and issues associated with privatised governance and non-democratic control. Increasingly, national governments and municipal authorities are turning to professionals and practitioners in urban planning and design to help understand, tackle and address these major problems and challenges.

Urban planning and design is fascinating and tackles the challenges of change in a rapidly urbanising world. Our MSc International Planning and Urban Design explores the major problems and dilemmas of global cities within the context of planning and urban design and presents potential solutions through planning and design interventions. There is strong emphasis upon theoretical, methodological and empirical ways of understanding these problems as well as developing the practical and professional skills and competencies necessary to develop and achieve solution.

You will be provided with a broad education in international planning and a specialism in urban design, enabling you to acquire the knowledge and critical understanding to make a significant contribution to the management and design control processes of cities, helping you shape your future career in professional practice.

The course is aimed at those wanting a career in the planning or urban design sector or policy environment (for instance, in the public and private sectors, Third Sector or non-governmental organisations) working on urban problems and solutions in an international context. It is also aimed at those wanting to move onto further academic research in planning and urban design.

Distinctive features

  • An international focus, specifically concerned with the major planning challenges faced by cities in Asia and the Global South
  • An introduction to key urban design skills and competencies. This will not only include practical design skills but also the knowledge and understanding of the often complex interaction between urban planning, regulation, policy and urban design, which urban practitioners have to negotiate.
  • An emphasis on the different spatial scales at which urban designers work, from small plots within the existing built fabric, to large planned neighbourhoods on underdeveloped land at the edge of cities.
  • An opportunity to learn not only how to plan and design a site but also how to work within the planning system to ensure that your plans and designs meet the needs of the city and conform to planning regulations.
  • A chance to engage with a range of stakeholders and apply multiple analytical and interpretative approaches to urban problems, as well as collaborate with organisations, governments and socio-economic sectors in different parts of the world.

Learning and assessment

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, computer lab and studio work where relevant.

Lectures take a range of forms but generally provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. In seminars you’ll have the opportunity to discuss particular themes or topics, to consolidate and get feedback on your individual learning and to develop skills in oral presentation. In computer lab you will have the opportunity to learn various planning and research methods such as mapping, spatial analysis and statistics depending on the modules you take.

Studio work gives you the opportunity to learn various urban design skills such as site planning, street and neighbourhood level design, preparation and presentation of design boards and the use of urban design software.

You will practise and develop intellectual and presentational skills by participating in diverse learning activities, such as, small-group discussions, debates, oral presentations, independent research tasks and written assignments. You will also enhance your team-working skills.

Career prospects

After the completion of the programme, you will be able to work in a wide range of planning and urban design careers, including jobs in public, private and Third Sector organisations. It can involve policy-making (for instance, on urban and regional planning, urban design, sustainable urban development, housing, transport), consultancy on local and international development, project management, as well as further studies towards an academic career in planning and urban design studies.

Visit the International Planning and Urban Design - MSc page on the Cardiff University website for more details!




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