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About the master's degree

This master's degree is an innovative, international and multidisciplinary education programme that teaches students how to operationalise the most urgent calls for building more resilient and sustainable cities through urban planning and design, and how to frame adequate policies and governance models. This one-year programme provides the most up-to-date perspectives, methods and tools for dealing with the threat of climate change, natural disasters and the social and technical transformations required to minimise the environmental impact of the current global urbanisation trends, while addressing social justice.  

Overview, objective and structure

In a world increasingly threatened by complex and rapid urbanisation and environmental, climatic and socio-economic change, this programme was created to meet the city practitioners' need to better understand and frame integrated strategies when implementing urban resilience policies and projects. At the same time, resilience is being addressed by different disciplines and from a wide range of perspectives, which sometime conflict in their meanings, approaches and methods, leading to a fragmented and confused framing of urban resilience. This master's programme provides the necessary interdisciplinary bridges, linking an integrated perspective on urban resilience to the management tools needed to design and implement city resilience.

The International Master's Degree in Designing and Managing City Resilience is a one-year, full-time master's programme developed and coordinated by the International Urban Resilience Research Network and hosted by the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya (UIC Barcelona). Its title reflects the need to go beyond the "building resilient cities" paradigm, taking resilience as a process expressed through a set of capacities and emotional responses to a range of impacts; one that cannot be just "built or designed", but must be managed.

The aim of this master's degree is to provide students multiple perspectives and the multidisciplinary skills, tools and knowledge future city resilience officers require.

The programme is divided into 3 main blocks: on-site classes, a research project and work experience. The first part of the course follows a logical sequence that starts with theoretical aspects of resilience and urbanisation processes. The next four modules explore and integrate different views on resilience, related to i) the built environment and infrastructures; ii) nature and urban ecosystems; iii) economic and city services resilience; and iv) community resilience. The final and most extensive module uses a set of international case studies and workshops (on governance models, leadership and tools for managing resilience) to explore the challenges of implementation. As the course moves forward, Barcelona will be used as a case study due to its experience in resilience, and students will have the opportunity to take part in a workshop with the Barcelona Urban Resilience Lab.

Through these workshops, students will be linked to organisations, institutes and city resilience offices worldwide, giving them the opportunity to apply their learning and skills through job placement opportunities, supporting their career and city resilience strategies for a more sustainable urban future.

See the full curriculum here.

Prospective students

This programme is intended for university graduates from the following areas of urban studies:

  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Urban Design
  • Geography
  • Social and Political Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Landscape and Environmental Design and Management
  • Regional Economy, Ecology.

Reasons to study this master's degree

  1. International professors and a global multidisciplinary perspective: This master's degree has been framed and supported by the International Urban Resilience Research Network, and the programme is taught by professors from some of the most prestigious universities and research centres dealing with urban resilience in different parts of the world. The programme's global and multidisciplinary perspective (it addresses the environmental, social, economic, planning and political aspects of urban studies) enables students to learn about and understand resilience challenges on an international, national and local city level, thanks to the dense network of research and teaching partners involved in this master's degree.
  2. Wide range of job opportunities: The programme is supported by the most prestigious foundations, networks and agencies dealing nowadays with city and community resilience. It includes a mandatory job placement period, which provides students the connections and work experience needed to ensure a successful and international career. A long list of cities from different continents have also pledged their support to the master's programme in the form of job placement opportunities in their city resilience units.
  3. Bridging research and practical experience with an innovative educational model: In this master's programme, students will bridge science and policy through workshops and active involvement in panel-like classes, fostering different points of view and constantly re-framing the business-as-usual strategies often seen in the creation and management of resilient cities.

Find out more about the School of Architecture here.

Work placement

Work placement is an important part of this master's programme, as it aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Students will therefore be required to complete a 20 ECTS work placement (for a minimum of four and maximum of five months, depending on the host partner).

The host partners are mainly city resilience offices from diverse cities in different countries around the world, whose work in resilience will be introduced to students during the first six months of the programme. Other possible destinations include international organisations, NGOs and multilateral agencies. Among these, the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, UN's City Resilience Profiling Programme and METROPOLIS, among others, stand out as key partners (for the full list of cities and organisations, please contact the programme coordinators).


View further information on how to apply online here.

Visit the Master City Resilience Design and Management page on the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona website for more details!





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Recipient: Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona

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