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The Urban Development Planning MSc explores planning theories and international practices in urban development policy, planning and management that address contemporary spatial, socio-economic and political transformations in cities of the Global South.

About this degree

This MSc aims to equip participants to work effectively as development planners and practitioners in urban contexts through imparting a deeper understanding of the processes that generate urban change. The programme aims to enhance participants' diagnostic and strategic capacities to respond to such change within the framework of socially just urban governance.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three compulsory modules (90 credits), either one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma, three core modules (90 credits), one optional module (30 credits), full-time nine months, is offered.

Compulsory modules

  • The City and its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning
  • Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice
  • Practice in Urban Development Planning

Optional modules

Please note, not all optional modules may be available.

  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • An Introduction to Public Economics and Public Policy
  • Critical Urbanism Studio I - Learning from Informality: Case studies and alternatives
  • Critical Urbanism Studio II - Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Food and the City
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • Housing as Urbanism: Housing Policy and the Search for Scale
  • Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options
  • Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Knowledge Systems and Sustainable Food Production
  • Managing the City Economy
  • Neo-Structuralism and the Developmental State
  • NGOs and Social Transformation
  • Participatory Processes: Building for Development
  • Post Disaster Recovery: Policies, Practices and Alternatives
  • Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
  • Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics
  • Transport Equity and Urban Mobility

Dissertation/report

All MSc students submit a 10,000-word report on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic can be chosen to enhance career development or for its inherent interest.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, group work, workshops and field trips. Field trips so far have taken place in Egypt, Ghana, India, Thailand, and Tanzania. Student performance is assessed through essays, coursework, team project reports, written examinations, the overseas field trip and a 10,000-word dissertation.

Fieldwork

In the third term (May) students travel abroad to a city in the Global South to conduct a two-week field trip in groups. The purpose of the trip is to give hands-on experience of processes of urban change, community-led initiatives and policy challenges in the urban context of the Global South.

Additional costs

The cost of flights, visas, necessary vaccinations, accommodation, and fieldwork-related travel and facilitations costs, are incorporated within the programme fees. Meals and other expenditure must be covered by the student.

Funding

Applicants may be eligible for the DFID Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS) and the Otto Koenigsberger Scholarship (OKS).

General information on funding and scholarships is provided by the DPU administration team.

Overseas students are also encouraged to contact a local office of the British Council for information on possible scholarships.

The following other organisations may be able to offer financial support:

  • United Nations
  • Ford Foundation
  • European Development Fund
  • Architects Registration Board (ARB)
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • Aga Khan Foundation for scholarships for applicants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and Tanzania.

EU funding is also possible for studentships through the European Union.

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

Careers

This MSc is widely recognised by international organisations and agencies (such as UN agencies and the World Bank) and bilateral aid organisations from different countries. Graduate destinations range from UK-based organisations in the public, private and community sectors to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations which operate in a development capacity in the South. Graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies.

Employability

The programme aims to help students:

  • prepare balanced and critical analyses/arguments, attentive to the particularities of place, based on theoretical insights and empirical evidence
  • undertake well-supported diagnoses of the problems and opportunities in given urban development contexts, in ways that reframe strategic opportunities for action
  • formulate systematic and well-supported strategic action planning proposals, aimed at responding to complex urban development situations, including organisational and institutional development
  • build presentation, advocacy and negotiation skills
  • develop research skills including interviewing, conceptual framework formulation, and the ability to analyse a range of information sources
  • deliver group projects, and negotiate the dynamics of working in diverse teams
  • operate professionally in unfamiliar environments, including in global south contexts 

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places.

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?

Applicants from a range of backgrounds, including those working in or aspiring to work in international aid agencies, central government and local authorities, non-governmental organisations, academia and the private sector will benefit from this programme. Students come from a variety of disciplines, including planning, architecture, geography, economics, political science and sociology.

Application deadlines

Full-time applicants

26 July 2019

Flexible/Modular applicants

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 Urban Development Planning at graduate level
  • why you want to study Urban Development Planning at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • 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 reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


Visit the Urban Development Planning MSc/PG Dip page on the University College London website for more details!

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