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Course content

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

Degree information

This MSc aims to equip participants to work effectively as development practitioners in urban contexts through a deeper understanding of the processes that generate urban change. The programme aims to enhance their 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 core modules (90 credits), one optional module (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.

Core 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
-Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development

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.

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. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in the practice, teaching or research of urban development practice; other graduates have successfully sought employment in international development organisations away from their own countries.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Investment Banker, Standard Bank
-Assistant Researcher, Institute for Urban Studies, Hangzhou Normal University and studying BSc Economics, The University of London
-Research Assistant, Erzurum Technical University
-Regional Programme Assistant, Merlin
-Shelter Co-Ordinator, Save the Children

Employability
The programme aims to help students:
-Prepare balanced, critical and comparative analysis and argument based on theory and empirical evidence.
-Undertake a comprehensive diagnosis of the problems and opportunities in urban development in specific contexts.
-Formulate systematic and reasoned proposals that address the multi-dimensional complexity of various urban development situations, including organisational and institutional development.
-Build presentation, advocacy and negotiation skills.
-Develop research skills including interviewing, conceptual framework formulation, and the abilitiy to analyse a range of information sources.
-Enhance their teamwork skills.
-Operate professionally in an unfamiliar environment within the context of a developing country.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme argues that planning is key to dealing with urban problems and opportunities presented by rapid urbanisation in the Global South, but that its potential cannot be harnessed without a critical understanding of the processes that generate urban change in specific contexts.

The programme seeks to equip students with the capacity to develop critical diagnoses of urban issues, as a basis for developing propositional responses within the framework of socially, spatially and environmentally just urban governance.

The programme promotes a deeper understanding of community-led and partnership-based urban development planning. Students also benefit from the Development Planning Unit's longstanding and geographically exhaustive alumni and partner network.

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

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