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This programme provides you with an excellent grounding in social science research methods and theory and in the theoretical and policy debates around urban space and place. It is ideally suited for those wishing to undertake a PhD or to work in public/third or private sector organizations within a research or policy role.

Why this programme

  • Studying urban research within the setting of Glasgow allows for direct engagement with many of the most pressing urban problems of our time and with the types of solutions being developed to combat these.
  • This programme is recognised by the Scottish Graduate School which oversees the allocation of ESRC studentships.
  • Our staff are engaged in internationally acclaimed research and evaluation related to key urban policy initiatives across Scotland and beyond.
  • By the end of the programme you will be equipped with a secure grounding in social science research theory, will have developed transferable skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods, and will have demonstrated a grounded knowledge and understanding of specialist areas of urban studies.
  • An optional field trip to London will provide you with an insight into the complex socio-economic dynamics of city building and design through visits to high profile real estate, planning and regeneration projects. You will have the opportunity to both meet and speak with senior industry professionals and policy-makers involved in the delivery of major urban developments. Past trips have included visits to The Shard, Olympic Park, Crossrail, Battersea Power Station.

Programme structure

You will take five core courses and one optional course, and complete a dissertation. Teaching is delivered through lectures and seminars, but may also include lab work, input from policy/practice experts and, in some case, UK field trips.

Core courses

  • International urban challenges OR Regenerating cities
  • Qualitative methods
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Research design
  • Sustainable urban futures

Optional courses may include

  • Applied qualitative methods
  • Big data and urban analytics
  • Introduction to social theory for researchers.
  • Principles and applications of GIS.

Additional courses from the School of Social & Political Science or College of Social Sciences may be chosen, as approved by the programme director.

Programme alteration or discontinuation

The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

The programme provides a strong foundation for advanced research in urban studies, both in the context of careers in the public and voluntary sectors, and especially of further studies to PhD level. You will have fully met the research training requirements of the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the Social Sciences Graduate School for doctoral students. 


Visit the Urban Research - MRes page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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