• University of Cambridge Featured Masters Courses
  • FindA University Ltd Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Leeds Featured Masters Courses
  • Ulster University Featured Masters Courses
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured Masters Courses
  • Jacobs University Featured Masters Courses
  • University of Edinburgh Featured Masters Courses
  • Swansea University Featured Masters Courses
SOAS University of London Featured Masters Courses
Coventry University Featured Masters Courses
Cass Business School Featured Masters Courses
Queen Mary University of London Featured Masters Courses
Durham University Featured Masters Courses

Urban Studies - MSc

Course Description

Cities are now a critical focus for research, policy-making and public debate. According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the global population will live in cities by 2050. This MSc develops innovative, comparative and interdisciplinary modes of analysis and research that can address the scale and complexity of contemporary urbanism.

Degree information

Students develop an advanced understanding of urban theory, and explore the main urban developments shaping the contemporary world. The programme focuses on the interface between theory and practice across a diverse range of topics, from historic patterns of urban change to large-scale challenges such as slums, poverty and access to basic services, and current developments in urban design and the visual arts.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme offers two pathways, standard and research.

Standard consists of three core modules (45 credits), five options (75 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). Research consists of four core modules (75 credits), three options (45 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
-Urban Imaginations
-Cities, Space and Power
-Urban Practices
-Research route only:
-Social Science Research Methodologies (30 credits)

Optional modules - options may include the following:
-Asian Cities in a Globalising South
-London: Aspects of Change
-Creative Cities
-Cities and Climate Change
-Community Participation in City Strategies
-Comparative Urbanism
-Spatial Planning
-Migration and Urban Multicultures
-Anthropology of Architecture
-Planning Practices in Europe
-Thinking Space
-Transforming Local Areas
-Representation of Cities

All students undertake an individual research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, field trips, tutorials, discussion groups, presentations and group work. Assessment is through coursework in the form of essays, and the dissertation.


Since the launch of the Urban Studies MSc in 2008/2009, graduates from the programme have found employment in a variety of sectors such as municipal and local government, urban political organisations, art consultancies, communications companies, financial services, social enterprise initiatives, cultural institutions, community development organisations and think tanks.

Urban Studies graduates have an impressive record of continuing their research as PhD students; this includes at UCL - in geography, the Development Planning Unit, and architectural design - as well as in Europe and North America: at the University of Zurich, the Open University, LSE, Universidade do Porto, TU Berlin and the University of Minnesota.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-MA Geopolitics, Territory and Security, King's College London
-International Development Intern, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
-Planning Management Professional, Huafa Group
-Researcher Associate, Federal Council
-Designer, Pilot Projects and studying PhD Urban Planning, Columbia University

This programme will significantly improve the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in academia, public and private research, and other commercial and professional fields where an advanced understanding of cities and urban change is required. Through this programme students will meet leading practitioners from the fields of architecture, journalism, transport planning, environmental management, art and urban activism. You will become part of a growing international network of graduates who are a valuable source of advice, information and guidance for current students.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The UCL Urban Laboratory is the result of a unique collaboration between four faculties: Arts & Humanities, the UCL Bartlett, Engineering Sciences, and Social & Historical Sciences. It brings together the best urban teaching and research at UCL and this range of expertise will make this programme unparalleled in scope both within the UK and internationally.

Urban research at UCL draws on a rich heritage of ideas including the groundbreaking insights of figures such as Patrick Abercrombie, Peter Hall, Ruth Glass and Reyner Banham.

UCL's engagement in wider public debates in London and internationally regarding the future design and planning of cities is a distinctive feature of our research.

Visit the Urban Studies - MSc page on the University College London website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Rebecca Payne

"What convinced me to choose UCL was the breadth and variety of the Urban Studies MSc, particularly its emphasis on multi- and interdisciplinary learning. As UCL is renowned for its urban research, the programme has close links with organisations such as the Urban Laboratory. This really differed from other programmes I had applied to, which felt much more insular, and therefore restrictive. I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to locate new, unfamiliar areas of study that I could not have predicted before starting the degree last September."


UCL Graduate Support Bursary - 20+ Awards

UCL is making 93 individual bursary awards available. Each bursary will cover the full tuition fee cost for the programme and provide £10,000 in maintenance funding per year.

Value of Scholarship(s)



The scheme is aimed at supporting traditionally under-represented groups to progress on to graduate study at UCL. All applicants will be required to demonstrate that their annual household income is currently under £42,611. This scheme is open to prospective students domiciled in the UK (that is, UK is your country of "ordinary residence”) who have "Home" tuition fee status.

Application Procedure

This initiative is funded through the HEFCE Postgraduate Support Scheme. The UCL Graduate Support Bursary scheme forms part of UCL’s wider initiative to support graduate Master’s students.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Email Enquiry

Recipient: University College London
Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.
Email Sent

Share this page:

Cookie Policy    X