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Urban Economic Development - MSc/PGDip

Course Description

This MSc explores how economic solutions can contribute to urban sustainability, social justice and wellbeing. Bringing economic analysis to city planning and management, it aims to nurture future professionals who are equipped to manage cities. A unique focus on the city economy and an extensive alumni network make graduates of this programme highly employable.

Degree information

The programme focuses on identifying methods of enhancing urban productivity and structural change while promoting sustainability and equity through public intervention at the city level. Students gain a critical understanding of the political economy of urban development and urban policy-making, the ability to analyse a city economy and its performance, and numerous opportunities to learn from policy experiences across the world.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (90 credits), one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a development and planning report (60 credits). A Postgraduate Diploma, four core modules (90 credits), one or two optional modules (30 credits), full-time nine months, is offered.

Core modules
-Cost-Benefit Analysis: Theory and Practice
-Managing the City Economy
-Practice in Urban Economic Development
-Either An Introduction to Public Economics and Public Policy or Urbanisation and Development

Optional modules
-Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development
-Housing Policy, Programme and Project Alternatives
-Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
-The City and its Relations
-Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management
-Gender in Policy and Planning
-Socially Sensitive Development in Practice
-Social Development and Poverty Reduction
-Urban Environmental Planning and Management in Development
-Urban Agriculture
-Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
-Management and Planning for Development
-The Urban Informal Economy
-Public Economics

Guided by individual supervisors, all MSc students submit a 10,000-word dissertation 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 series of lectures, seminars, workshops, case studies and fieldwork related to cities in different parts of the world, and includes an overseas field trip. Students are assessed through unseen examinations, individual essays, coursework, team work reports, oral presentations and a dissertation.


Graduates pursue a variety of careers, predominantly: private consultancies and think tanks; public sector (including government careers at different levels and international organisations); academia and research.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Researcher, Centre for Cities
-Research Consultant, Regeneris Consulting
-Investment Officer, Ministry of Finance
-Economic Research Consultant, Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners
-Policy Research Analyst, PRS Legislative Research

Graduates of this programme enjoy a high level of employability. Students develop an integrated approach towards efficiency, sustainability, social justice and wellbeing and acquire crucial skills in tackling the significant task of economic management of cities. They also have the opportunity to strengthen their CV while on the programme by participating in numerous practice-oriented assignments, both in the UK and abroad. Past graduates have found employment in a variety of fields, ranging from working with UK-based organisations in public, private and community sectors that focus on either local or international development, to employment with governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies in the Global South.

Why study this degree at UCL?

In addition to strong theoretical teaching, this MSc involves practical fieldwork abroad and in the UK that allows students to put into practice the tools and techniques acquired in the classroom. Characterised by a strong emphasis on international experiences and analytical approaches, this programme will be of benefit to students from both developed and developing countries.

The UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit is an international centre of excellence promoting sustainable development and encouraging innovative policy, planning and management of urban, regional and international development. Cross-departmental career networking sessions are held throughout the year where current students can socialise with alumni and external professionals.

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

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Francesco Mellino

"UCL London offers a unique setting for higher education. The quality of the teaching and the diversity of backgrounds found in the classes complement each other to provide a real premium for students to enjoy."


Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS) - 5 Awards

The Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme is a joint initiative between the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), and UK universities, to support scholarships for students from developing Commonwealth countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the United Kingdom.The aim of the scheme is to assist students from developing Commonwealth countries who are of excellent academic calibre but for financial reasons would not otherwise be able to afford to study in the United Kingdom. The scheme allows them to benefit from postgraduate study at a university in the United Kingdom which will help them to contribute toward the development of their home countries.Awards are for taught Master's programmes only, subjects must be related to the economic, social and technological development of a candidate's country. UCL expects to be able to allocate five awards this academic year.Applicants must:
- Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a Commonwealth developing country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country (please see the CSSS information booklet for a list of eligible countries);
- Hold a first degree at either first- or upper second-class level;
- Be sufficiently fluent in English to pursue the programme;
- Have not previously studied for one year or more in a developed country;
- Not be employed by a government department (at national level) or a parastatal organisation (employees of universities are normally acceptable);
- Be themselves, or through families, unable to pay for the proposed programme of study in the UK;
- Be willing to confirm that they will return to their home country as soon as their period of study is complete.
- Apply for admission to UCL for one of the eligible programmes below:Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The award will cover tuition fees, a maintenance allowance, economy air travel to and from the UK at the beginning and end of the scholar’s degree programme plus additional discretionary allowances.
- Awards are normally tenable for one year.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)


- Be nationals of (or permanently domiciled in) a Commonwealth developing country, and not currently be living or studying in a developed country (please see the CSSS information booklet for a list of eligible countries);
- Hold a first degree at either first- or upper second-class level;

Application Procedure

- You must separately apply for admission to UCL for one of the eligible programmes through the standard admissions procedure.
- You must apply for the scholarship on the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Electronic Application System (EAS) online following the procedures described on their website.
- In order to be considered for this scholarship at UCL, you must complete the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Electronic Application System (EAS) online: by the deadline of T23:59 (UCT) Sunday, 21 February 2016.

Further Information



Bartlett Masters Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment, offers 20 scholarships for MSc, MRes, MA and MArch students, each worth £5,000, to be used as partial fee remittance for study. Applications have been closed for the 2015/2016 scheme. Please check this page for announcements about the 2016/2017 Masters Scholarship Scheme.All postgraduate students, including continuing students, can be considered for this scholarship, regardless of study mode or fee status. The Bartlett, through this award, hopes to encourage students from under-represented groups to embark on a postgraduate qualification at UCL. The application form has an Equal Opportunities Monitoring section which asks for details on your ethnicity. Eligibility will be means-tested and will take into account total funds available to the applicant.Please note, scholarship applicants do not necessarily require an offer of admission by the deadline date, but will need to have submitted a complete application for study.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- BME applicants
- International students
- Those who commenced their undergraduate studies (in a UK university) pre-2012
- Successful applicants will need to meet two core criteria:
- Applicants must hold an offer of study to commence study in September 2015 (or be continuing, if following a modular/flexible course of study)
- Applicants must be able to pay the remainder of their fees and all living expenses

Application Procedure

To apply, please complete the Masters Scholarship Scheme application form and send it to [email protected]

Further Information



Brown Family Bursary - No. of awards TBC

Selection criteria
The bursary will be awarded based on financial need only as determined by the Student Funding Office.Value, Benefits and Duration:
- The value of the bursary is £15,000. The payment is to be applied to tuition fees in the first instance, with any remainder being paid to the successful applicant towards maintenance in termly instalments.
- The bursary is tenable for one year only.
- The bursary may not be held alongside other tuition fee only awards.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- prospective full-time UK Master's students who are undertaking a one-year programme of study in the Faculties of the Built Environment, Engineering Sciences or Mathematical & Physical Sciences (BEAMS) in 2015/16
- currently holding a first-class Bachelor's degree; and
- in financial need.

Application Procedure

See http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/scholarships/graduate/UK-EU-Master/uclalumniandfriends

Further Information


Entry Requirements

The normal minimum qualification is an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. A second acceptable qualification is a degree of lower second-class Bachelor's standard, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a subject appropriate to the programme, plus excellent work experience.

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