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Urban Innovation and Policy - MPA

Course Description

This MPA is designed for professionals in the public, private and third sectors seeking to catalyse action in urban development and learn the art of city leadership. Students undertake a major live project associated with a global city network and have the opportunity to engage with leading scholars and practitioners across UCL.

Degree information

Students are equipped with three key skills around: strategic engagement, city leadership and experimentation. Students study conceptual frameworks on innovation and urban planning and master policy tools and analytical methods to implement, evaluate, and revise urban policies. They are taught how to bridge gaps within government and in the public and private sector, and how to gather evidence to support decision-making.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (105 credits), one optional module (15 credits), an elective module (15 credits), and a Major Group Project module (45 credits).

Core modules
-Students undertake three core modules with students from sister MPA programmes, and a specialist module focusing on their degree topic.
-Introduction to Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy
-Analytical Methods for Policy
-Urban Innovation and Policy
-Evidence Institutions and Power

Optional modules - students select one optional STEaPP module from the following:
-Science, Technology and Engineering Advice in Practice
-Risk Assessment and Governance
-Communicating Science for Policy
-Negotiation, Mediation and Diplomacy
-Students will then also select one further 15-credit graduate module which is relevant to their degree of study. This module can be selected from any UCL department.

MPA Group Policy Project
In the Group Project, students work with an external client on a relevant policy challenge. With the support of STEaPP academic staff, the multidiscipinary student groups work together to produce an analysis that meets their clients' needs.

Teaching and learning
The programme combines innovative classroom teaching methods with unique scenario-based learning, enabling students to dynamically engage with real-world policy challenges. Scenarios are designed to help students consolidate knowledge and develop essential practical skills and their understanding of principles. During the programme, students acquire a comprehensive range of relevant skills.


Graduates with Urban Innovation and Policy MPA degrees will typically work in government agencies, corporate regulatory affairs departments or within advocacy groups doing legislative, regulatory or policy analysis. The career path for this type of profession begins as research or policy assistant, moves through policy or research analyst, then to technical consultant or project director or other senior professional roles. Ambitious candidates can work toward top-level positions such as assistant secretary or executive director.

Through the MPA programme, students will:
-Gain a greater awareness of current issues and developments in urban innovation, science, technology and engineering.
-Develop a greater awareness of the knowledge systems underpinning successful policy-making processes.
-Learn how to communicate with scientists and engineers, policymakers and industry experts.
-Develop the skills to mobilise urban and innovation policy, and science and engineering knowledge and expertise, to address societal challenges.

Why study this degree at UCL?

More than half of the world's population is urban, making cities a key pathway to sustainable change. This practical programme offers experiential learning for skills needed in urban innovation policy-making.

Students undertake a week-long scenario activity on the policy-making process where they engage with external experts and UCL academics. Throughout the programme, students undertake a nine-month major project on urban innovation policy for a real-world client involved in global city networks. Example policy problems include congestion, water or energy infrastructure, waste management, transport or safety.

Students also network with their diverse peers in sister MPA and STEaPP doctoral programmes.

Visit the Urban Innovation and Policy - MPA page on the University College London website for more details!

Entry Requirements

See website for the latest admission requirements: View Website

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