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MA Urban Design


Course Description

Why take this course?

This course will give you the opportunity to debate the potential role of design professionals in the generation of sustainable cities.

You will be part of a multi-disciplinary course environment which will help you creatively engage in the design of our cities, relate architecture to its urban context and deal with all the complexities inherent in creating well-designed settlements.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

Get involved with some of our regional regeneration projects to test and develop your ideas
Undertake studio-based design projects and engage with our other collaborative projects with academic institutions in a range of countries including Turkey, Spain and Australia
Have the opportunity to ‘earn and learn’ by working on real-life contracts through our Projects Office

What opportunities might it lead to?

Many of our towns and cities in the UK are experiencing rapid change, creating an unprecedented demand for skills that transcend the traditional disciplines of architecture and planning in shaping the urban landscape.

This course provides a firm grounding for employment in a range of design offices, as well as other property-related jobs.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

Urban planning
Model-making
Working for housing associations
Environmental organisations
Working for local and public authorities

Module Details

This course uses the experience and skills of teaching staff with a proven track record in urban design studies, practice and research. You will also benefit from a multi-disciplinary learning environment where more than 100 postgraduate students in architecture, interior design, urban design, sustainable design and historic building conservation can meet and work.

Here are the units you will study:

Practice: This unit allows you to engage with the design of the urban landscape and with key aspects of professional practice. You will be involved in discussions on the social, political, economic and professional contexts that drive the construction of the urban space. You will be expected to analyse and critically evaluate the urban context, develop briefs, strategies and a proposal for a given area.

Theory: This unit covers the history and theory of urban planning and design from the origins of these disciplines to date, providing you with the opportunity to critically analyse the development of key ideas, theories and practices involved in the construction of cities. It covers the emergence and growth of modern urban planning since the nineteenth century, its main trends in the twentieth century and the progression of urban design from the crisis of the Modern Movement to contemporary debates. You will reflect on the historical, social, cultural and physical processes involved in the production of the urban fabric, allowing you to establish links between past and current experiences, as well as engage with contemporary theoretical discussions and critically reflect upon your own practice. You will also develop your research and writing skills.

Research Methods and Research Proposal: In this unit you will develop research skills, which will aid you throughout your course and particularly in producing your thesis. You will be asked to establish a critical position within an Outline Research Proposal. You will develop techniques, which will allowyou to engage proactively within your area of study. You will be encouraged to explore methods of investigation that are responsive to, as well as inquisitive of, the conditions presented and which therefore speculate around possible critical scenarios. Implicit within these explorations is the need to investigate diverse means of representation and depiction through a variety of possible media and discourse.

Integration: This unit allows you to work in a multi-disciplinary context through groups within your own subject area and across the areas of interior design, urban design, sustainable architecture and historic building conservation, as well as explore the interrelationships of all disciplines. You will need to work collectively on given projects or problems related to staff run studios, which explore a range of given themes. This unit will introduce you to these themes at the start of the course and connect you to research areas within the School. There will be a group-based activity that is either subject specific or spans different areas of the disciplines as agreed by tutors.

Work-Based Learning: This unit gives you the opportunity to replace a 30-credit core unit with a work-based version of that unit. Not all units can be replaced and you will need to discuss the appropriateness of a unit with tutors. Work-based learning requires you to engage in critical and reflective learning in the workplace. This will be developed through a learning contract, negotiated by you, your employer and School. The work undertaken in practice will be appraised through critical reflective writing that engages with the practice of the particular subject discipline and this will form the assessment artefacts.

Thesis: Your thesis is a substantial research-based project that enables you to carry out an in-depth investigation into a subject area of personal interest, which is related to or developed from a theme studied during the course. The proposed research theme should have a clearly defined focus to allow for in depth theoretical, contextual and visual research.

Programme Assessment

This course is lecture and studio-based, culminating in a written or design-led thesis project. It will involve case study investigations, group work, discussion and planning of urban environments, as well as independent study to develop design or research-based responses to urban problems.

Design assessment is through studio review and taught courses are assessed by various forms of evidence-based urban design decisions and proposals. You will also carry out an in-depth research project into an area of your choice.

Student Destinations

On completing this course, you will be adept in spatial practice and able to work within your specialist discipline in design practices, architectural firms and cross-disciplinary environments. The creative skills, professional competencies and expansive learning environment that we provide has also led graduates into a range of careers in marketing, advertising, journalism, virtual design and modelling through to people-centred careers such as project management.

Alternatively, you can choose to continue your studies to PhD level.

Visit the MA Urban Design page on the University of Portsmouth website for more details!

Student Profiles
Scholarships

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in Interior Design, Architecture or a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

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Recipient: University of Portsmouth
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