Urban Economic Development MSc

Options: PG Diploma, PG Certificate

Bringing economic analysis to city planning and management, the Urban Economic Development MSc explores how economic solutions can contribute to urban sustainability and wellbeing, and aims to supply professionals who are equipped to manage sustainable and viable cities in both developed and developing countries.

Mode of study

  • Full-time 1 year
  • Part-time 2 years
  • Flexible 3-5 years

Tuition fees

  • UK/EU Full-time: £11,000
  • Overseas Full-time: £19,050

Application date

  • All applicants: 1 August 2014

More details in Application section.

What will I learn?

The programme focuses on identifying methods of enhancing urban productivity while promoting sustainability and equity through public intervention at the city level. Students gain a critical understanding of the economics of urban development, the ability to analyse the contexts for a city economy and how well it performs, the scope and options for policy adjustment, and opportunities to learn from policy experiences.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

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

The Bartlett Development Planning Unit at UCL 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 sessons are held throughout the year where current students can socialise with alumni and external professionals.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of three core 30-credit modules (90 credits), one or more optional modules (30 credits) and a development and planning report (The MSc Dissertation: 60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months) is offered.

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is also offered.

Core Modules

  • Urban Development and Economics
  • Managing the City Economy
  • Practice in Urban Economic Development


  • 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


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 fieldtrip. Students are assessed through unseen examinations, individual essays, course work, team work reports, oral presentations and a dissertation.

Further details available on subject website:


Applicants may be eligible for the DFID Shared Scholarship Scheme and the Otto Koenigsberger Scholarship.

Scholarships available for this department

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

This scholarship is to assist prospective Master's 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. Students must not have previously studied for one year or more in a developed country and must hold the equivalent of a UK first- or upper second-class undergraduate degree. Students must have applied to study one of the 10 eligible Master's programmes. Students must return to their home country on completion of their degree.

Brown Family Bursary

This award is based on financial need.

David Thomas Award

Founded in 1995 by Jenny Rossiter, who graduated from the DPU in 1994, in memory of her husband, David Thomas, a Financial Times journalist who was killed on assignment in Kuwait in April 1991. The Scholarship is awarded to assist a DPU student to travel to a developing country to research on matters directly related to his or her Master's Dissertation or Thesis in the field of housing studies.

Otto Koenigsberger Fund

The purpose of the OKS is to support overseas candidates of the highest calibre for postgraduate study at MSc level, in the expectation that as graduates, these scholars will make important contributions to urban development by drawing on the strengths of the international perspective and leading position of the DPU in the development field.

Bartlett Masters Scholarship

These scholarships are based on financial need.

Further information about funding and scholarships can be found on the Scholarships and funding website.

Entry requirements

The normal minimum qualifications are 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 Honours standard, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a subject appropriate to the programme, plus relevant work experience. Applicants who do not hold a first degree may, in exceptional cases, be admitted to the programme if they are able to demonstrate considerable senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field.

International equivalencies

Select your country for equivalent alternative requirements

English language proficiency level: Standard

How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

The deadline for applications is 1 August 2014.

Who can apply?

The programme is aimed at economists or non-economists who are either currently working in or intend to work in multilateral or bilateral aid agencies, government agencies, private companies or non-governmental organisations, universities and research institutes concerned with analysing, formulating and implementing economic policies related to the urban sector or particular cities.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Urban Economic Development at graduate level
  • why you want to study Urban Economic Development at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the course objectives and what the programme will deliver.


UED graduates pursue a variety of careers, of which three career pathways stand out: private consultancies, public sector (including governments at different levels and international organisations), and academic and research. Some graduates pursue further PhD studies.

Top career destinations for this programme

  • Ministry of Defence, Intelligence Officer, 2009
  • China Securities, Director , 2010
  • EMBARQ India - The WRI Centre for sustainable Transport, Associate-Research and Management, 2011
  • PCC Land (Thailand), Urban Developer, 2011
  • Ministry of Health and Politics (PE), Project Analysr, 2011


UED graduates enjoy a high level of employability. This programme targets the challenges of accelerated urbanisation and economic management of cities and enables students to acquire the essential skills in tackling these growing issues. These enable UED graduates to find a variety of employment opportunities, ranging from working with UK-based organisations in public, private and community sectors that focus on local and interntional development, to employment with governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies in the Global South.

Next steps


Bartlett Graduate Faculty

T: +44 (0)20 7679 1111


Development Planning Unit

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"London is the hub of the most interesting things going on in the UK, with governmental organisations, built environment consultancies and some great academic institutions."

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Senior Lecturer in Transport Planning

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"The students at the DPU come from many international locations and backgrounds, which means we are always hearing about developments in different parts of the world from people who have first experience of them, whether this is in Syria, Indonesia, Congo or Brazil."

Dr Vanesa Castán Broto

Lecturer in Environment and Sustainable Development