Urban Economic Development MSc

This MSc explores how economic solutions can contribute to urban sustainability and wellbeing, bringing economic analysis to city planning and management, and 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.

Key Information

Modes and duration

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Flexible: 2-5 years

Programme start date

September 2016

Tuition Fees (2016/17)

£12,840 (FT) £N/A (PT)
£20,740 (FT) £N/A (PT)

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 5 October 2015
Close: 29 July 2016
Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.
Fees note: Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. The tuition fee schedule for 2016/17 entry can be viewed on the UCL Current Students 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 than second-class BAchelor's 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.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:

Degree Information

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 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


  • 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 field trip. Students are assessed through unseen examinations, individual essays, coursework, team work reports, oral presentations and a dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure available on the department web site Urban Economic Development MSc


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

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed (where available) below. For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Bartlett Masters Scholarship

£5,000 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on financial need

Brown Family Bursary - NOW CLOSED FOR 2015/16 ENTRY

£15,000 (1 year)
UK students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on both academic merit and financial need

David Thomas Award

c. £300 (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas students
Based on academic merit

GREAT-UCL India Scholarship

£10,000 (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on academic merit

Otto Koenigsberger Fund

Up to £3,000 (1 year)
Overseas students
Based on academic merit

More scholarships are listed on the Scholarships and Funding website


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

  • Cities Economist, The Economist Intelligence Unit (2013)
  • Transport Planner, Jacobs UK (2014)
  • Associate – Research and Management, EMBARQ India – The WRI Centre for Sustainable Transport (2011)
  • Urban Developer, PCC Land (Thailand) (2011)
  • Senior Consultant, Policy Economics, Deloitte (2012)


Graduates of this programme enjoy a high level of employability. Students develop an integrated approach towards efficiency, sustainability and wellbeing and acquire crucial skills in tackling the crucial 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 sessons are held throughout the year where current students can socialise with alumni and external professionals.

Student / staff ratios › 33 staff › 210 taught students › 45 research students

Department: Development Planning Unit

Degree reviews

Student review

"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."

Francesco Mellino

Urban Economic Development MSc

Application and next steps


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.

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 consultancies, think tanks, non-governmental organisations, universities and research institutes concerned with analysing, formulating and implementing economic policies related to the urban sector or particular cities.

Application deadlines

All applicants
29 July 2016

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

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 considerations particularly attract 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 programme aims to deliver.

Contact Information


  • Register interest in your chosen subjects
  • Receive notice of graduate open days, events and more
Register now

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