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Urban Economic Development MSc

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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration

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

Tuition fees (2017/18)

£13,770 (FT) N/A (PT)
£21,960 (FT) N/A (PT)

Application dates

Full-time applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 28 July 2017
Flexible/Modular applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 4 September 2017

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

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.

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 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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: 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 below.

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS) - NOW CLOSED FOR 2016/17

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

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit 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

  • 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.

Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

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.

Department: Development Planning Unit

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

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Development Planning Unit
75% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

What our students and staff say

Student view

"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 bodies, 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

Full-time applicants
28 July 2017
Flexible/Modular applicants
4 September 2017

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

Page last modified on 20 October 2016 at 12:07 by UCL Publications & Marketing Services. Please contact us for content updates.


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