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Study at the DPU

Information, guidance and resources for prospective applicants and offer-holders studying at the DPU

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“We are planning for our campus to be open to all students for the start of the new academic year in September 2021. You will have a blend of face-to-face and online teaching and learning, designed to support you to progress and succeed academically.  Our 'blended by design' approach responds to the feedback of our students and builds on the continuous refinement of our online education this year.”

This page contains updates and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the arrangements we have put in place for your education in 2021-22. DPU’s ‘blended by design’ approach is based on the principles of individuals constructing their own knowledge in different ways. Through this approach, students can participate beyond passive listening to support their own learning in interactive learning environments, in which students will work closely with peers and Module Tutors. Students thus become active participants, critics and creative producers beyond the static division between teacher and learner. This also allows students of different abilities to progress at differing speeds, as it is not necessary for everyone to participate at the same time. In practical terms, this will result in a combination of static and live content, and interactive tasks.

Visit the Graduate programmes webpages.

Visit UCL connected curriculum and plans for 2021-22 teaching and information for masters offer holders

View scholarship and funding options.

On this page


Academic year 2021-22

FAQs 2021-22

1. Will all DPU MSc programmes be run in 2021/22?

The DPU will be running all MSc programmes, in full, in the coming year.  Our operating model has been carefully planned in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of ensuring that we are able to continue to run the high-quality educational experience the DPU is internationally renowned for, in the safest and most inclusive way possible.

2. Will DPU programmes be offered online or face to face?

We are planning to provide a blend of face-to-face and online teaching and learning activities, with the aim of transitioning back to face-to-face activities as the academic year unfolds. Our 'blended by design' approach responds to the feedback of our students, builds on the continuous refinement of our online education this year, and draws on world-leading research and expertise in blended teaching and learning. In-person examinations will be replaced by time-bound essays (in effect, take home online exams) and will take place in Term 3 as normal.

In Term 1 (27 September to 17 December 2021), we will be running modules wholly online. This means that you will be able to complete your studies in Term 1 regardless of where you are in the world. We’ve adopted this approach in order to enable the full and equal participation of all students, many of whom may not be able to travel to London in time for the start of term. Please note that the DPU is exceptionally unique relative to other departments in the Faculty and College given the highly diverse nature of our students. In a given academic year, we typically have more than 50 nationalities represented in our study body, covering all regions of the world. As a consequence, we will run Term 1 wholly online, to ensure that we do not disadvantage or exclude those who come from countries where the vaccine rollout has not been as successful as in the UK and where travel restrictions remain in effect. In view of this global inequity, it is important that we as a department uphold our shared commitment to the principles of equality and inclusion.

For those students who are in London, UCL is planning for the campus to be open to all students. You will be able to access UCL facilities, including the Student Centre and various libraries. Additional opportunities for face-to-face engagement in Term 1 are outlined below.

In Term 2 (10 January 2022 – 1 April 2022) we will be blending face-to-face and online teaching and learning activities. We require all students to be physically present in London for the beginning of term (from 10 January 2022) and prepared to attend classroom-based sessions on campus.

Information about preparing to arrive in London can be found on the UCL website.

In Term 3 (25 April 2022 – 10 June 2022) each MSc runs their Overseas Practice Engagement (OPEs), which normally includes overseas travel (typically April/May).  In view of the success of the vaccine rollout here in the UK, we are planning for the likelihood that overseas travel will be possible in Term 3.

In the event that restrictions in place at the time prevent such travel, we will run the OPEs in each programme using online platforms and virtual pedagogies, as we successfully did in the past two years. More information will be provided as soon as the situation becomes more certain.

These plans represent our current expectation of what will be possible within the timeframes mentioned. However, please bear in mind that the pandemic is still a fact of our lives and unexpected developments may mean we will need to adjust some of the timings should new or varied restrictions affect us or our partners.

3. What happens if I can’t travel to London?

Although travel conditions are improving, we anticipate that many students will not be able to be physically present with us in London for Term 1. As such, we are operating all modules wholly online in Term 1.

As of Term 2, however, we require all students to join us in London by the beginning of term (from 10 January 2022). If you find it is impossible to join us by 10 January 2022, please contact programme staff and it may be possible to accommodate a later arrival provided it is within the first two weeks of Term 2. However, this option is only available in exceptional circumstances. Beyond then, students who are still unable to join us will need to interrupt their studies until the following academic year.
 

4. Connected learning

Where teaching is online, what opportunities will students have to interact with staff and colleagues on a one-to-one or small group basis?

Students engage in online learning that is both active and collaborative but sensitive to everyone’s varied contexts. We are calling this approach Connected Learning. This is based on synchronous and asynchronous activities. The latter refers to forms of education and learning in which it is not necessary for everyone to participate at the same time. In the Connected Learning context asynchronous teaching methods might include academic material such as pre-recorded lectures or research literature alongside activities delivered with tools like discussion fora or quizzes.

Our experience to date is that online platforms offer just as many opportunities for one-to-one and small-group work as do face-to-face contexts. The experience of online interaction does differ in its format, of course, but you will have many opportunities to develop one-to-one and small-group interactions online. We will continue to prioritise small group work to the same degree as in the past, and are also working on spaces for social interaction to enhance your relationships with colleagues. Staff will also continue to be as available as they normally are for individual tutorials and discussion.

For London-based students in Term 1, we are also planning to run a series of extracurricular face-to-face ‘enrichment’ activities for London-based students in Term 1 at the departmental level, as outlined below. Please note that additional enrichment activities will be possible at module and programme level. All of these activities are ‘optional’ so are not part of your core teaching. 

  • DPU Dialogues in Development, where a diverse range of speakers working in the field of urban development are invited to share and discuss their work 
  • DPU Breakfasts, where the DPU hosts a series of breakfast conversations with each of our staff members. The DPU Breakfasts series provides the opportunity to get an insight into the research work undertaken by our academic staff
  • The (Post)Pandemic Development Series, where a diverse range of speakers working in the field of urban development are invited to share and discuss their experience and work in the pandemic and the implications for future theory and practice 
  • Research Cluster meetings, where the DPU invites students and staff to reflect on key research themes, activities and changes in view of ongoing research and practice. While these meetings have traditionally been open only to MPHIL/PhD students, we will consider opening these up to MSc students if sufficient space is available among other issues to work out.
  • DPU Career Events, where staff, students and alumni come together during and potentially after planned events 

5. Timetabling and termly rhythms

How do you manage time differences when teaching takes place online?

Term 1 is entirely online and will involve both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning. Asynchronous activities are released and must be completed on a weekly basis. This means that you will need to keep pace with each of your modules weekly, completed in your own time remotely. The synchronous encounters (1.5 hours long) must be attended live on a bi-weekly basis (every other week).

A typical week will look as follows. The class-based synchronous activities for each module will run between Monday and Friday, between 11am and 3pm (British Standard Time or BST), as this is the most suitable time band for enabling students based in different time zones to participate.  Core modules synchronous sessions alternate by week. On Fridays, each MSc programme also dedicates time to a ‘practice module’. Examinations will be replaced with time-bound essays (in effect, take home online exams), scheduled for Term 3.

This blend of synchronous and asynchronous activities is designed to minimise challenges arising from time zone differences. As we are based in London, we are at the centre of the global meridian meaning that we are well-placed to cater to different zones. Nevertheless, we do understand those in Latin America or the US will need to commit to class-based activities occurring early in the day, while those in the most easterly regions of Asia and the Pacific will need to commit to class-based activities in the later parts of the day. While we cannot completely eradicate these challenges, we are designing our teaching times and methods to minimise the inconvenience.

How is coursework structured over the year?

All MSc courses are composed of core courses, optional courses, a practice module(including the Oversees Practice Engagements or OPEs) and a dissertation.  Module registration occurs online at the beginning of Term 1. In Terms 1 and 2, students choose either one 30 credit optional module that runs over Terms 1 and 2, or two separate 15-credit optional modules that run in Terms 1 and 2, respectively.  The practice module runs over Terms 1, 2 and 3, with Term 3 dedicated to the Overseas Practice Engagements (OPEs) and dissertation preparation. The summer period (June-August) is dedicated to dissertations, although a series of dissertation workshops take place in Terms 1 and 2, with supervisors allocated in Term 2.
 

6. Practice modules and global engagement

What will happen to the practice modules and will overseas practice engagement go ahead?

We hope that, by 25th April 2022, it will be possible to travel to the planned Overseas Practice Engagement (OPE) destinations. However, we cannot be certain that there will not be renewed travel restrictions if and where new outbreaks of Covid-19 occur. Should restrictions affect or prevent travel to any OPE destinations, we would implement alternative plans, involving similar work with the same partners and the same learning objectives, but using online platforms as appropriate.

DPU OPEs were run online in 2019/20 and 2020/21 with considerable success, and we would build on those approaches. Whether there are restrictions in place or not, OPEs employ a range of learning media, including both online and offline formats.

7. Supported tools and platforms 

What platforms will be used for the Connected Learning?

Moodle is the central learning hub for our online teaching and it hosts links to other tools and platforms. We will also use Zoom for teaching as this provides the most accessible platform for synchronous engagement, particularly for our students in China and many African countries, amongst others. A range of other tools will be used to augment your learning experience, and these will be accessible through and, in many cases, integrated within Moodle.

6. Visa

I am an international student and need a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK. When will I receive my CAS?

The Graduate Admissions Office (GAO) issue CAS letters. The CAS process starts after students have received and accepted their unconditional offer. Upon acceptance, applicants are sent a further email from GAO asking them to confirm their personal details (name/date of birth/address etc). If they fail to respond to that email, the process stops there and a CAS letter is not issued. It is therefore important for applicants to frequently check their inboxes, including ‘junk’ mail boxes. Once applicants respond to confirm their details, GAO starts issuing the CAS letter/number which enable visa application.

Further advice on visa related issues can be found from UCLs International Student Visa Advice team, and online: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/immigration-and-visas/student-visas

Please be aware that at present there is a ‘traffic light’ system for entering the UK. UCL provides updated information on steps that you must take before and after arriving in the UK, depending on the status of the country from which you are arriving.

International Student Support provides an Online Orientation Course for new students that will be available as of August 16th 2021.

If I want to be in London for term 2 start, what should I do?

Students intending to join the programme physically in January should apply for their visa at least 6 weeks before their arrival date. Term 2 starts on the 10th of January 2022.

The Graduate Admissions Office (GAO) issue CAS letters. The CAS process starts after students have received and accepted their unconditional offer. Upon acceptance, applicants are sent a further email from GAO asking them to confirm their personal details (name/date of birth/address etc). If they fail to respond to that email, the process stops there and a CAS letter is not issued. It is therefore important for applicants to frequently check their inboxes, including ‘junk’ mail boxes. Once applicants respond to confirm their details, GAO starts issuing the CAS letter/number which enable visa application.

Further advice on visa related issues can be found from UCLs International Student Visa Advice team, and online: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/immigration-and-visas/student-visas

Do I need to quarantine on arrival in the UK?

Currently, everyone planning to travel to the UK, whether vaccinated or not, must still follow the traffic light system of rules. Students who are in quarantine or are self-isolating will have remote access to our support and wellbeing service, while students in UCL student accommodation will receive assistance from the student residences team. Further information can be found on UCL’s nternational Student Support webpages, including orientation activities available to you as a new or returning international student.  For updates on financial support, please consult the UCL website
 

 

If I want to be in London for term 2 start, what should I do?

Students intending to join the programme physically in January should apply for their visa at least 6 weeks before their arrival date. Term 2 starts on the 10th of January 2022.

 

7. Applications and Deferrals

Are applications still open for DPU MSc programmes for 2021/22 entry?

Applications are now closed for the year 21/22.

Can I defer my offer to the next academic year (2022-23)?

Offer holders can defer their entry to start in the following year. To request a deferral of your start date, please use the applicant portal. Your request will be considered by the relevant Programme Leader.

Please be aware that if you wish to defer and have an English language requirement attached to your offer, you will have until June 2022 to provide proof of having satisfied the condition – and that this date cannot be deferred.

If you have previously deferred your place and wish to revoke this decision, you can do so by emailing the Graduate Admissions Office.
 

8. Health and safety

In the next academic year, for in-person teaching, what kind of safety measures will be put in place to protect both students and staff?

UCL has made the following commitment: “To make sure UCL is as safe as possible we will continue to provide on campus COVID-19 testing facilities and the Connect-to-Protect tool, zoning systems around our buildings, enhanced cleaning of buildings and teaching spaces, plus asking everyone to wear face coverings if they are able to do so. These precautions will be in place for as long as the UK Government and our health advisors tell us that they are required. 
 
A resurgence of coronavirus is always a possibility at some point in the next academic year. However, we have robust contingency plans, based on our experience and resources that have been developed this year, so we are confident that you will be able progress your education with us whatever the circumstances.”  Find out more on
Coronavirus information hub and Keeping safe on campus

 

9. I have a question not addressed in this FAQ, what should I do?

UCL provides additional FAQ responses on applications, entry requirements, fees, references, application status, visas and more. This can be found here: Frequently Asked Questions for Postgraduate and Research Programmes. Still unsure? AskUCL or email us at dpu@ucl.ac.uk

 

Live sessions 2021-22

A Q&A session open to prospective students took place on 26 January 2021, as well as Bartlett Open Day sessions in March 2021. If you did not attend the session, watch the videos below

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Development Planning Public Lecture with Prof Julio Davila for Bartlett Graduate Open Days
18 March 2021
 

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Why urban health justice now?
Prof Haim Yacobi Bartlett for Graduate Open Series
16 March 2021

 
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Study at the Development Planning Unit - Prof Michael Walls
UCL Open Day - 26 Jan 2021

 
 
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Study at the Development Planning Unit - Dr Barbara Lipietz
UCL Open Day - 26 Jan 2021

 

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Study at the Development Planning Unit - Dr Donald Brown
UCL Open Day - 27 Jan 2021
 

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Study at the Development Planning Unit - Ariana Markowitz
UCL Open Day - 27 Jan 2021 


 


Academic year 2020-21


Live Sessions 2020-21

Our graduate offer-holders live sessions took place on 2 and 3 July 2020. If you were unable to attend the sessions, you can still watch some presentations online. In these videos, DPU’s leading educators provide an overview of studying at the DPU, and some insights into what the next academic year is likely to look like.


Career

Our alumni go on to have an exciting and broad range of careers, using the skills learnt from their DPU degrees.

Students form strong networks and collaborative working relationships that continue after the programmes have ended. Alumni report how the different programmes have allowed them to explore new perspectives: “It was an important year of professional and personal reflection, marking the moment that planning became an ethical as well as technical pursuit”. “It exposed me to various discourses on urban development, new methodologies and communication techniques […] most importantly it included practical works to test this learning”. 

See also, DPU careers.


Online community

This section includes a variety of online resources useful to prepare for the start of the term and have a taste of what it means to be part of the DPU online learning community.

Race and space curriculum

Developed by scholars across The Bartlett, UCL Faculty of the Built Environment, this is a new online curriculum that responds to a need for greater understanding of 'race' and where and how it affects the built environment.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/about-us/our-values/equality-diversity-and-inclusion/race-and-space

MOOC

The online course (MOOC) explores African cities through the lenses of spatial justice and social diversity, using the case study of Freetown. The course allows participants to directly interact with urban professionals, civil servants, and civil society leaders.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/african-cities