The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Study at the DPU

Information, guidance and resources for prospective applicants and offer-holders studying at the DPU in 2020/21

The DPU’s response to COVID-19 has brought to the fore the need to shift some of the ways our department operates today and in the future, while also reinforcing others. Like many parts of the Bartlett, we are taking this as an opportunity to reinforce the role of higher education in addressing major developmental urban challenges. For us, the key driver is to deliver a high-quality student experience through a period of exceptional uncertainty where it may be necessary to pivot between different face-to-face and remote learning modes. In order to do so, we follow a connected learning approach according to which students can engage in online learning that is both active and collaborative but sensitive to the varied contexts of our students. 

Connected Learning 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. 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. Topics will be firstly introduced through pre-recorded lectures, then tested through tasks to embed learning, and finally reinforced by live class-type interactions to target specific learning gaps. Such progression enables students to explore contents in their own time and to extend their learning. 

Visit the Graduate programmes webpages.

Visit UCL connected curriculum.

On this page

Live sessions

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.



Frequently asked questions, advice and support for offer holders.

Will all DPU MSc programmes be run in 2020/21?

The DPU will be running all MSc programmes, in full, in the coming year. In order to ensure the high quality of teaching the DPU is internationally renowned for and due to the increased intensity of teaching online, we will reconfigure and consolidate the offer of our optional modules in Term 1 and Term 2.

Term 1

DEVP0020: The Political Ecology of Environmental Change

DEVP0040: An Introduction to Public Economics and Public Policy

DEVP0012: Society and Market: Private Agency for Development

DEVP0028: The City and Its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning

DEVP0045: Urban Health & Development Planning Strategies Part 1

DEVP0029: Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice

DEVP0033: Social Policy and Citizenship

DEVP0042: Health, Social Justice & The City, Part 1

DEVP0015: Critical Ideas of Development: Conceptions and Realities

DEVP0021: Urban Environmental Planning and Management in Development

DEVP0003: Participatory Processes: Building for Development

DEVP0005: Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities  

DEVP0002: Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development

DEVP0034: Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty

DEVP0024: Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development

DEVP0050: Gender in Policy and Planning

DEVP0018: Managing the City Economy

Term 2

DEVP0020: The Political Ecology of Environmental Change

DEVP0016: Contemporary approaches to Development Management

DEVP0028: The City and Its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning

DEVP0046: Urban Health & Development Planning Strategies Part 2

DEVP0029: Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice

DEVP0033: Social Policy and Citizenship

DEVP0047: Health, Social Justice & The City, Part 2

DEVP0003: Participatory Processes: Building for Development

DEVP0015: Critical Ideas of Development: Conceptions and Realities

DEVP0021: Urban Environmental Planning and Management in Development

DEVP0032: Transport Equity and Urban Mobility

DEVP0023: Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South

DEVP0038: Urbanisation and Development

DEVP0002: Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development

DEVP0034: Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty

DEVP0009: Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options

DEVP0018: Managing the City Economy

DEVP0007: Critical Urbanism Studio II - Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces

Will DPU programmes be offered online or face to face?

All teaching will take place online until social distancing and travel restrictions are lifted sufficiently to enable the full and equal participation of all students.

Term 1 (28th September to 18th December 2020) may provide an opportunity for some face to face tutorials, but these will be wholly optional.

The situation in Term 2 is more unpredictable, so we will periodically update you in light of new information in the coming months. Meanwhile, we are planning for all possible scenarios.

When it is safe and appropriate to do so, we remain committed to returning to face-to-face teaching in combination with online components in a mix driven, as it always has been, by pedagogical concerns rather than pandemic restrictions.

In the meantime, we remain completely committed to keeping all students, staff and partners safe.

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.

3. Timetabling and termly rhythms

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

Term 1 will involve both synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning. Core modules will alternate their synchronous sessions. The class-based synchronous activities for all modules will run within 1-hour slots between 12 noon 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. Fridays remain entirely dedicated to each MSc programme’s ‘practice module’, but still with class-based synchronous activities happening within the same time band.

This blend of synchronous and asynchronous activities is designed to minimise challenges arising from time zone differences. Being based in London at the very centre of the global meridian means we are as well placed as we can possibly be 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.

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

We hope that, by the end of April 2021, it will be possible to travel to the planned field trip 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 field trip 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 field trips were run online in 2019/20 with considerable success, and we would build on those approaches. Whether there are restrictions in place or not, field trips employ a range of learning media, including both online and offline.

Therefore, overseas practice engagements will go ahead fully using a blend of online and offline approaches, with online predominating or replacing offline should restrictions make that necessary.

5. DPU cross-departmental teaching activities

DPU Induction Week

DPU’s Induction Week will take place from 28 September to 2 October 2020.

That week will include a Development Workshop which will be delivered in two parts through a combination of asynchronous and synchronous elements. Development Workshop activities will take place between Wednesday 30 September and Friday 2 October.

We will also be holding a cross-DPU activity that will engage specifically with the pandemic and post-pandemic futures, using a case study approach based on group work in which groups are constituted of members from different MSc programmes. That activity will take place midway through Term 1 and will employ online platforms. There will be no need to be physically present in London in order to take part. 

Online Writing Lab sessions will be offered on Wednesday 30 September and Thursday 1 October, during Induction Week and are designed to provide support to write academic essays in English.

Additional academic skills resources will also be provided for all students, detailing expectations for essays and other written outputs and the resources you have available to you through the UCL and wider library systems to which you have access. Your registration at DPU gives you access to an enormous range of resources. The academic skills components of your programmes are designed to ensure you have the tools necessary to make use of these resources.

Bartlett Together

Join us for The Bartlett Together Festival, a week-long welcome to our community for new and returning students in 2020.

6. Supported tools and platforms 

What platforms will be used for tuition and related activities?

Moodle will be the central hub for our online teaching and it will host 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 Africa. 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.

Will fees be reduced for the 2020-21 academic year?

We will be offering all programmes in 2020/21 with at least the same level of teaching and support as normal, so our fees will not be reduced. 

Will fees change as a result of Brexit?

For government advice, please see https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/moving-uk/eu-students 

The official UK position is that EU students will continue to enjoy home fee status, provided “you start a course at a university or further education institution in the UK before July 2021”, so EU students joining us for the 2020/21 academic year will continue to pay the same fees as UK students.

In addition, EU students will remain eligible for financial support in the form of student loans and grants in 2020/21, even if your degree concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.

All other fee statuses will remain unaffected by Brexit.

If you are an EU student considering study at DPU in the 2021/22 academic year, or deferring your study to the 2021/22 academic year, please contact the UCL fees office at fees@ucl.ac.uk and visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/student-support-in-england

8. 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) have started to 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

Will there be any assistance provided for a faster visa approval?

You can address any visa-related questions to UCL's International Student Visa Advice team via this form: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/immigration-and-visas/student-immigration-advice.

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. If planning to be in the UK for the start of the programme they should apply for the visa now. 

Visit the updated website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/immigration-advice-prospective-students-during-covid-19 

Will EU students be required to apply for a Visa as a result of Brexit?

As an EU student starting a full degree course in 2020-21, arriving in the UK before 31 December 2020, you are eligible to apply for the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, allowing you to remain in the UK after studying, provided you have applied for the scheme by 30 June 2021. Please note that Irish citizens may, but are not required to apply for the EU settlement status as their residence is guaranteed under the Common Travel Area (CTA) after Brexit. The right to study and to access benefits and services will also be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the CTA arrangements.

9. Accommodation

Will UCL student accommodation be open as normal for September 2020 entry?

Accommodation applications are open as normal and existing deadlines still apply. If you are a single international student who has not previously lived in London whilst studying at a Higher Education institution, and have accepted your unconditional or conditional offer and submitted your application by 30th June you will be offered a place in UCL Accommodation even if you can't travel to the UK for the beginning of the term due to travel restrictions. You are only eligible for this  accommodation guarantee if you hold and have accepted an offer.

You can find more information on the UCL Accommodation page: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/accommodation/ucl-halls/postgraduate-accommodation. 

Is UCL student accommodation taking any measures to ensure the safety of students?

UCL Accommodation have made the following commitment:

The welfare and wellbeing of our students and staff remain our top priority and we are committed to providing safe accommodation. We are taking robust measures to ensure social distancing and effective hygiene. UCL is following the advice provided by the UK Government, Public Health England and the NHS. This will determine how we manage our accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information, see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/accommodation/coronavirus/prospective-residents-coronavirus-information

10. Funding

What scholarships and other funding is available to cover fees and/or living costs?

While many scholarship deadlines have passed for the 2020/21 academic year, there are still some funding options available. You can find more about funding on the UCL Scholarships and Funding site:


11. Applications, Language tests and Deferrals

Are applications still open for DPU MSc programmes for 2020/21 entry?

Applications are now closed for year 20/21

I am unable to take my English test because IELTS test centres are closed. Is UCL accepting other tests as proof of English? 

UCL accepts several English language tests as proof of eligibility, including some that can be completed online such as Duolingo, IELTS Indicator and TOEFL Home Edition. For further information, please see the English Language requirements for postgraduate students: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/learning-and-living-ucl/international-students/english-language-requirements

By when do I need to send my proof of English to meet the conditionality of my offer?

You can submit your proof of English language by July 31st 2020 or with your application if you apply later than that.

Can I defer my offer to the next academic year (2021-22)?

Offer holders can defer their entry once to start in the following year.   If you defer your entry to start in 2021, you need to meet any conditionalities by June 25th 2021.

The deferral deadline is on 21st August 2020

12. 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: “At UCL, your health and wellbeing are paramount. Our priority at all times is to make sure our campus is as safe as possible, minimise the risk to everyone onsite, and follow UK official guidance. 

We have already initiated an extensive programme of safety measures during the pandemic and as our researchers return to work over the next few weeks. This will be further extended before the start of next term. It will include one-way systems on campus, social distancing measures in line with UK Government advice, asking people to wear face coverings, provision of handwashing and hand sanitising facilities.

For further information, please see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/coronavirus/keeping-safe-campus/keeping-our-community-safe

UCL has put together a range of online events, resources and information to support students quarantining upon their arrival to the UK. See https://www.ucl.ac.uk/students/international-students/students-quarantine

UCL has a COVID Helpline if you cannot find the information that you need. You can contact the helpline by email to covidhelpline@ucl.ac.uk or by calling +44 (0)203 108 5699.

There is a notification form to the student enquiries system, askUCL, for students who will be required to quarantine on arrival to the UK. Students will receive information to help them through this 14-day self-isolation period and can also request welfare calls. The Student Quarantine Notification Form will be available to students from 24 August 2020.

UCL will be hosting a series of International Student Orientation Webinars that will help you to prepare and settle into life at UCL. Full details here.

13. Library Services

Will postgraduate students be able to use the UCL library resources?

Once enrolled, postgraduate students will have access to the online resources of the UCL library. Currently, the UCL library as a 'Click and Collect' Service for books held at the Main and Science Libraries. Postgraduate students can request books via Explore (UCL's Library Services online platform) and collect them in person following social distancing and safety measures from the Portico door at the Main Library. You can find this information in the following link, which will be regularly updated: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/covid-19-ucl-library-services 


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.



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.