The Bartlett School of Planning


MSc Housing and City Planning

A programme for urban professionals and graduates from the fields of planning, property, architecture and project management who are looking to specialise in the area of housing development.

Shelter is one of the most basic human needs, but the provision of that shelter - i.e. the development of enough housing of the right type and quality, in the most appropriate locations - is a challenge that few, if any, governments in the developed world have fully addressed.

Planning systems do not always direct new housing to the right places; and the old housing that societies inherit - or even the new housing that is being built - is only very rarely as good as it could be.

The quality of housing development needs to be judged against several key benchmarks. It needs to be part of the solution to the environmental challenges that all societies face - it must contribute to a sustainable future; it needs to be delivered in a way that contributes to achieving social justice - it must be accessible and affordable; and it needs to satisfy basic human requirements - it must have the potential to function as a home.

Apply now

About the course

The MSc Housing and City Planning brings together three critical perspectives - in three linked streams - on the housing question, examining how planning policy and practice contributes to the wider environment for development; how housing development is financed and managed; and how new housing may have a lighter environmental footprint, and older housing retrofitted to lessen its impact:

  • Planning for Housing: examines the role and nature of planning through application to housing development. In this stream the potential and shortcomings of planning in delivering development will be explored, initially through a wide-ranging overview of the sector, and subsequently through engagement in a live project;
  • Sustainability and Design: examines the sustainability of homes themselves and housing within its broader design / built environment context. The first half of this stream deals with sustainability in new-build housing, extending to a consideration of sustainable neighbourhoods and cities, linking therefore to the planning for housing core theme. The second half deals with low energy housing retrofit, recognising that it is existing homes and buildings that have the greatest capacity to contribute to future energy use and carbon reductions;
  • Development Economics and Project Delivery: concerned in its first part with the financing and economics of speculative development (as a central plank of housing delivery), and in the second half with the management of the delivery process.

The programme examines development from multiple perspectives: examining its regulatory context; seeing it as a project, large or small, to be financed and managed; and viewing it also as an opportunity to contribute to broader environmental and social goals through good design. It aims to provide a rounded perspective on housing development, imparting a critical understanding from planning, design and project-management perspectives.

It delivers critical understanding and a range of key skills. Graduates from the programme will have demonstrated their ability to work within the regulatory context, developing realistic proposals for housing development that are feasible in terms of policy compliance and financing. They will also have an in-depth understanding of housing design and retrofit and will be able to relate these to the management and financing of projects.

The programme is directed to urban professionals and graduates from the fields of planning, property, architecture and project management who are looking to specialise in the area of housing development.


The MSc Housing and City Planning is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has specialist accreditation from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as the final-year of study in a 3+1 integrated route.

Further information on accreditation and routes to membership can be obtained from these bodies.

Why choose the Bartlett?

We offer:

  • a programme that draws on UCL's position as a leading research-led university
  • an opportunity to acquire a broad range of skills and knowledge, while setting foot on the path towards specialisation
  • a principle- and theory-driven programme giving both conceptual understanding and the skills needed to tackle practical problems

More information


The diagram shows the structure of the 1 year full time MSc programme. The programme can also be taken flexibly over 2 to 5 years in which case students would normally complete the modules marked P1 before progressing to the P2 modules.

Students must agree an appropriate pair of optional modules (from all 'open' modules offered within the Faculty of the Built Environment) with the Programme Director.

Students who enrol for a Diploma must pass all the taught modules (120 credits) but are not required to complete a dissertation.

HCP Structure diagram 2022

Compulsory Modules

Further details of these modules can be found in the UCL Module Catalogue..

BPLN0044 Planning for Housing: Process
Credits: 15
Assessment: Coursework
Term: 1

BPLN0045 Planning for Housing: Project
Credits: 15
Assessment: Coursework
Term: 2

BENV0041 Sustainable Housing Design: Principles
Credits: 15
Assessment: Coursework
Term: 1

BENV0039 Low Energy Housing Retrofit
Credits: 15
Assessment: Coursework
Term: 2

BPLN0019 The Economics and Finance of Housing Development
Credits: 15
Assessment: Unseen Exam
Term: 1

BPLN0018 Management of Housing Projects
Credits: 15
Assessment: Coursework
Term: 2


BPLN0039 Dissertation in Planning
Credits: 60
Assessment: Dissertation
Term 3 and summer

Elective Modules 

Students are free to take any elective modules from across the Faculty, with the consent of module coordinators. But it is important that the choice of elective modules is made in consultation with the Programme Director for the MSc Housing and City Planning. Further details of these modules can be found in the UCL Module Catalogue.

Delivery in 2021-23

For the 2021-22 academic year, we have been delivering this programme through ‘blended’ delivery, incorporating some elements face-to-face and some elements online, allowing us to respond to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, for example in case we need to have social distancing in place on the UCL Campus. Elements delivered in person have not been replicated online. Delivery in 2022-23 may also be impacted by the pandemic, however applicants should not expect to be able to complete the programme remotely. Given the practical nature of the programmes we deliver at the Bartlett School of Planning, we do expect the delivery and achievement of core learning outcomes on this degree course to require students to attend in person teaching activity in London.

Field trips

We are hoping to run field trips as part of the programme in 2022-23, however these may be subject to restriction due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, for example we might be able to offer a UK field trip more readily than one to elsewhere in Europe albeit this would normally be our intended destination. Offer holders / enrolled students will be kept updated on our plans.

In Term 1, we would usually offer a short overnight field trip to a British city outside London. In Term 2, there would normally be a week-long field trip to a European city outside the UK, for example Copenhagen or Delft/Amsterdam. The trips cover a range of spatial planning themes, linking directly to the Master's programme. Part-time students would need to be available to attend the trips during their first year of study.


Programme Director

Dr Iqbal Hamiduddin
Director of Housing and City Planning
View Iqbal's profile 
Send Iqbal an email

Staff teaching on the programme currently include

Professor Nick Gallent
Professor of Housing and Planning
View Nick's profile 
Send Nick an email

Dr Ben Croxford
Send Ben an email

Careers and employability

Graduate students from the Bartlett have been very successful in gaining subsequent employment. At present there is a growing demand for our Master’s graduates from a wide range of both public and private employers in the UK and overseas. Many graduates have taken up posts in local and central government planning; others have moved into planning related consultancies.

Past students have found employment in numerous specialist sectors: in housing and transport; planning, urban regeneration and environmental agencies; public and private utility companies; and also in teaching and research.

As well as preparing students for careers in planning practice and housing delivery, all of our programmes offer an introduction to research and to key research skills. These skills are developed and tested through completion of a dissertation, which demonstrates the graduate's capacity for independent thinking and working.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Get in touch with Programme Director and Admissions Tutor Dr Iqbal Hamiduddin, or Programme Administrator: ; ">Lotte Bagshaw.