UCL Department of Geography


MSc Urban Studies

Drawing on the unrivalled range of urban expertise at UCL, this programme offers a highly distinctive interdisciplinary, critical and creative approach to the study of cities and urban life.

About this degree

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Cities are increasingly a central focus for research, policy-making and public debate. It has been widely claimed that more than half the global population now lives in cities and according to the United Nations this is set to rise to three-quarters by the year 2050.

The scale and complexity of these developments necessitate the development of innovative modes of analysis that can address critical challenges and influence debates both within and outside the academy. These range from rethinking urban regeneration, gentrification, public space and multiculturalism to large-scale challenges such as slums, poverty and access to basic services. They include engagement with the way cities are at the maelstrom of social, cultural and ecological change reflected in new conceptions of identity, collective memory and the technological transformations of everyday life.

By taking this MSc you will be better able to understand these debates and apply your own knowledge in the course of your career - whether this is geared towards further research and writing or through an enriched practical and professional contribution to the urban arena.

We attract students from a wide variety of disciplinary and geographical backgrounds, including a significant cohort of part-time students working in professional fields such as journalism, architecture, graphics design and transport planning.

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  • Located in UCL's Bloomsbury campus, you will engage with the broad range of urban expertise associated with the UCL Urban Lab: from Geography to English and Engineering, from Urban Planning to the latest developments in Architectural History.
  • You will think carefully and critically about the latest international, comparative and historically informed perspectives on cities and urbanisation.
  • You will use London as a key laboratory to introduce and explore a series of interconnected critical themes within Urban Studies.
  • Tailor your cross-disciplinary learning to your own interests and enthusiasms with a broad range of potential optional modules spanning many different UCL Departments.
  • You will develop the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in academia, public and private research, and other commercial and professional fields where an advanced understanding of cities and urban change is required. 

Who is this course for?

Potential applicants are expected to have a first or upper second-class Honours degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. 

What we are looking for is not necessarily students from a particular academic route but those with the intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for studying and researching cities and urban life across a broad array of disciplinary approaches.

Academic Staff
Dr Andrew Harris (Convenor)Department of Geography
Associate Professor Pushpa ArabindooDepartment of Geography
Dr Clare MelhuishUCL Urban Laboratory

Staff closely affiliated with the Programme include:

Professor Ayona DattaDepartment of Geography
Professor Alan LathamDepartment of Geography
Professor Jennifer RobinsonDepartment of Geography
Dr Tatiana ThiemeDepartment of Geography
Fabien CanteDepartment of Geography
Professor Camillo BoanoDevelopment Planning Unit
Dr Ellie CosgraveSTEaPP
Mr Michael EdwardsBartlett School of Planning
Dr Michal MurawskiSchool of Slavic and Eastern European Studies
Dr Rafael SchacterDepartment of Anthropology
Professor Ben CampkinBartlett School of Architecture


Yifan Li

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Tofunmi Kayode

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Nurin Huda Hanif

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For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding section of the UCL website.

MSc Urban Studies is a central training programme for the Urban Studies, Planning and Spatial Science pathway of the UBEL ESRC DTP. For further information visit the UBEL page. There are opportunities for 1+3 PhD awards including MSc Urban Studies study but you will need to develop a proposal by NOVEMBER before the intended start of study in September.

Visit the Prospectus for information on Fees:



The Urban Studies MSc programme will improve the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in academia, public and private research, and other commercial and professional fields where an advanced understanding of cities and urban change is required.

Our graduates have found employment in, amongst other sectors, municipal and local government, urban political organisations, art consultancies, financial services, social enterprise companies, cultural institutions, community development organisations and think tanks. 

We have an impressive record of students continuing to undertake funded PhDs. This includes at UCL (in Geography, the Development Planning Unit, Planning, CASA and Architectural Design) as well as in Europe and North America (such as at the University of Zurich, the Open University, LSE, Cambridge University, King's College, Universidade do Porto, Harvard, Humboldt University Berlin, TU Berlin, Oxford University and the University of Minnesota).

News from MSc Urban Studies

Yeung Homepage News

Professor Henry Wai-chung Yeung Discusses New Book on Theory and Explanation in Geography

We were very pleased to host a talk by Professor Henry Wai-chung Yeung (National University of Singapore) on his latest book, "Theory and Explanation in Geography."

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Urban Africa Landing Page News

Job Alert: Research Fellow

We're looking for a researcher to join Professor Jennifer Robinson's Making Africa Urban project.

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Varava Karipidou Landing Page News

Varvara Karipidou Receives the Next Economy Trust Fellowship

We are delighted to announce that Research Student Varvara Karipidou is one of two Geography students to be awarded the prestigious Next Economy Trust Fellowship.

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Digital Urban

The ‘Digitalising State’ symposium

 The Regional Futures team hosted the 'Digitalising State' Symposium, exploring the impact of digitalisation on state politics, governance, and urban landscapes.

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