Building and Urban Design in Development MSc

London, Bloomsbury

An intensive 12 month programme that immerses students in the critical theory and practice of urban design. It is designed to recalibrate mainstream practices towards a new mode of inquiry and action, one that centres on the political relevance and social processes of design towards a transformative just and sustainable urbanism.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£19,300
£9,650
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£31,100
£15,550
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2024
Applications accepted
Applicants who require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 28 Jun 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Applicants who do not require a visa: 16 Oct 2023 – 30 Aug 2024
Applications close at 5pm UK time

Applications open

Entry requirements

The normal minimum qualifications are a good second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

Consideration will also be given if the qualification is a degree of lower than second-class Honours standard, or an equivalent overseas qualification, in a subject appropriate to the programme, plus relevant work experience. Applicants who do not hold a first degree may, in exceptional cases, be admitted to the programme if they are able to demonstrate considerable senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 2

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level.

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

The programme will equip students:

  • To develop a deeper understanding of the role of urban design as a transdisciplinary practice.
  • To leverage critical urban theory as strategic framework for research based design.  
  • To critically analyse, document and spatially visualise complex urban issues.
  • To propose spatial strategies that are fundamentally rooted in spatial, social, racial and environmental justice. 
  • To think critically about the city and urban process to design its future and anticipating it's building through citizen engagement.
  • To engage with partners to experiment with the practice of urban design beyond the classroom through real-life platforms of engagement.
  • To understand spatial practices in tandem with developmental processes beyond the Global South-North divide.

Who this course is for

The programme encourages a multidisciplinary approach, attracting professionals who already have a background in the built environment field, principally architects, designers, planners, geographers and engineers. The programme is also suited to applicants from other professional backgrounds who are interested in the built environment and seeking to increase their understanding of urban environmental issues in developing countries and to develop practical design skills. The MSc attracts most of its students from overseas, but also from UK.

What this course will give you

The Bartlett is the UK's largest multidisciplinary Faculty of the Built Environment, bringing together dozens of scientific and professional specialisms required to research, understand, design, construct and operate the buildings and urban environments of the future.

The Development Planning Unit is an international centre concerned with promoting sustainable forms of development, understanding rapid urbanisation and encouraging innovation in the policy, planning and management responses to the economic, social and environmental development of cities and regions, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Its programmes are supported by international agencies as well as by national and provincial governments.

The Building and Urban Design in Development (BUDD) programme in particular reflects on the necessity of design practices to contribute to changing the mainstream paradigm of working with the urban poor, with communities and the city itself.

The foundation of your career

The BUDD programme has strong global engagement through teaching and research activities -the Urban Design Conversations series, the Practice Engagement and ongoing research projects undertaken by the staff. Through these, we have developed a unique learning and knowledge network of partners and collaborators working on the ground and actively involved in the transformation of local urban areas. Find out more.

Employability

The programme enables graduates to work in NGOs and local government – facilitating community organisations and households to improve their living conditions. Graduate destinations range from UK-based organisations in the public, private and community sectors, to governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations, which operate in a development capacity in the South. Recent graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies and architectural and design practices. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in urban design and architecture practice, teaching, or research of urban development there; others have successfully sought employment away from their own countries.

Networking

The BUDD programme offers the opportunity to connect with alumni and staff through a variety of initiatives from the Urban Design Conversations, to the DPU Career events. Through seminars, events, guest talks and other initiatives it offers exposure to policy makers, local governments and a  variety of organization that operate in the urban design and development field.

Teaching and learning

Content delivered through a wide range of teaching techniques (increasingly mediated by digital technologies) including taught lecturers and seminars, design-based studio work and practice engagement with global partners.

The programme is delivered through a combination of weekly lectures, seminar presentations, group exercises and workshops. The Building and Urban Design in Development (BUDD) MSc includes an overseas practice engagement with an urban reality of the Global South, developed in partnership with local organisations, networks of communities, slum dweller federations, universities and governments alike. Students are encouraged to explore different tools, concepts and ideas throughout the programme and test these during the practice engagement. Assessment is through coursework, design work, written examinations and the 10,000-word report.

Approximately 30% of students’ time is spent in lectures, seminars and tutorials, 17% on coursework preparation and exams, and the remainder in independent study. Every 15-credit taught module equates to 150 hours of workload.

Modules

The Programme is structured so that 75% of the taught components (90 credits) are devoted to the core subjects of Building and Urban Design in Development while 25% (30 credits) are reserved for an elective from a range of modules on offer. The compulsory modules provide the theoretical and methodological components of the Programme while the optional modules allow you to examine different topics and approaches in accordance with your own particular interests. You will develop an independent research project with support from a dedicated dissertation tutor. This gives you the opportunity to focus on an area of the programme that most interests you. The research that supports the production of your dissertation should rely on secondary sources of data and/ or primary sources of data that can be accessed without field survey work (e.g. internet or archival data sources). Conducting this independent research builds your skills in planning a research project, reviewing literature, and using the knowledge acquired during the taught component of the programme to review evidence, develop an argument and communicate and justify your findings. All taught modules on the programme are delivered in terms 1 and 2 and the practice module is delivered in terms 1, 2 and 3. The dissertation is undertaken during terms 2 and 3 with a final submission at the end of the summer (September).

You will take a series of taught modules, culminating in submission of a 10,000 word dissertation, over a period of two years.

The taught modules are delivered in Terms 1 and 2 in Year 1.

In year 1 you will take:

  • DEVP0002: Transforming local Areas: Urban Design for Development
  • DEVP0003: Participatory Processes: Building for Development

The taught modules are delivered in Terms 1, 2 and  3 in year 2

In Year 2 you will take:

  • DEVP0004: Building & Urban Design in Practice
  • DEV00017: Dissertation Report

Plus a choice of;

  • 1 x 30 credit optional module or
  • 2 x 15 credit options module(s)

You will take a series of taught modules, culminating in submission of a 10,000 word dissertation, over a period of 2-5 years.

You may structure the modules in any format you wish, noting that DEVP0004 (practice based module) and DEVP0017 (Dissertation) must be taken in your final years of study.
 

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability are subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Building and Urban Design in Development.

Fieldwork

During the third term, students carry out a longer practice engagement, with particular focus on a city of the Global South. Students collate their strategies in a final, end-of-year report that forms part of their final assessment. Find out more.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Development Planning Unit

Whether your ambition is to design better buildings, plan better cities, build sustainable communities or help meet the challenge of climate change, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment could be a big step towards it. This session focuses on several master's courses offered by the Development Planning Unit -Environment and Sustainable Development MSc, Urban Development Planning MSc and Urban Economic Development MSc. Note there is a second session focusing on the other DPU courses.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Development Planning Unit

Whether your ambition is to design better buildings, plan better cities, build sustainable communities or help meet the challenge of climate change, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment could be a big step towards it. This is a joint session focusing on: Building and Urban Design in Development MSc; Development Administration and Planning MSc; Health in Urban Development MSc; Social Development Practice MSc; Development Planning MPhil/PhD. Note there is a part 1 DPU session too.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £19,300 £9,650
Tuition fees (2024/25) £31,100 £15,550

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

All costs, including partner and facilitation expenses and travel-related where travel is possible, will be covered from within programme fees. Personal expenses must, as normal, be covered by the student regardless of whether activities take place in person or remotely.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

UCL offers a range of financial awards aimed at assisting both prospective and current students with their studies.

Any additional funding available from the Bartlett Development Planning Unit and the Built Environment Faculty Office are advertised on the respective websites.

Applicants may be eligible for the Otto Koenigsberger Scholarship.

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

Bartlett Promise Sub-Saharan Africa Masters Scholarship

Deadline: 3 April 2024
Value: Fees, stipend and other allowances (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

Bartlett Promise UK Master's Scholarship

Deadline: 31 May 2024
Value: Tuition fees plus £15,364 maintenance/yr (Duration of programme)
Criteria Based on financial need
Eligibility: UK

Brown Family Bursary

Deadline: 20 June 2024
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Deadline: NOW CLOSED FOR 2024/25 ENTRY
Value: Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

DPU70 Scholarship

Deadline: 3 April 2024
Value: Full fees plus living allowance and travel to and from home country (including visa fees, English la (1yr)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

GREAT Scholarship

Deadline: NOW CLOSED FOR 2024/25 ENTRY
Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: EU, Overseas

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Building and Urban Design in Development at graduate level
  • what particularly attracts 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 will deliver.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2024-2025

Got questions? Get in touch

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