Health in Urban Development MSc

London, Bloomsbury

This programme looks at the effects of urbanisation on both physical and mental health and considers the role of urban form, urban social interactions, productive processes and urban policies as causes of inequalities in health.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
1 academic year
2 academic years
5 academic 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

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject (e.g. Planning, Architecture, Social Sciences, Geography, Health Studies, Civil Engineering) or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 1

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

Health in Urban Development MSc provides a solid grounding in analysis, skills and perspectives for the study of urban health including public health, research methodology, evaluation research, comparative urban health analysis and practice-based experience.

Who this course is for

The programme is interdisciplinary and attracts students from a wide variety of disciplines including architecture, planning, health studies, social science (geography, anthropology and alike), development studies.

It is targeted at practitioners and scholars from a range of relevant backgrounds, from across the world and with special emphasis on participants from the Global South. The programme will provide participants with the necessary academic and professional skills to become involved (as architects, planners, consultants, community\social organisers, health experts) in the growing field of urban health. 

What this course will give you

The programme provides the necessary skills to be involved in the field of urban health, focusing on: the effect of formal and informal urban processes in the Global South on health; the role of development planning in health; the interaction between urban-spatial elements and health; the evaluation and design of intervention strategies and practical experience.

The programme aspires to produce an interdisciplinary and critical perspective of the relationships between urban processes, health disparities and development planning. Learning activities will mirror common practices and activities. An overseas practice engagement in collaboration with our partners and focused on the Global South provides a contemporary real-world perspective. By completing the programme you should expect to gain subject specific knowledge, academic and research skills which are practical and transferrable. 

The foundation of your career

The programme's learning activities have been designed with employability in mind. You will gain a strong core knowledge, combined with hands-on experience. You will also learn how to evaluate, analyse and develop intervention strategies, and will become familiar with more advanced research tools, theory and methodology.


Graduates of this programme are likely to find employment as officers of local and international NGOs, international organisations, local and national government departments or as consultants. Some graduates may pursue an academic research career.


You will engage with a variety of institutions such as NGOs, local authorties, community groups, charity organisations, public health experts and others. Your outputs will be disseminated to the communities and local partners with whom we work. Our programme cultivates a global community of urban health scholars which has proved to be particularly significant for our former students.

Teaching and learning

Our programme will equip you with the critical, transdisciplinary, and reflexive skills and know-how you require to address urban health concerns at political, institutional and community levels. Our graduates can make connections across sectors and issues, communicate effectively, think creatively and critically and adapt to localities and circumstances. The academic skills at the heart of all our master’s programme – research design, analysing trends, analytical thinking, and project management - are all crucial for the kinds of development work required to address the urban health challenges in the 21st Century.

We encourage collaborative learning through engagement with specialists in the field, and via student group work. 

The programme consists of reading, essay writing and individual and group project work, in the context of lectures, seminars, workshops, case study analysis, and an overseas practice engagement. Student performance is assessed through coursework, unseen examinations and a final dissertation 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.


Teaching and learning is divided into four different areas: core knowledge (module 1), integrated analysis (module 2), operation (practice module), and optional modules.

Core knowledge module (1) introduces key approaches and methodologies for the study of urban health. The module focuses on public health, planning and health equity, on the political and institutional processes that enable public health interventions to address the social determinants of health, and will examine health as a site of power imbalance in the city. Key themes to this module are from: (i) Public Health: understanding the goals of public health—to improve health and eliminate health disparities;  understanding the methods used to measure the health of populations, find causes, and develop programs that work, introducing basic measurements of outcomes and risk factors used in public health and sources of data used in population health, social determinants of health, social epidemiology and population health and health Impact Assessment methodologies. (ii) Development Planning: including theories on Global South urbanism, Urban informality, Homelessness, urban and Infrastructure justice.

Integrated analysis module (2) introduces and develops analytical skills in order to critically evaluate and constructively develop strategies of intervention in the field of urban health. Based on the core functions of public health (assessment, policy development, and assurance) and how public health is organised at the local, state, national, and international level, this module focuses on three levels of analysis: policy level, spatial intervention level and community based initiatives level. The module will be based on comparative case study analysis, highlighting the necessity to develop interdisciplinary skills in the field of urban health with reference to the following issues: International humanitarian aid and health; The welfare state and the neoliberal shift; The right to health and the commodification of health; Spatial intervention in informal spaces; Community based health initiatives.

The practice module (3) focuses on the ways in which planning interventions are gradually acknowledged as important determinants of population health. Interventions in land use, housing, infrastructure, transportation, and public participation are central for our understanding of the ways in which health is shaped by urbanisation processes. This module integrates the students’ work into practice, identifying the leading urban health problems, including their causes and methods for prevention, analysing the advantages and limitations of the various types of population-based approaches to improve public health. A workshop focussing on research skills for conducting primary research on urban and public health and drawing on qualitative and quantitative methods will be included in Term 1. Based on core modules 1 and 2, this practice module will engage students in projects in a location in the Global South (Terms 2, 3) dealing with the effects of urbanisation on both physical and mental health. The module will translate the knowledge and methodologies into “real case” practice in collaboration with partner organisations and initiatives.

Similar to the all MSc programmes at the DPU, costs of the field trip are covered including: return flights, visas, travel insurance, accommodation and fees, and costs of local experts and inputs. However, food, local travel and incidental expenses of a personal nature will not be covered by the DPU.

You will also undertake an independent research project culminating in a dissertation. The dissertation is centred on a research project in an area of the programme. Conducting students’ own research will be supported by learning how to: search literature and plan a research project; use knowledge acquired in the programme to critically appraise work; and communicate and justify research results.

All compulsory modules are delivered in Term 1 and Term 2. The practice module is delivered in Terms 1 and 2 with an overseas practice engagement in Term 3 that is covered by the fees. The dissertation is undertaken in Term 3 with a final submission at the end of the summer term (early September).

You will take a series of taught modules, culminating in the 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:

  • DEVP0042: Health, Social Justice and the City 1
  • DEVP0045: Urban Health and Development Planning Strategies 1
  • DEVP0046: Urban Health and Development Planning Strategies 2
  • DEVP0047: Health, Social Justice and the City 2

The taught modules are delivered in Terms 1, 2 and  3 in year 2.
In Year 2 you will take:

  • DEVP0044: Urban Health: Practice and Reflections
  • DEV00017: Dissertation Report

Plus a choice of;

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

You will take a series of taught modules, culminating in the 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 DEVP0044 (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 Health in Urban Development.


The overseas practice engagement is a practical research-based project that helps draw the various elements of the degree together.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble 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:

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

Overseas applicants may be eligible for the Otto Koenigsberger Scholarship .

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

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: 14 December 2023
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: 14 May 2024
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.

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.

We aim to cultivate socially sensitive urban practitioners who can promote human-centric responses to challenges like marginalisation, inequality and environmental degradation. The programme is suitable for graduates and professionals who want to engage with contemporary urban issues while acquiring the practical skills needed to deliver positive urban change.

When assessing your application, we would like to learn about:

  • your understanding of what urban health constitutes;
  • any experience you have of working in the development and\or health related sector;
  • why you want to study health in urban development at graduate level;
  • why you want to study Health in Urban Development MSc at the DPU and UCL;
  • what you think you will bring to the programme;
  • how your academic and professional background prepares you for this challenging programme;
  • where you would you like to go professionally with your degree;

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the distinctive features of this programme and tell us about your expectations.

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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