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Urban Development Planning MSc

The Urban Development Planning MSc explores planning theories and international practices in urban development policy, planning and management that address contemporary spatial, socio-economic and political transformations in cities of the Global South.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Flexible: 2-5 years

Full-time students study for 37.5 hours per week during term time. Typically, lectures and seminars occur on two days per week. Flexible mode students normally attend half this amount.

Application dates

Full-time applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Flexible/Modular applicants
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£15,050 (FT)
Overseas:
£24,000 (FT)


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

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

The normal minimum qualifications are a second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. A minimum of six months work experience is also recommended.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic requirements 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 and an ability to engage academically with the subject matter.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

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

International students

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.

Select your country:

About this degree

This MSc aims to equip participants to work effectively as development planners and practitioners in urban contexts through imparting a deeper understanding of the processes that generate urban change. The programme aims to enhance participants' diagnostic and strategic capacities to respond to such change within the framework of socially just urban governance.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three compulsory modules (90 credits), either one or two optional modules (30 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Urban Development Planning.

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 is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

  • The City and its Relations: Context, Institutions and Actors in Urban Development Planning (30 credits)
  • Urban Development Policy, Planning and Management: Strategic Action in Theory and Practice (30 credits)
  • Practice in Urban Development Planning (30 credits)

Optional modules

  • Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the Global South
  • An Introduction to Public Economics and Public Policy
  • Critical Urbanism Studio I - Learning from Informality: Case studies and alternatives
  • Critical Urbanism Studio II - Investigative Design Strategies for Contested Spaces
  • Disaster Risk Reduction in Cities
  • Food and the City
  • Gender in Policy and Planning
  • Housing as Urbanism: Housing Policy and the Search for Scale
  • Housing Policies: Practical Dimensions and Alternative Options
  • Industrialisation and Infrastructure
  • Knowledge Systems and Sustainable Food Production
  • Managing the City Economy
  • Neo-Structuralism and the Developmental State
  • NGOs and Social Transformation
  • Participatory Processes: Building for Development
  • Post Disaster Recovery: Policies, Practices and Alternatives
  • Social Diversity, Inequality and Poverty
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development
  • Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics
  • Transport Equity and Urban Mobility

Or any other open MSc module on offer at UCL, with Programme Leader approval.

Please note: optional modules are subject to availability.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.

Dissertation/report

All students submit a 10,000-word report on a topic related to the main themes of the programme. The topic can be chosen to enhance career development or for its inherent interest. This is Development and Planning Dissertation (60 credits).

Fieldwork

In the third term (May) students travel abroad to a city in the Global South to conduct a two-week field trip in groups. The purpose of the trip is to give hands-on experience of processes of urban change, community-led initiatives and policy challenges in the urban context of the Global South.


Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, group work, workshops and field trips. Field trips so far have taken place in Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tanzania. Student performance is assessed through essays, coursework, team project reports, written examinations, the overseas field trip and a 10,000-word dissertation.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

The cost of flights, visas, necessary vaccinations, accommodation, and fieldwork-related travel and facilitations costs, are incorporated within the programme fees. Meals and other expenditure must be covered by the student.

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

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Funding

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 (OKS).

Overseas students are also encouraged to contact a local office of the British Council for information on possible scholarships.

The following other organisations may be able to offer financial support:

  • United Nations
  • Ford Foundation
  • European Development Fund
  • Architects Registration Board (ARB)
  • Chevening Scholarships
  • Aga Khan Foundation for scholarships for applicants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kenya and Tanzania.

EU funding is also possible for studentships through the European Union.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Brown Family Bursary

Note:
This scheme is now closed for 2020/21
Value:
£15,000 (1 year)
Eligibility:
UK
Criteria:
Based on both academic merit and financial need

DPU Health in Urban Development Scholarship

Note:
1 July 2020
Value:
£10,000 (1 year)
Eligibility:
Overseas
Criteria:
Based on academic merit

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

Careers

This MSc is widely recognised by international organisations and agencies (such as UN agencies and the World Bank) and bilateral aid organisations from different countries. 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. Graduates have also been employed by international NGOs and aid and development agencies. Some graduates return to their home countries and engage in the practice, teaching or research of urban development practice; other graduates have successfully sought employment in international development organisations away from their own countries.

Employability

The programme aims to help students:

  • prepare balanced and critical analyses/arguments, attentive to the particularities of place, based on theoretical insights and empirical evidence
  • undertake well-supported diagnoses of the problems and opportunities in given urban development contexts, in ways that reframe strategic opportunites for action
  • formulate systematic and well-supported strategic action planning proposals, aimed at responding to complex urban development situations, including organisational and institutional development
  • build presentation, advocacy and negotiation skills
  • develop research skills including interviewing, conceptual framework formulation, and the ability to analyse a range of information sources
  • deliver group projects, and negotiate the dynamics of working in diverse teams
  • operate professionally in  unfamiliar environments, including in global south contexts 

Why study this degree at UCL?

This programme argues that planning is key to dealing with urban problems and opportunities presented by rapid urbanisation in the Global South, but that its potential cannot be harnessed without a critical understanding of the processes that generate urban change in specific contexts.

The programme seeks to equip students with the capacity to develop critical diagnoses of urban issues, as a basis for developing propositional responses within the framework of socially, spatially and environmentally just urban governance.

The programme promotes a deeper understanding of community-led and partnership-based urban development planning. Students also benefit from the Development Planning Unit's longstanding and geographically expansive alumni and partner network.

Department: Development Planning Unit

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"The students at the DPU come from many international locations and backgrounds, which means we are always hearing about developments in different parts of the world from people who have first-hand experience of them, whether this is in Syria, Indonesia, Congo or Brazil."

Dr Vanesa Castán Broto

Environment and Sustainable Development MSc, Urban Development Planning MSc, Development Planning MPhil/PhD
Lecturer in Environment and Sustainable Development

Application and next steps

Applications

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 £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

Applicants from a range of backgrounds, including those working in or aspiring to work in international aid agencies, central government and local authorities, non-governmental organisations, academia and the private sector will benefit from this programme. Students come from a variety of disciplines, including planning, architecture, geography, economics, political science and sociology.

Application deadlines

Full-time applicants
11 August 2020
Flexible/Modular applicants
11 August 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Urban Development Planning at graduate level
  • why you want to study Urban Development Planning at UCL
  • 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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020