Urban Development Planning MSc

London, Bloomsbury

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

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£18,000
£9,000
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£29,000
£14,500
Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2023
Applications accepted
All applicants: 17 Oct 2022 – 30 Jun 2023

Applications open

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.

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: 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. International Preparation Courses

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

This MSc aims to equip participants to work effectively as development planners / 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 a framework of socio-spatially and environmentally just urban governance.

Who this course is for

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.

What this course will give you

This programme argues that planning is key to dealing with urban problems and opportunities presented by rapid urbanisation, globalisation and climate change 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.

The foundation of your career

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 opportunities 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 

Employability

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 Global 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. Programme alumni have also successfully embarked on MPhil/PhD programmes. 

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, group work, workshops and an overseas practice engagement. Practice engagements have involved collaborations with local partners in Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Tanzania. Student performance is assessed through individual essays and coursework, team project reports and presentations, written examinations, participation in the overseas practice engagement, and a 10,000-word dissertation.

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 divided into four key taught components and one independent research project.

The four taught components include three compulsory 30 credit modules which focus on the core of urban development planning as a field, including: an understanding of economic, social and physical processes of change in cities in the context of development, globalisation and climate change, with a specific focus on the governance, finance and land nexus; an exploration of strategic action in urban development policy, planning and management, which recognises socio-spatial and environmental justice in cities; and an engagement with practical approaches that promote transformative urban development .

You will also take one 30 credit optional module (or two 15 credit optional modules) which allows you to tailor the programme of study according to your own interests and learning experience.

Finally, you will undertake an independent research project culminating in the production of a dissertation, 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 components 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 and 4, with a final submission at the end of the summer (beginning of September).

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. 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 Urban Development Planning.

Fieldwork

In the third term (May) students participate in the overseas practice engagement, the purpose of which, 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.

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 & Wellbeing team.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: MSc Heath in Urban Development

In this event we will present the MSc Health in Urban Development, highlighting the importance of urban health in post-covid urban life in the Global South and North. We will illustrate what are the main urban health challenges in cities, how urban risks are reproduced, and why the role of urban health experts is so important.

Online - Open day

Graduate Open Events: Study at the Development Planning Unit

The Development Planning Unit (DPU) conducts world-leading research and postgraduate teaching that helps to build the capacity those working towards socially just and sustainable development in the global south. The DPU runs seven Masters Degrees, each focusing on a different aspect of development planning. This short talk and Q&A session will give you the chance to find out more about what to expect from your studies at the DPU.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £18,000 £9,000
Tuition fees (2023/24) £29,000 £14,500

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

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.

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

Brown Family Bursary

Deadline: 8 June 2023
Value: £15,000 (1 year)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme (CSSS)

Deadline: 13 December 2022
Value: Full fees, flights, stipend, and other allowances (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 Urban Development Planning at graduate level
  • why you want to study Urban Development Planning at the DPU
  • 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: 2023-2024

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.