UCL Graduate degrees


Urban Railways MSc

This MSc provides you with new transferable skills (including big data management and system integration skills) required for the 21st-century urban railways. Many of the modules and the dissertation are based on real-world problems, with much interaction with London-based practitioners. The programme improves your employability in the rail industry, while providing essential skills to those envisaging careers in general transport areas.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2019

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Close: 26 July 2019

Tuition fees (2019/20)

UK/EU: £12,750 (FT) £6,375 (PT)
Overseas: £26,660 (FT) £13,340 (PT)

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.

Optional qualifications: This degree is also available as a PG Diploma and a PG Certificate with fees set accordingly.
Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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

The programme focuses on transferable skills that are essential for urban railway planning, operation and management in the 21st century, and are currently in demand by the industry. These include data management and analysis, system integration, and visionary-thinking capabilities. In addition, the dissertation and topics on the programme are about real-world problems, so that students can maximise the employability opportunities.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (15 credits each), and a dissertation/report (60 credits). Students choose 30 or 45 credits of optional modules and either 15 or 30 credits of elective modules.

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is also offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is also offered.

Compulsory modules

  • Railway Policy, Management and Engineering
  • Engineering Study of Rail Systems and Infrastructure
  • Urban Railway System Integration
  • Urban Railways in Global Contexts

Each core module is worth 15 credits

Optional modules

Students choose either 30 or 45 credits of optional modules.

  • Quantitative Methods and Data Systems (15 credits)
  • Urban Railway Planning and Analysis (15 credits)
  • Urban Railway Business Management (15 credits)
  • Transport Planning Analysis (15 credits)


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000–15,000 words (60 credits)

Teaching and learning

This programme will be delivered by a selection of taught modules, a week-long intensive module, and one-to-one or group tutorials. There will be much input from industry practitioners. Assessment will range from group project presentations, coursework, and examinations to essays and a compulsory dissertation over the last term.


Students can also join our Urban Railway Camp, which includes site visits and dissertation training sessions on a residential course.


As your dissertation project will focus on real-world problems, some students would be required to work in offices of our industry partners for a certain period of time. This depends on the dissertation project and the needs of industry partners. 

Additional costs

Students are asked to pay £300 towards the cost of Urban Railway Camp.

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.


Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Brown Family Bursary

Now closed for 2019/20
£15,000 (1 year)
Based on both academic merit and financial need

Burma Star Scholarship

Engineering for International Development MSc only
Full fees plus stipend (1 year)
UK, EU, Overseas
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.


Graduates of this programme will be able to work in the urban railway sector in the UK, Europe and beyond. Roles may include railway operators, infrastructure managers, government regulators, software developers, and consultants. Some graduates may pursue careers in academia but focus on railways.


Upon completion, students will:

  • be equipped with transferable skills, including skills for big data management and analytics, and system integration (within the rail industry and with businesses outside), which are essential across the railway industry  
  • possess visionary-thinking capabilities. They will envisage urban railways as, for example, part of urban mobility services or a tool for the city’s prosperity 
  • be trained as a global leader. Through intensive project-based work on real-world problems, students will be able to produce business/operation plans and design solutions, and execute them in multicultural environments.
  • demonstrate essential knowledge for urban railways.

Why study this degree at UCL?

Developed with our industry collaborators, our MSc in Urban Railways is not a traditional knowledge/teaching-based programme but focuses on new transferable skills and the visionary-thinking capabilities required for urban railways. The programme also includes group work and scenario-based exercises.

Hosted by UCL Railway Research Group, a leading research group in railway operation, optimisation and management, the programme offers a wide range of opportunities to students to interact with London-based railway practitioners.

Students also benefit from UCL’s wide and in-depth portfolio of Master's programmes; they can take modules from other UCL Master's programmes to   strengthen their speciality in their chosen subjects. 

Department: Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering

Application and 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 £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The programme is open to anyone with an interest in railways. Some students will have a Bachelor's degree in an engineering or science discipline; others may have social science backgrounds. There is no subject requirement as long as you are motivated and have career ambition.

Application deadlines

All applicants
26 July 2019

While the programme includes quantitative modules, there is a pathway for those who have not studied quantitative subjects as part of their Bachelor's degree. 

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 Railways at graduate level
  • why you want to study Urban Railways at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this 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.

Contact information

Page last modified on 20 May 2019 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing