Cities are now a critical focus for research, policy-making and public debate. According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the global population will live in cities by 2050. This MSc develops innovative, comparative and interdisciplinary modes of analysis and research that can address the scale and complexity of contemporary urbanism.
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.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2020/21)
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.
Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university 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: Good
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
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
Students develop an advanced understanding of urban theory, and explore the main urban developments shaping the contemporary world. The programme focuses on the interface between theory and practice across a diverse range of topics, from historic patterns of urban change to large-scale challenges such as slums, poverty and access to basic services, and current developments in urban design and the visual arts.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme offers two pathways, standard and research.
The standard pathway consists of three core modules (45 credits), five options (75 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). Research consists of four core modules (75 credits), three options (45 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Urban Studies.
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.
- Urban Imaginations
- Cities, Space and Power
- Urban Practices
- Research route only:
- Social Science Research: Methods and Methodologies (30 credits)
Options may include the following:
- Adapting Cities to Climate Change in the South
- Cities and Climate Change
- Creative Cities
- Cities in Eastern Europe
- Histories of Global London, 1900 to the Present
- The Latin American City: Social Problems and Social Change in Urban Space
- Postcolonial Cultural Geographies
- Public and Private Modernities
- Pillars of Planning
- Comparative Planning Systems and Cultures
- Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development
- Anthropology of the Built Environment
- Planning Practices in Europe
- Urban Systems Theory
- Representation of Cities
- Comparative Urban Projects
- Urbanisation and Development
- Health and Wellbeing in Cities: Theory and Practice
- Smart Cities: Context, Policy and Government
- Urban Innovation and Policy
All students undertake an individual research project which culminates in a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, field trips, tutorials, discussion groups, presentations and group work. Assessment is through coursework in the form of essays, and the dissertation.
ESRC funding exists for students taking the MSc as a prelude to a three-year PhD. UK students may apply to the Thomas Wall Trust.
Overseas students: Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan, Ford Foundation International Fellowships, Marshall Scholarships and Fulbright Traditional Postgraduate Student Awards.
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Since the launch of the Urban Studies MSc in 2008/2009, graduates from the programme have found employment in a variety of sectors such as municipal and local government, urban political organisations, art consultancies, communications companies, financial services, social enterprise initiatives, cultural institutions, community development organisations and think tanks.
Urban Studies graduates have an impressive record of continuing their research as PhD students - in geography, development planning, and architectural design - in the UK as well as in Europe and North America: at the University of Zurich; the Open University; UCL; LSE; Universidade do Porto; TU Berlin; and the University of Minnesota.
This programme will significantly improve the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in academia, public and private research, and other commercial and professional fields where an advanced understanding of cities and urban change is required. Through this programme students will meet leading practitioners from the fields of architecture, journalism, transport planning, environmental management, art and urban activism. You will become part of a growing international network of graduates who are a valuable source of advice, information and guidance for current students.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The UCL Urban Laboratory is the result of a unique collaboration between four faculties: Arts & Humanities, the UCL Bartlett, Engineering Sciences, and Social & Historical Sciences. It brings together the best urban teaching and research at UCL and this range of expertise will make this programme unparalleled in scope both within the UK and internationally.
Urban research at UCL draws on a rich heritage of ideas including the groundbreaking insights of figures such as Patrick Abercrombie, Peter Hall, Ruth Glass and Reyner Banham.
UCL's engagement in wider public debates in London and internationally regarding the future design and planning of cities is a distinctive feature of our research.
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 £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?
This interdisciplinary programme welcomes candidates from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and is suitable for students who wish to develop their understanding of the current debates in this field, either as a foundation for further research or to enrich their practical and professional contribution to the urban arena.
- All 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 Studies
- why you want to study Urban Studies at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to this programme
- how your academic and/or professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
- 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.