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Urban Studies MSc

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.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: 3-5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
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:
£11,470 (FT)
£5,770 (PT)
Overseas:
£23,340 (FT)
£11,830 (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.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

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.

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

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.

Compulsory modules

  • Urban Imaginations
  • Cities, Space and Power
  • Urban Practices
  • Research route only:
  • Social Science Research: Methods and Methodologies (30 credits)

Optional modules

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
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 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.

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

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

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.

Careers

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.

Employability

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.

Department: Geography

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?

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.

Application deadlines

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.

Page last modified on 27 August 2020