UCL Urban Laboratory



Rebecca Payne

What convinced me to choose UCL was the breadth and variety of the Urban Studies MSc, particularly its emphasis on multi- and interdisciplinary learning. As UCL is renowned for its urban research, the programme has close links with organisations such as the Urban Laboratory. This really differed from other programmes I had applied to, which felt much more insular, and therefore restrictive. I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to locate new, unfamiliar areas of study that I could not have predicted before starting the degree.

Tim Ahrensbach

What initially drew me to the MSc Urban Studies programme was the highly esteemed faculty, many of whom I had heard of as a Human Geography undergraduate in Denmark, as well as the incredible diversity of specialised modules being offered across the Bartlett, DPU, Geography and Anthropology departments. Throughout the programme I managed to develop my own distinct specialism within the field, supported by great library and academic resources, a cross disciplinary team of lecturers and inspiring fellow students. During the course I did a research placement with urban design and strategy practice 00:/ where, upon completion of my degree, I gained full time employment as a project manager. During the course I also got the opportunity to teach a module on “Development Geography” for undergraduates. This insight into teaching international development issues with young people proved helpful when I later joined ActionAid as part of their Global Platform initiative to help build an international network of spaces for learning and activism.  

Lucrezia Barnes-Dacey

During my undergraduate degree I developed an interest in cities and the social construction of urban space.  The Urban Studies MSc seemed like the perfect course in which to pursue these interests at postgraduate level.  I was particularly attracted by the interdisciplinary scope of the MSc; the Geography, Architecture and Anthropology departments at UCL are all outstanding, offering very high standards of teaching and research. Being able to take courses and meeting students and academics in each of these departments has given me a valuable awareness of the three disciplines' different theoretical and methodological approaches to exploring critical urban questions.  I am certain that the teaching and supervision available at UCL will be invaluable as I stay on to undertake PhD research.

Isabelle Eckler

Having completed an undergraduate degree in the areas of Environmental Studies, Urban Studies and English in Canada, I was keen to further explore issues of urban sustainability and urban policy more generally. The UCL MSc Urban Studies program not only provided a broad range of courses in fields spanning Architecture and Planning to Film and Anthropology but used its location in the heart of London to provide an interactive learning experience. Field trips to various parts of London were great contributions to my experience as a foreign student, as were discussions of London's urban history and current affairs. The staff at UCL were incredibly helpful and supportive, especially in my pursuit of an unusual dissertation topic. The research and writing experience I gained through my dissertation work as well as the interdisciplinary approach of the program have proved valuable as I continue my law studies in Toronto.

Regan Koch

I came to the MSc course with a background of teaching secondary-level Geography and a desire to further engage with critical concepts and theoretical debates in the field.  The knowledgeable and supportive members of staff, as well as the diverse viewpoints and interests of fellow students, enriched my understanding and enthusiasm for a vast range of interdisciplinary topics.  Studying within the cosmopolitan context of London provided a fantastic opportunity to benefit from the wealth of expertise, institutions, places and events that make up the city.  I would strongly recommend the course to anyone interested in building a foundation of theoretical and analytical approaches to understanding life in the contemporary city.  

Martha Mingay

Having completed a degree in History and Politics, I was attracted to Urban Studies as a realm bringing together critical theory with empirical research. While I put off further study while working as a researcher for the Labour Group on the London Assembly, I remained attracted to the Urban Studies MSc as a unique opportunity to dabble with a range of urban disciplines across a number of highly esteemed departments. The wide choice of options on the course is supported by considerately-designed and enjoyable compulsory modules, with a range of field and group work, and enthusiastic staff support which boosted my confidence in developing my interests in a number of directions, across critical geography, anthropology, planning and urban design. Undertaking dissertation research into place and memories of the Miners Strike in the regeneration of Orgreave, South Yorkshire, the course eventually and surprisingly took me beyond London, but has furnished me with a rigorous set of critical skills and new perspectives from which to scrutinise urban economic policy, regeneration and the 2012 Legacy back at the Greater London Authority (GLA).