MSc Urban Design & Planning

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 90)

Urban design lies at the interface of architecture and urban planning, with both disciplines contributing complementary but contrasting approaches to urban design theory and practice. This Masters programme is focused on the role of urban design in the context of urban planning, and is delivered with an emphasis on the distinct methodologies, professional perspectives and pedagogies of that discipline.

It provides specialist knowledge and skills in: urban design theory; urban conservation; risk, resilience and sustainability; as well as social science research methods applied to the built environment. The programme will enable graduates to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to create better places through urban design. Students will also have the opportunity to draw upon the School’s research experitise to place design centre-stage in tackling a range of pressing environmental and other issues.

This programme will equip planners and others working in related areas with the capacity to develop urban design solutions, to analyse them critically and to provide guidance in regards to their implementation one for which there is a growing demand. This includes traditional urban design concerns surrounding the urban public realm, residential quality etc., but also emerging challenges surrounding the role of urban design in mitigating or adapting to climate change, the role of design in promoting ‘healthy’ cities or neighbourhoods, and the incorporation of ‘nature’ into design (e.g. bio-mimicry) to address biodiversity loss.

The MSc Urban Design & Planning is accredited as a specialist qualification by the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Careers & Employability

This Masters trains, mentors and supports graduates in developing their specialist knowledge and understanding, along with transferable skills and tools, for careers related to the field. These include roles in the public, private and community sectors, including planning and urban design consultancies, local authorities, development firms, regeneration companies, environmental and other NGOs, as well as research and teaching.

Full Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

The MSc Urban Design and Planning offers the opportunity to develop core, transferable and specialist skills and knowledge in urban design and planning, as well as skills and knowledge which are transferrable to other careers. While the programme will be of interest primarily to graduates from a planning background, applications will be considered from those with other disciplinary and professional backgrounds.

The programme also offers the opportunity for mid-career public and private sector planners to upskill in the commercially important area of urban design. The programme is accredited as a specialist qualification by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and this qualification is internationally recognised, and will thereby provide a pathway to qualification as a professional planner for graduates with a 'spatial' accredited degree.

The MSc Urban Design and Planning will be delivered via a mix of: traditional lecture formats, seminars, field-based learning, studio-based teaching (intensive, interactive, practice-based labs), student-led seminars, as well as a thesis, and professional development skills training. Planning and architecture practitioners will be involved in the programme delivery (e.g. attending studio presentations, providing ‘real world’ challenges to inform teaching) to maximize relevance for professional skills development.

Indicative modules are listed below.

Core modules in urban design context and theory provide students with foundation knowledge in urban design.

  • Placemaking*
  • Conservation, History Theory and Politics
  • The Urban Environment: Risk, Resilience and Sustainability
  • Economics and Property Markets (option)**
  • Research and Innovation in the Designed Environment (option)**

Three major studio modules will be undertaken by students to ensure the effective application of knowledge to design challenges. The first will focus on developing a strategy for a small to medium-sized town. The second focuses on applying urban design theory in a practical setting to explore design concepts and urban development processes.

  • Interdisciplinary Studio
  • Urban Design Studio
  • Nature-based Solutions

Core modules in research skills are designed to enable students to undertake an effective Masters thesis, to apply research skills to other modules (e.g. studios), and to act as a foundation for students wishing to pursue PhD study. These modules comprise:

  • Geographical Information Systems for Policy and Planning (option)**
  • Research Design and Methods

An MSc thesis will be undertaken over the summer semester. Graduates will have the opportunity to choose either a traditional research thesis, or to complete the thesis element through preparation of a design thesis. The design thesis option involves the application of research in developing an innovative urban design project appropriate to the site and to the specific complex urban design challenge(s) being investigated and addressed.

Continuing Professional Development Skills will be both embedded into modules (e.g. communication, graphic, research skills) and delivered where appropriate in the form of one-off workshops (e.g. interview/job search skills).

 

*Graduates of the BA Planning, Geography and Environment programme who register for the MSc Urban Design & Planning, and who have already taken the module Placemaking, will take the modules Introduction to Urban Design in its place.

**Students must select from the indicated elective modules to attain a total of 30 credits in semester 1.

 

Urban design lies at the interface of architecture and urban planning, with both disciplines contributing complementary but contrasting approaches to urban design theory and practice. This Masters programme is focused on the role of urban design in the context of urban planning, and is delivered through the distinct methodologies, professional perspectives and pedagogies of that discipline. The programme seeks to instil values in graduates that are appropriate to a career in urban design and planning, specifically: a critical, reflective and intellectually confident approach to learning, research and practice; self-motivation; an appreciation of evidence-based solutions and social equity in decision-making; respect for the contrasting and complementary contributions of other specialist areas, professions and the role of the wider public; and a recognition of how these values impact upon practice and upon wider society. While the programme will be of interest primarily to graduates from a planning background, it is also aimed at those from a variety of other disciplinary backgrounds wishing to specialise in urban design and planning. It aims to train, mentor and support graduates in developing core, transferable and specialist skills and knowledge in urban design, conservation and sustainable and resilient urbanism, as well as social science research methods applied to the built environment, and will enable graduates to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to create better places through urban design. While interactive lectures and seminars introduce students to key concepts, theory and approaches in urban design and planning, design labs provide experience of working with other disciplines to solve complex urban design problems within the wider context of urban planning. Teaching, learning and assessment approaches include debates and discussions, presentations, case studies, graphic communication, as well as group project work.

MSc Urban Design & Planning (W332) Full Time
EU          fee per year - € 7640
nonEU    fee per year - € 19200

***Fees are subject to change

Please note that UCD offers a number of graduate scholarships for full-time, self-funding international students, holding an offer of a place on a UCD graduate degree programme. For further information please see www.ucd.ie/international/scholarships.

The College of Engineering & Architecture also offer scholarships for non-EU students, for more information see: www.ucd.ie/eacollege/study/noneuscholarships.

  • An honours undergraduate degree (NFQ level 8) with minimum 2.1 award or international equivalent in a cognate discipline, including planning, geography, anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, engineering, property economics, surveying, politics, social science, and law.

Graduate Profile

Christophe Teevan

I found the greatest strength of this masters was that it provided a good balance between theoretical and practical learning. The studio modules are a great way of learning how to apply theory to the design process. The course was further enhanced by studio input and guest lectures from practicing planners and architects. UCD is a great learning environment as many of the classes are multidisciplinary and allow for peer to peer learning between planners, architects and landscape architects. There are also a variety of specialties amongst the faculty which is a great asset to the university. I felt this gave me wide range of opportunities when it came to choosing my thesis topic in the final term.

Since graduating I have been working on the planning and design team at a housing development company in Dublin. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to expand their knowledge of urban design and planning while gaining the skills necessary to contribute effectively to a professional design team.

The following entry routes are available:

MSc Urban Design & Planning FT (W332)
Duration
1 Years
Attendance
Full Time
Deadline
Rolling *

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised