Eco-Cities (MSc)

Gain the skills to take forward innovative environmentally friendly urban developments, reducing the impact of climate change.

There is an ever growing interest in how to reduce the impact of climate change in an urbanising world. For the first time in human history there are now more people living in towns and cities than in rural areas. It is estimated by the UN that by 2030 more than 60% of the world’s population, some 4.9bn people, will be living in urban areas.

Urbanisation today is also associated with a number of other features that make it distinctive from the past. First, the scale of urban areas is increasing. There are now a number of megacities, with populations of over 10m, across the world, including Tokyo, Mumbai, Mexico City, Beijing and Shanghai. Second, the geography of urbanisation has shifted from the developed world of Western Europe and North America to the developing world of Asia, Africa and South America. For example, it is believed that over 90% of urban growth will occur in less developed nations, with 80% of urban growth occurring in Asia and Africa. Third, the pace of urbanisation is spatially variable. In parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa urban growth is increasing at over 3% a year, in more developed parts of the world growth is minimal (and numbers in some urban areas are falling).

Whilst urban areas can be sites of environmental degradation they offer the possibility of living in a more resource efficient way. Amongst the key questions that are emerging are: What is a low carbon and ecological (sustainable) city? How can city and regional planning effectively guide sustainable development? Can cities be planned and built to promote low carbon lifestyles, and ecological development that can mitigate climate change? How can urban areas adapt to climate change? The programme will equip students with a critical understanding of the variety of forms of development that badge themselves as sustainable or low carbon and will create practitioners who have the skills to take forward innovative environmentally friendly urban developments that are sensitive to the needs of sustainable spaces. The programme will provide opportunities for students to participate in real low carbon eco-city planning and developments though live projects. 

Cardiff Masters Graduate School of City and Regional Planning can bring together the expertise of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE), an intellectual setting that promotes the multi-disciplinary thinking (e.g. planning, human and economic geography, political science) that is essential to deliver a high quality postgraduate taught programme. In addition, the course will draw upon the specialist input of the School of Engineering's work on sustainable energy and from the School of Architecture's work on sustainability, energy and the management and measurement of resource use.

Course Structure

The MSc Eco-Cities is offered as a one year full-time programme.

It is divided into two parts:
Part 1 comprises a teaching programme of core and option modules over two semesters. Options are available in the Masters Graduate School of City and Regional Planning, the School of Engineering and the School of Architecture.
Part 2 comprises an individual dissertation on a topic selected by each student in consultation with members of staff. Whilst there are few constraints on the choice of topic, it must address at least one of the core course themes of the Eco-Cities programme.

The following list relates to the modules for the academic year 2015/16. Please note that these may be subject to change.

Core Modules

As part of the Live Project for Eco-City Development module, students undertake a field study visit. Click here for more details on the 2014 visit to Xiamen, China.

Option Modules

The course is assessed through continuous assessment (a variety of seminars, essays, project work and practical exercises) and examinations. Where required there is room for flexibility in setting alternative, comparable assessments.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.


This MSc is suitable for graduates in planning, geography, architecture, engineering or other relevant disciplines, or mid-career professionals working in planning, development or similar fields. The course is appropriate for both international students and UK students interested in Eco-Cities.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class Honours degree in an appropriate subject. A minimum standard in English language of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent will be required for students whose first language is not English.

School Contact

Name: Dr Li Yu
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 79333

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See this course on the University's Coursefinder website.