Skip to main content

Urban Design (MA)

  • Duration: 1 year
  • Mode: Full time

Start date
calendar

Open day

Find out more about studying here as a postgraduate at our next Open Day.

Why study this course

Video containing details on MA Urban Design. School of Geography and Planning.

Run in conjunction with the Welsh School of Architecture, this course enables students to learn by deploying design, theory, and development and design control practices, which inform urban design processes.

briefcase

Professionally recognised

Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

academic-school

Design-studio teaching

Develop critically-informed, creative and practical proposals for real sites, addressing important contemporary design and urbanism issues.

star

Highly-ranked

Delivered by two Schools which are ranked among the top 50 in the world.

people

Expert-led

Learn from and engage with academic staff who are at the forefront of their fields alongside leading practitioners.

Our MA Urban Design programme is jointly delivered by the Welsh School of Architecture and the School of Geography and Planning. The goal of this programme is to enable practitioners and scholars to transform the field of urban design through critical thinking and creative practice.

Urban design is transdisciplinary, straddling professional fields such as architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and public policy, and also disciplines such as politics, economics, sociology and cultural studies. The programme fully embraces this transdisciplinarity through the theory, research training and design teaching it offers.

You will learn from academic staff from both schools who are highly accomplished and locally engaged in Cardiff, nationally in the UK, and internationally across the world. In the context of the design studios, you will also be able to benefit from the input and expertise of leading practitioners.

Studio teaching focuses on developing critically informed as well as creative and practical proposals for real sites, addressing important contemporary issues of design and urbanism.

Accreditations

Where you'll study

Welsh School of Architecture

We aim to make the world a better place through contextually sensitive, sustainable and beautiful architecture.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4430
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB

School of Geography and Planning

Join us as we explore and tackle the social, political, economic, development and environmental challenges which affect where and how we live.

  • icon-chatGet in touch
  • Telephone+44 (0)29 2087 4022
  • MarkerKing Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WA

Admissions criteria

Academic requirements 
Typically, you will need to have either:

  • a 2:2 honours degree in disciplines related to the built environment such as architecture, environmental design, interior design, landscape architecture), property development, urban design (undergraduate), and urban planning (including city or town and country planning).
  • a university-recognised equivalent academic qualification
  • or relevant professional experience evidenced by a reference.

English Language requirements 
IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 with 5.5 in all subskills, or an accepted equivalent.

Other essential requirements 
You will also need to provide:

  • a signed and dated reference from an individual who is familiar with your work, either on an academic or professional basis. The reference should include information regarding how the referee knows you and for how long as well as their assessment of your skills, experience, work ethic, and suitability for this programme.
  • a personal statement which includes your reasons for studying this programme and any experience with issues related to urban design, critical thinking, and creative practice within your previous studies or professional career.

 
Application deadline
We allocate places on a first-come, first-served basis, so we recommend you apply as early as possible.

Selection process
We will review your application and if you meet the entry requirements, we will make you an offer.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.

Criminal convictions

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Course structure

This is a one-year full-time degree.

The course is structured to provide a set of three lecture-based modules and three studio-based design modules, followed by a dissertation in the form of a research-based design project. The three lecture-based modules run in parallel with studio-based design projects which enable you to continually relate theory and practice.

Your research-based design project represents the culmination of your studies. You will be required to develop proposals relating to a chosen site, demonstrating an understanding of all aspects of urban design drawings and a written, reflective commentary.

You will have between 2-3 days of contact time each week, working between the design studio and your module lectures/seminars.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Research Based Design ProjectCPT85460 credits
Urban Design ThinkersCPT77120 credits
Urban Design FoundationCPT85210 credits
Research Methods and TechniquesCPT85310 credits
Autumn StudioCPT91030 credits
Spring StudioCPT91130 credits
Urban Development DebatesCPT92420 credits

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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

Teaching takes place in new light-filled studio spaces in the centre of the City. You will also have access to the latest modelling and workshop facilities in the Architecture School.

This MA is taught via lectures, workshops and design studios, by lecturers who are all experts in their fields – in geography, urban planning, urbanism, urban design and architecture. The design tutors also include leading practitioners who bring their experience of cutting-edge practice to the core of design studio work.

Studio teaching focuses on developing critically informed as well as creative and practical proposals for real sites, addressing important contemporary issues of design and urbanism.

How will I be assessed?

Non-design modules provide the foundations for developing understandings of urban design. These are assessed through:

  • Essays
  • Reports
  • Presentations

Most of these provide the opportunities for summative assessment. However, tutorials, and a number of essays provide the opportunities for formative assessment.

Summative assessment is conducted at the end of each module. Formative assessment elements include design reviews, usually one or two per design module, and weekly tutorials also provide an opportunity for this.

Other forms of assessment include:

  • Drawings
  • Sketchbooks
  • Viva voce examination of the dissertation
  • Reports

How will I be supported?

You will have one-to-one weekly tutorials and guidance sessions with your allocated design tutor, and module leaders will also be available to provide advice. Group and individual tutorials are also used extensively for the non-design modules.

For the dissertation module and the core module that informs this, you will be required to select a choice of research topic and/or a site for executing a design on. You will be supported throughout by the module leader and by the wider dissertation supervision team.

Feedback

We offer many and frequent feedback opportunities. Apart from essays and reports, there are seminars where you will be are required to present and discuss what you have learnt, and design review sessions, where design work is pinned up and presented by students, which is then discussed by guest critics, tutors and peers. Within the design modules, you will meet your design tutor every week to discuss progress, usually in one-to-one meetings. 

You will also have access to an allocated personal tutor, module leaders and the Course Director. Our teaching team takes a proactive approach to monitoring student progress.

What skills will I practise and develop?

You can expect to deepen your knowledge and understanding of urban economics and politics, and the role of an urban designer, as well as develop the range of relevant skills to begin or further a career in urban design.

These skills are in the areas of: built environment design at a number of scales, graphic communication, urban research, policy research and development, property valuation and community consultation.

Generic skills include those in the areas of:

  • Effective team working
  • Negotiation
  • Time management

Graduates from this programme will acquire a wide range of skills, described in each of the module descriptors.

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Students from the UK

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,950 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.

If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Students from the rest of the world (international)

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £22,450 £1,000

More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

The School covers the cost of everything that is an essential part of the programme, this will be clearly detailed in all programme information and in any verbal instructions given by tutors.

Travel and accommodation for compulsory field trips are covered within the course fee. Optional field trips will be subsidised by the University, and you will be asked to contribute towards the cost of travel and accommodation.

The University considers that the following costs do not need to be covered by Schools as they are either not essential or are basic costs that a student should be expected to cover themselves:

  • Laptop computers
  • Calculators
  • General stationery
  • Text books (assumed to be available in the library)

If there are optional costs/fees to be covered by the student, these are not a requirement to pass the degree.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

We will provide any equipment that is essential to the course. However, we recommend that you bring a laptop computer with appropriate software (e.g. word processing), USB or a hard drive, general stationery and some basic drawing equipment.

We provide student licenses for most of the specialist simulation software we use on the course, however, we can currently only guarantee that these work on computers with a Windows operating system. Much of the software typically used is available through educational agreements at zero or reduced cost.

During the course, you will have access to the specialist Architecture Library, and other University libraries, and study spaces across campus. Within the School, you may use our computing suites and other facilities which include large-format plotters, a digital laser cutter, and a well-equipped workshop.

Living costs

We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Career prospects

Graduates move onto careers as urban designers, or in urban design related work. Most of these careers are to be found within the wider areas of architecture, urban planning, property or public policy. These may be within the public, private or voluntary sectors. Some of our graduates continue to higher research degrees.

Guidance and mentoring on careers are provided during the year.

Funding

Master's Excellence Scholarships

An award open to students with a home fee status intending to study one of our taught master’s degrees.

UK Government master’s funding

If you are starting your master’s degree in September 2021 or later, you may be able to apply for UK Government postgraduate funding to support your study at Cardiff University.

Fieldwork

As part of your studies you will take a field study visit within a UK city or a city in mainland Europe, which is fully funded within the advertised fees.

Study visits are an intrinsic part of this programme. Where your experience during the visits inform assessed assignments in required core modules, the visits are compulsory.

These field study visits are compulsory since experiences of urban design ‘in the field’ are required for completing some assignments. However, modified versions of the field trips may be allowed at the discretion of the Course Director.

The trip will require you to move around the city and make observations and presentations during these journeys. Every effort will be made to accommodate students with disabilities. It is advisable to speak to the Course Director about the possibility of adjustments before enrolling.

Next steps

icon-academic

Open Day visits

Register for information about our 2021 dates.
icon-chat

Make an enquiry

Contact us for more information about this course.
icon-international

International

Learn more about our truly global university.
icon-pen

Discover more

Related searches: Architecture, Geography and planning, Design