The Grenfell-Baines Institute for Architecture
MSc Urban Design

Urban growth continues to expand worldwide, and more than half the world’s populations currently dwell in cities. The MSc in Urban Design at UCLan is dynamic and unique- and the course is ideal to study, research and develop skills, strategies and design responses to address future emerging and important urban issues. If you have a background in architecture, planning, sociology, geography, art history, fine art, infrastructure, civil engineering or digital design; and you wish to build a critical understanding of planning and urbanism to enter a career related to the shaping of our future cities, this course may be for you.

You will work with real cities and live projects, politicians, policy makers, architects and designers in a critical studio environment as well as residential study tours to European cities to prepare you for practice addressing the demands of our urban future.

Build a unique, individual programme of study through a diverse range of opportunities, approaches and experiences:

  • A course founded on strong industry links and taught by experienced, professionally qualified staff
  • Benefit from inclusive and multidisciplinary design studio environments
  • Participate in urban exploration collaborating with other universities and practices
  • Engage in live city projects with real communities
  • International study tours to enable contextual critique
  • Guest speakers and critics carrying out world-leading research
  • Opportunities for further MPhil/PhD study

The content

  • Critical urban design techniques, strategies and development
  • Innovative approaches for resolving complex and comprehensive urban design projects
  • Multiplicity, contingency and pluralism in cities
  • The critical and cultural context of architecture, urban design and urbanism
  • The influence of social, cultural, political, economic and environmental drivers within urban design and planning
  • The importance of environmental, ecological and sustainable concerns within urban design
  • Statutory regulations, procedures and planning policies and their relation to the development of urban design and town planning

The Facilities

“The studio space is amazing and facilities are some of the best I’ve seen in the UK.” 
Tom Benson, Architecture graduate 2013 

The shared studio context allows for critical dialogue across the disciplines of architecture, town planning and urban design with Design Studio at its core. Contemporary and emerging urban design issues will be fully integrated through direct (studio-based), indirect (guidance and policy-based), and critical (theory-based) projects. The Design Studio is an excellent space, well equipped with IT and adjacent model making facilities.

Research informed

Staff undertake world leading research in the areas of urban regeneration, housing, public space, urban landscapes and spatio-cultural practices. The programme is underpinned by research-informed teaching, and you will produce work of a publishable standard as a key output of the written thesis.

Your future prospects

You will be well prepared to develop your career worldwide, developing transferrable skills, knowledge and expertise to gain employment in either private or public sector urban design practices. You may also work with a broad range of other disciplines within the built environment including architecture, infrastructure and engineering, research and policy making. Additionally, you could undertake advisory and consultation roles on behalf of clients.

University of Central Lancashire
01772 892400
Key Contact
Adam Evans (Course Leader)
01772 893217
Course Duration: 
PT - one day/week, FT - two days/week
North West