Urban Design at UCA

Deepen your knowledge and research skills of urban design while seeking to solve complex challenges the industry faces, on UCA's new postgraduate Urban Design degree.

Taught at the Canterbury School of Architecture and Design, this course, within its stimulating, creative and supportive environment, will help you develop your own approach to urban design, which you'll do through research-led practice and experimental design.

Specialist areas you might choose to focus on in your projects could include climatic design, urban revitalisation and renewal, advanced retrofit, localism, transport infrastructures, urban or rural landscapes, or specialist urban analysis. You can work with interesting heritage and sustainability questions, engaging with both contemporary technology and traditional crafts, as well as exploring both digital and ‘real’ space.

You will have access to advanced forms of fabrication and testing, the latest scanning and VR technology, and a suite of traditional craft based workshops, all of which will allow you to bring your design proposals to life, and help launch you to potential higher level urban design and planning careers.

Please note, the MSc course has been suspended for September 2024 entry.


Course entry options

Select from the options below to find out more about the different study options available for this course:

What you'll study

What you'll

The content of the course may be subject to change. Curriculum content is provided as a guide.

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Pre-Masters year, which is based at UCA Farnham.

On this course you’ll prepare for postgraduate study with a mix of online and face-to-face learning that will give you the study skills required to complete a Master’s, and you’ll also improve your English for academic study.

This intensive week of study is to help you get ready for starting your course, and getting to know your course staff, peer group and the school community in greater depth. Activities include a multi-story guest lecture super session, an all staff pecha kucher, Canterbury and surroundings walking orientation tours and a studio launch collaborative making project.

Experimentation and Innovation
A space for orientation, adventure, and exploration of your subject and practice, this unit provides opportunities to develop and discover new perspectives on design, analytical techniques and production methods. In so doing it will situate your current and future practice, expanding your critical framework for the units ahead.

Research and Professional Contexts 1
Designed to help you develop advanced skills in research, conceptual understanding, appropriate analysis techniques and application of knowledge, this unit will help position you within the contextual foundations which support the past and future of your discipline.

Opportunity Week is an intensive week of activity conceived and undertaken in collaboration with an external partner(s). Typically, this will sit outside the your subject areas, and could cover topics including politics, economics, business, culture or philosophy.

Studio Practice
Studio Practice’ extends your research and development from term one and acts as a design accelerator unit. In the early stages, in collaboration with your specialist tutor, you will formulate a research and project proposal to be carried out through the remainder of your studies. This unit is an intensive, fast paced, and productive “engine” of your course, the outcome of which will be a comprehensive and sophisticated project that demonstrates a developing mastery of your practice. 

Research and Professional Contexts 2
Research and Professional Contexts 2 further extends and focuses your research, critical analysis, and communication skills through two components.

The first is a contextual practice presentation, in support of the development of your individual project. This should demonstrate your ability to situate your research, experimentation, and knowledge in a wider field, and express your comprehension of the impact of your work on that field.

The second can be either a:

  • Collaborative Practice Project – An opportunity to work with others on a collectively defined project.
  • Creative Business Start-Up – An exploration of professional business practice specific to design disciplines. This component is delivered by the Business School for the Creative Industries and the Careers Department.

Final Realisation
The culmination of your Masters course, this unit gathers all of your prior research, experimentation, concept development, and contextual analysis into a focused synoptic outcome. The project is a natural continuation and resolution of the work you began and the goals that you set yourself in Studio Practice and includes the dissemination of your work to external audiences.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.

Fees & funding

Fees & financial support

Tuition fees

  • 2024/25 entry: £10,500

Tuition fees

Tuition fees

  • 2024/25 entry (MSc): £18,000
  • 2024/25 entry (Integrated International Pre-Masters course - 30 weeks): £17,500
  • 2024/25 entry (Integrated International Pre-Masters course - 15 weeks): £8,750

Please note: the fees listed here are correct for the stated academic year only. For more detailed information about our course fees please see our fees and finance pages

UCA scholarships and fee discounts

At UCA we have a number of scholarships and fee discounts available to assist you with the cost of your studies.

Current UCA students and alumni may be eligible for a tuition fee discount.

Financial support

There are lots of ways you can access additional financial support to help you fund your studies - both from UCA and from external sources. Discover what support you might qualify for please see our financial support information.

Additional course costs

In addition to the tuition fees there may be other costs for your course. The things that you are likely to need to budget for to get the most out of a creative arts education will include books, printing costs, occasional or optional study trips and/or project materials.

These costs will vary according to the nature of your project work and the individual choices that you make. Please see the Additional Course Costs section of your Course Information for details of the costs you may incur.


Dedicated postgraduate open plan studio spaces, used for group tutorials and personal working. 3D workshop with machines for working in wood, metals, plastics and ceramics. Fully-equipped computer studio with Macs and PCs programmed with the latest software for design and animation. Laser cutters, 3D printers and virtual reality lab on campus.

View 360 virtual tour

Architecture studios, UCA Canterbury

Architecture Digital Media studios, UCA Canterbury

Fabrication Lab, UCA Canterbury

3D workshop, UCA Canterbury

Career opportunities


Graduates of this complex and impressive course might find themselves using their MSc to work in a variety of different roles. These might include:

  • Project manager in economic development
  • City government planner
  • Urban consultant
  • Project planner and analyst
  • Research associate
  • Development manager

You may want to undertake further study or a research degree to specialise even more.

Entry & portfolio requirements

Entry & portfolio

MSc course

  • A good honours degree or equivalent qualification in a related discipline


  • Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

Consideration will also be given to applicants who can make a strong case for admission in relation to a particular project and can demonstrate their potential to satisfactorily complete the course.

Portfolio requirements

For this course we will need to see your portfolio for review. You can either submit a digital portfolio or request an in-person portfolio review with the course team. Further information will be provided once you have applied.

MSc course

The entry requirements will depend on the country your qualifications are from, please check the equivalent qualifications for your country:

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a portfolio for review. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your portfolio will be sent to you after we have reviewed your application.

MSc course with Integrated International Pre-Masters course

  • A recognised bachelor degree or 3 year diploma with a strong portfolio in a relevant subject.

Any additional entry requirements listed in the UK requirements section, e.g., subject requirements, work experience or professional qualifications, also apply to international applicants applying with equivalent qualifications.

Portfolio requirements

You will be required to submit a portfolio for review. Further information on specific portfolio requirements and how to submit your portfolio will be sent to you after we have reviewed your application.

English language requirements

To study at UCA, you'll need to have a certain level of English language skill. And so, to make sure you meet the requirements of your course, we ask for evidence of your English language ability, please check the level of English language required:

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry pathways:

Apply now

Please use the following fields to help select the right application link for you: