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MRes Inter-disciplinary Urban Design


A flexible programme exploring urban design as a critical arena for advanced research and practice.

Who should apply

Students from architectural, planning, urban design, landscape, real estate or civil engineering backgrounds.

About the course

The programme aims to:

  • provide an inter-disciplinary space for students to examine the challenges of urban design from comparative disciplinary perspectives
  • expose students to the diversity of urban design teaching and the latest cutting edge research from across The Bartlett and beyond
  • help students conduct a substantial piece of individual urban design research
  • train students in research methodologies for urban scale research and critically informed urban design practice

Why choose The Bartlett

We offer:

  • a globally unique programme
  • an extremely flexible course – shape your own study agenda with support from a supervisor
  • a course that operates as a stand alone high-level masters, or a staging post for further research at PhD level
  • one of the largest concentrations of urban design related researchers and professional expertise found anywhere in the world

More information

For more information, please contact:


The MRes Inter-disciplinary Urban Design (IdUD) is a Faculty-wide programme drawing its staff, supervisors and content from all parts of The Bartlett and beyond, including from The Bartlett Schools of Architecture, Planning, and Graduate Studies, the Development Planning Unit, from the Department of Geography and from the UCL Transport Studies Centre.

Through the MRes IdUD, students will be able to tap into perhaps the largest global concentration of urban design related researchers and professional expertise found anywhere in the world.

The programme has a simple and highly flexible structure, designed to allow students to tailor their learning in order to reflect both their own background, and how they wish to specialise in the future.

The MRes IdUD consists of three modules amounting to 180 credits.


Whilst the MRes IdUD offers huge flexibility and choice (see Content), the final choice of feeder modules into the first Inter-disciplinary Urban Design module may be restricted by the UCL timetable, which is not fixed until the summer preceding entry.  In addition, some modules have specified prerequisites and others are not available every year. 

The Programme Director can advise participants on their choice of feeder modules and the timetable for these can be viewed through the UCL Common Timetable by searching for modules under their ‘home’ degree programmes.


BENVGID1: Inter-disciplinary urban design

This module draws from a range of named feeder modules from across The Bartlett and UCL, each of which explores the broad territory of urban design from a different perspective.

This ‘black box’ of elements is given shape by students themselves who select components:

i) according to their own academic backgrounds and professional experiences so as to further develop their knowledge, skills and aptitudes – in-depth

ii) in order to understand the academic / disciplinary lens through which the material of the module is taught as a means to develop a cross-disciplinary perspective on the study of urban design

iii) as a means to gain in-depth understanding of methods and approaches to the study of urban design that will be relevant / appropriate to their own individual research projects.

75 credits of modules should normally be chosen, ideally from at least three different parts of The Bartlett and UCL. Feeder courses into the module include, although are not limited to:

Department of Anthropology

ANTHGC12: Anthropology of the Built Environment

ANTHGM02: Digital Infrastructure, Materiality, Information and Politics

School of Architecture

BENVGAH2: The Representation of Cities

BENVGAH4: Theorising Practices: Architecture, Art & Urbanism

BENVUD1 History and Theory of Urban Design

BENVUD2 Strategic Urban Design

BENVUD3 Detailed Urban Design

Development Planning Unit

BENVGBU1 Transforming Local Areas: Urban Design for Development

BENVGBU2 Participatory Process: Building for Development

BENVGBU8 Critical Urbanism Studio I

BENVGBU9 Critical Urbanism Studio II

BENVGES4: Urban Agriculture

BENVGES6: Sustainable Infrastructure and Services in Development

BENVGES7: Urban Water and Sanitation, Planning and Politics

Space Syntax Laboratory

BENVGAAD Design as a Knowledge-Based Process

BENVGAAF Principles of Analytical Design

BENVGAAG Spatial Cultures

BENVGAAH Spatial Justice

BENVGAAI Architectural Phenomena

BENVGAAJ Adaptable Cities

BENVGACK: Embodied and Embedded Technologies, Cities as Interface

BENVGAAM ‘Space syntax’ methodology and analytical design (15-credit version of BENVGAAF, term 1 only)

BENVGAAP E-merging Design Research

Department of Economics

ECONG037 - The Economics of Migration

School of Planning

BENVGEPD - Sustainable Property: Valuation, Investment, Developments

BENVGHD3 Critical Debates in Housing Development

BENVGPD1 Design and Real Estate

BENVGPD2 Critical Debates in Urban Design and City Planning

BENVGPD3 Collaborative City Planning Strategies

BENVGPD4: Sustainable Futures by Design

BENVGPL4: Pillars of Planning

BENVGPL5 Spatial Planning: Concepts and Context

BENVGPL6 International Planning

BENVGPLC Urban Design – Place-Making

BENVGPLD: From Strategic Vision to Urban Plan

BENVGPLE Planning for Housing: Process

BENVGPLF Planning for Housing: Project

BENVGPLH Spatial Planning: Critical Practice

BENVGPLJ - Communities and Planning: Concepts and Frameworks

BENVGMP1 - Mega infrastructures as agents of change

BENVGMP3 - Risk, uncertainty & complexity in decision-making

BENVGMP4 - Critical Issues In Mega Infrastructure Investments

BENVGSU3 Sustainable Urban Design

BENVGSU4 - Smart Cities: Major Research Project

BENVGSU7 Governance for Urban Sustainability: Key Debatess

BENVGTC2 Urban Design: Urban Design: Layout, Density & Typology

BENVGTC4 Urban Design: Guidance, Incentive and Control

BENVGTP1: Transport Planning and the City

BENVGTP2: International Case Studies in Transport and City Planning

BENVGURA: Planning Discourses for Urban Development in Historic Cities and Neighbourhoods

BENVGURB: Planning Discourses for Urban Development in Historic Cities and Neighbourhoods

BENVGUR4 Case Studies in Preparing Regeneration Projects

BENVGUR5 Case Studies in Implementing Regeneration Projects

BENVGUR6 Urban Problems and Problematics

Imperial College London: Centre for Transport Studies

T26: Urban Street Planning & Design

Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering

BENVGEE9 Social dimensions of sustainability

BENVGEEC: Environmental Masterplanning

BENVGEEH Sustainable Housing Design

Department of Geography

GEOGG004 - Thinking Space

GEOGG036 - Migration and Urban Multicultures

GEOGG047 - Precarious Urban Environments

URBANG001 Cities, Space & Power

URBNG003: Creative Cities

URBNG005: Public Space & the City

URBNGO07: Community Participation in City Strategies

URBNGO09: London, Aspects of Change

Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

BENVGSA3 Geographic Information Systems and Science

BENVGSA4 Spatial Modelling and Simulation

BENVGSC1: Urban Systems Theory

BENVGSC5: Urban Stimulation

Institute for Global Health

CIHDG019: Collecting and using data – Essentials of quantitative survey research

Because the combination of feeder courses will vary from student to student, so will the methods of delivery. However, a typical student might encounter studio teaching, formal lectures, analytical modelling, small group tutorials and discussion, formal presentations, site visits, and a wide range of other diverse teaching techniques.

Assessment of the module will constitute the combined final assessment from each feeder course, weighted by credit allowance.

Learning outcomes

  1. The development of in-depth knowledge and skills in urban design and the development of aptitudes to urban design as an Inter-disciplinary research arena
  2. An understanding of the academic / disciplinary lenses through which the component parts of the module are taught as a means to develop a cross-disciplinary perspective on the study and practice of urban design
  3. An in-depth understanding of methods and approaches that will be relevant / appropriate to the understanding of complex urban problems.

Note: The final module selection will need to be approved by the Programme Director, including any modules from outside of this list. Final combinations will also be subject to timetable constraints which vary from year to year.

BENVGID2: Urban Investigations

This module does two things. First, it provides students on the MRes a weekly opportunity to get together, and through exposure to the series of urban scale research projects being conducted at UCL (and elsewhere) discuss and experiment with the latest urban research methodologies. Because projects will vary from year to year, no fixed formal syllabus is set, although discussions will range across:

  • Philosophical explorations – using theory and critique to understand urban design processes and outcomes and the rationale, purpose and nature of urban design
  • Process investigations – focusing on the normative and ‘potential’ systems, tools, procedures and networks that shape the outcomes of urban design
  • Physical modelling – through a range of scientific studies in which the form and configuration of space is examined as the physical ‘product’ of urban design and the container for use and flows of resource
  • Propositional experiments – studio-based research and pedagogical investigation using design process and creative speculations to reveal responses to defined urban problems and problematics
  • Performance enquiries – through direct and indirect anthropological investigation and stakeholder discourse, examining the nature of space-in-use

Second, the module will provide a showcase of UCL’s engagement with urban design and urban scale research offering students the opportunity to interact with the full range of UCL’s urban design active / interested staff. In doing so it will expose students to the full range of transferable skills expected of MRes students.

Teaching will largely be conducted as a weekly lecture followed by a small group seminar.  Examination will be through completion of a 4,000 word research proposal and a series of quick-fire methodological exercises.

Learning outcomes

  1. An in-depth understanding of methods and approaches to the study of urban design and allied research areas that will be relevant / appropriate to the understanding of complex urban problems.
  2. Training in methodologies appropriate to the conduct of urban design and urban scaled research.
  3. Appreciation of the full range of transferable research skills appropriate to urban scale research.

BENVGID3: Urban Design Research Project

A final module feeds from the first and second and provides students with the opportunity to conduct a major individual research project that explores the nature of urban design as an Inter-disciplinary research subject, and as a key dimension of understanding and unlocking complex urban problems. The module provides students with the opportunity to conduct a major individual research project of at least 15,000 words or 10,000 words and a major research-based design proposal.

This work should normally develop out of the research proposal prepared at the conclusion of Module 1: Inter-disciplinary Urban Design, and, whilst a student-driven exercise, will be closely supervised by an allocated supervisor.

The module will commence with a weekend retreat away from UCL, providing participants with an opportunity to present, discuss and refine their research proposals. It will culminate in a viva oral examination attended by both supervisors and forming part of the formal examination process.

Learning outcomes

  1. The preparation and execution of a complex research-based urban project with a focus on one or more urban problems requiring a Inter-disciplinary urban design perspective.
  2. The application of appropriate design and/or research-based methodologies to the resolution of a complex urban problem.
  3. The understanding and engagement with relevant theories and professional and research methods to frame, analyse and address the identified urban design research project.


Beyond the faculty, each academic section of The Bartlett is active in the urban design field with a wide range of PhD researchers, funded research projects, relevant masters level programmes, active relevant seminar programmes and social networks.

This means there are almost 50 members of staff, across The Bartlett who are either engaged directly in urban design teaching and research, or for whom the concerns of urban design form a critical dimension of the area within which they work.

Depending on their selection of feeder courses in Module 1, students will be exposed to different academic and research staff, although at some point in their studies they should be exposed to most urban design and staff working in the field of urban design from across The Bartlett.

Whilst students will feel a strong engagement and identification with the MRes IdUD specifically, they will also have access to the much larger set of resources and activities represented by the faculty at large and its individual academic centres.

Students will have particularly close contact
with the Programme Director and their allocated supervisor; the latter drawn
from The Bartlett academic staff.

The Programme Director is responsible for the day to day running of the programme, for its academic direction and for the academic progression and welfare of its students. Their supervisor will work with students on the preparation of their research proposal (during module 1), and eventually on their Urban Design Research Project (module 2).

In addition, PhD students studying urban design within the faculty act as mentors for new MRes students, helping them to progress and assisting in their full engagement with the programme, School, Faculty and College.


Inter-disciplinary Urban Design MRes

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2017

Modes and duration
Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years
Tuition Fees (2017/18)
£10,980 (FT)
£20,540 (FT)
Application dates
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 28 July 2017
Flexible/Modular applicants
Open: 3 October 2016
Close: 2 September 2017

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a cognate discipline or a relevant Master's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


How to apply

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

This programme will be particularly suitable for students from architectural, planning, urban design, landscape, real estate or civil engineering backgrounds, although others might also be considered

Application deadlines
28 July 2017
Flexible/Modular applicants
2 September 2017

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now
What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Inter-disciplinary Urban Design at graduate level
  • why you want to study Inter-disciplinary Urban Design at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Degree last modified on 27 October 2016 at 11:10 by UCL Publications & Marketing Services. Please contact us for content updates.

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is 28th July 2016.

The UCL admissions procedure for all applications for postgraduate programmes (including MArch, MRes, MA, MSc and Postgraduate Diploma) normally takes between 4 and 12 weeks. Generally, applications are considered and decisions on offers of admission are arrived at in the order that applications are received. Therefore, applicants are advised to apply earlier rather than later.

If you have not yet met the academic or English language proficiency requirements then you can still apply. But if you are made an offer of a place, then it will be conditional on you meeting these requirements before the start of the academic year. 

If you require a visa to study in the UK, documentation to assist in your visa application cannot be produced until an unconditional offer of admission is made. A conditional offer will delay your Tier 4 visa application, so you should try and obtain your English certification and provide evidence of meeting any academic condition as early as possible. International applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK should also take into account that, as well as the time required to complete the UCL admissions procedure, obtaining entry clearance to the UK takes an additional amount of time. Therefore if you require a Tier 4 visa you are strongly advised to make your application to study at UCL before 15th June in the year in which you wish to study. 


The MRes Inter-disciplinary Urban Design (IdUD) is a globally unique high level masters degree. With its emphasis on the power of urban design, its belief in inter-disciplinarity, and its use of questioning research methodologies, the programme opens up a range of future opportunities for participants along two primary paths:

  • First, it provides an opportunity for students seeking to further their professional careers, to specialise in urban design, and, even within that broad arena, to engage deeply within a particular research agenda of direct relevance to their future professional practice. In this regard,the programme emphasises and imparts an analytical and questioning approach to the professional discipline and to its urban problems that will allow participants to become more incisive and penetrating in their own professional work.
  • Second, for students seeking a research or academic career, the MRes provides the ideal training for a PhD and eventually for a move to an academic or other research position. Therefore, the MRes can help to both define an appropriate study at PhD level, whilst also steam-lining the conduct of a PhD itself, through imparting advanced research methods training and, through the preparation of the Urban Design Research Project (module 2), providing a direct feed into a future PhD.

The programme is founded on the belief that in urban design a research perspective provides a critical dimension of advanced professional practice, whilst better practice is the worthy ultimate goal of good urban research.

Urban Design Research Projects

The posters below provide examples of the Urban Design Research Projects that MRes IdUD students complete.  Topics are very broad and methods inter-disciplinary as they reflect, first, the diverse perspectives on urban design represented across UCL, and second, the interests and experiences that students themselves bring to their study.

Please select the links to access PDF files containing detailed descriptions of the individual projects.


Abir Eltayeb
(Re-)Conceptualizing Land Claims through the Concept of (Property) Rights: The case of Solidere, Beirut

Christoph Kollert
The Role of Urban Design in Promoting Cycling: A Behaviour Change Perspective

Juhyun Lee
Spatial Ethics as an evaluation tool for the long-term impacts of mega urban infrastructure : an application of Spatial Ethics Multi-criteria Assessment to Canning Town Regeneration Project, London

Renelle Sarjeant
Reconciling Public Space Perspectives: The Institutional and the Everyday


Leonardo Alings
Mediaspree Revisited: Long-term impact of Urban Social Movements in the case of Mediaspree, Berlin

Joseph Chambers
Urban Private-Public Spaces: A Study of Their Uses

Ziyu Chen
Street Hierarchy and the Distribution of Frontage Uses

Blazej Czuba
Open space of a post-socialist housing estate as collective luxury

Terpsithea Laopoulou
A methodology for comparatively analysing graphics in urban investigations

Omar Sherif
Shifting Visions of Modernity in Cairo: A Spatial Political Economy Approach

Jiawen Tu
Exploring the Relationship between Spatial Patterns and Static Activities within Ordinary Markets: Case Studies based on London


Samar Al-Zwaylif
Dubai: Behind the Scenes - A study of hidden everyday spaces in Dubai

Katy Hawkins
Investigations of Co-Design as an Urban Process

Athina Vlachou
Gerani, Athens: Space and Patterns of Immigrant Segregation

Yicong Yang
Design with Informality: a study of spatial informality in Wuhan

Ioanna Kolovou
Exploring the Spatiality of Localities: the case of Central Athens