The MSc Programme in Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery is a one-year full-time or two- to five-year modular/flexible international programme which has been designed to equip students with the multidisciplinary competences required to plan, appraise and deliver large-scale and complex infrastructure programmes and projects fit for the multiple challenges of the 21st Century. The MSc programme benefits from the findings of research conducted by the OMEGA Centre, also located in the Bartlett School of Planning at UCL, which has recently conducted case studies in decision-making in mega project developments in ten economies in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America.
Physical Infrastructure networks comprise roads, railways, metros, pipelines, ports and airports, bridges, tunnels, hydroelectric facilities, nuclear power plants, refineries, water and wastewater delivery and treatment systems which together with their often highly complex supporting organisational structures (soft infrastructure) form the backbone of a modern economy. Mega infrastructure is a particular class of high profile infrastructure asset which typically costs in excess of US$1Bn and attracts a high level of public attention and political interest. This is not solely due to their high cost, but principally because of their substantial and long lasting direct and indirect development impacts on communities, environments economies and institutions at local, regional, national and international levels acting very often as strategic agents of change. Examples of such megaprojects include: the Channel Tunnel a 50km undersea rail tunnel linking the UK and France; the 4150 km Trans-Siberian pipeline; the US$40 billion Songdo International Business District developing 610 hectares of reclaimed land in South Korea; the US$22 billion Boston Big Dig, the most expensive highway project in the USA; the US$16 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam complex currently under construction in Brazil; the King Shaka International Airport serving Durban (South Africa); the 75 km Dubai Metro, the world's longest fully automated metro network; the 1300km Beijing to Shanghai High Speed Railway linking China’s two most important cities.
The growing demand for such megaprojects together with the risks and uncertainties that they often face, in particular concerning the multiple challenges of achieving sustainable development, make this MSc programme extremely timely in producing a new breed of mega infrastructure professionals able to understand and deliver the key ingredients for megaproject success. Recent innovative research by the OMEGA Centre has found many previous mega project practices to be inflexible, too narrowly focused and insensitive to critical contexts. These deficiencies have presented infrastructure specialists and policy makers with major concerns about how we should plan, appraise and deliver more robust, holistic and sustainable mega infrastructure investments across all sectors, and how existing investments might be retrofitted to better service such goals. It is envisaged that graduates of this programme will be very well placed to help broker the numerous different stakeholder interests to arrive at more holistic, robust and sustainable megaproject outcomes, employing new appraisal methodologies throughout all parts of the project lifecycle that go well beyond traditional techniques.
The MSc programme is directed by Professor Harry T. Dimitriou, who has taught, researched and practised internationally in the field of infrastructure development for over 30 years and held numerous advisory and consultancy positions, including for the World Bank, UNDP, UN-Habitat, Harvard Institute for International Development, Hong Kong Government, Government of Indonesia, and UK Regional Development Agencies. It is supported by other distinguished teaching contributions from the Bartlett School of Planning as well as contributions from the OMEGA Centre Research Team plus numerous practitioners of national and international repute. The programme offers a multi-disciplinary teaching approach and innovative planning and appraisal methods to megaproject development, using a number of project case studies, and direct classroom contributions from over 30 leading experts from a variety of fields including: international development agencies, investment banking, pension fund management, property development, knowledge management, war Studies, government (HM Treasury, transport consultancy, planning consultancy, civil engineering and asset management consultancy. The MSc seeks to offer an invaluable grounded qualification for new entrants into the field and also to enhance those currently working in/within the megaproject development profession. Past students have used the course as a conversion programme from other professions to the mega infrastructure field.
The MSc Programme in Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery draws on contemporary research in the field of mega infrastructure development from both the OMEGA Centre and other leading research institutions - with the aim to develop a critical understanding of mega infrastructure theory and practice. It investigates the fundamental question of ‘what constitutes a “successful” mega infrastructure project, in light of the many and fast changing expectations that different stakeholders have of such investments in the 21st Century, not least in seeking to contribute to sustainable development. The programme is inter-disciplinary and international, and recognises that any judgements about Mega Infrastructure ‘success’ need to be examined with full consideration of multiple contexts. Therefore, the programme aims to equip students with the means to prepare ‘appropriate’ planning, appraisal and delivery responses that are not only robust but especially sensitive to risks, uncertainties and complexities.
The main learning outcomes include:
- Acquisition of understanding of the fundamental characteristics of mega projects, plans and programmes.
- Attainment of clear overview of past and contemporary challenges and trends in the theories and practice of mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery.
- Understanding of the contribution that such initiatives make to environmental, social, economic and institutional objectives at local, national and global scales.
- Acquisition of basic knowledge of the international, national and regional policies and legislative frameworks, plus market contexts that surround mega infrastructure development.
- Appreciation of the diversity of stakeholders’ agendas and of the interrelationships and tensions between local, national and global objectives.
- Enhanced understanding of the critical issues concerning sustainable infrastructure investment at all scales.
- Attainment of generic skills of strategic planning and risk management distilled from other professions and disciplines where risk, uncertainty and complexity are at the heart of their planning.
- Grounding in traditional and contemporary infrastructure planning and appraisal methods and techniques including: Financial, Economic and Social Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA), Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and Social Impact Assessment (SIA).
- Introduction to application of innovative methods and techniques to infrastructure planning, appraisal and monitoring, including: Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA), Stakeholder and Issue Analysis and policy-led MCA that facilitate the transparent trade-off between different project stakeholder priorities, aims and needs across the sectors and levels of development in a more holistic manner.
The course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a 'specialist' fourth year for graduate students who have successfully completed an RTPI-accredited three-year undergraduate course.
Accreditation by the Joint Board of Moderators (JBM) has been confirmed as a result of the programme meeting the further learning requirements for students who have completed undergraduate studies in an approved engineering school. This will enable engineering graduates to satisfy the academic requirements for Chartered Engineer status and corporate membership of either the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation, and or the Institute of Highway Engineers.
Accreditation by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for students is being progressed.
Director: Professor Harry Dimitriou
Admissions Tutor: Professor Harry Dimitriou
Programme Administrator: Anthony Grout
The MSc in Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery comprise eight modules (seven core modules and one elective) and a final dissertation.
The core modules taken by all students cover the fundamental mega infrastructure project knowledge areas. Starting from the assumption that the planning, appraisal and delivery of such projects is a multi- disciplinary intellectual field, the teaching approach of the MSc integrates aspects of different core disciplines such as public policy-making and planning, project management, civil engineering, economics, sociology, politics, law and geography that go beyond the ‘disciplinary silos’ usually found in academia and practice. Lectures are carried out in an interactive manner, favouring participation and discussion around the multiple topics tackled during the lessons, so as to benefit from the different backgrounds of the students and different perspectives drawn from by the lecturers.
The electives allow students to build up an individual specialisation based on their own interests and career objectives. Students can choose an elective from a wide range of thematic topics covering:
- public policy
- spatial planning
- sustainable urbanism
- urban regeneration
- urban design
- transport planning
- project management
Through its Student Group Project exercise the programme also offers an opportunity of role-playing client-professional practice in tackling a ‘live case study’ undertaken with parties from government and practice who act as proxy clients for the students during the preparation and presentation of their work/findings. It is here that the new knowledge acquired through the earlier core modules are synthesised, integrated and tested in the context of a live problem-solving situation.
During the third term students undertake a non-credit earning Research Methods module which is designed to assist students prepare for the dissertation undertaken in the summer months between June and September. The dissertation gives students the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge in the production of a final dissertation encompassing an intellectually challenging topic at the forefront of mega infrastructure development research. All students are assigned a dissertation tutor who will offer guidance and support during the preparation and development of their thesis.
Examples of recent dissertations include:
- The Use of Multi-Criteria Analysis in Decision-Making on Mega Infrastructure Projects: - The Case of the Rotterdam Mainport Development Project
- The Metro as an Agent of Sustainable Urban Development: Choosing the ‘right’ success criteria for the Riyadh metro
- The analysis of the Winners and Losers of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge Project in China: An examination of the role of PFI in mega infrastructure projects
- A Critique of Mega Infrastructure Project Appraisal Frameworks: Lessons for Abu Dhabi megaprojects
- Mega Transport Infrastructure Projects, their Dualistic Role in Activating Globalization and Promoting long-term Strategic Planning: A comparative analysis of airport rail links in Hong Kong and New York.
Supplementing the course modules, Student Group Project and dissertation are individual tutorials offered to students throughout term time to provide rapid response to students questions. Over and above these tutorials, the MSc programme also uses some of its ex-students now embarked on PhD studies in the OMEGA Centre as ‘student mentors’.
The figure below shows the structure of the one-year full-time MSc programme.
MSc Programme European Study Field Trip
Students will have the opportunity to visit a selection of some of the most important European mega-projects during a one week trip. In this way students will be able to appreciate directly the way that different contexts, including cultural, political and institutional, frame mega infrastructure decision- making in the planning, appraisal and delivery. In the last years students have visited and received specially arranged presentations from a wide range of senior professionals, civil servants and academics regarding:
- France’s High Speed TGV network
- The Rotterdam Central Station
- The Randstaad Rail and the Maeslant
- Barrier in the Netherlands
- The Brussels Station area development
- The Öresund Link in Sweden and Denmark
In addition to these presentations, students have benefited from presentations from the European Commission in Brussels on EU policies and plans on trans-national mega infrastructure developments and investments.
MIPAD Fieldtrip 2012
MIPAD Fieldtrip 2012
The OMEGA Centre
The MSc in Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery is extensively informed by the empirical findings of the work of the OMEGA Centre, itself being informed by the narratives of some three hundred project stakeholders in ten countries and 30 megaproject case studies. From the time of its establishment in 2005, the OMEGA Centre at the Bartlett School of Planning, funded by the Volvo Research and Education Foundation (VREF), and supported by its network of international Partners have sought to address the growing international realisation of the need to better understand what constitutes a 'successful' Megaproject, and how better to enable such projects to meet multiple (sometimes conflicting) objectives given the increasingly uncertain and complex 21st century environments and the need for more sustainable development approaches. The Centre’s findings concerning ‘successful’ megaprojects was amassed over more than seven years and have been seen in a number of influential quarters to have significant potential to shape the future planning, appraisal and delivery of mega infrastructure projects. On the basis of its track record the OMEGA Centre has been recently engaged in strategic advisory work for: the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Actuary Profession; Infrastructure UK, the HM Treasury and the European Investment Bank.
The OMEGA Seminar Programme
The OMEGA Centre runs an annual Seminar Programme. Launched in January 2009, this programme focuses on important topics concerned with the planning, appraisal and delivery of mega projects and their impacts on development as agents of change. The seminars are open to everyone with an interest in mega infrastructure development. They have over the years benefited from numerous internationally and nationally renowned infrastructure experts on a variety of topics.
A selection of the most recent presentations include:
- Pierre Laconte, Past Secretary General of ISOCARP and IUPT on The Louvain University campus development
- Prof. Michael Hebert, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL on Cross-Rail
- Michael Schabas, First Class Partnership on The Lagos Metro Blue Line
- Jay Jayasundara, Past Infrastructure Advisor to UK Prime Minister on Politics and Megaprojects
- Robert Ravelli, Private Consultant on US NE High Speed Corridor
- John Steward, HACAN on Heathrow’s Third Runway
- Christian Wolmar, Freelance journalist on Megaprojects, Political Champions and the Media
- Oliver Sparrow, The Challenge Network on Regulatory Needs for Megaprojects
BENVGMP1: Mega Infrastructures as Agents of Change (15 credits): The principal aim of the course module is to impart critical information concerning issues and contexts involved in the planning, appraisal and delivery of mega infrastructure investments as agents of change under forces of globalization.The module in particular seeks to:
- Demonstrate trends and challenges that mega infrastructure developments are facing in the 21st Century.
- Illustrate principal generic features of mega infrastructure projects, programmes and plans.
- Clarify, define and explain key issues in mega-infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery.
- Explain the role of mega infrastructure investments as strategic agents of change in different contexts, especially regarding economic growth, urban agglomeration impacts, climate change and social development.
- Compare principal generic features and contexts of mega infrastructure projects, programmes & plans in developed and developing economies.
- Examine what factors constitute the ‘success’of mega infrastructure delivery and criteria employed to arrive at such judgements.
BENVGMP2: Traditional Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery Toolbox (15 credits): The principal aim of this course module is to provide an understanding of the essential background to the conventional tools for mega infrastructure planning appraisal and delivery.
The module seeks to:
- Explain the principal planning, appraisal and delivery tools applied to recent mega infrastructure investments in terms of their theoretical constructs and their functional roles for estimating future costs and benefits.
- Demonstrate the trajectory of decision-making in mega infrastructure development.
- Illustrate the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional planning and appraisal tools for mega infrastructure projects, programmes and plans, particularly Cost Benefit Analysis.
- Clarify, define and explain the major problems and opportunities arising from the use of these traditional tools in the context of public, private and public/private sponsored projects
BENVGMP3: Risk, Uncertainty and Complexity in Decision-Making (15 credits): The principal aim of this course module is to impart knowledge of the treatment of risk, uncertainty and complexity in decision-making for planning, appraising and delivering mega infrastructure projects, programmes and plans. The critical importance of context and the generic and context-specific lessons related to what constitute successful mega infrastructure investments in terms of their resilience and robustness to change will be emphasised and explained. The module also seeks to highlight the role and importance of strategic planning in addressing the complexity confronted both within infrastructure development and the environments in which it is planned, appraised and delivered.
The module in particular seeks to:
- Clarify and elaborate key theoretical elements of risk, uncertainty and complexity in decision-making for mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery.
- Foster an understanding of the use of strategic planning and strategic management in response to challenges of complexity.
- Examine current practices and likely futures in the treatment of risk, uncertainty and complexity for mega infrastructure development and the importance of critical contexts, both internal and external to the project.
- Review the contemporary use/misuse of concepts of complexity analysis, uncertainty and risk-taking in mega infrastructure investment.
- Clarify, define and explain challenges and opportunities arising from strategic planning.
BENVGMP4: Critical issues in Sustainable Mega Infrastructure Investments (15 credits): The principal aim of this course module is to provide students with an opportunity for in-depth reading, critical reflection and discussion around key issues and debates connected with mega infrastructure investment. The aim is to enable students to develop a deeper knowledge of important challenges, practices and theories of mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery, and to help form an integrated view of sustainable infrastructure investment in relation to key areas of knowledge.
The module in particular seeks to:
- Introduce prevailing issues associated with 21st century mega infrastructure investments and stimulate critical thinking that relate to a variety of contexts.
- Examine current and likely futures practices in the treatment of risk, uncertainty and complexity for mega infrastructure investments in both developed and developing economies.
- Review the contemporary uses/misuses of concepts of complexity analysis, uncertainty and risk-taking in mega infrastructure investment and planning.
- Define, clarify and explain criteria for the development of mega infrastructure strategies that meet the needs of sustainable development.
BENVGMP5: The 21st Century Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery Toolbox (15 credits): The principal aim of this module is to present a new overall strategic framework and related processes - with supporting policy and planning guidance, plus appraisal and strategic tools - for the planning, appraisal and delivery of mega infrastructure investments that seek to better address the challenges and uncertainties of the 21st century. This new ‘toolkit’ aims to place risk, uncertainty and complexity, plus the importance of context, at the milieu of megaproject decision-making, drawing extensively from a variety of lessons derived from the critical review of a number of mega infrastructure projects, programmes and plans (and their interrelationships) including those reviewed by the OMEGA Centre in its international case study of 30 mega projects.
The module in particular seeks to:
- Provide generic and context specific lessons and guidelines for mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery in the face of increasing risks, uncertainties and complexities.
- Explain interrelationships of planning, appraisal and strategic management tools that surround mega infrastructure development within the context of increased forces of globalisation and rising challenges of sustainable development.
- Provide an appreciation of the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) Paradigm, its applications and limitations in the context of mega project planning and appraisal.
- Highlight the value of policy-led Multi-criteria Analysis (MCA) as an overarching framework for the treatment of qualitative and quantitative criteria in the planning, appraisal and delivery of mega infrastructure;
- Explain the role of global and local policy frameworks (and related targets) from/for different sectors/disciplines that should inform mega infrastructure investment appraisal.
- Emphasize the important appropriate role of Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) and CBA and their critical inputs to the MCA.
- Illustrate why/how a wider range of agencies and stakeholders are inherently involved within the mega infrastructure decision-making processes, and how MCA can facilitate the adoption of a more inclusive/transparent approach to stakeholder decision-making
BENVGMP6: Sustainability Visions & Challenges for Mega Infrastructure Investments (15 credits): As we proceed into the second decade of the 21st century, it is very apparent that the sustainability challenges for mega infrastructure developments are increasingly important to their success, and that positive economic growth outcomes alone are an insufficient justification to prepare and deliver new mega infrastructure projects, programmes and plans. Just 20 or 30 years ago, for the most enlightened sponsors of mega infrastructure investments, concerns about sustainability were primarily confined to local environmental issues. Today, as our understanding of the concept and long term nature of sustainability develops and as our knowledge of the impacts of man-made structures becomes more informed by science, we are confronted with new demands to which they have to respond, for example: sustainability of the urban agglomeration they may act as a catalyst to, the carbon footprint of such projects, the levels and types of energy consumption they entail/encourage, the sustainability of their funding and the sustainability of the institutional capacities responsible for their operation and regulation.
The principal aims of the module are to impart information concerning critical issues and challenges facing mega infrastructure investments relating to visions of sustainability, both locally and globally.
- In particular it seeks to:
- Explore the more rigorous definition of the dimensions of sustainable development as they relate to mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery.
- Illustrate primary issues addressed by international organisations, government agencies and academic institutes in this field.
- Explain challenges and opportunities of sustainability concerning political agendas and contextual changes under the forces of globalisation that mega infrastructure projects encounter.
- Demonstrate various challenges that mega infrastructure projects, programmes and plans are facing within different disciplines.
- Introduce the notion that institutional sustainability provides the ‘glue and lubricant’ to the achievement of social, environmental and economic sustainability associated with mega infrastructure developments and their delivery agencies.
- Introduce international and national policies for mega infrastructure.
BENVGMP7 Student Group Project: (15 credits): The principal aims of this module is to take students through the critical steps required of a ‘fast-track’ Issue Analysis and Appraisal of ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of a strategic mega infrastructure project to inform a subsequent fuller Government Planning and Appraisal Study. This student exercise is to be undertaken as a simulated client-based consultancy (employing outside practitioners as proxy clients), ostensibly commissioned by the UK national government, whereby having learned of the potential attributes of adopting a more holistic approach to mega urban infrastructure planning and appraisal, it invited MIPAD students (as members of an OMEGA Consultancy Team) to identify key issues (both current and future) and associated ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ (defined in spatial and temporal terms), and recommend responses to these issues both in the short-term and long run for given scenarios.
This exercise has been explicitly designed in a manner whereby it incorporates important themes, issues, processes and techniques introduced by the MSc programme within its various modules. The project is to provide an opportunity for students to selectively employ and test traditional as well as innovative planning analytical and appraisal approaches for a strategic mega infrastructure project within a policy-led multi-criteria assessment (MCA) framework of the kind advocated by the OMEGA Centre in its recent reports that place risk, uncertainty and complexity, as well as the importance of ‘context’, in the milieu of decision-making.
The dissertation is a major and in-depth piece of work undertaken by students across all MSc programmes at the Bartlett School of Planning. The dissertation develops students’ research skills and abilities and allows students to explore a particular area covered in the MSc core or specialist teaching. The dissertation represents a study of a specified topic based on the gathering and analysis of primary and/or secondary data and on a review of the literature. The student therefore should demonstrate abilities in research topic design, execution and presentation and a capacity for in-depth critical thinking in their chosen area of study. This is the culmination of the Masters programme, the student's chance to synthesise, in a major and largely self-managed study, what he or she has gained from the course and, often, to integrate it with elements from previous studies or professional experiences. The dissertation is something you can take with you, use to demonstrate your expertise and launch the next stage of your career.
Although largely student-driven, the School offers the necessary support for those undertaking their dissertations: the module BENVGLP3 Planning Research Methods, whilst non credit earning, is essential to provide the wider context of how to approach and undertake research in planning with a series of sessions generic for all students whilst through the Dissertation module students are provided with tailored support through an allocated supervisor.
The OMEGA Centre
The MSc programme has been designed and developed prepared by the OMEGA Centre and its teaching team at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London (UCL) with funding provided by the Volvo Research and Education Foundations (VREF) in association with the Bartlett Faculty.
Professor Harry Dimitriou
The MSc Programme Teaching Group
Each module contains between 2 and 8 contributions from leading experts in fields related to mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery who are invited to present their practical perspectives to enhance the theoretical content of each module. Contributors to the course to date have included:
- Jon Wills, sometime of London Underground
- Peter Head, Ecosequest Trust and sometime of Ove Arup
- Prof. Willem Salet, University of Amsterdam
- Joseph Low, HM Treasury
- Dr. Roger Allport, Imperial College London
- Eleni Kyrou, European Investment Bank
- Brian Field, European Investment Bank
- Chris Lewin, Actuarial Profession
- Peter Twelftree, Steer Davies Gleave
- Tom Higbee, Steer Davies Gleave
- Prof John Adams, UCL
- Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge Pty
- Dr. John Stone, Kings College London
- Prof. Michael J. Batty, UCL
- Dr. Ulf Dahsten, London School of Economics
- Robert Upton, Infrastructure Planning Commission
- Andrew Hayward, Balfour Beatty Plc
- Keith Perry, EC Harris International
- Prof. Sir Peter Hall, UCL
- Niall McNevin, Sometime of Olympic Legacy Co. now Mott MacDonalds
- Oliver Sparrow, Sometime, Chatham House
- Stephen Potts, Environment Agency
- Dr Mayer Hillman, Policy Studies Institute
- Detlef Golletz, Thames Gateway Institute for Sustainability
- Prof. Andrew Sterlining, University of Sussex
- Molly Morgan-Jones, RAND Corporation
Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery MSc
Modes and duration
- Full-time: 1 year
- Flexible: 2-5 years
Programme start date
Tuition Fees (2016/17)
- £12,200 (FT)
- £22,380 (FT)
Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree (or higher) from a UK university or an overseas qualification of equivalent standing. There is no particular subject requirement as the MSc provides an 'initial' planning education for graduates with cognate or non-cognate degrees. Where candidates fail to meet the standard requirement (i.e. they hold a degree of a lower classification), the department will take into account professional experience in planning or a related field when considering the application. Applicants who do not hold a first degree may, in exceptional cases, be admitted to the programme if they are able to demonstrate considerable senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field.
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.
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?
The programme is suitable for graduates from civil engineering, planning, policy studies, project management, estate management, architecture, pertinent social sciences and other relevant fields. It provides enhanced capacity building opportunities for those currently working in mega infrastructure development and offers an invaluable grounded qualification for new entrants into the field.
- All applicants
- 29 July 2016
International students who require a Tier 4 visa are strongly advised to submit their application before 15 June 2015.
What are we looking for?When we assess your application we would like to learn:
- why you want to study Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery at graduate level
- why you want to study Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery at UCL
- what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
- how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
- where you would like to go professionally with your degree
There is no particular subject requirement as the MSc provides an 'initial' planning education for graduates with cognate or non-cognate degrees. The programme is suitable for graduates from civil engineering, planning, policy studies, project management, estate management, architecture, pertinent social sciences and other relevant fields.
The normal minimum qualifications are a good sescond-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of equivalent standing.. Where candidates fail to meet the standard requirement (i.e. they hold a degree of a lower classification), the department will take into account professional experience in planning or a related field when deciding whether to admit a candidate. Applicants who do not hold a first degree may, in exceptional cases, be admitted to the programme if they are able to demonstrate considerable senior-level professional experience in planning or a related field.
A high level of competence in both spoken and written English is also required. Overseas students whose first language is not English will be asked to provide evidence of competence in English. A minimum overall score of 6.5 for IELTS or 580 in TOEFL is required.
When to Apply
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.
Graduate students from the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London have been very successful in gaining employment from a wide range of both public and private employers following their graduation from the School.
Because the Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery MSc is a relatively new programme, the employment placement statistics are rather limited. Nonetheless, with its strong links to industry, government and academia on a global scale, to date 85% of the 2012 MSc intake have gone on to find placements within the first year after graduation.
They have taken up positions in government, investment banking, community development, academia, consulting and the construction industry. Two graduates have been accepted to undertake PhD studies at the OMEGA Centre.
Ali Al-Derei, Civil Engineering Graduate and Transportation Planner from Abu Dhabi, 2011-2013 Programme
"The MIPAD MSc programme highlights the need for change to the traditional way of mega infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery. It highlights the need for to a broader and deeper understanding of the building blocks of mega infrastructure projects planning and appraisal. I found the programme to be invaluable to my career as it was intellectually stimulating, holistic, and covered a wide array of topics derived from varied and numerous global case studies delivered by international practitioners and researchers in the field. The lessons learned were not only relevant to mega infrastructure planning and appraisal but also to broader contemporary issues and concerns of sustainability, climate change, governance and globalization. The course greatly helped me to develop my critical thinking and to gain invaluable experience of analytical and appraisal processes. It also installed a greater confidence to apply new skill sets in infrastructure development that I can use in my day to day work at the Urban Planning Commission. I highly recommend the MIPAD MSc programme to those with ambitions to become decision makers in mega infrastructure projects both in national and multinational arenas."
Hassan Adetunji, Political Science Graduate and Project Management Specialist from Nigeria, 2011-2012 Programme
Enrolling in the MIPAD MSc programme was one of the most rewarding decisions that I have made in my career as a professional. I graduated in Political studies from Lagos, Nigeria and in the last 8 years have worked as a project management and planning professional for a number of Fortune 100 companies. I was looking for a programme that would make me stand out in industry when I stumbled upon the MIPAD programme. The course has greatly helped me to broaden my knowledge of how mega infrastructure projects and programmes are planned, appraised and delivered. It in particular provided me with an appreciation of the importance of multi-criteria analysis in the infrastructure planning and appraisal process. Critically, I have come to understand how mega infrastructure can bring positive change to the society and serve as strategic ‘agents of change’. The programme reinforced the importance of the power of context in the planning, appraisal and delivery process of mega infrastructure projects and programmes.
The aspect of the MIPAD programme that I enjoyed most were the numerous professional contributions from both the private and public sector guest speakers who delivered first class lectures based on their extensive experiences in the fields of infrastructure development, programming, planning and governance. The course provided me with a solid platform to interact with the best practitioners in the field and on this basis learn much from their insights. I found the academic staff to be most helpful and felt it to be an honour to be among the first cohort of students to take the course and have the opportunity to study in such a prestigious learning environment such as UCL’s Bartlett School Planning. The experience is something I will cherish in the years to come.”
Helen Chen, Urban Planning Graduate from the People’s Republic of China, 2011-2012 Programme
“My experience of the MIPAD MSc programme at UCL was very enjoyable and unforgettable. As a graduate in urban planning, this programme was definitely a major stepping-stone for my future career in my entry to the professional field of private consulting. I found the programme to be well structured and provide a solid insight and understanding of the complex relationship between urbanized development and environmentally sustainable futures, with a specific focus on decision-making, risk management and practical planning and appraisal tools suited to 21st century large-scale infrastructure investment challenges. The MSc programme provided excellent teaching with a good balance between theoretical and practical modules and assignments, which together covered a broad spectrum of mega infrastructure projects worldwide, especially iconic projects so important to national development.
The lectures and guest speakers were enthusiastic and knowledgeable and contributed a great leaning opportunity to study and share knowledge with highly motivated individuals from a host of different backgrounds and experiences from all around the world. I especially found the exposure to different skills sets for critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and time management to be particularly relevant and useful to the professional work place of professional practice.”
Marco Dean, Civil Engineering Graduate from Italy, 2011-2012 Programme
“Having graduated with a BEng and MEng in Civil Engineering I was looking to enhance my comprehension of the planning and appraisal processes of infrastructure projects, especially large-scale projects. I am well satisfied with the knowledge that I have gained from the MIPAD MSc programme, in particular the interdisciplinarity of the programme. I especially enjoyed the large number of contributors from different infrastructure sectors who reinforced my earlier understanding of some themes and made me aware of many new aspects which are typically overlooked in much current planning and appraisal practice of major infrastructure projects despite being extremely important for the successful development of such projects.
I greatly benefited from the diverse backgrounds of the other students on the programme and their willingness to share their many different personal perspectives of the field which contributed to many insightful discussions during the lecture sessions. I also greatly appreciated the typically smaller class sizes of the MIPAD programme and the easy and frequent access this provided to the teaching staff which in turn permitted me to seek and freely obtain close supervision throughout the course. The MSc programme has enabled me to think much more ‘outside of the box’ and has added to my skill set many new insights as well as innovative ideas and planning and appraisal tools about infrastructure development. As a consequence of this positive experience I have embarked upon PhD at the OMEGA Centre in the field of mega infrastructure development and greatly look forward to continue my studies in this field.”
Carlos Torrente, Civil Engineering Graduate and Architectural Design specialist from Columbia, 2012-2013 Programme
"With a civil engineering degree and many years of experience in architectural design, I was looking to further develop my skills in the planning, appraisal and delivery of large infrastructure projects. The MIPAD MSc programme has provided me with insightful knowledge applicable throughout the project life cycle - from project conception to project delivery. I feel the programme has allowed me to think analytically and critically about many key issues necessary to help achieve and contribute to project ‘success’ in the decades to come. Belonging to a student community of a top university such as UCL within the Bartlett School of Planning in particular, has given me the opportunity to learn and discuss with leading researchers and key expert practitioners in the field of mega infrastructure development. The MSc programme is complemented with a public seminar programme and access to the latest applied international research findings of the OMEGA Centre in mega project development that distinguishes the course from many others. My learning experience has been greatly enhanced by interactions with my fellow students hailing from a diverse range of cultures and careers which has enriched the course and greatly enhanced the learning experience. The European Study Field Trip was a fantastic experience as it provided a marvelous opportunity to explore many live mega-infrastructure projects and learn from its planners, promoters sand critics numerous lessons; it allowed me to better appreciate the different planning, appraisal and delivery approaches to major infrastructure projects within numerous complex, innovative and wider contexts".
Ian Thorton, Quantity Surveying Graduate and Project Management Specialist from Ireland, 2012-2013 Programme
"Having spent time working in Australia in project management on Mega Projects in the resource and mining sector, the MSc in Mega Infrastructure Planning, Appraisal and Delivery has opened my eyes to the critical issues surrounding Mega Infrastructure Projects. This includes those issues that can cause tensions between stakeholders affected by such projects, which if ignored, can have a huge bearing on the successful of project delivery and outcomes. Undertaking such a degree in association with the OMEGA Centre - one of the leading centres on Mega infrastructure planning globally - means I have access to world-leading academics and practitioners in the field of strategic infrastructure planning, appraisal and delivery."