City Analytics

Master of City Analytics

Prog. Code: 
1.7 years full-time
Term 1, Term 3
Delivery Options
Full-time, Part-time
Commonwealth supported places
Professional recognition

A unique offering, upskilling the next generation of practitioners and policy-makers

Smart cities, big data, open data, geo-design, visualisation, modelling and simulation and virtual reality offer exciting new data-driven methods, tools and technologies to support city shapers in planning more sustainable, productive and resilient cities.

However, such approaches and technologies need to be properly understood, critically appraised and effectively used by government and industry to ensure our cities of the future are equitable, prosperous and sustainable. At the same time as our cities are becoming more complex and we need to be able to map and model this complexity through understanding flow and networks of people and how they move through the built environment.

The Master of City Analytics (MCA) provides you with a unique offering, upskilling the next generation of practitioners and policy-makers with the ability to harness the power of data-driven approaches for understanding the inherent complexity of the city. This course will play an integral role in growing the skill set and culture of data-driven evidenced-based policy and decision making across our cities, both in Australia and internationally.

Key Information

About this course

As a graduate, you will have a well-grounded knowledge of city data, analytics, modelling and visualisation skills and how such skills can be applied to support evidenced-based decision making and innovative forms of citizen engagement.

The Master of City Analytics will provide you with a unique and complementary offering upskilling the next generation of practitioners and policy-makers with the ability to harness the power of data-driven approaches to understanding the spatial and temporal dimensions of our cities, both past, present and future. 

Upon graduation from this program you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate both theoretical and practical grounding to be competent and confident in understanding, analysing, modelling, and visualising urban data
  • Develop skills and applications in relevant computer technologies and a critical appreciation technology transfer in practice in the changing global context
  • Develop and apply specialised knowledge and analytical skills to inform evidence-based policy and decision making processes
  • Demonstrate ability to apply research principles and methods applicable to smart cities in local, national and international contexts
  • Demonstrate ability to interpret and communicate knowledge, skills and ideas to both specialist and nonspecialist audiences with a focus on technology
  • Demonstrate professional and ethical conduct and personal accountability consistent with industry expectations in the context of new technology and data governance
Program details

The Master of City Analytics is a 1.7-year program. It consists of 10 courses and a major project. (72 Units Of Credit/UOC).

The program includes:

  • 7 Core Courses 
  • 3 Elective Courses
  • 1 Major Project  

Major Project
This major project represents the culmination of studies in Smart Cities and Urban Informatics. Students will work closely with the Director of the Program to develop a proposal. Projects which tap into current ‘live’ projects, and build upon existing international and local partnerships with universities, industry and government organisations will be encouraged. The major project report can take the form of a research thesis or a practice-oriented report. Each student will be assigned a supervisor, and it is expected that many students will also benefit from engagement with industry partners. Where partners have been directly involved, students will be encouraged to provide a short debrief to the relevant organisations. The production of the thesis will explore and provide new insights into one or more of the challenges facing cities through the integration of research and/or practical insight.

Key Areas of Study
Smart Cities
Scientific Programming
Digital Cities
GIS in Planning
Urban Data Visualisation



For course listing, descriptions and timetables please see the UNSW Online Handbook.

Career opportunities

If you are interested in smart cities, big data and visualisation then this is the degree for you.

Here are some of the areas you could find employment during your studies or after completion:

  • Mapping technologies
  • Spacial thinking
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Government employment via planning
  • Employment in an analytics centre
  • A Data Scientist specialising in cities

Which could lead to jobs such as:

  • Be the Head of a Future City department
  • Smart City Managers
  • Future Transport Director
  • Spatial Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Urban Data Specialist

Don't forget we have very close industry ties and we often have industry practitioners teaching in our faculty.

Why UNSW Built Environment
  • Be connected to a global network

  • Graduate Certificate entry available

  • Pathway to the extension program

  • UNSW ranks 25th in the world and 4th in Australia in Architecture/Built Environment (QS World Rankings 2019)
  • World class alumni connections

  • UNSW Sydney ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide (Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2019)

  • UNSW has invested over $1.2 billion in student facilities and accommodation

  • Member of prestigious Group of Eight (Go8)

  • Strong industry links and partnerships

  • In the 2015 Excellence for Research in Australia (ERA), UNSW was rated as the equal-top university nationally in Built Environment and Design. Its rating in Urban Planning research was also the joint highest in Australia.

Entry requirements

The emerging field of smart cities is of interest and relevance to a wide range of professions and disciplines areas. Accordingly, the range of Bachelor degree subject areas considered a relevant background for admission to this program is quite broad. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in the following subject areas and who have achieved a credit average will be eligible for admission to the suite of City Analytics programs. 

  • Built Environment subject areas
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Law/Jurisprudence
  • Social science, social and public policy
How to apply

All domestic and international students can apply for postgraduate coursework online:

Application deadlines:

  • Term 1 (February) - apply by 30 November*
  • Term 3 (September) - apply by 31 July

Late applications may be accepted after the closing dates subject to the availability of places.

If you gain entry into a program at UNSW, you can then be assessed for transfer credit for courses (subjects) studied in your previous degree. 

Fees and expenses
Our staff

Jonathan Drane
Matthew McLaren
Research Student
Jonathan Fox
Kelly-Anne Small
Wenjie Cai
Yingying Li
Timothy Tompson
Elaine Tan
Dr Carlos Bartesaghi Koc
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Associate Dean

Dr Simone Zarpelon Leao
Associate Dean - International (joint), Senior Lecturer in City Analytics

Head of Discipline

Associate Professor Hoon Han
Director of City Planning Program
Associate Professor Matthias Haeusler
Director Computational Design
Associate Professor Paul Osmond
Director, Sustainable Built Environment program

Research Centre Director

Professor Bill Randolph
Director, City Futures Research Centre

Research Centre Deputy Director

Professor Hal Pawson


Professor Susan Thompson
Professor Robert Freestone
Professor Catherine Bridge
Professor Christopher Pettit

Associate Professor

Associate Professor Lan Ding
Convenor of High Performance Architecture Research Cluster
Associate Professor Simon Pinnegar

Senior Lecturer

Peter Williams
Dr Gethin Davison
Associate Professor Nancy Marshall
Dr Changxin Wang
Dr Brian Lee
Brian Lee
Russell Lowe
Dr Scott Hawken
Convenor Smart Cities Research Cluster


Dr Sarath Mataraarachchi
Dr Laurence Kimmel

Associate Lecturer

Dr Homa Rahmat
Tracy Huang

Research Associate

Dr Laura Crommelin
Jim Plume
Dr Aida Eslami Afrooz
Dr Komali Yenneti

Senior Research Officer

Ryan van den Nouwelant

Senior Research Fellow

Associate Professor Hazel Easthope

Research Fellow

Dr Ori Gudes
Dr Chris Martin
Dr Anir Upadhyay
Dr Laurence Troy
Dr Edgar Liu
Senior Research Fellow

Professional Staff

Jon Doig
Software Engineer - Spatial Systems
Carmela Ticzon
Dean Utian
Andrew Freney

Research Assistant

Dr Greg Paine

Adjunct Staff

Associate Professor Ryan Allen
Associate Professor Raymond Bunker
Emeritus Professor Ian Burnley
Bernard Coates
Professor Duncan Maclennan
Professor Felicity Marceau
Associate Professor Vivienne Milligan
Geoff Roberts
Judy Yates
Professor David Mullins
Associate Professor Lin Xiaoyan
Emeritus Professor Patrick Troy

Emeritus Professor

Professor Bruce Judd

Sessional Academics

Sarbeswar Praharaj
Sessional Academic and PhD Candidate

PGR Students

Jie Chen
Alec Gelgota
Sardar Karim
Samira Abbasalipour
Nicola Pullan
Anumitra Chand
Fanqi Liu
Clinton Yabuka
David Bennett
Louise McKenzie
Sara Mehryar
Research Student
Parisa Kalali
Bo Song
Xueying Xiong
Helen Kendall
Research Student
Tinalee Gallico
Research Student
Sian Thompson