Understand the role of urban design in relation to the forces which shape the city
This multidisciplinary degree links the study of urban design with the processes of urban development.
You will develop theoretical grounding, practical experience and expert skills in city-making as a creative field. The program combines design studios with advanced seminars, case study investigations and international workshops, connecting with fellow universities, city agencies and urban design professionals to deepen your understanding of the 21st-century city.
In an intense three-term program, the Master of Urban Development and Design integrates three fields of urban research:
1. Spatial political economy – the manifestation in the urban form of global patterns of capital formation, investment and disinvestment
2. Urban design principles and paradigms – normative models of ‘good city form’ grounded in aesthetic, social and environmental concerns
3. Urban design as public policy – the intersection of public policy, design principles, urban governance and the deal-making of the property sector in defence of the public realm.
The Master of Urban Development and Design is a 1.7-year program. It consists of 9 courses. (72 Units Of Credit/UOC).
The program includes:
- 1 International Design Studio
- 2 Australian Design Studios
- 5 Core Courses
- 1 Elective Course
International Design Studio
The International Urban Design Studio is the final experience of the Program and undertaken in the summer term. You’ll use the knowledge and skills you’ve built up through the program in an intense two-week workshop in a totally new city and new culture, followed by a critical reflection on the experience, design development and documentation back in Sydney.
You’ll be given a choice between two cities. In the past ten years, the International Design Studios have been undertaken in Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Bilbao, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Dubai, Hangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Nagoya, New York, Portland, Suva, Taipei, Tokyo, and Venice.
Key Areas of Study
Urban Design Studio
History and Theory of Urban Development and Design
Case Studies in Urban Development and Design
Planning and Urban Development
Urban Landscape and Heritage
Communication in Urban Design
The Master of Urban Development and Design is an articulated pathway to the Master of Urban Development and Design Extension.
For course listing, descriptions and timetables please see the UNSW Online Handbook.
- work in urban design consultancies
- work in city agencies
- work in the development industry
- head your own professional practice in urban design.
- proceed to doctoral studies at a major international university and a career in academia.
Be connected to a global network
Graduate Certificate entry available
Pathway to extension program
Work on global urban design issues
Engage with urban development and design in Sydney
- 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.
Every year we host a MUDD exhibition, with the most recent being MUDD24. The event was held at Leighton Hall to exhibit our students' work. To find out more about the event and view galleries from previous years, read MUDD24: A warm response to a hot topic.
You can also view folios from the previous years:
In November 2019 MUDD students were hosted for a three week intensive studio workshop in the offices of world renowned urban planners Sasaki Associates in Boston, USA. Working alongside experienced practitioners and with real clients and stakeholders, students were immersed in an invaluable learning experience that also allowed them to showcase their skills to an enthusiastic audience. While Boston undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the memories of each student, the work produced during this three week period is sure to have triggered much discussion amongst those tasked with the redevelopment of Beacon Yards.
The Fukuoka International Studio in 2019 saw MUDD students join forces with students from the Graduate School of Design at Kyushu University to explore design possibilities for the city’s main waterfront redevelopment site. Presenting their analyses and urban design frameworks to unfamiliar academics, newly acquainted classmates and the real-world client of the Hakata Port Authority was a daunting experience but one that enabled MUDD students to refine their designs, polish their presentation skills and defend their proposals to great acclaim.
To see what opportunities are available to students this year, go to International Courses.
To be eligible for this program you must have:
- A four year undergraduate degree with a Credit average or above (WAM 65+ or equivalent) in a relevant field such as design and non-design based disciplines in the built environment, design and engineering: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Architecture, Design, Planning, Property Development, Construction, Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Transport Engineering. OR
- A three year undergraduate degree in Architecture with a Credit average or above (WAM 65+ or equivalent). OR
- A completed Graduate Certificate in the Built Environment (7131) with a Credit average or above (WAM 65+ or equivalent).
Additional selection criteria for admission to this program:
The portfolio should include sample works from various stages of the applicant's previous degree(s) and/or work experience. Text should accompany all drawings/images to explain the projects and specify the applicant's individual contribution to any group projects and/or workplace projects.The portfolio must be in digital format.
Applicants with a planning, property development, construction or engineering degree are encouraged to use the portfolio to demonstrate their interest and capacity for contributing to the urban design studio learning experience. These applicants may choose to include visual presentations (panels or posters) or other illustrated material supported by text that expresses physical and spatial concepts.
All domestic and international students can apply for postgraduate coursework online:
- Apply online (application fee: AUD$125)
- 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.
“It is a fabulous journey studying MUDD, which provides impressive experiences of international and local urban design projects and lectures with wonderful case studies and interesting history. The practical courses helped me improve my ability in critical thinking and self-assessment, communicating with groups and completing projects on time. I am proud to study in such an excellent urban design program.”
– Tang Tian (Tiya)
“Honestly, I didn’t expect that UNSW would be such a wonderful experience until I joined the MUDD Program. I enjoyed the fun of improving my skills and I will never ever forget all the things that happened during this year.”
– Chen Xin (Tiffany)
"I'm just writing to thank you for everything you have done for us in the design studio. It was such a privilege for me to be one of your students and the great deal of knowledge that you have passed on, even though it was within a short period of time and I'm really jealous of the students who will be doing design studio 2 with you."