Urban Development and Design

Master of Urban Development and Design

Prog. Code: 
1.7 years full-time
Term 1, Term 2
Delivery Options
Full-time, Part-time
Commonwealth Supported Places
Professional Recognition

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-semester 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.

Key Information

Program details

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 semester. 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

Progression Pathway
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. 


Career opportunities

Career opportunities

  • 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.

Related Degrees
Graduate Certificate in the Built Environment
Master of Urban Development and Design (Extension)


Why UNSW Built Environment
  • Professional accreditation

  • 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

  • Multidisciplinary learning

  • 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.

Student work
Entry requirements

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).
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 students
Our staff

Head of Discipline

Professor James Weirick


Dr Scott Hawken
Convenor Smart Cities Research Cluster

Visiting Professor

Dr. Karl Fischer

Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor Jon Lang

Sessional Academics

Sarbeswar Praharaj
Sessional Academic and PhD Candidate