Urban Development and Design

Master of Urban Development and Design

Prog. Code: 
1.7 years full-time


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-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.

*This program is suspended and the final intake will be T3 2020. From 2021, you will be able to study Urban Development and Design courses as electives in Architecture, City Planning, Construction Project Management, Landscape Architecture, and Property and Development.

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 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

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

Please visit our MUDD25 Exhibition via our virtual tour created by our wonderful student Xiaofang Lu (Errin).


Every year we hold a MUDD Exhibition and the MUDD 25 Exhibition, held in the Red Centre Gallery in March this year has been hailed as one of the most impressive to date. The exhibition showcased work that included adapting and responding to coastal resilience on the NSW Central Coast, studies in urban form of the Arncliffe / Cooks Cove precincts and a strategic review of the commercial core of North Sydney that responded to and challenged the new Metro site development and the future of North Sydney as part of Sydney’s global corridor.

A major part of the exhibition was highlighting the work undertaken in the MUDD 25 International Studios. Tasked with examination of sites in Beijing and Hangzhou – the northern and southern gateways to China’s 2000-year-old Grand Canal – the students proposed solutions for three different urban challenges. In Beijing new directions were explored for peri-urban areas on Beijing’s eastern periphery. In Hangzhou, students challenged the existing redevelopment proposals for a major new city centre on a brownfield industrial site as well as proposing fine grained urban interventions for a tight inner-city heritage precinct.

Visitors were also able to gain a sense of the many projects undertaken in the Program since its inception. A poster of the world that located every MUDD International Studio demonstrated the breadth and depth of global connections the Program has made while a linear timeline highlighted the projects that have been explored using Sydney as an urban laboratory. Beautifully presented and demonstrating the professional skills acquired by the students, the MUDD 25 Exhibition was a fitting celebration of this important milestone in the history of the MUDD Program.

MUDD25 Paul Reid Lecture:

Shanghai, New York, Sydney – Humanizing High Density
Zhizhe Yu  MUDD2002
Co-founder & Managing Director
New York, Shanghai, Barcelona
Wednesday,  4 March 2020, 6.30 for 7.00pm
Leighton Hall, Scientia

You can also view folios from the previous years:

International Studios


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.

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).

Additional selection criteria for admission to this program:

  • Portfolio

  • Interview

Portfolio requirements:

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.

How to apply

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

  • Apply online (International students must pay an application fee of $125.)

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

“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."

- Lena

Our staff

Head of Discipline

Professor James Weirick
Director, Urban Development & Design Program

Senior Lecturer

Arlene Segel
Adjunct Senior Lecturer


Michael Gheorghiu
Ben Driver

Visiting Professor

Dr. Karl Fischer

Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor Jon Lang
Emeritus Professor Sandy Cuthbert

Sessional Academics

Jodi Lawton
Brendan Randles
Andrew Sweeney
Vanessa Trowell
Carla Mamaril