Advanced City Policy and Practice

Graduate Certificate of Advanced City Policy and Practice

Prog. Code: 
0.7 years full-time
Term 1, Term 3
Delivery Options
Full-time, Part-time

Combine elements of various study areas into one

This program provides students with an opportunity to choose four courses from related postgraduate study areas Urban Renewal and Housing, Urban Policy and Strategy, City Analytics and Sustainable Built Environment. 

Key Information

Program details

The program is targeted towards mid-career urban policymakers and practitioners in government, industry and consultancy and who wish to advance their careers and deepen their knowledge of urban policy, housing, urban renewal or sustainable development. Students may choose a mix of policy and practice courses from any of the listed courses below. 

All the courses are taught in “intensive mode” to suit students wishing to extend their learning alongside full-time work. The program is accessible to interstate students due to the intensive mode of teaching, meaning that most classes are structured in two to three-day blocks including Fridays and Saturdays. 

The program utilises many different teaching strategies including: studios, master classes, problem-based learning, case studies, field trips, consulting projects with clients and evidence-based research depending on course choices. 

The program comprises:

  • Four Master of Urban Policy and Strategy courses.  Drivers of Urban Change (MUPS0001) which looks at the big picture influences on our changing cites globally; Decision Making and Governance (MUPS0003) which examines the actors and arenas involved in making decisions and governing our cities; Development Economics and Finance (MUPS0004) looks at the foundations of the way the development industry operates; and Engaging Communities (PLAN7157) which explores the latest ways we work with and communicate with our communities;
  • Four courses from the Master Urban Renewal and Housing program. Urban Renewal (BENV7811) explores the policy and market drivers involved in the ongoing restructuring of Australia's major cities. Implementing Urban Regeneration Projects (PLAN7321) focuses on regeneration practice at the project scale. Similarly, while Housing Policy and Finance (PLAN7156) approaches housing from a policymaking perspective, this is complemented by Housing Management and Markets (PLAN7230) which focuses more on the operation of the housing system and the administration of rental and strata property;
  • Three courses from the Master of Sustainable Built Environment program in the selection of courses offered in this Graduate Certificate.  These include two MSBE core courses, on resources and materials (SUSD0002), and energy in the built environment (SUSD0003), as well as an exciting new course on sustainable infrastructure (SUSD0016). SUSD0003 incorporates the curriculum for the Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP) examination, and SUSD0016 includes the curriculum for the Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional (ISAP) exam.;
  • Two courses from the new Master of City Analytics program. Digital Cities (BENV7504) explores the new ways big data is changing the way we examine and use our cities. GIS and Urban Informatics (BENV7728) will provide students skills in mapping and data analytics platforms and the insight into how these digital planning technologies can assist in evidenced-based city planning.
Program objectives and graduate attributes

Program Objectives

Depending on the selection of courses, at the end of the program students will:

  • understand the theory and practice behind the development of urban policy and strategy including an understanding of the key issues driving the management of cities;
  • have a thorough understanding of the policy and market drivers involved in the ongoing restructuring of Australia's major cities, and the operation of the housing system;
  • Understand the growing challenges of sustainable development in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region through knowledge of climate change and life cycle thinking; 
  • Gain skills to analyse and present concisely the arguments around these issues.

The balance of these skills will depend on which four courses are selected by students.

Graduate Attributes

  • Understand the key policy and practice issues faced by today’s cities in local, national and international contexts;
  • Critically analyse, reflect on and synthesise complex information, problems, concepts and theories and apply established theories to practice;
  • Justify, interpret and communicate knowledge, skills and ideas to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • Apply knowledge and skills to demonstrate autonomy, expert judgement, adaptability and responsibility as a practitioner;
  • Demonstrate an ability to manage complex interdisciplinary problems;
  • Demonstrate leadership in this field with the capacity to initiate and embrace change;
  • Demonstrate cultural awareness, environmental and social responsibility, and a respect for diversity.
Program structure

To qualify for the Graduate Certificate of Advanced City Policy and Practice students will be required to complete a program of study totalling 24 UOC.

Students must complete any four courses from the following selection:

  • MUPS0001 Drivers of Urban change
  • MUPS0003 Decision making and Governance
  • MUPS0005 Strategic Planning and Impact Assessment Tools
  • PLAN7157  Engaging Communities
  • BENV7504 Digital Cities 
  • BENV7728 GIS and Urban Informatics
  • BENV7811  Urban Renewal
  • PLAN7156  Housing Policy and Finance
  • PLAN7321  Implementing Urban Regeneration Projects
  • PLAN7320  Housing Management and markets
  • SUSD0016  Sustainable Infrastructure
  • SUSD0003  Energy and the Built Environment
  • SUSD0002  Building Ecology and Lifecycle thinking
Entry requirements

It is anticipated that the program will attract interest from students from a range of different undergraduate backgrounds including, but not limited to Economics, Geography and Social Policy, Political Science and Engineering. An undergraduate degree with at least a credit average in a relevant discipline is required. A relevant degree would encompass studies in a built environment discipline as well as subjects in social science, social policy, business and law. Students enrolling in this program will be working full time or will have worked full time since graduating including work in an urban, regional or related professional role. Both local and international students are eligible to apply.

All students completing the Graduate Certificate will have the opportunity to take their Graduate Certificate credits and continue their studies towards a diploma or a full master's in any one of the contributing master's subjects to meet any specific entry requirements of that program. 

Students may be able to secure professional development credits from their Professional Institutes, depending on the course, and accumulate four units that together will give them a Graduate Certificate.  The Faculty is negotiating with the various Professional Institutes to secure their agreement to grant PD credits to each course.



Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Advanced City Policy and Practice students with a credit average or above may apply for entry into the Graduate Diploma or Master’s program with full credit for courses completed in earlier programs in the sequence provided the earlier awards are not conferred.

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