MA in Urban Design


Programme Description

"Urban Design - the knowledge and skills necessary to design and deliver better urban places."

The MA Urban Design is jointly run by the School and the Welsh School of Architecture and more information about this course is available at MA in Urban Design - Welsh School of Architecture.

The MA Urban Design uses design practise, theory, development and control practices to inform design processes, and uses studio teaching focused on local development possibilities to develop creative, practical and sustainable solutions to a range of typical urban design problems.

The course seeks to produce students who can:

  • Think three-dimensionally and creatively manipulate space at the intermediate scale between architecture and planning;
  • Analyse the qualities of localities and places and respond to complex and often contradictory community aspirations;
  • Critically appraise development (built and proposed) and make suggestions for improvement, and develop improved policy and control practices;
  • Conceptualise and draw development proposals at different scales from the territorial to the block scale;
  • Be able to recognise and add quality in all development situations;
  • Test developments for their sustainability, economic viability and constituency;
  • Understand how to approach implementation through inter-professional and inter-agency collaboration and consensus-building.

Course Recognition

This MA is recognised by the Royal Town Planning Institute as a 'specialist' masters for those who have completed at least a three-year RTPI recognised undergraduate spatial planning degree, allowing completion of the RTPI's educational requirements for membership. For further details visit the Royal Town Planning Institute website.

It is also accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), allowing completion of the educational requirement for RICS membership. For further details visit the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website.


This MA is suitable for graduates in urban planning, architecture, landscape design and engineering. Graduates from other disciplines will also be considered. All applicants will be required to demonstrate competency in graphics and design by way of a portfolio.

Admissions criteria

Academic Criteria: Applicants will normally hold a minimum 2:2 degree in a relevant subject area or equivalent, in Architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning (including city or town and country planning), urban design (undergraduate), property development, environmental design, interior design, graphic design, theatre design and civil engineering, as well as subjects such as geography, sociology, political science and history, agronomy– especially those with an urban focus. However, for applicants that hold a 2:1 degree and above (or equivalent), other subjects will also be considered.

English Language Requirements: For students whose first language is not English, a minimum standard in the English language of either IELTS total score 6.5 (no sub-score may be below 5.5) or the equivalent.

Pre-course English Language tuition is available.

If your offer to study at Cardiff University is conditional on IELTS, we recommend that you take the ‘IELTS for UKVI’ test at an approved centre. This will give you greater flexibility regarding how to meet the English Language conditions of your offer. Please note that ‘IELTS for UKVI’ is the only test outside the UK that can be accepted for entry to Pre-sessional English Language programmes.

Personal Statement

The application form requires you to write a personal statement in support of your application. It is very important to us that you provide the reasons for wanting to study urban design, and what your experience of urban design is.

  • Tell us why you want to study urban design.
  • Tell us whether and how you have dealt with urban design issues within your previous studies.
  • Tell us about any work experience that you have.

If you don't tell us why you want to study urban design, in particular, it is unlikely that your application will be successful.

Reference Letters

You should submit one reference letter.

Tuition Fees

  • UK and EU students: £9,950
  • Students from outside the EU: £22,450
Last updated Jan 2020

About the School

Our world-leading research was ranked 5th amongst UK universities in the most recent Research Excellence Framework for quality and 2nd for impact. We provide an educationally outstanding experience fo ... Read More

Our world-leading research was ranked 5th amongst UK universities in the most recent Research Excellence Framework for quality and 2nd for impact. We provide an educationally outstanding experience for our students. Read Less