Urban Design MSc

Postgraduate taught ( full-time, part-time)


January 2018, September 2017

Course duration: 12 months (September start) or 15 months (January starts) full-time; 28 months (September starts) or 33 months (January starts) part-time.

Part-time teaching times: Trimester 1: Tuesdays 9am-4pm; Trimester 2: Tuesdays 1pm-7pm


From architecture and planning to economics and law, we’ll give you a broad understanding of the processes and practices involved in urban design. We’ll encourage you to develop your own unique approach to create the spaces in which we live, work and relax.

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Full description


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You could have a successful career in urban design and conservation, architecture, landscape design, surveying, highway engineering, transport planning, town centre management, planning policy, regeneration and development management. You’re also in the perfect position to continue your academic career and move up to our Built Environment PhD.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Site Studies and Urban Design
    Gain an understanding of the inseparable nature of the place and its context, a 'sense of place', and how this affects the design of new buildings and place-making that contribute to the built environment. You’ll study the primary elements that form the physical environment in its historic, present and future context, together with the relative legal and planning constraints that affect the built environment. You’ll survey, study, investigate and evaluate a real urban site, and develop the ability to analyse and evaluate elements of townscape, in particular the design elements that contribute to urban form and place shaping. You’ll examine planning policy and guidance, and design procedures and processes. You’ll develop a design brief for a selected site, proposing a new scheme and placing it within the context of the existing townscape. Finally, you’ll improve your drawing and sketching skills to enhance your understanding of the place, spaces between buildings, and the urban environment.
  • Sustainability and Environmental Management
    Here, you’ll look at wider developments in environmental protection and how these affect construction, as well as how construction affects them. You’ll also examine the demands that greater environmental awareness places on the built environment professions through a case study.
  • Sustainable Place Shaping
    Climate change, sustainable development and the effective consideration of community interests and impacts are at the top of the political agenda for action at local and global levels. Here, you’ll consider how these issues can contribute actively to sustainably shaping the built environment in private practice, planning authorities and/or community networks. You’ll initially draw upon Chelmsford as a local laboratory, supplemented by other UK locations, overseas best practice, as well as input from specialists in place-shaping, by examining the assessment of projects in terms of environmental sustainability and social engagement.
  • Project Management Systems
    This module establishes the framework for the management of projects and develops a comprehensive understanding of the role and functions of the project manager throughout the project life-cycle, from inception to completion, together with the diverse range of resources and activities that the project manager must plan, co-ordinate and control to achieve a successful project.
  • Urbanism and Culture
    The phenomenon of urbanism has been evolving from the earliest pre-historical settlements. Gain an understanding of the history and development for urban design, together with a critical consideration of contemporary urban design. You’ll explore the range of historical, economic, social, political, cultural and geographic factors involved in the evolution, with a particular emphasis on the cultural dimension.
  • Urban Design Strategies
    Urban design has continued to rise on political agendas and plays an essential part within the cultural shift from a passive towards a pro-active 'spatial' planning system seeking successful and high quality 'place-making'. Gain an understanding of the process of urban design, together with the complex and diverse range of resources and activities that the designer must plan, co-ordinate and influence to achieve a successful project and shaping of places. You’ll explore the legal, regulatory and policy background to urban design and how it is embedded in the planning system, including master-planning and regeneration objectives - with European and global dimensions, drawing on multi-disciplinary foundations. You’ll learn by lectures seminars and an optional European city visit, and initially draw upon Chelmsford as a local laboratory, other UK locations, overseas best practice, as well as input from specialists in practice and local government.
  • Sustainable Energy
    Develop an in-depth understanding of sustainable energy systems and energy efficient options for development. A major concern is that of global warming resulting from rising carbon dioxide levels from electrical generation, heating and transport. You’ll explore sustainability issues relating to the use of renewable energy in more detail and design and model aspects of renewable energy sources for a project, such as electrical generation using wind, waves, solar, tides, biomass, hydroelectric, passive solar design and energy for transport. You’ll design and evaluate your project performance against a set of environmental criteria and explore the validity and reliability of a number of approaches to the production of energy at a local and global level.
  • Research Design and Methods
    Gain an in-depth understanding of the theories and methods of research and research design and develop a theoretical and practical foundation in research for your major project/dissertation. You’ll get an understanding of a range of approaches to research, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, together with an understanding of a number of specific research methods. You’ll develop your knowledge of research design in order to critically consider the design for your research project, including preparing your proposal and considering ethics and ethical issues.
  • Major Project
    This module supports students in the preparation and submission of a Master's stage project, dissertation or artefact. The Module provides the opportunity for students to select and explore in-depth, a topic that is of interest and relevant to their course in which they can develop a significant level of expertise. It enables students to; - Demonstrate their ability to generate significant and meaningful questions in relation to their specialism - Undertake independent research using appropriate, recognised methods based on current theoretical research knowledge; critically understand method and its relationship to knowledge - Develop a critical understanding of current knowledge in relation to the chosen subject and to critically analyse and evaluate information and data, which may be complex or contradictory, and draw meaningful and justifiable conclusions. - Develop the capability to expand or redefine existing knowledge; to develop new approaches to changing situations and/or develop new approaches to changing situations and contribute to the development of best practice. - Demonstrate an awareness of and to develop solutions to ethical dilemmas likely to arise in their research or professional practice - Communicate these processes in a clear and elegant fashion - Evaluate their work from the perspective of an autonomous reflective learner.


We’ll assess you through a combination of patchworks, portfolios, reports, essays, design project material, model-making and your performance during group work.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of the largest of five faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full- or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, to a BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate. 

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Tindal Building on our Chelmsford campus

Our striking, modern campus sits by the riverside in Chelmsford's University and Innovation Quarter.

Explore our Chelmsford campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year part time)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

Additional costs

General stationary & printing for reports, A5 sketchbook, A3 portfolio pad, model-making materials, A1 poster printing - £120
Student contribution to subsidised field trip to a European city - £200

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our funding guide for postgraduate students to learn more about the following:

  • The Government’s new £10k Masters loan
  • Applying for our scholarships
  • Additional funding options and support
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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online