Skip to Site Navigation Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer

Spatial Planning and Urban Design - MA

Why study this course?

Associated with the research group Cass Cities, this Spatial Planning and Urban Design MA embeds you amongst the city-focused researchers of The Cass. Architecture, urban design and planning subjects are explored while you're introduced to a live site in London at the forefront of urban change. Resources and connections across the city are here to help support you throughout your studies. In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

Open all

The Spatial Planning and Urban Design MA is associated with Cass Cities, a group of doers, thinkers and researchers at The Cass led by Professor Mark Brearley.

The course combines the disciplines of architecture, urban design, and planning to help you become effective in all aspects of urban understanding. We'll encourage you to become an architect and architectural designer who understands how to intervene strategically in city-level architecture and planning.

Cass Cities engages in urban research and proposition. Urban change happens when people with ideas, knowledge and experience work in creative ways to transform cities. This happens through designing buildings, engaging with local communities, developing masterplans, re-thinking public transport networks and informing policy change.

We'll nurture your ability to form architectural propositions and develop a strong spatial judgement, but we'll also emphasise that there is much more to city processes than building design.

You'll work in the Cass Cities Unit alongside postgraduate architects, and every year we choose live and significant sites which are at the forefront of urban change, with a strong focus on London. There will be work on these live projects as well as the attendance of meetings on relevant topics and access to influential decision-makers in London. These resources and connections will help you direct your work in professional, practical and influential ways.

The projects produced in the unit are concerned with the shaping of both buildings and places. You'll participate in contemporary debates in all forms as a proposer, responder and observer.

Get a taste of things to come by watching this video of Professor Mark Brearley talking about the MA.

The course can lead to a further MA by Project or PhD research opportunities.

Assessment

Assessment is through a range of methods, including written coursework submissions and design portfolio presentation.

You will be required to:

  • have a minimum upper second class honours degree in architecture, spatial planning or landscape architecture (other relevant professional qualifications or extensive professional experience will also be considered)
  • demonstrate your design talent through the presentation of a portfolio

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies - Monday morning

    This module is the culmination of the Master’s programme. It allows the student to articulate an extended field of self-directed design research into an ambitious and rigourous proposition.

    Summer semester. Assessment:100% Thesis

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module provides an overview of development economics, and an analysis of historic and current policies and practices involved in the economics of delivering sustainable urban change. It is linked with AR7004; Sustainable Communities and Governance of Place module in its analysis of sustainable communities and urban governance.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday morning

    This module provides a detailed analysis of planning practice in the UK, specialising in urban contexts and with comparisons made to international examples.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday afternoon

    This module provides an overview of the history of planning and urban theory, and an understanding of the current planning system and planning policies in the UK.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    This research module includes both a generic component, ensuring that students have a full understanding of the research and analysis required to provide the evidence base and other forms of research relevant for spatial planning, and a component specific to each specialism, housing strategy or urban design.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Wednesday morning

    This module provides an overview of the social, environmental, physical, economic and political dimensions of planning sustainable communities, and assesses this alongside the role of communities and those in governance in planning, delivering and maintaining sustainable, successful and vibrant places. The module works in parallel to AR7003 Economics of Place.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    AR7052 Urban Design
    This module provides an overview of urban design theory and practice which enables the student to produce a a project based portfolio of an aspect of urban design.
    Assessment: Portfolio 100%

    Read full details.

The teaching on this course is based around a constant flow of conversation between the different disciplines involved in urban change.

You'll study in a design studio where the knowledge and skills you learn from the course modules are incorporated within a design project.

Throughout the year, you'll gain a variety of insights into the world of planning and urban design through guest lecturers from a wide range of public and private sector organisations, as well as case study reviews, workshops, exhibitions and events and site visits across London and further afield.

Core modules include:

  • Planning and Urban Theory
  • Planning and Urban Practice
  • Sustainable Communities and Governance of Place
  • Economics of Place
  • Urban Design
  • Research for Spatial Planning and Urban Design

"This course has allowed me to speculate on the larger issues that have huge affects on our built environment. It works on many different levels–zooming out to a global scale and then in on the details that surround our daily lives. Rather than concentrating our efforts into a single edifice, we are asked to question the space between what exists, propose how this could be improved or simply recognised, and provide ways new developments can fit into and connect with these existing matrices."

"This course opens your eyes to the whole world of decision making which happens before architecture and has a much wider scope to influence people and their way of life than a single building."

The course is designed for practicing planners and architects wishing to specialise in urban design, as well as urban design practitioners who require knowledge of spatial planning. It is also suitable for graduates with relevant degrees who wish to obtain a postgraduate qualification in planning or urban design. Graduates of this course have gone on to become urban designers and freelance consultants.

If you are a student who has already obtained a relevant London Met first degree, especially in architecture, and wish to progress into the above professions, then we recommend you consider this MA course. Even if you come from a background that does generally do not progress into spatial planning or urban design positions, this course will be of advantage to you in your career.

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

Any questions?

You can contact the Head of Cass Cities Mark Brearley with any questions about the course content and experience. Our Course Enquiries team can assist with queries about the application process.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

Postgraduate
Please select your entry point to display the fee

Get to know our Studios


News and success stories

Meet the team


Visit us