Urban Design MA 2017-18

This course also available for 2018-19 entry

About the course

This aim of this course is to provide students with the essential knowledge and skills required to effectively intervene in the urban design process.

In an age of globalisation, where cities are rapidly transforming, that give rise to urban sprawl and the re-use of existing infill sites, there is an urgent need to develop expertise in urban design in order to adequately address these fast-changing conditions.

At the same time, there is growing recognition of the challenges facing regional locations, in particular how relationships between urban and rural territories need to become more effectively managed through adequate infrastructure and a clearer vision of measured and sustainable growth that will benefit future generations. Environmental, social and economic changes are imposing significant pressures on the sustainability of urban settlements, with consequential and long-term impacts on the quality of life. Features include:

•  The location of the University within the Yorkshire region gives students an opportunity to engage directly with a changing local and regional context, particularly in the areas of post-industrial transformations, creatively led regeneration processes and urban-rural developments.

•  Excellent international networks and joint activities with other institutions/research centres across the globe, including: the University of Seville in Spain, Tongji University of Shanghai in China, the University of Padova and Pavia in Italy)

•  Projects with industry and community stakeholders (e.g. Kirklees Council)

•  Seminars by leading practitioners, researchers and visiting professors from a number of highly-ranked universities including Professor Carlos Garcia Vazquez (Spain), Professor Luigi Siviero (Italy), Dr. Luciana Miron (Brazil), Dr. Luigi Siviero (Italy) and Mr. David Rudlin (Urbed)

Start date:
18 / 09 / 2017


1 year full time – September start
Part-time option also available

Entry requirements

Candidates must be able to satisfy the general admissions requirements of the University of Huddersfield and the specific requirements of the course in the following ways.

The normal entry requirements are:

•  An Honours degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject or an equivalent professional qualification.

•  Alternative qualifications and/or significant experience may be accepted, subject to approval.

•  You will be required to submit a digital version of a portfolio of design or graphic work together with your application. The portfolio must contain between 5 and 10 A4 pages of work, and include design, sketches and other kinds of graphic work. Preference should be given to work that is relevant to the discipline of urban design. The portfolio should provide evidence of your individual contribution (rather than team work), including critical observation and other analytical skills, as well as the capability to represent your ideas through a design based activity. A sample piece of written work (1 page) should also be included.


Department of Architecture and 3D Design
Tel: +44 (0)1484 472281
E-mail: architectureand3d@hud.ac.uk

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Course content

The course will cover the following key themes:

Core modules

Integrated Urban Design and Architecture

This module you will give you the opportunity to carry out a detailed survey and analytical study of an existing urban context and prepare strategic proposals for the further development and/or regeneration of the site in relationship to broader social, economic and environmental issues. You will then develop a design project at an appropriate scale for further exploration and resolution of a group of buildings and/or public spaces.

Theory History and Emerging Urban Trends

The core aim of this module therefore is to provide you with a foundation for acquiring knowledge, understanding and skills in the interpretation of contemporary urban settlements and their historical antecedents.

Cities, and more generally urban settlements, reflect societal, economic and political structures, many of which are manifested in their formal and topographical features. The module aims to trace key historical changes in the development of cities, and how these culminated in the development of the contemporary metropolis. The recent phenomena, of rapid expansion, or shrinking, of urban territories will be studied and analysed, providing analytical tools and cultural, political and economic contexts for interpretation.

Urban Design Planning and Development

This module aims to provide you with a grounding in the main features of urban scale projects in respect to planning requirements and economic feasibility in the development of urban programmes. The module aims to highlight the influence of these criteria on the development of an urban design strategy, by demonstrating how social, economic and planning issues can inform the different stages of the design process, from initial urban analysis to the creation of a strategic plan.

Research Methods

The research methods module introduces students to a variety of methods, approaches and practical issues involved in conducting academic research. It will give you the chance to become familiar with the key elements involved in designing, carrying out and assessing research relevant to a range of built environment disciplines. The objectives of this module are: to define a topic which is both researchable and manageable within the bounds of a Master’s dissertation/project; to conduct a preliminary literature search and synthesis, providing a background and justification to the research project; to establish clear aims and objectives for the research to specify the detailed plan to be carried out; and to produce a structure for the research which indicates the sources and methods to be employed and a feasible working programme.

Major Project

This module gives you the opportunity to undertake a major, in-depth piece of work along with other This includes a largely self-directed study, of what you have gained from the course and, often, to integrate it with elements from previous studies or professional experiences. It gives the opportunity for you to develop your research skills and abilities, allowing exploration of a particular and complex area covered in the taught elements of your course of study. The major project represents a study of a specified topic based on the gathering and analysis of primary and secondary data, contextualised within existing knowledge in the field and drawing conclusions to a defined research question.

Optional modules You will choose one from a list which may include:

Environmental Impacts of Buildings and Urban Development

Buildings have enormous impacts on their environments both internal and external. The construction and operation of buildings within an urban setting further enhances their impacts and can result in beneficial or negative consequences. This module aims to adopt the approach of considering all aspects of impact using a variety of techniques and resources. It will look beyond buildings and closely consider sustainability within the urban environment in which they are located. This module will study the interaction of the human system with building related hazards and suggest methods for reducing the adverse effects. It will also examine the environmental impact arising from the construction and operation of buildings on the external environment. Immediate construction effects will be explored including the use of land, water and raw materials. Impacts will be considered with reference to the main environmental assessment methods (such as BREEAM). The intention for this module is to understand how to change and improve the design philosophy for the construction and operation of buildings and of urban development in order to minimise the detrimental effects.


Communities Engagement for Social Innovation

A crucial element of design is its social responsibility to engage meaningfully with communities and the public at large, responding to and protecting the interests of society. Nowadays architectural/urban practices and goals are rapidly changing, especially in regard to the redefinition of public or collective spaces. In a UK context the formal process of urban design, at the scale of neighbourhoods, involves some degree of consultation with stakeholders. However there are compelling arguments for, and examples of, a range of approaches to this type of interaction, demonstrating how decision-making powers might be shared amongst different actors, and how the process can be embedded within the local community. The core aim of this module therefore is to provide an introduction to theories and practices of community participation in building and/or open spaces at different urban scales.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

We review all optional modules each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let students know in good time the options available for them to choose for the following year.

We will only change core modules for a course if it is necessary for us to do so, for example to maintain course accreditation. We will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before you begin the relevant academic year.

Sometimes we have to make changes to other aspects of a course or how it is delivered. We only make these changes if they are for reasons outside of our control, or where they are for our students’ benefit. Again, we will let you know about any such changes as soon as possible, usually before the relevant academic year. Our regulations set out our procedure which we will follow when we need to make any such changes.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Career opportunities

The aim of this course is to help you to develop the necessary skills to enter (or return to) design-based practices or industry, in companies that recognise the value of staff development in this area. The course also aims to contribute to the development of consultancy expertise appropriate to urban design, planning and built environment sectors.

The course is also designed to give you opportunities to enhance both your enterprise skills and your research skills with a view to progression to study at PhD level (if this is the direction you wish to take).

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught through a series of seminars, tutorials, group work, practical experience and lectures.

Assessment will include coursework, presentation, work-based learning and examination.

Your module specification/course handbook will provide full details of the assessment criteria applying to your course.

Feedback (usually written) is normally provided on all coursework submissions within three term time weeks – unless the submission was made towards the end of the session in which case feedback would be available on request after the formal publication of results. Feedback on exam performance/final coursework is available on request after the publication of results.

Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of the teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Academy.*

*Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching.


Postgraduate students are able to use all facilities within the School as well as those that are particular to your specialism. Of particular relevance to this course is that Architecture and 3D design department has a well stocked and resourced Design Centre with course specific information resources. Alongside this centre is a well equipped computer suite carrying a range of design and construction software. Finally, the central library is very accessible for additional digital and printed resources.

How much will it cost me?

In 2017/18, the full-time tuition fee for UK and EU postgraduate students at the University of Huddersfield will generally be £5,100 (see Fees and Finance for exceptions). Tuition fees will cover the cost of your study at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision and examinations. For more information about funding, fees and finance for UK/EU students, including what your tuition fee covers, please see Fees and Finance. Please note that tuition fees for subsequent years of study may rise in line with inflation (RPI-X).

If you're interested in studying with us on a part-time basis, please visit our Fees and Finance pages for part-time fee information.

If you are an international student coming to study at the University of Huddersfield, please visit the International Fees and Finance pages for full details of tuition fees and support available.

Please email the Student Finance Office or call 01484 472210 for more information about fees and finance.


You will need to supply your own materials during the course. These will vary based on the areas of specialism you choose, but could include sketchbooks, art equipment and materials for producing samples, and for printing or presenting your work. The costs of these items may vary and there is no limit to the amount you may wish to spend. However, as a guide, costs in recent years have ranged from approximately £280 to £530 per year.

How to apply

Research community

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities.Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you have the opportunity to benefit and develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant.

Centre for Urban Design, Architecture, and Sustainability (CUDAS)

CUDAS comprises three research themes: Urban Design, Architectural Practice and Humanities, and Sustainable Environments and Practice, which constitute the main areas of research focus in the Department of Architecture and 3D Design.

For more information visit:

Urban Futures and Design Lab

This is a newly established research group, within the CUDAS Research Centre. Chaired by Dr Ioanni Delsante (Reader in Urban Design), it is based on an interdisciplinary approach that challenges disciplinary boundaries. Its vision is centred around recent and un-explored urban trends in Europe, Asia, and globally.

Its research activities focus on complex urban regeneration processes, dealing also with policies and practices, use of advanced theoretical knowledge and analytical methods. A number of research and institutional links have been established with Higher Education Institutions and Research Centres across the world e.g. in Brazil, China, Middle East and Europe.

For more information visit:

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