MA Urban Design

Start date(s)

September 2022

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Part-time (2 years)

Tuition fees 22/23

Home (full-time, per year): £7,750

Home (per credit): £43.05

International (full-time, per year): £16,100

Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies:

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About this course

LJMU's Urban Design MA enables you to explore your creative potential to change the landscape of cities and urban spaces and our experience within them.

In a world of rapidly rising and migrating urban populations, there is a palpable need for smarter, more inclusive approaches to city planning, adaptation and spatial design.

Study Urban Design in a resurgent, UNESCO recognised city of cultural significance and advance your skills to create spaces that solve modern problems in cross-cultural contexts. This programme has strong links with the RIBA North and the Liverpool Biennial which, every two years, delivers an international programme of exhibitions and projects that lead to a rediscovery of the city.


The programme is nourished by Liverpool School of Art and Design’s burgeoning research in Urbanism and close association with the University's European Institute for Urban Affairs.

The curriculum has creative place-making at its core and we welcome applicants from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds such as architecture, planning, landscape architecture, art and spatial design.


Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • Library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • Access to programme-appropriate software
  • Library and student IT support
  • Free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)

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  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.

Bursaries and study awards

The Liverpool School of Art and Design offers students across all taught postgraduate programmes opportunities to apply for scholarships aimed at broadening student knowledge and experience.

The Michael Pugh Thomas and Julia Carter Preston Legacy scholarships consist of a number of £1,000 awards and are open to full-time and part-time home and international students who wish to study for a postgraduate qualification in art and design with LJMU. Part-time applicants can only apply once over the two years of their course.

To be considered for the scholarship, you must submit a 500 word letter to after being formally offered a place on a Masters programme in the School of Art and Design. The application deadline for September entry is June 30.

Please ensure you include your name, contact details, the full title of the course you have applied to study on and 500 words stating why you should be awarded the scholarship, the benefits it will bring to your studies and any exceptional circumstances you face in studying for a postgraduate qualification. Further information for international students about finance, fees and scholarships can be found here.

The School's main travel bursary for existing students, The Susan Cotton Travel Awards, consists of three European Awards of £1,600 and two International Awards of £2,300. The awards are intended to help you undertake significant domestic or international travel in support of your work and personal development. The awards aren't necessarily about academic study, instead they focus on the spirit of travel and adventure. Previous winners of the bursary have travelled to a tropical island to experience life at its most basic, cycled the length of the Danube, spent a month in Morocco and inter-railed through Europe.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

As a graduate of this programme, a number of career paths will be open to you. Most aligned with your formal education is the practice of urban design work in specialist agencies or public sector bodies. These roles consider how structures and systems function within existing landscapes and how they can be manipulated to offer the best living and working solutions.

Many graduates have successfully secured employment at world-class practices throughout the UK and further afield, while others have remained in 

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Liverpool contributing to its evolution by taking key roles in leading practices that have reshaped the city over the last decade.

For those interested in taking their learning to the next level, this programme also offers the opportunity to progress to PhD study and embark on a career teaching Urban Design.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

Core modules

Major Project (Urban Design)
60 credits

This module enables you to plan, organise and deliver a major project, through effective time and resource management, demonstrating a high level of critical engagement, creative achievement and appropriate technical ability. It also develops your ability to speak coherently about your work and enhance your capacity to engage in focussed research and scholarly evaluation.

Sustainable Urban Design: The evaluation and reflective development of sustainable communities
30 credits

This module provides students with an understanding of sustainable design principles and objectives, and why they matter. You will explore a range of contemporary best-practice case studies of sustainable urban design in an international context.

Theory and Research 1: theoretical studies and research methods
30 credits

This module will explore critical methods in Architectural and Urban Design and the connections of Art and Architecture.  You will have the opportunity to define a research question and develop an understanding of different research methods appropriate for your subsequent specialist study.

Urban Design 1: Creative urbanism and regeneration within an analytical and theoretical context
30 credits

The module commences with a series of urban design lectures that manifest in a design theory essay. Concurrently, analytical studies and creative tasks lead into the group urban design project, proposing the regeneration of an urban area, which is underpinned by a theoretical position derived from the design theory exercise. An individual urban design study follows on, such that the whole module effectively delivers an entire urban design process of research, analysis, theoretical positioning, design at different scales, and communication.

Practice and Legislation: Understanding the designer's role in the contemporary built environment
30 credits

An exciting opportunity to reflect upon contemporary, ethical design practice and also to be directly involved in 'live' architectural projects within the North West region. You will be working, in groups, with real clients on a variety of projects identified by them with a member of staff as a mentor. You will act as a 'mini practice' and resolve and advise your respective clients on professional issues.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

The majority of contact time takes place on Tuesdays, with sessions on Fridays and the cross-school Collaborative Practice module sessions at the beginning of semester one. This module culminates in an exhibition of student work in April.

Teaching methods

Teaching is individually tailored to each student. Each week is divided between lectures, seminars, tutorials, studio supervisions and workshops.

Applied learning

LJMU academics bring real world experience to the programme, working with nationally recognised urban design practitioners, local authority planning and urban design departments and international academic partners on urban projects, public exhibitions and related publications. These interactions help to ensure that our curriculum is kept up-to-date and that you secure the knowledge and skills required to succeed professionally on graduation.

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Person sat using laptop


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

Assessment methods on this programme include: a major project proposal report, practical project work, a major project thesis and a personal development plan. You will also be assessed for the quality of your drawings and model making.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

Ian Wroot

Ian Wroot

Programme Leader

Ian has taught architecture in Austria, Slovenia, Malaysia and Turkey and with collaborative partners from Sweden, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Portugal, Belgium and Greece.  A registered and chartered architect, Ian worked for over 20 years in a range of multidisciplinary practices before forming his own design company in 2001. Ian’s research focuses on the analysis of cognition in the creative process. He is interested in: cognitive bias, judgement heuristics and the validity of commonly used design quality indicators. In recent years he has focused on the effective measurement and enhancement of processes and practices in the briefing, conceptual design and post occupancy evaluation stages of the building design process.

I enjoy all forms of studio based teaching. My passion is project-based learning that brings a wide variety of knowledge and abilities into play to explore germane lines of intellectual and practical inquiry.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

The programme is based in the Liverpool School of Art and Design’s John Lennon Art and Design building, part of the Mount Pleasant Campus. This purpose-built facility in Liverpool city centre encourages interaction between different disciplines and the sharing of ideas and expertise.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

You will need:

  • a 2:1 degree in a related discipline
  • a sample digital portfolio submitted at the point of application
  • a reference
  • a portfolio of work to be presented at interview
  • to attend an interview
Additional information

  • In exceptional circumstances applications by mature graphic designers, illustrators and artists without sufficient qualifications will be considered
  • IELTS English language requirement: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in each component)
  • Pearson PTE Academic requirements: 64 (minimum 59 in each component for UKVI Purposes)
  • RPL is accepted on this programme

If you have any specific queries, please contact

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Please note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

View country specific entry requirements

Contact LJMU's International Admissions Team for guidance on visa information. Further information is also available from our international web pages.

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Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

You will apply for the majority of postgraduate courses using our online application form. You should complete the form thoroughly and provide a detailed personal statement which reflects your suitability and aptitude for the programme.

Your application should demonstrate that you have a sufficient level of knowledge to embark upon the programme (including the required linguistic competence) and complete it within the time limits.

You will need to provide evidence of your learning capability at interview stage. You will also need to demonstrate your commitment to a postgraduate programme of study.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

Important info about this course