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Advanced Sustainable Urban Design


The aim of this unique, innovative and multidisciplinary, one-year professional programme is to develop outstanding urban design professionals who have the creativity to contemplate alternative futures of our cities, the confidence to implement grand visions and an ability to reflect on professional practice by listening to the views of different stakeholders as well as by drawing on cross-cultural insights.

Closing date: For entry Sept 2014, apply before 18th July 2014, if you need a visa to study in the UK

Why study Advanced Sustainable Urban Design at Dundee?

Patrick Geddes (1854-1932), the Scottish urbanist, biologist and former Chair of Botany at the University of Dundee introduced the 'Valley Section', as a representation of inter-relationships between the natural and built environment and the social, cultural, economic and political life of communities living in and around a city. This notion of 'sustainable urbanism' advocated by Geddes, is particularly significant in an increasingly globalising world, where mobility of people has widened choices of where they 'live' and 'work'. Such an endeavour calls for an urban design education to create professionals who can understand, evaluate and design high quality places.

The legacy of urbanist philosophy advocated by Patrick Geddes provides a good starting place for the advancement of skills for an urban design profession. Equally, with £1 billion waterfront regeneration work taking place in the heart of the city of Dundee which includes £45 million investment in the only other branch of the Victoria and Albert museum outside London, there are ample opportunities to understand the inter-relationships between 'discourse' and 'practice' in shaping high quality places. In this regard, the School of the Environment at the University of Dundee is delighted to offer this opportunity to aspiring urban design professionals, to learn how to plan, design, develop and deliver sustainable urban environments.

Professional Accreditation

The new MSc Advanced Sustainable Urban Design programme is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a specialist masters degree and can therefore lead to full RTPI accreditation for students with an undergraduate degree in town planning that is partially accredited by the RTPI.

Aims of the Programme

This course aims to provide skills, impart knowledge and develop competencies in the delivery, design and development of sustainable urban projects. This will be in reference to landscape urbanism, urban microclimate, climate change, sustainable material, and urban layout in an international context.

It will give you an opportunity to identify models and strategies of good practice in urban design to support sustainable urban development and to assess the sustainability elements of development schemes.

Teaching & Assessment

This course is taught by a team based in the School of the Environment.

Key staff involved in the programme include Dr. Deepak Gopinath, Mohammad Radfar and Dr. Husam Al Waer.

The course starts in September each year and lasts for 12 months on a full time basis or 24 months on a part time basis.

How you will be taught

A variety of teaching methods will be used, including Design studio, lectures, seminars, supervised study, tutorial sessions, presentations, invited speakers and discussion groups.

One-on-one supervision of a research project dissertation by a single tutor is designed to promote continuity in the learning process.

Learning methods will include oral and written presentations, peer assessments of oral presentations, problem-solving assignments and feedback, and interactive computer based communication skills.

What you will study

Course Structure

The course consists of 30 credit core modules, a 15 credit elective module plus a 45 credit research project.

  1. Discourses in Urban Design
    • Urban Design Project 1
  2. Spatial Analysis
  3. Sustainable Urban Design Practice and Master Planning
    • Urban Design Project 2
    • Field trip
  4. Sustainability in Contemporary Cities
  5. Research Project:
    • Route 1: Design Project
    • Route 2: Dissertation

Two electives will be offered: (a) Sustainability Evaluation; (b) Environmental Change Monitoring

How you will be assessed

Essays and reports, case studies and presentations will all be assessed. You will also carry out a major research-based project or dissertation. There are no formal examinations.


Hands-on learning: Postgraduate students participating in a workshop organised in the School of the Environment in 2011


Graduates from this course will be specialised in sustainable urban design and analytical tools, and will be able to fit into design teams across private firms or local authorities, or to take on a global career.

Graduates will have developed a mindset to consult, to listen to and to take on board the views of different stakeholders so that they are confident to work within the model of community-led master planning or 'Charrettes'.

In addition, and by drawing on diverse disciplines such as Architecture, Planning, Geography and Environmental Science, graduates will be able to adapt to varied professional contexts and be capable to work within urban design, architectural, landscape architectural and planning consultancies and cross disciplinary environments.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold a good honours degree and/or professional experience in any discipline (preferably relevant to design and planning of the built environment), and be able to show their aptitude for the design of sustainable urban environment.

English Language Requirement

IELTS of 6.5 (or equivalent), if your first language is not English. Please check our Language Requirements page for details of equivalent grades from other test providers, and information about the University of Dundee English Language courses.

English Language Pre-Sessional Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional programmes throughout the year and Foundation Programme(s) for both undergraduate and postgraduate students which start at the beginning of the academic year.  These programmes are all designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.  Successful completion of these programmes guarantees progression to various degrees at the University of Dundee as long as you hold a relevant offer.

The 30 week (one Academic Year) Foundation Programme(s) allow applicants who have not met our typical academic entry requirements, and require additional English Language support by up to 1.0 IELTS, to gain the necessary qualifications to enter the University of Dundee degree programmes in the following year.

The 24 week Pre-Sessional programme (March – August) provides additional English Language tuition for students who do not meet our minimum English Language requirements by up to 1.0 IELTS and the 10 week Pre-Sessional programme  (June – August) (October – December) provides specialist English Language tuition for students who are 0.5 IELTS below the requirement for their degree programme.

Fees and Funding

Academic Year Home/EU Overseas
2014-15 £3,800 £11,500

Sources of Funding

Information about the School of the Environment scholarships can be found on the School of the Environment scholarships webpage.

Other sources of funding for postgraduate students can be found on our Scholarships webpage.

Living Costs

  • Dundee is ranked as one of the most affordable places for students to live in the UK, and the cost of living is around 15% cheaper than the UK average.
  • Increasing numbers of students are successfully undertaking part-time work to supplement their income. You can get advice from our Careers Service, both about job opportunities and how to find a suitable study/work/life balance. EU and international students are also allowed to work up to 20 hours per week.
  • As a student in Scotland, you have free access to the National Health Service. Visits to doctors and hospitals, as well as prescriptions, sight tests and dental checkups, are available free of charge.

Your Application

How to Apply

Apply online via UKPASS

You must read the information regarding how to upload relevant documents to UKPASS before proceeding with your application.

Course Contact

Dr Deepak Gopinath
School of the Environment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 385048 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 385048 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 386794 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 386794 (from outside the UK)


Admissions Contact

Postgraduate Admissions
Admissions and Student Recruitment
University of Dundee

Telephone: 01382 384 384 (from the UK)
Telephone: +44 1382 384 384 (from outside the UK)

Fax: 01382 385 500 (from the UK)
Fax: +44 1382 385 500 (from outside the UK)