MSc in Sustainable Urban Development

Educating with Oxford: MSc in Sustainable Urban Development.

Length: normally two years (part-time)

By 2030, more than 60% of the world's population will live in cities. Urban planners need to meet the challenge of resolving often-conflicting urban needs. 

The two-year MSc in Sustainable Urban Development aims to provide students with a rigorous and critical introduction to the policy and practice of sustainable urban development. The course exposes students to sustainable urbanism as both an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary subject at global and local scales.

The programme attracts a lively and engaged group of students, who combine postgraduate study with their professional lives, and an active alumni network. Students on the course typically come from a wide international background and share a variety of work experiences in urban development and the built environment. The programme runs in partnership with the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, and is an accredited course within the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors University Partnership.

Students will normally attend eight intensive residential teaching weeks over the two year period. In the first year these will be: 

  • Concepts of the City and Environmental Change
  • Climate change and the Built Environment
  • Place-making and Urban Design 
  • Financing Sustainability
  • Sustainable Transport

In the second year:

  • Urbanism, Community and City-Building
  • Urbanisation in the Global South
  • Leadership, Governance and Future Cities

During teaching weeks, students will also follow foundation courses in urban theory and research methods tailred to sustainable urban development. Students will spend part of the second year working on a dissertation with the guidance of a supervisor.

Who teaches on the course?

The course is delivered by tutors from institutes and departments across the University of Oxford, and in collaboration with comprehensive range of commercial, governmental and non-government organisations specialising in special urban development.

Key Faculty

Dr David Howard, MSc Course Director, (MA, MPhil, DPhil Oxon), is an Associatte Professor in Sustainable Urban Development and Fellow of Kellogg College, Oxford. His research interests lie at the interface between urban geography, social sustainability and development studies.

Dr Idalina Baptista is Associate Professor in Urban Anthropology, a Fellow of Kellogg College and an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford.  Her current research focuses on the theoretical and practical challenges of governing urbanisation and infrastructure in African cities, particularly in Mozambique.  She is also the Director of the DPhil in Sustainable Urban Development.

Dr Jo Waters is Associate Professor in Human Geography her research interests include international and transnational population migration (particularly in the Asia-Pacific Region), international education and student mobilities.

Dr Nihan Akyelken is a Departmental Lecturer on the MSc in Sustainable Urban Devlopment.  Her research interests include transport infrastructure, mobilities, social inequalities and development planning

Dr Nigel Mehdi is Senior Associate Tutor to the MSc.  He is also Visiting Fellow at the Spatial Economics Research Centre, London School of Economics. He is a Chartered Surveyor, working as a consultant in private practice.

Dr Matthew Hardy is an architect and architectural historian working at the Prince's Foundation for Building Community. Matthew trained as an architect at the University of Adelaide, South Australia, holds a PhD in architectural history from the University of Wales, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Mr Ben Bolgar is the Senior Design Director for the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment where he is responsible for overseeing design output for the charity and its subsidiary company Community Capital. 

Course fees

For information on course fees, please refer to the University of Oxford website.


Can I apply for financial support?

There are over 1000 fully-funded scholarships available for new graduate students at Oxford. Please visit the Oxford Fees and Funding page for information about the wide variety of funding opportunities available at Oxford and help on how to calculate your living costs. 


For applications and further information, please visit

You can also email, follow us on Twitter @Oxford_Urban,  call +44 (0)1865 286952

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