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A student on a bench looking out over a cityscape of Edinburgh Image courtesy of Huanran (Patrick) Sun


Urban Strategies and Design - MSc



1 year (Full time); 2 years (Part time)
Full-time; Part-time


The contemporary urban environment is influenced by a wide and diverse range of social, economic and political processes.

Studying for an MSc in Urban Strategies and Design at ECA, you will engage with all these factors, enabling you to adopt a comprehensive approach towards the delivery of socially-sustainable urban transformation.

You will acquire the tools and skills to propose urban projects of diverse scales and specificities, from local to strategic metropolitan and regional.

Delivered collaboratively with the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot-Watt University, the programme is focused on urban strategies and urban design responses to contemporary urban transformations, often characterised by forms of urban restructuring in the Global North, and rapid urban expansion in the Global South.

Why Edinburgh?

The City of Edinburgh offers an active urban laboratory for project-led and site visit-based exploration of current urban design issues in the North. The City's historic 'Geddesian' planning links, and contemporary international links with urban-focused institutions and bodies, particularly in the Global South, provide a strong platform from which to support student-led, location-based dissertations.

Through lectures, projects, fieldwork and research, the Urban Strategies and Design Programme involves both critical-analytical and projective components. This enables you to test the hypotheses of course-based research in the form of an urban project, which can be developed in a range of forms, depending on your interest and expertise.

It could, for example, result in a design proposal addressing spatial organisation and urban morphology. Alternatively, it might lead to the development of urban design-related policies and guidance, or the proposal of institutional and governance arrangements for the development and implementation of an urban project.


Graduates in Urban Strategies and Design have career opportunities, locally and internationally, in a range of disciplines, including architecture, planning, landscape architecture and development planning. These opportunities exist in the formal, public and private voluntary, and international development sector. There are also opportunities to proceed to further academic research at masters or doctoral level.

Why you should choose this programme


Open to graduates from a range of disciplines, including geography, sociology, architecture, landscape architecture, political science, anthropology and economics.


You'll benefit from Our Research Alliance with Heriot-Watt University, having access to the teaching, research and policy liaison expertise offered by two major institutions.


We prepare graduates for careers in urban design and development planning, NGO work and other planning and allied professions.


The MSc degree offers a good foundation from which to develop research skills and interests in higher education through, for instance, doctoral study.


You'll have the opportunity to develop skills in selecting and using a range of urban design-related strategies and ‘tools’.

How to apply & entry requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to:

  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about study modes, start dates and fees
  • find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Get in touch

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)131 650 4086

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