The University of Nottingham is proud of its long history and tradition of leading successful urban design education. Indeed, its Department of Architecture & Built Environment has been delivering high quality postgraduate programmes in urban design for over 25 years. One of the highlights of the course is the opportunity to work under the leadership of eminent urban design researcher and practitioner Professor Tim Heath.
The 12-month MArch Sustainable Urban Design focuses on the design of the public realm, urban areas and cities and is a research and project-based programme. The course is designed to enhance the quality of our cities by bringing innovative design into a new relationship with the latest theoretical research with regard to the structure of urban form and the creation of urban places in order to respond to the major opportunities and challenges.
The programme covers urban regeneration issues, public realm design, urban design theory and practice and sustainable urbanism theory and applications in place-making with advanced technology and design tools. You will acquire the knowledge and develop the necessary skills to face the contemporary cultural, historical, social, economic and environmental challenges in terms of achieving holistic sustainability in those realms.
You will be encouraged to develop your problem-solving skills through creative urban design proposals. You will be provided with an understanding of the complex relationship between spatial and design issues, and social and economic urban crises. The course addresses urban design as a mode of research and practice that shapes urban environments and responds to urban issues.
You will develop the mechanisms and design tools which when effectively implemented, can secure and deliver projects for the long-term benefit of a city and its people. The course emphasises the importance of design creativity, analytical skills, critical thinking and focuses on drawing and physical and computer modeling as tools for analysis, exploration, communication and design in order to achieve social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
- As part of its remit, the Department of Architecture and Built Environment aims to develop your vocational skills and the environmentally responsible attitude necessary in today's rapidly changing world
- The department enjoys strong collaborative links with professional organisations and international institutions to ensure global awareness and applicability across academia and practice
- The University’s former Institute of Urban Planning was one of the first institutes in the country to offer research and postgraduate qualifications in urban design
- The MArch Sustainable Urban Design course is suitable for architecture graduates as well as those from related disciplines such as landscape architecture, urban planning and environmental design
- This course does not convey professional accreditation in the UK although the Sustainable Urban Design module does enable students to apply for BREEAM Accredited Graduate status
The programme covers place-making, public realm design, urban conservation and regeneration issues, urban design theory and practice and sustainable urbanism theory and application.
Course alumni: hear from former students
Live projects and contemporary urban concerns are analysed and explored through reading, writing and design. The programme's focus on drawings and modelling as tools for analysis, exploration and communication allows a detailed understanding of how to move strategically between the scale of the city and detail of urban design proposals and place-making.
Urban design depends heavily upon imagination, experimentation, and pushing beyond the limitations of current thinking and contemporary practice. Students spend the summer semester producing a supervised research dissertation. This will be an opportunity to conduct a piece of independent research related to the practice of urban design and/or contemporary urban opportunities and challenges.
The programme offers a combination of design modules, lectures and seminars requiring students to work both in small groups and individually. The lectures and seminars discuss key issues of urban design history, theory and practice, particularly in relation to sustainable context in both theoretical and practical aspects. They provide an understanding of the process of urban change and the role of urban design.
The course attracts students from all over the world creating a dynamic environment in which to study and learn. There are also numerous field trips each year to cities across the UK as part of the taught modules, as well as social events, PhD group presentations and guest lectures.
Applicants to all MArch programmes in the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham are required to submit a portfolio of their design work with their application. The portfolio enables us to see that you have some of the core skills required to be successful on an MArch course and to see the range of skills and types of projects that you have completed in your undergraduate degree.
The portfolio should be submitted with your admissions application and be in PDF format and less than 10Mb (please submit this directly onto the MyNottingham admissions system).
The portfolio should have:
- a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 15 images
- a letter confirming that this is your own work. The letter should come from a tutor or course teacher who has been responsible for you and should be on institution headed paper
- a front cover of the portfolio which shows your full name
The portfolio should contain:
- examples of a few design projects that you have completed as part of your taught university education. Try to show different presentation techniques that represent your design skills (such as plans, sections, perspectives, physical and computer models, etc). The images can be any from architectural, urban, planning or landscape projects that you have completed in your studies
- you may also include a few sketches, paintings, photographs, still life or life drawings to show your skills (maximum 2 pages)
- as well as the above, it is also acceptable to include an example of a project that you have completed as part of work experience or a professional placement (maximum 2 pages)
Portfolios will be judged on whether you have the visual skills required together with a keen sense of judgement and spatial awareness in your work.
Students will develop the mechanisms and design tools which when effectively implemented can secure and deliver projects for the long-term benefit of a city and its people. The courses emphasises the importance of design creativity, analytical skills, critical thinking and focuses on drawing and physical and computer modeling as tools for analysis, exploration, communication and design in order to achieve social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
Students will be encouraged to develop problem-solving skills through creative urban design proposals. They will also develop an understanding of the complex relationship between spatial and design issues and social and economic urban processes. The course also addresses urban design as a mode of research and practice that shapes urban environments, physical or not and responds to current urban issues.
Through its content, this course aims to:
- bridge the gap between architecture and urban planning
- establish a broad theoretical basis of debate related to the practice of urban design
- encourage design experimentation and creativity
- apply theory and research methods to specific design projects
- be environmentally aware and supportive of holistic sustainable practices
The course emphasises the importance of design creativity, in keeping with the spirit of intellectual freedom and experimentation, which has given the Department of Architecture and Built Environment its international reputation.
The Department of Architecture and Built Environment is located on the beautiful landscaped University Park campus, which is a short journey from Nottingham city centre. The Department is fully equipped with a Centre for 3D Design, which houses 3D printers, laser cutters, model-making facilities, and a 5-axis router. The Department’s design studios, computing laboratories, printing facilities, and technical workshops provide the tools for the investigative analysis of current structural, construction, social and environmental issues informing the making of architecture and urban design.
This MArch programme is project oriented – it explicitly calls for design proposals rather than purely theoretical work. The course stresses the importance of connecting design projects to the broader decision-making context of real and complex projects.
Graduates of the MArch Sustainable Urban Design typically go on to work at the interface between architecture and urban design in architectural or multi-disciplinary practices and design institutes around the world with some progressing onto PhD study either at Nottingham or other leading universities.
This programme has been specifically designed with the profession's needs in mind and most of the graduates from the MArch courses return to work as professionals within both the private and public sector in their own countries. Many do however continue to PhD programmes either at Nottingham or other leading universities.
Career prospects and employability
The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.
The acquisition of a masters degree from the University of Nottingham demonstrates a high level of knowledge in a specific field. Whether you are using it to enhance your employability, as preparation for further academic research or as a means of vocational training, you may benefit from careers advice as to how you can use your new found skills to their full potential.
Our Careers and Employability Service will help you do this, working with you to explore your options and inviting you to attend recruitment events where you can meet potential employers, as well as suggesting further development opportunities, such as relevant work experience placements and skills workshops.
* The Graduate Market 2013-2017, High Fliers Research.
Boost your earning potential
Which university courses boost graduate wages the most? Studying with us could help you to earn more.
- We are second highest in the UK for female engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
- We are second highest in the Midlands for male engineering graduate earnings, five years after graduation
(Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies data: www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-44413086)
Careers support and advice
We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students whatever your course, mode of study or future career plans.
You can access our Careers and Employability Service during your studies and after you graduate. Expert staff will help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.
More than 1,500 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.
As a student on this course, you may factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles which could cost up to £100 per year.
In addition to this you may spend up to £50 per on printing and up to £50 on model making and drawing equipment. Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.
Scholarships and bursaries
Government loans for masters courses
Masters student loans of up to £10,906 are available for taught and research masters courses. Applicants must ordinarily live in the UK or EU.
International and EU students
Masters scholarships are available for international and EU students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure you apply for your course with enough time.
We provide guidance on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study. You can also access specific funding opportunities, entry requirements and other resources for students from specific countries.