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Study urban design

Work at the nexus of architecture and urban and regional planning
Develop expertise in different types of urban projects, and inform your professional practice with a thorough understanding of the policy environment that drives design and development.

What is urban design?

Over the last century, urban design gradually emerged as a distinct field in response to the need for architects and urban and regional planners to communicate efficiently. There was also a need for better design skills at urban scales: streets, street blocks, town centres, city districts, new suburbs, cross-city infrastructure etc. Since introduction, urban design has expanded enormously in response to the growing complexity of public life between buildings and within the urban domain.

Today, urban design provides a way of thinking, a framework, in response to wicked contemporary urban problems. It links design skills and innovation, with integrated socio-spatial, environmental, and political analysis of urban structure and context to achieve better outcomes for all.

This program offers an appreciation of the historical and theoretical dimensions of urbanism and design, and expands your understanding and design skills at both suburban and metropolitan levels.

You will develop the ability to analyse contexts, define principles and provide guidance for designers and architects of buildings, landscape, and the public domain. You will be trained to refine and focus your skills in spatial thinking and visual communication.

Urban design is a growing and evolving profession, with a trajectory into leading and informing decisions at multiple scales.

This course is an excellent option for professionals and graduates in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning or closely related areas, who want to develop and extend their professional expertise, but we also welcome applicants from other disciplines. It is ideal for graduates of the Bachelor of Architecture and Environments.

Professionals with good urban design knowledge and skills are highly sought after by private consulting firms, development organisations, and local and state governments, where they are required to prepare and evaluate urban design policies, strategies, frameworks, guidelines, concepts, master plans and programs, and be involved in the more detailed design and management of urban spaces.

Urban designers are crucial for solid development evaluation, and to enhance perspectives on urban conservation and transformation. There is also a small but growing demand for urban design educators and media commentators.

Urban design courses

Urban Design

The Master of Urban Design will help you to develop expertise in different types of urban projects, and inform your professional practice with a thorough understanding of the policy environment that drives design and development.


This degree is a two‑year, 96-credit-point version of the specialist 18-month master’s programs in Urban Design, Heritage Conservation, Urban and Regional Planning. This extended timeframe enables you to experience a cross‑disciplinary approach while still specialising in a specific area of professional interest.

Urban Studies Major

The Urban Studies Major will equip you with the skills and knowledge to understand the complexity of cities and to deal with urban problems that will be the centre of a vast array of professions. It will challenge you to think about the dynamic relationship between understanding cities and city-making by exposing you to a range of critical approaches and professional practices vital to urban life.

Related courses

At the master’s level, our Urban Design degree will take 1.5 years full time to complete (72 credit points). The program can also be taken at the level of:

Inspiring alumni

Monica Desanti

Master of Urban Design
Urban Designer, City of Parramatta

"I am currently an urban designer in the City Transformation Team at the City of Parramatta Council. I am working in an excellent team on the design of light rail in Parramatta and facilitating the delivery of public domain improvements along the river foreshore in Parramatta's city centre.

I will also be assisting with the implementation of the Civic Link Framework Plan – a 20m wide north-south pedestrian-only connection between the future Parramatta Square and Parramatta River."