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Urban Design and Planning

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What you'll need

As part of the application process, you'll need to submit:

  • School or college transcripts/certificates
  • University transcripts and certified translations if applicable
  • Degree certificates
  • Personal statement outlining your learning ambitions

Our application process

  • Sign into our online portal, Apply Yourself, and start your application
  • Submit your application
  • We'll email you to let you know we're processing your application
  • Track the progress of your application using the Postgraduate Application Tracker (we'll send you a link to the tracker)
  • We'll email you when a decision has been made
  • If you've been made an offer, you can then accept or decline it using the Postgraduate Application Tracker.

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Master of Civic Design

A Master of Civic Design (MCD) is a postgraduate academic master’s degree in Town and Regional Planning.

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Course overview

In this course, you'll gain insights into the social, economic, and environmental challenges that urban planners face in designing cities that are functional, liveable, and sustainable. You'll also become familiar with various planning and urban design tools and methods that are used to address these challenges, and learn how they can be applied to specific contexts. By exploring the complexities of urban design and planning, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and skills to tackle real-world issues and create vibrant and resilient communities.


Urban design and planning is a complex field that requires an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on expertise from the landscape, architecture, engineering, social sciences, and environmental sciences.

Our course will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of urban design and planning, providing you with a solid foundation in the principles and practices of designing and managing urban spaces. You will explore the social, economic, and environmental challenges that cities face today and learn how to address these challenges through innovative design and planning strategies.

By the end of the course, you will be able to analyse urban contexts, develop urban design proposals, and evaluate the social, economic, and environmental impacts of projects at different scales. Whether you aspire to become an urban designer, planner, or researcher, this course will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in your future endeavours.

What you'll learn

  • A critical appreciation of challenges facing modern society in terms of the need to reconcile economic growth and development with protecting and conserving the environment.
  • An understanding of the diversity of planned interventions at a variety of spatial scales, which are designed to produce effective and implementable solutions to policy dilemmas.
  • A range of analytical skills and techniques that are designed to develop appropriate and implementable solutions to a range of complex problems.
  • You’ll get the opportunity to apply your knowledge, skills and understanding to the achievement of feasible solutions to real-life problems.
  • Develop the ability to appreciate the need to adopt strong professional values and ethics, recognising the diversity of interests that planning serves.
  • Explore ideas, perspectives and debates in one specialised area of planning.


This programme has been devised to enable you to meet all of the learning outcomes specified by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and is in the process of seeking RTPI accreditation.

Accreditations in detail


This programme has been devised to enable you to meet all of the learning outcomes specified by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and is in the process of seeking RTPI accreditation.


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Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Semester 1

In your first semester, you will be introduced to the forces that shape the built environment and the role played by design professionals.

You will develop an understanding of the conflicts facing planners and urban designers in trying to deliver sustainable development, learn methods and techniques for analysing spatial planning and design issues, and the perspectives and theories that are relevant to the understanding of the role and purposes of planning and urban design.

You will attend lectures, seminars and take part in tutorials and field work to help you to build an understanding of planning and urban design principles and the field.

Compulsory modules

Spatial Planning Challenges (ENVS411)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides students with an understanding of the conflicts facing planners in trying to deliver sustainable development. It introduces students to the range of social, economic and environmental issues that face contemporary society. It outlines the role of spatial planning in managing development pressures while protecting the built and natural environment, and it explores different planning responses to address and reconcile these competing interests.

Theory, Power and Ethics (ENVS432)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The focus of this module is on the institutional perspective on planning across different spatial scales and the different strands of theories that are relevant to the understanding of the role and purposes of planning.

Trends, Outcomes and Impacts (ENVS469)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

The modern planner must be conversant with statistics and mapping. To achieve this, this module aims to provide students with a coherent guide to the variety of methods and techniques employed in analysing contemporary spatial planning issues. It provides a discussion of statistical analysis, and the ability to produce detailed mapping. In doing so, the aim is to furnish you with the critical thinking skills to understand the benefits of statistics in the work of a planner, and to use this to good effect. The module is delivered through lectures and a series of practical workshops and assessed through technical exercise and a group project report.

Urban Design: Principles and Practice (ENVS420)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This is a seminar-based module, which aims at promoting an understanding of the forces that shape the built environment and the role played by design professionals. It will help you as future designers to understand that the city is a complex and dynamic system. It will also stimulate your active thinking and positive responses to various phenomena. The module will be delivered through illustrated lectures, debates, site visits, tutorials and a design day (design charrette). Topics are based around current challenges for urbanism such as building tall, developing appropriate and effective design guidance, and designing for communities in the light of financial viability and climate change. You will be introduced to key theories and design skills and have the opportunity to engage first hand with professionals from the field of planning and urban design. Assessment for this module is comprised of an essay, a case study presentation and the design day output.

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Your experience

The Department of Geography and Planning is home to the world’s first planning school. We are a centre of excellence for innovative and influential research and scholarship and are a leading provider of high-quality professional education. We have excellent academic staff who are actively engaged with research and professional practice. This is reflected in the fact we edit two international journals: Town Planning Review and Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management.

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Careers and employability

Graduates of this MCD programme have excellent job prospects in the field of urban design and planning and beyond.

Career planning

Three career coaches standing outside the Careers Studio

Our campus Career Studio is a space for students and graduates to drop into and talk to a career coach. Career coaches are highly trained to help no matter what stage you are at in your career planning. You can access support to find and apply for full-time and part-time roles, placements, internships and graduate schemes. You will also find the help you need if you have a start-up idea or want to create a business plan. You can explore the world of work, prepare for job interviews, and access careers events and workshops. The Career Studio is open Monday to Friday from 10am-5pm, simply drop in at a time that works for you.

From education to employment

Two graduates in postgraduate robes.

We develop our programmes with employers in mind. You will be supported to enhance your long-term employment prospects as you learn. We do this by exposing you to professionals, a variety of sectors and supporting you to work collaboratively with others to develop transferable skills. You are equipped with a clearer view of what to focus on in your area of interest, and to reflect on your studies. Our digital employability tools give you a tech-enhanced curriculum experience and make it easy for you to prepare for the world of work. You can use tools like the Handshake platform to connect with employers and message the Career Studio 24/7.

Networking events

Postgraduate students hold a discussion while sat round a table in in the Liverpool Guild of Students.

You can start building good professional networks by attending events and employability activities. Our events are designed to develop your skills and expose you to many different employers, as well as to help you make contacts in your field. We help you improve your confidence when speaking to employers and give you access to unique opportunities. Our networking events also boost your understanding of the competencies and skills that employers are looking for in their recruitment process, giving you a competitive edge.

Your future

There are significant career opportunities in the fields of urban design and planning. Graduates from this programme will develop a set of skills that will be attractive for employers in the urban design and planning sectors – local authorities, the private and voluntary sectors, as well as architectural offices working on place-making and master planning. Students can also go on to take higher degrees or work as research assistants in academic institutions.

This programme meets particular needs, both in the UK and internationally, for specialists in this field.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £11,600
International fees
Full-time place, per year £22,400
Fees stated are for the 2024-25 academic year.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.

If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries that could help pay your tuition and living expenses.

Postgraduate Global Advancement Scholarship

  • International students

If you’re a new international student starting this course with us from September 2024, you could be eligible to receive a discount of £5,000 off your tuition fees.

Graduate Loyalty Advancement Scholarship

  • Home and international students
  • University of Liverpool current students and alumni only

Completed your undergraduate degree, or studied as an undergraduate exchange student, at the University of Liverpool?

You could get a loyalty discount of up to £2,500 off the tuition fees for this course from September 2024 entry.

  • £1,500 tuition fee discount for eligible UK University of Liverpool graduates
  • £2,500 tuition fee discount for eligible international University of Liverpool graduates.

ANID Chile Scholarship

  • International students
  • Chile

Postgraduate taught and research students from Chile are eligible for this scholarship.

Chevening Scholarships

  • International students

The University, in partnership with Chevening, is delighted to offer this generous scholarship to students who are studying a master’s programme and who have future leadership potential. Please note that there is a fee cap applied to MBA programmes that requires applicants to cover any additional tuition costs over £18,000. You will still receive all additional allowances.


  • International students
  • Mexico

The University of Liverpool has an agreement with CONACYT to support postgraduate taught and research students from Mexico.


  • International students
  • Mexico

20% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate taught and research programmes. Must be Mexico national.

Fulbright Scholarship

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool alumni only
  • United States

One scholarship is available for a master’s student from the US and another is available for a postgraduate research student to undertake a three to six month research stay from the US

FUNED Awards

  • International students
  • Mexico

Up to ten awards are available for Masters or Research students from Mexico in receipt of FUNED loans. The award gives students a 20% reduction in fees for all applications received.

Graduate Association Hong Kong & Tung Postgraduate Scholarships

  • International students
  • China
  • Hong Kong

The University is able to offer competitive scholarships for both postgraduate taught master’s and research programmes.

HRM Princess Sirindhorn University of Liverpool Scholarship (Thailand)

  • International students
  • Thailand

The University is able to offer one award to a new postgraduate taught master’s student from Thailand.

The scholarship is open to all subjects offered as a one-year taught master’s programme.  However, priority will be given to those students who wish to study in a subject area associated with HRH Princess Sirindhorn such as science, IT, medicine, the arts, geography, history and languages.

JuventudEsGto Scholarship

  • International students
  • Mexico

Residents of State of Guanajuato, Mexico, wishing to study at postgraduate taught and research levels are eligible for this scholarship.

Marshall Scholarship

  • International students
  • University of Liverpool alumni only
  • United States

One scholarship is available for a master’s student from the US to cover the cost of tuition fees. Another, to the value of £20,000, is available for Doctoral study visit:

Turkish Ministry of Education Scholarship

  • International students
  • Turkey

Postgraduate taught and research students from Turkey are eligible for this scholarship, see the Turkish Ministry of Education website for more information.

University of Liverpool Humanitarian Scholarships for Master’s Programmes

  • International students

The three awards available cover full tuition fees, visas and support for accommodation and living expenses.

This scholarship is open to support people who have recognised status as either refugees or are under humanitarian protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention. This status must be held outside of the UK.

The scholarship is open for all postgraduate-taught programmes, excluding medicine, dentistry, veterinary and nursing.

University of Liverpool International College Excellence Scholarship

  • International students

The University of Liverpool will award five University of Liverpool International College students, who achieve the highest academic excellence (minimum 75%) in their UoLIC Pre-Master’s programme, the prestigious UoLIC Excellence scholarship.

University of Liverpool International College Impact Progression Scholarships

  • International students

University of Liverpool International College recipients of the Kaplan awards will receive the £3,000 Progression Impact Scholarship, deducted from first-year tuition fees, on successful progression to their UoL degree programme.

To be eligible for our Impact Progression Scholarships, students must apply for one of the Kaplan Impact Scholarships demonstrating their commitment to making an impact across issues of importance to the University and Kaplan. Themes include:

Women in STEM
Career Focus (Employability)

Vice-Chancellor’s International Attainment Scholarship for China

  • International students
  • China

Details are:
1 (one) Full scholarship
2 (two) £10,000 scholarships
5 (five) £5,000 scholarships
10 (ten) £1,000 scholarships
All scholarships will be awarded after the formal registration at the University and will take the form of a fee waiver.

Please note: This scholarship cannot be combined with any other scholarships or bursaries provided by the University.

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

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Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

Postgraduate entry requirements

The normal entry requirement for all our postgraduate programmes is a good first degree (2:1) or above, in a related area from an approved university or equivalent. Applications from those with non-traditional qualifications and relevant work experience are also welcomed and will be considered on their individual merits.

For applicants wishing to study this programme, a Portfolio of design work must be submitted with the application. The portfolio should comprise of a maximum of 16 pages. This should be in digital format (.pdf or .jpg) which can be attached to your application (hardback copies are not accepted).

Relevant work experience is not an entry requirement, but prospective students are encouraged to gain some familiarity with the work of planning professionals prior to joining the programme.

Students admitted to this programme must have completed the equivalent of ENVS427 Making Plans and ENVS439 Making Places in their previous studies.


International qualifications
Applications from international students are welcome. International qualifications will be evaluated in line with the National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) guidelines.


English language qualifications
All applicants must have reached a minimum required standard of English language and are required to provide evidence of this. Qualifications accepted by the University please review the English Language requirements specific to your country.

If you meet the academic requirements of the course but do not have the required level of English Language, it is possible for you to come and study at the University on one of our Pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes programmes. Please see the English Language Centre website for further information about these programmes.

If you require additional English Language training during your study, the University is able to provide tuition and arrange IELTS tests through its English Language Centre, details of which are available at via the website.

International qualifications

If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet our entry requirements, a Pre-Master’s can help you gain a place. This specialist preparation course for postgraduate study is offered on campus at the University of Liverpool International College, in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways. Although there’s no direct Pre-Master’s route to this MA, completing a Pre-Master’s pathway can guarantee you a place on many other postgraduate courses at The University of Liverpool.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language. International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component below 6.0
View our IELTS academic requirements key.
International Baccalaureate

Standard Level 5

TOEFL iBT 88 or above with minimum scores in components as follows: Listening, Reading and Writing 19, Speaking 20.
INDIA Standard XII National Curriculum (CBSE/ISC) - 75% and above in English. Accepted State Boards - 80% and above in English.
Hong Kong use of English AS level C

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new application cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted on the website.

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Liverpool bursts with diversity and creativity which makes it ideal for you to undertake your postgraduate studies and access various opportunities for you and your family.

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Fees and Finance

Discover what expenses are covered by the cost of your tuition fees and other finance-related information you may need regarding your studies at Liverpool.

Changes to Urban Design and Planning MCD

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.