ma urban design

Urban design recognises architecture and the city as a collective form of knowledge.

It brings together professionals from a range of backgrounds who share a passion for improving the design of our urban environments.

Whether you have studied urban design, architecture, interdisciplinary design or planning, this course will enable you to network with practitioners, planners, architects and landscape architects to explore the role of urban design in the city.

This course will employ a research-by-design approach to understanding national and international cities. You will study governance as a spatial design concern and will gain a deep understanding of the formation of the city within diverse political, economic, social and cultural contexts. By developing your ability to apply theory to practice, you will appreciate the complexity of creating spaces across different structural layers.

You will study the latest methods and design theories relating to urban environments, exploring the development and resolution of projects and focusing on achieving environmental sustainability. Working with landscape architecture and town planning students, you will also address briefs provided by external clients, developing your ability to work as part of a team and making a significant contribution to innovative designs.

During your advanced modules, you will have the option to choose a design-focused research project which addresses alternatives to mainstream paths and ethical concerns, or you may wish to take the research pathway looking at urban themes in connection with interdisciplinary practice, social sciences and design.

For examples of the work produced in our architecture studios, check out our Leeds School of Arts website, our End of Year Show Guide 2019, or our 2019 Research Yearbook; Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4 & Volume 5. You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter.


The INSIDE/OUT lecture series offers historical, theoretical and critical analyses of art, architecture and design and welcomes internationally recognised practitioners to come and talk about their practice. Find out about forthcoming events on the INSIDE/OUT webpage

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Research Excellence Framework 2014: our University's results for the Architecture, Built Environment and Planning unit, which it entered for the first time, were impressive with 37% of its research being rated world leading or internationally excellent.

This is a flexible studio-based course which will give you the opportunity to work and learn with students from a range of backgrounds, sharing experiences and building professional networks. There will be opportunities to attend activities such as the Architecture Open Lecture Series, symposia, workshops and interdisciplinary related events alongside fellow architecture and landscape students.

We have links across the industry, from local authority planning departments to urban design and landscape architecture practices. The course is also accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and will prepare you for professional membership.

The course will be taught by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals with extensive practice-based experience. Visiting professionals will also share their experience and expertise by leading sessions.

You will benefit from a range of field trips and our new multi-media studios equipped with computers, pin-up areas and dedicated desk areas. In addition, you will have access to the school 3D model shop and a 24/7 library.

Why study urban design at Leeds Beckett University


  • Course accredited by the Royal Town Planning institute
  • Study the latest methods and design theories relating to urban environments, exploring the development and resolution of projects and focusing on achieving environmental sustainability
  • Flexible studio-based course which will give you the opportunity to gain experience and build professional networks
  • Leeds Beckett University is home to Project Office, our own in-house RIBA chartered architectural practice
  • Study within Leeds School of Arts - one of the largest university arts communities in the north, with 3000 students spread across over 40 courses and 170 years of inspiring, challenging and innovative practices
  • Take advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the the school; gain access to a vast range of ideas, skills and facilities which will allow you to shape your practice to suit you

Accredited by
Leeds Beckett University sign of Portland Building, reflecting onto the Rose Bowl

Studying a degree at Leeds Beckett puts you in very good company – we have alumni in more than 140 countries around the world. 



Independent study is a crucial part of learning at university and you will be required to undertake many hours of self-directed research and reading, and preparation and writing of assessments. Your course is delivered through a number of modules, which will help you to plan your time and establish a study routine. Outside of your lectures, workshops and tutorials, a range of support is available to assist with your independent study. Our subject-specific librarians will be on hand to direct you to the specialist learning and study-skill resources. You’ll also be assigned an academic advisor to give you tailored feedback and support.

Our silver status in the latest Teaching Excellence Framework, reflects our commitment to deliver high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.


  • Critical Urban Contexts
  • Urban Design Studio 1 / 2
  • Research Methods
  • Reflective Practice Report
  • Advanced Urban Design Project

An example of MA Urban Design student work Peter Livings - Milton Keynes Site visits and Model making