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MSc Global Urban Development and Planning
Study cutting-edge global urban issues and urban transformation.

MSc Global Urban Development and Planning / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course description

Cities in Africa, Asia and Latin America struggle with growth, and urban communities in the developing world are increasingly faced with problems relating to poverty, informality and inequality, climate change, insecurity and lack of social cohesion. Sustainable urban development planning in the global South is thus a complex task with many dimensions.

This interdisciplinary course, offered by the Global Urban Research Group (GURG/Manchester Urban Institute) draws on the advanced expertise of staff from the Global Development Institute (GDI), Planning and Environmental Management (PE&M), Geography and Architecture, from within the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) as well as Alliance Manchester Business School. It is suitable for students wishing to improve their understanding of urban development in cities of the global South in general, as well as development professionals seeking to acquire new expertise in dealing with urban issues, and social development specialists working in the voluntary, private or public sector. We particularly encourage applications from Latin American, African and Asian students.

For more information contact the programme director Dr Alfredo Stein ( ) or the programme co-director Nicola Banks ( ).


  • An understanding of the cutting edge conceptual debates in global urban development theory and practice, by exploring analytical approaches and relating these to operational frameworks for policy, planning and programming to promote more equitable and sustainable urban development in cities and towns of the global South.
  • Analytical and practical skills to deepen your knowledge of global urban development and planning theories, as well as the ability to identify, investigate and justify possible solutions to problems arising out of theory and practice (including competency in developing reasoned arguments, finding commonalities and differences, and defending different approaches).
  • Skills necessary to gather, organise and employ evidence and information from a wide variety of sources, complemented by guidance on how best to manage workloads and obtain research materials, and support to develop your area of expertise through relevant research culminating in a dissertation.

Special features

Students will have an optional core fieldcourse of either the International Planning field trip or the Development Fieldwork module. All students will be automatically enrolled on the International Planning fieldcourse and the cost of this field trip is incorporated into the programme fees. Those students who wish to attend the Development Fieldwork module will have to express their preference by 1 October and pay the difference in cost by Christmas.

Teaching and learning

The programme requires students to pass a total of eight course units totalling 120 credits of postgraduate study and to undertake a dissertation of 12000 -15000 words which provides a further 60 credits. You must normally complete 4 core course units compulsory for all students, and 4 optional course units selected from those available both within PE&M, GDI and in other relevant disciplines within SEED and the Faculty of Humanities.

Part-time Study

Part-time students complete the full-time programme over 27 months.  There are no evening or weekend course units available on the part-time programme, therefore if you are considering taking a programme on a part-time basis, you should discuss the requirements with the Programme Director first and seek approval from your employer to have the relevant time off. Timetabling information is normally available from late August from the Programme Administrator and you will have the opportunity to discuss course unit choices during Welcome Week with the Programme Directors.

Coursework and assessment

Most courses are assessed by essays, class presentations and examinations or a combination of these (depending on the course units selected). A dissertation of between 12,000-15,000 words provides an opportunity to obtain an advanced level of expertise in a particular subject area through supervised individual research.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation (MSc GUDP) EVDV60890 60 Mandatory
Critical Issues in Urban Inequality MGDI60531 15 Mandatory
Urban Development Planning in Cities of the South: an international perspective PLAN72061 15 Mandatory
Best practice case studies in urban development planning in cities in the South PLAN72072 15 Mandatory
Water and Sanitation Planning and Policy in developing countries BMAN72192 15 Optional
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Reconstruction and Development MGDI60402 15 Optional
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Optional
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Optional
Civil Society & Public Action MGDI60521 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Climate Change, Disasters and Responses MGDI60552 15 Optional
Citizen-Led Development MGDI60561 15 Optional
Understanding Development Research MGDI70982 15 Optional
Planning and Managing Development MGDI70992 15 Optional
Planning Powers and Procedures PLAN60021 15 Optional
Urban Theory, Planning Theory and Professional Ethics PLAN60041 15 Optional
Land and Development PLAN60102 15 Optional
Planning for Environmental Change PLAN60771 15 Optional
Neighbourhood Planning Project PLAN60812 15 Optional
International Fieldtrip PLAN60832 15 Optional
Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities PLAN60852 15 Optional
International Planning: Systems and Frameworks PLAN60861 15 Optional
Infrastructure Planning PLAN60872 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 26 course units


The Arthur Lewis Building provides excellent resources including analytical laboratories, studio facilities, workshops, seminar rooms, an on-site cafe and dedicated computer clusters including GIS facilities.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: