MSc Global Urban Development and Planning / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

MSc Global Urban Development and Planning will improve your understanding of global urban development issues, particularly relating to cities of the global South.

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.

The course will also suit development professionals seeking to acquire new expertise in dealing with urban issues, and social development specialists working in the voluntary, private or public sector.


You will:

  • focus on sustainable and equitable urban development planning in the Global South;
  • participate in cutting-edge conceptual debates in global urban development theory and practice;
  • gain the skills to gather, organise and employ evidence and information from a wide variety of sources.

Special features

  • Benefit from small-group teaching, close staff-student relationships, and guided one-to-one supervision.
  • Develop practical skills in project studios with drawing facilities, model-making workshops, and specialist design and spatial analysis software.
  • This course has normally included fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad, exploring real-life issues on one-day trips, site visits, and overseas residential visits. Past locations include Manchester, London, Dusseldorf, San Francisco, Jinja (Uganda) and Istanbul.
  • Have the flexibility to mix discipline units or specialise, and choose from a range of optional course units. Where specialising in planning-focused modules, gain RTPI-accreditation for your specialist study.
  • Study in Manchester, a city where planning has been taught for more than 50 years, and urban development and environmental impacts are on your doorstep.

Teaching and learning

This course has normally included a field trip. Past locations include Dusseldorf, San Francisco, Uganda and Istanbul.

Part-time students

Part-time students complete the course over 24 months.

There are no evening or weekend course units available; you should, therefore, discuss course requirements with the Programme Director and seek approval from your employer.

Timetabling information is usually available from late August.

You can discuss course unit choices during induction week with the Programme Director.

Important notice

The School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) recognises the value of fieldwork. However, the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our priority. The School will assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any significant changes to our students at the earliest possible opportunity.

The ability of fieldwork and travel to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork and travel might be necessary, will remain subject to factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover;
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

All fieldwork and travel will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff.

In some circumstances, it may become necessary to make changes to fieldwork or programme related travel. The University will notify you of those changes at the earliest opportunity. If any fieldwork does not go ahead as planned, then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

Please note that Countries may change their immigration and visa regulations at short notice. The School cannot guarantee that where visas are required for fieldwork, they will be granted but we will take steps so that if a visa is refused, affected students are not academically disadvantaged.

Coursework and assessment

You will need to pass a total of eight course units totalling 120 credits, and undertake a dissertation of 12,000 to 15,000 words, providing a further 60 credits.

You must also complete four core compulsory course units and four optional course units.

Most courses are assessed by essays, class presentations and examinations or a combination of these (depending on the course units selected).

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
Poverty and Development MGDI60141 15 Optional
The Politics and Governance of Development MGDI60391 15 Optional
Development Fundamentals MGDI60411 15 Optional
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Optional
Political Analysis of Development Policy MGDI60522 15 Optional
Climate, Environment and Development MGDI60552 15 Optional
Citizen-Led Development MGDI60561 15 Optional
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
Design for Healthy Places PLAN60111 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
Digital Planning - Decision Support Systems PLAN60962 15 Optional
Land Use and Transport Planning PLAN64061 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 25 course units


You can develop your practical skills in our project studio, model-making workshop, and computer suites with specialist design and spatial analysis software.

For more information, see  Facilities

Disability support

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

For more information, email