Planning, Development & Urban Design

The capacity to develop planning and urban design solutions, to analyse them critically and to provide guidance in regard to their implementation is one for which there is a growing demand. Furthermore, urban design lies at the interface of architecture and urban planning, with both disciplines contributing complementary but contrasting approaches to urban design theory and practice. In this context, the MSc Planning, Development & Urban Design has been specifically tailored to enable fully-qualified architects to further develop, build upon and enhance relevant pre-existing professional knowledge, understanding, and skills, to specialise in both spatial planning and urban design.

The programme also draws upon the particular research strengths of the School, providing students with the opportunity to engage with innovative approaches to sustainable and resilient urbanism, exploring emerging challenges surrounding the role of urban design in mitigating or adapting to climate change, in promoting 'healthy' cities or neighbourhoods, and the incorporation of 'nature' into design (e.g. nature-based solutions) to address habitat fragmentation and biodiversity loss.

This is an intensive, taught graduate programme (90 ECTS), comprising core modules in spatial planning, and in the specialist area of urban design, encompassing key areas of theory and practice, three major studio modules, research methods training, a thesis / design thesis, and professional development skills training. For full-time students, the programme is one year's duration (three semesters / 12 months), and lectures, studios, etc., take place throughout the week. For part-time study options, please contact the college admissions office ( for further details.

The MSc Planning, Development & Urban Design programme is a one-year professional planning programme, providing fully-qualified architects with the requisite skills and knowledge appropriate to becoming a professional planner, and to specialisation in urban design. Urban design lies at the interface of architecture and urban planning, with both disciplines contributing complementary but contrasting approaches to urban design theory and practice. The programme seeks to instil values in graduates that are appropriate to a career in planning and urban design, specifically: a critical, reflective and intellectually confident approach to learning, research and practice; self-motivation; an appreciation of evidence-based solutions and social equity in decision-making; respect for the contrasting and complementary contributions of other specialist areas, professions and the role of the wider public; and a recognition of how these values impact upon practice and upon wider society.

The programme aims to train, mentor and support fully-qualified architects in developing core, transferable and specialist skills and knowledge in urban design, conservation and sustainable and resilient urbanism, as well as social science research methods applied to the built environment, and will enable graduates to work as part of a multidisciplinary team to create better places through urban design. While interactive lectures and seminars introduce students to key concepts, theory and approaches in planning and urban design, studio modules provide experience of working with other disciplines to solve complex planning and urban design challenges. Teaching, learning and assessment approaches include debates and discussions, presentations, case studies, graphic communication, group project work, independent research and academic and professional writing, to provide graduates with the requisite skills and knowledge needed in the rapidly changing global environment facing planning and urban design.

Entry requirements

The programme is open to applications from fully qualified architects, i.e. applicants must have completed their architectural education and be listed on a recognised statutory professional architectural register (e.g. RIAI, ARB) or fully qualified and registered as an architect in accordance with EU Directive 2005/36/EC (recognition of professional qualifications), or other international equivalent.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate English language proficiency of IELTS 6.5 (no band less than 6.0 in each element), or equivalent.

Subjects taught

Indicative Module List:

Semester 1 modules (30 ECTS):

Planning Methodology, Planning Society and Diversity, Urban and Regional Development, *Introduction to Urban Design, Plan-Making Studio

Semester 2 modules (30 ECTS):

Planning Law APEP, Urban Design Studio, Nature-Based Solutions, Research Design and Methods

Semester 3 modules (30 ECTS):
Thesis or Design Thesis

*Graduates who have previously completed the module Introduction to Urban Design must select one of the following in its place: Economics and Property Markets (5 credits) Geographical Information Systems for Policy and Planning (5 credits)

Stage 1 Core

Urban Design Studio

Planning Law APEP

Planning Methodology

Planning, Society and Diversity

Comparative Planning

Nature-Based Solutions

Planning Studio: Plan Making

Research Design & Methods

Stage 1 Option
Design Thesis





1 Year full-time
2 years part-time


MSc Planning, Development & Urban Design (T324) Full Time
EU fee per year - € 8980
nonEU fee per year - € 25600

MSc Planning, Development & Urban Design (T325) Part Time
EU fee per year - € 4595
nonEU fee per year - € 12800

***Fees are subject to change

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2020/2021 September

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
Graduates will have the option of continuing a career in architectural practice, but with a specialism in the sought-after areas of spatial planning and urban design. However, alternative career paths include roles in the public, private and community sectors, including planning and urban design consultancies, local authorities, development firms, regeneration companies, and environmental and other NGOs.

More details
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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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