Smart & Sustainable Cities

Trinity College Dublin

Smart & Sustainable Cities

The Dublin MDP degree led by the Trinity College Dublin School of Natural Sciences and delivered by staff from all faculties across the university, in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills.

Projects for smart cities involve the regeneration of existing urban areas as well as the creation of large new settlements, and have a major positive impact on the many environmental, social and economic systems that underpin the planet. Meanwhile, and with a strong overlap with smart city initiatives, cities around the world are reacting to broader environmental challenges, such as climate change through measures aimed at developing sustainable solutions. The global scale of such challenges has been recognized within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) under the heading of ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’. Here, the promotion of safe, inclusive and sustainable cities is outlined as a central pillar of creating a sustainable urban future. Smart-city initiatives have a multi-dimensional nature. As projects that are aimed at improving urban spaces, they are deeply connected to issues of urbanisation and urban planning. Moreover, projects for smart cities involve the production of a number of technologies such as wireless sensor networks designed to produce data on how the city operates, and innovative efficient or low-waste electrical grids. Therefore, because of their focus on technological innovation, the development of smart cities goes beyond the science of the city and is also the product of studies in computer science and engineering. Finally, once implemented, smart interventions take place not upon a blank canvas, but rather within complex ecological and social systems whose dynamics must be taken into account, in order to avoid environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.

This new M.Sc. in Smart and Sustainable Cities approaches the study of smart and sustainable urbanism by drawing from the research-based expertise of leading scholars from Trinity’s Energy, Environment and Emerging Technologies Institute (E3). The programme, which is the first dedicated programme of its kind, will provide students with an in-depth understanding of smart and sustainable cities, using (a) the tools of urban geography and planning to examine the spatial formation of smart cities; (b methods in engineering and computer science to analyse the functions and applications of smart technologies, and (c) insights from ecology to explore the environmental impact of both ‘smart-city projects’ and wider transformations of contemporary cities. The programme is thus of interest to a wide range of students from different backgrounds.

Subjects taught

Students take 7 compulsory core modules, which include: Urban Governance; Smart Eco-Cities of the Future; Geographical Information Systems (GIS); Urban Sustainability; Introduction to Machine Learning; Research Method; Fieldtrip; Placement; and a written Dissertation.

Students also choose 3 elective modules among the following: Transportation Policy; Transportation Modelling & Planning; Energy Policy & Building Energy Demand; Urban Computing*; Artificial Intelligence*; Machine Learning*; Environmental Policies; Human Interaction with Biodiversity; and Climate Justice, Climate Change & Development.

*For these modules, students would be expected to have previous experience in cognate areas. The students are advised to contact the course director for further information on requirements for these optional modules.

As part of the core modules, the course will have a mandatory field trip. This allows students to gain insights into ways in which different approaches emerge with specific social, political and economic contexts in which they are embedded. For coming year, the Fieldtrip will focus on Amsterdam, the The Netherlands. Amsterdam is chosen due to its long history of urban innovation and governance, as well as offering insights into contemporary, sustainable living. The field trip offers students the opportunity to bring together core learnings from other modules within the Masters while also developing their skills in data collection in a field setting.

The course will also incorporate a mandatory industrial in- company placement module. The placement is designed to allow students to link their in-class learning to hands-on approaches within a particular sub-area of smart cities and urban sustainability. The students will be provided with assistance in organising the placement, which will take place between the second half of the second semester and into the summer months.

Entry requirements

Admission Requirements
Applicants will be expected to have an upper second-class (2.1), or above, Honours Bachelor's degree in a social science or science-based course such as Engineering, Sociology, Computer Science, Economics, and Geography.

Applicants may be interviewed or asked to submit a written sample for assessment. Non-standard applicants may be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies in exceptional circumstanced based on workplace experience or other relevant criteria.

Application dates

Closing Date: 31st July 2024
Apply via Application link above


1 year full-time

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: September 2024

Post Course Info

Career Opportunities
This course is designed to meet the learning needs of students who want to enter an expansive but demanding employment market, preparing them for professional work in institutions and public or private companies in the field of Smart and Sustainable Cities. Graduates have pursued careers in smart city organisations as well as sustainability initiatives.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    M.Sc. / P.Grad.Dip.

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma (Level 9 NFQ),Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider