City scape

Urban Environment

MSc Urban Environment
The MSc Urban Environment focuses on how we might progress towards global sustainability by focusing on the development of more resource efficient, smart and liveable cities. The programme integrates the perspectives of human and physical geography to explore urban environments as complex physical and social systems. The vibrant, dynamic city of Dublin is an ideal urban laboratory within which we can develop and engage in collaborative projects. We value holistic approaches to learning and active, sustained engagement with issues of societal importance. We challenge our students to develop as spatially-sensitive global citizens and encourage them to be reflective and critical thinkers. In this programme, we particularly value the application of academic learning to the urban environment of Dublin in particular through collaborative engagement with external stakeholders. The School of Geography provides a high quality learning and research environment for graduate students and has pioneered innovative teaching and learning methodologies in the online and face-to-face environment. As well as small-group seminars, project-based learning and teamwork, fieldwork is a core element of the MSc Urban Environment programme. 

Focussed on integrating technical skills (e.g. GIS) with fieldwork and lectures to provide a comprehensive understanding of dynamic urban environments.

International perspective on global cities but uses Dublin (a multi-cultural city that is undergoing transformation) as a testbed for exploring urban environments.

Draws upon expertise at UCD across a range of disciplines. Provides freedom to specialise in areas of interest.

Course Description
In 2010 the UN estimated that more than half of the planet's population live in cities and projected that this will increase to 66% by the middle of the century. Cities have become the nodes of a global economic network and are the foci for flows of people, goods, energy, food etc. In addition, although occupying less than 1% of the Earth's surface they transform the natural environment radically and are the main geographical drivers of environmental change at local, regional and global scales. At the same time, cities are social constructions that can be changed and managed through human intervention to enhance well-being and livability.

This MSc looks at urban environments holistically by integrating the perspectives of human and physical geography to explore urban environments. Exploration is complemented by developing fieldwork and geospatial skills. The key objective of the course is to address the challenge of achieving global sustainability by making resource efficient, smart and livable cities.

The use of the vibrant, dynamic city of Dublin as an urban laboratory will provide an opportunity for collaboration on external projects with a range of urban stakeholder groups, developing professional networks and skillsets accordingly. This is complemented within the School of Geography, a top-100 department in QS subject rankings, by dedicated geospatial facilities for research students.

Entry requirements

If English is not your native language, unless you have done your primary degree through English in an English speaking country, an English language qualification is required for all programmes.

This programme is intended for applicants with an honours bachelors degree (NFQ Level 8) or international equivalent in any discipline including geography, political science, history, anthropology, economics and sociology, or professionals working in related fields.

An upper second class honours (2.1) is required. Applicants with a 2.2. may be considered after interview in exceptional circumstances.

Names and contact details of two referees who can assess your intellectual ability, maturity and motivation. At least one of these should be a member of academic staff at your current institution.


1 year full-time.

Careers or further progression

Career Opportunities
The MSc Urban Environment is designed to provide students with the key knowledge and practical transferable skillsets that will be a benefit in many careers. Graduates may progress to careers in: further research, academic and professional; professional training in related disciplines; consultancy; GIS; and research careers in the private sector, public service or with community groups.

Related Programmes
MA Geography FT
MA Geopolitics & the Global Economy FT
MSc Geographies of the Global South FT

Further enquiries

Contact Name: Clare Keenan
Contact Number: +353 (0)1 716 8179

Subjects taught

The programme comprises of a total of 90 credits with 60 credits of taught modules and a 30 credit thesis. The core modules focus on research design skills, methodology, and field research. The thesis involves the production of a piece of original research (of around 15,000-20,000 words) supervised by members of the School academic staff. Please note the curriculum is subject to a year by year review and the modules below may or may not be available in any given year.

Stage 1 - Core

Dissertation GEOG40520
Geo-spatial Technologies GEOG40670
Urban Rivers GEOG40710
Physical Geography of Cities GEOG40780
Redrawing Dublin GEOG40790
G.I.S. (Level 4, 10 credits) GEOG40820
Research Design GEOG40840


Who should apply?
Full Time option suitable for:
Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

Applications are welcome from students with an undergraduate degree in Geography or a cognate discipline (including, but not limited to, Planning, Economics, Sociology, Engineering, Biology, etc.). It is an academic programme but is also suited to practitioners and professionals in a related field who wish to gain a broader understanding of urban processes, policies and outcomes. Relevant professional or voluntary experience may be considered as part of the application process.

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake:2018/2019 September

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.

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