The University of Technology Sydney has launched two master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Urban Design, in an effort to cater for the demand of skilled professionals within the industry and ease the pressure of urban population growth.

Designed in collaboration with industry experts, the degrees offer sought-after competencies and skills relevant for urban design and planning, allowing qualified professionals to accelerate their careers.

The online Master of Urban Design is the first urban design master’s course to be delivered 100% online. Through industry-informed course content and studio-based projects, students will gain a better understanding of building design, including climate concerns, and develop their practical design capabilities to shape sustainable urban environments.

The online Master of Urban Planning is targeted at candidates with a background in a non-planning field, with the multidisciplinary nature of the learning enabling professionals to change careers. It is also ideal for professionals who aim to strengthen their current skills by engaging with up-to-date, ground-breaking approaches to planning.

Students are able to combine recognition of prior learning from one degree with five additional subjects from the other in order to graduate with one of the offered degrees. To graduate with both degrees, students only have to undertake an additional five subjects to graduate with two master’s degrees.

Gabriela Quintana Vigiola, the Course Director for both degrees, says that while they are two separate programs, candidates can gain recognition of prior learning for studies completed in one degree and undertake an additional five subjects to graduate with two master’s degrees.

“Students have the opportunity to supplement their Master of Urban Design with a Master of Urban Planning and vice versa,” she says.


“Separate qualifications are becoming more and more marketable and attractive to employers, and these degrees will allow candidates to leverage their potential, upgrade their skills and potentially earn a greater salary.”

Professor Heather MacDonald, Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at UTS, says population growth and climate concerns are demanding a change in the design of the built environment.

“Urban designers who understand how natural and built environments affect each other, and who can articulate the evidence supporting their design proposals, will be more effective advocates for the sort of change cities need now to combat climate change and become more sustainable,” she says.

“We need urban designers who understand social dynamics and can comprehend, analyse and apply relevant policies and regulations in designing places that work for all sorts of residents, workers, commuters, and people at rest or at play.

“The degree explores the relationship between planning and design, and candidates will gain a holistic understanding of the environmental, legislative, economic and social sustainability perspectives. Students explore real world case studies, learn from industry professionals and apply their understanding in authentic assessments.”

Both the Master of Urban Planning and Urban Design, as well as the Graduate Certificate in Urban Planning and Design, will be available for study from August 2021.. The courses’ online formats open exceptional opportunities for professionals with busy careers, whose only option otherwise is generally postgraduate urban planning courses that are offered solely face to face.

To enrol in either degree, head to