Lead the future of urban development

The interdisciplinary nature of urban design and planning is increasingly relevant in the 21st century. The move toward intelligent and holistic cities, the adaptation to global changes and the development of sustainable mega-projects all require a comprehensive knowledge of social, environmental and economic factors. At the forefront of these innovative and important fields is the study of Urbanism.

This two-year postgraduate program has been developed to address the urgent need for specialists in the planning, development and architectural industries who understand the complex interrelationships between the various aspects of environmental planning.

During the program, you will benefit from mentoring by leading industry experts, who will share the latest knowledge and provide direct professional input.

The core units of study will provide you with an overview of urbanism, and allow you to specialise in the areas of urban and regional planning, urban design and heritage conservation. You will develop a sophisticated understanding of the history and theory of these three areas, including their interrelationship, key concepts, analytical and technical skills.

Throughout your degree, you will be able to select from a range of electives to deepen or broaden your studies, including the option to take an international field studio placement (for domestic students). This will enhance your global outlook and provide greater exposure to international perspectives and experiences.

As part of the master’s degree, which was developed in consultation with the Planning Institute of Australia, you will apply your knowledge to a complex real-world project. This will challenge you to employ the breadth of expertise you have developed, and demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for successful teamwork.

Why Planning at Sydney

Industry Engagement

The University of Sydney’s Planning division is made up of a team of experienced, practicing planners and academics who regularly comment and advise on planning issues – directly influencing the policy, planning and design of cities and regions across the globe.

Through the support of the US Studies Centre, Cities Network, Henry Halloran Trust and Planning Research Centre, we host regular, lively debates, lectures and symposiums, ensuring our graduates are not only engaged in and informed on current topics, but gain opportunities to network with key stakeholders in local government and industry.

We invite you to sign up to our network of planners, to receive invitations to upcoming public lectures and planning events in the Faculty, or visit the Faculties YouTube page to watch past lectures on planning issues held as part of our regular Thursday Night Lecture Series.


Future Cities Collaborative

The University of Sydney’s Future Cities Collaborative brings together policy, practice and research to inform our city leaders into inspired action to build great cities. The Collaborative is an initiative of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, with its primary role to promote sustainable urban development by supporting city leaders with leadership and strategic management tools, creating a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information, and develop skills and knowledge in building sustainable cities.

Find out more about our collaboration with the Future Cities Project and hear from Program Director Rob Simpson on how our students are influencing decision makers (1.42min).

Multi-diciplinary Engagement: Design Lab

The Planning division at the University of Sydney is at the forefront of emerging Big Data research, a cutting-edge field that utilises data mining, mapping and informatics to determine changes in urban dynamics, resource use and human behaviour. Through collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture, design and Planning’s in-house Design Lab, students have the opportunity to contribute in this exciting field of research which are driving advances towards comprehensive, intelligent planning decisions.

Cities Network

The Cities Network brings together over 30 urban researchers from The University of Sydney to address several interlinked thematic areas demanding an interdisciplinary response. As a planning student at The University of Sydney you will be exposed to the current research, networking opportunities and community engagement over current issues in the planning discipline and beyond. Visit the Cities Network Webpage to discover more, and to join the mailing list of upcoming events.


Semester 1 Semester 2



ARCH9075 New Design in Old Settings
ARCH9100 Introduction to Urban Design
PLAN9068 History and Theory of Planning and Design
PLAN9061 Planning Principles, Systems and Practice
ARCH9100 Introduction to Urban Design
PLAN9061 Planning Principles, Systems and Practice
ARCH9074 History and Theory of Conservation
ARCH9063 Urban Morphology
ARCH9080 Urban Ecology, Design and Planning



TBA Integrated Urbanism Studio
TBA Report

TBA Integrated Urbanism Studio *
TBA Report

* offered in 2016

Study Options

The Master of Urbanism is a 2 year program that can be undertaken in full-time of part-time mode.

Students are required to choose one of three major streams:

  • Heritage Conservation
  • Urban and Regional Planning
  • Urban Design.


Students begin the program by learning the core principles of urbanization that apply across the field such as ‘Introduction to Urban Design’ and History and Theory of Conservation’. See ‘Curriculum’ for more information. Students will then work within their own stream of study and gain a deeper understanding of a specialized field.

In the final semester of the program, the three disciplines work together within a ‘Capstone’ unit, enabling them to collaborate on a project brief, often with close collaboration with NSW Planning bodies and Council, to solve real world planning issues. This collaboration, as well as the exposure to various stakeholders during a planning project, offers students unmatched networking opportunities under the close guidance of industry leaders and advisors.

Flexible Study Options that Suit Your Lifestyle

Many Master of Urbanism units are taught as ‘block-mode’ intensive classes, delivered over four to six full days, some of which occur on weekends to accommodate students working students. Some units may be delivered in weekly lecture format. Please refer to Faculty Handbook to explore the delivery method of you chosen subjects.

Timetables are set approximately 2 months before the Semester commences. Future students can download the current timetable, as well as previous semester timetables to assist in understanding the expectant time commitments required during your studies.

Continuing Professional Development

Individual units may also be taken as Continuing Professional Development short courses without enrolling into a degree. Units taken with an assessment component may be credited towards further study within an aligned program.


Masters applicants should hold a bachelors degree with a credit average. Graduate Diploma applicants should hold a bachelors degree. Graduate Certificate applicants should hold a bachelors degree or possess experience which is considered to demonstrate the knowledge and aptitude required to undertake the course. Students enrolled in either the certificate or diploma can apply to upgrade if they satisfy the requirements of their degree with a weighted average mark of 65.

How to Apply

Applications for Postgraduate studies can now be completed easily online. You will be prompted to upload copies all supporting documentation including transcripts of study and ID (passport or birth certificate).

Where students are applying for a certificate level based on industry experience, please attach a CV and any other supporting documentation which may assist in the assessment of your application.


Ask a Question

Domestic Students

If you're a domestic student and you still need more information, you can Ask a Question through the Sydney Student Form.

International Students

International Students are able to make enquiries through the International Office.