Master of Urbanism

As cities become larger and more complex, the task for those planning, designing, developing and managing them becomes more challenging.

The Master of Urbanism has been designed to meet this challenge and is for students interested in a comprehensive cross-disciplinary study of urban design, heritage conservation and urban and regional planning. This program is the advanced 96 credit point option for those studying these specialisations

Developed in consultation with a range of industry stakeholders, the program immerses you in a rich, multidisciplinary experience while providing a professional specialisation in Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Design or Heritage Consulting.

The degree culminates in an integrated studio unit where you will have the opportunity to apply your knowledge and demonstrate the skills required for successful teamwork in a complex, real-world project.

The program also offers elective opportunities to participate in either an international field studio or internship opportunity.

Why choose this course?

This program is open to a broad range of applicants interested in developing professional careers in environmental planning, urban policy, urban design, heritage conservation and policy, with specialisation in one area.

What will you achieve?

As a graduate, you will be a highly sought-after professional able to work across development, policymaking and design of the built environment.

Admission requirements

You need to have completed a bachelor’s degree in planning, architecture, design, human geography and/or related fields in the sciences or humanities, or have completed an approved graduate certificate and have achieved a weighted average mark of 70 or above.

Indicative Course

    First Year

    Semester One

  • This unit will introduce students to key controversies, theoretical propositions and practical innovations that have driven the historical development of heritage conservation.

    The unit covers ideas and examples from the ancient world until the present, with the main focus being on the period from 1850 until today.

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  • This introductory unit of study will provide students with the necessary skills to participate effectively in the urban design studios and will include site, spatial and public domain analysis, map and plan reading, visual, verbal and written communication techniques, and basic computer-based 3 dimensional modelling and numerical analysis.

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  • Module one enables students to understand how the main concepts and practices of urban planning and development have evolved; appreciate different perspectives about the roles and purposes of planning; undertake basic historical research about Australian urban planning and development issues, and prepare basic stories and arguments about practical planning issues and current theories.

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  • The aim of PLAN9063 Strategic Planning and Design is to provide students with grounding in the core knowledge and skills needed to practice as a contemporary planner.

    A key emphasis in the unit is understanding the skills needed to undertake strategic planning at a range of levels (both process and content).

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    First Year

    Semester Two

  • The unit outlines the nature of urban morphology, and its rise as an area of study, and explores the evolution of city forms with an emphasis upon urban structure and typology.

    Most designed components of our cities conform in their general characteristics to identifiable types; they reflect the functions of cities, cultural values and the technological, economic and social circumstances of their times.

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  • This unit will introduce the conceptual bases for sustainable development and explore how principles of sustainability can be introduced into land use planning and urban design, including environmental management and multi-criteria evaluation methodologies in three modules

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  • The aim of PLAN9045 Economics for Planners is to introduce the key economic theories, processes and techniques used by contemporary urban planners.

    The Unit of Study has two parts. In the first part of the unit, students are introduced to the economic drivers shaping city and regional development outcomes, and the location and form of different land uses and how they evolve.

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  • This unit is primarily concerned with planning, land use and infrastructure within the built environments. It emphasises conceptual knowledge, with examples and case studies to demonstrate the application of concepts in practice.

    Students are encouraged to think independently, creatively and critically in developing understanding and practical knowledge about environmental planning at the metropolitan and local level. This unit is in two modules, each of which is assessed.

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    Second Year

    Semester Two

  • Integrated Urbanism Studio is the capstone unit for the MUrbanism degree. The studio will be focussed on "real world" urban issues and the need for urbanists to formulate a compelling 'urban proposition' to convince the public, stakeholders, politicians and investors of the benefits of a particular approach or scheme.

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  • The urbanism Report is a substantial project involving research conducted over one semester. It will usually take the form of an illustrated report (between 5,000 and 10,000 words) on an approved subject of the student's choice.

    The aim of the unit is to allow students to deepen their understanding, and methodological approach in relation to an aspect of urbanism of the student's choice and with the approval of the program director.

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Specialisation also available in Urban Design and Heritage Conservation

Meet Our
Program Director


Professor Peter Phibbs

Research Interests

Affordable Housing Sector
Housing and Health
Performance of Planning Systems

Peter Phibbs is a geographer, planner and social economist with extensive experience in program evaluation, financial analysis and cost benefit analysis. He has over twenty years’ experience undertaking housing research. Currently he is the Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy at the University of Sydney and also Director of the Henry Halloran Trust at the same University.

My approach to teaching is that of an encounter with an equivalent fascination in the other, of a practice focused on opening up and mobilising sense through the project, around which the work hovers and proceeds.

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Master of Urbanism