Urban Design entry requirements explained

This page gives additional advice on how to interpret our admissions requirements for Urban Design courses. Each application is dealt with on an individual basis. The decision of the admissions tutor is final.

Admissions requirements for Urban Design postgraduate courses

"NORMALLY A GOOD HONOURS DEGREE (SUCH AS A 2.2 OR BETTER) IN ARCHITECTURE, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, TOWN PLANNING, OR OTHER RELATED DISCIPLINE; TOGETHER WITH RELEVANT PRACTICAL OR PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE."

  • Most applicants hold a relevant undergraduate degree, typically in architecture, landscape architecture or town planning. However, we consider applicants with a degree in a related field especially if you are working in urban design. Please note, a one year design course does not give you design training to the same level as an undergraduate degree such as architecture.
  • We typically expect a minimum of two years professional experience, ideally in urban design, master planning or similar. If you have a very strong degree or can show that much of your undergraduate work was related to urban design (for example a relevant dissertation) we may relax this.
  • We look at your educational and profession experience together. For example, all of the following would be appropriate providing you demonstrate the link to urban design: working as a planner but have a degree in geography; working in landscape design but have a science degree; working as a conservation officer but have a history degree; working with urban designers but have trained as a graphic designer.
  • If you have relatively little industry experience we look in more detail at the range of work you did in your undergraduate degree. In particular, if you have studied urban design or if your project work demonstrates an interest in urban design. You should highlight this in your personal statement.
  • If you can demonstrate over five years working in urban design we will be less concerned about the subject and classification of your degree. However, we will have to be satisfied you are capable of completing course work, including a written dissertation, at Masters level.
  • If your degree is not from a UK university please consult our website for the level of qualification required: westminster.ac.uk/international/countries

"APPLICANTS WITH A BACKGROUND IN ANOTHER FIELD MAY BE CONSIDERED PROVIDING THEY CAN DEMONSTRATE PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE OR KNOWLEDGE OF URBAN DESIGN."

  • Exceptionally, we consider applicants who are not working in the field of urban design, normally only after a personal interview. Typically, we look for you to demonstrate an interest in cities and their function, a design ability and academic accomplishment. Students have successful completed the degree from fields including finance, fine art and photography. However the course can be a considerable challenge for these applicants.

"IF YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE IS NOT ENGLISH, YOU WILL NEED AN IELTS SCORE OF 6.5."

Selection procedure

Applicants are first considered on the basis of the initial application. As part of the application, you are asked to complete a short self-assessment of your skills and knowledge about urban design. We will use this to build your development plan.

Applicants who meet the requirements are invited for individual interviews at the University. Interviews are conducted by members of the Course Team. You will be assessed on the basis of your academic and/or professional qualifications, relevant work experience, and interview. The Admissions Office notifies applicants of decisions. If you attend an open day we may not require an interview. Where applicants cannot attend an interview you may submit an application by portfolio. In which case applications should be accompanied by an abbreviated portfolio of the applicant's original design work and a personal statement.

Portfolio and personal statement

To help us evaluate your application we require a personal statement and a short portfolio showing how you meet the admission requirements. This is in addition to references, grades and demonstration of language proficiency if required. You may also like to include a CV but this is not required.

The personal statement should set out why you want to take this course and how your previous experience relates to urban design. The portfolio should be concise and demonstrate the range of urban projects on which you have worked and your skill base in graphic communication and drawing. The portfolio should include your own original work. If the work has been undertaken in an office you should state the level of your involvement. If you do not submit a portfolio you must explain why in your personal statement and discuss your ability in design and graphic communication.

Graphic skills

An ability in drawing and graphics is not a requirement for entry, but it is an advantage and you will need to develop graphic communication skills to undertake course work. However the course provides an opportunity to develop these skills and many students with limited previous design experience (mostly with experience in town planning) have successfully graduated from the course.

IT and CAD skills

You will need to use a word processor and have access to email. Some knowledge of CAD and or graphic software is an advantage, but not essential. We provide workshops in drawing, Photoshop and basic CAD but formal instruction is not a component of the course. It is a good idea to develop IT skills especially CAD skills before joining the course, as it will help you present your ideas.

Conditional entry

In some cases where an applicant to the Urban Design MA fails to meet all entrance criteria but is strong in other respects, we may offer conditional entrance. Typically, this will allow you to enrol on the Urban Design Postgraduate Certificate or Urban Design Postgraduate Diploma as a part-time student in order to demonstrate your ability. The course leader will agree a specific programme of study in this case. Provided you perform at an acceptable level you may apply to transfer to the MA.