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Urban Studies MA

Winner: Best University Careers and Employability Service
NUE Awards, 2021
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This MA is a high profile international programme in Urban Studies, drawing on the critical urban research traditions developed in the Centre for Urban Research on Austerity, to explore the transformation and challenges in the political economy, governance and geography of cities. By bringing together scholarship from politics, urban studies, urban geography, political economy, the programme provides theoretical and analytical tools to address urban topics such as local governance, local socio-political and economic innovation, social inequalities and urban sustainability. 

The MA programme in Urban Studies is informed by up-to-date scholarship and makes use of materials that ensure that students are engaging with debates that are at the forefront of the discipline. Students on this course will benefit from our local and international networks, whose contributions are embedded in the curriculum. In addition, we offer three unique opportunities that are all relevant to the programme:

  • Participatory Action Research project
    The programme offers a compulsory 30 credit research-based learning module “Participatory Research in Action”, The module is organised in two different blocks: the first block will focus on research methods training. For the second block, the students will work in teams and design and develop a Participatory Action-Research Project in collaboration with #DMULocal. Through this module, the students will have the opportunity to use and contrast the theoretic and methodological knowledge with practical training that will potentially have an impact on the city.  
  • Opportunities for engagement with practitioners and stakeholders
    Besides the PAR project, the curriculum of the programme emphasises the contact with practitioners and stakeholders, marrying broader concepts to practice and bringing in practice-based links result of the work that the members of the teaching team are developing. 
  • Opportunity to travel to Barcelona
    to undertake one module in the “Master Metropolis in Urban and Metropolitan Studies” at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. This institution is a leading institution in the field of Urban Governance and Barcelona is the most exciting city in Europe from the standpoint of its resistance to austerity and the attempt to craft new municipalism rooted in a radicalised participatory governance model.  


At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study.

DMU Global High Flyers Award
The DMU Global High Flyers Award offers students a discount of up to £1,000 towards a DMU Global opportunity (subject to terms and conditions).

DMU Sport Scholarship
Find out more about the DMU Sport Scholarships worth up to £6,000.

International Scholarships
Find out about available scholarships and country specific fee discounts for international students.


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Institution code: D26

Programme code: K44071

Duration: 12 months full-time
Part-time option is also available

Start date: September 2021

Location of study: Faculty of Business and Law, Hugh Aston Building

Fees and funding: 

2021/22 tuition fees for UK students: £9,200

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Find out more about the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarships worth up to £6,000

Find out more about additional costs and optional extras associated with this course

Institution code: D26

Programme code: K44071

Duration: 12 months full-time
Part-time option is also available

Start date: September 2021

Location of study: Leicester Business School, Hugh Aston Building

Fees and funding:

2021/22 tuition fees for EU and international students: £14,600

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Find out more about the Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarships worth up to £6,000

Find out more about additional costs and optional extras associated with this course.

Entry criteria

Entry criteria

Students should hold an undergraduate degree in Politics, Sociology, Economy, Geography and other Social Science and Planning disciplines with a minimum pass of 2:2, or equivalent overseas qualification.

Applications from other disciplines and those with significant professional experience will be considered individually. 

English Language requirements

IELTS 6.0, including 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessment

Teaching contact hours


Core modules

  • Introduction to Urban Political Economy
  • Governing and Managing Cities
  • Participatory Research in Action
  • Urban Challenges
  • Dissertation

Optional modules

Plus three options from the following*: 

  • Urban Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities
  • Difference, Inequality and Conflict in the City
  • Comparative Territorial Governance
  • Alternative Urban Futures
  • Metropolis and Economic and Socio-political Innovation (Module offered in Barcelona)

*The running of certain modules will be subject to student demand. 

Click here for more detailed module information.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.

Teaching and assessment

The programme uses a range of teaching and learning methods aligned to the University’s Teaching and Learning Strategy, the QAA framework for national qualifications, the work of the Higher Education Academy. The learning and teaching methods embrace a range of approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness in postgraduate management education. These include traditional lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops. Academic staff use a variety of innovative approaches to assist with the delivery of the programme and to encourage student participation. Material on a typical module is taught through a variety of means. These typically include interactive lectures, debates, group work, document analysis, presentations, e-learning tools, visiting lecturers, practitioner master-classes and class discussions. Class discussions are a key aspect in the delivery of modules as it provides the opportunity for students to engage in challenging discussions that promote independent critical thinking.

In addition, we make wide use of the e-learning platform Blackboard in order to encourage increased student participation and involvement. Blackboard is used as an integral part of the teaching and learning experience at DMU.  All of the modules will have a Blackboard site, which Module Leaders will use to post information to support formal, face-to-face teaching.  Student work will be submitted through Turnitin via the specific module Blackboard sites.

On this programme, it is expected that participants should take major responsibility for their learning. Participants are expected to engage in their learning environment in a meaningful and proactive manner in order to aid learning. This learning approach aims to utilise the valuable learning opportunities provided by the diversity of knowledge and experience within the cohort. The teaching philosophy is one of mutual commitment to the educational process from both the faculty and the students.

A key element of the MA programme is that core staff teaching at the programme are research leaders within the institution, meaning that teaching is research-led.  Staff are linked into extensive professional networks that help to inform their teaching, and for whom the teaching also provides a key context to the work of the network. The application of the Research-Informed Teaching Approach in its four dimensions: 

  • Research-led learning: a key aspect of the delivery of the programme is the use of primary documentation and case studies. Especially relevant is the module “Alternative Urban Futures”, where the students will have the opportunity of engaging with different stakeholders and practitioners. 
  • Research-oriented learning: a 30cr core module “Participatory Research in Action” is designed for research processes and methodologies learning and provides an understanding of advanced research design and data handling. 
  • Research-based learning: the dissertation provides students with the opportunity to display advanced research and critical thinking skills in an extended piece of work. But the students will also have the opportunity to learn as researchers through the design and development of a participatory action-research project. The project will allow the students to complement the theoretic and methodological knowledge with practical training to use and contrast the concepts introduced with in the master on the terrain.
  • Research-tutored learning: the learning and teaching methods designed for the programme are thought to facilitate the critique and the discussion between themselves and the teaching staff. 

The programme is taught through a diet of core and option modules as set out in the list above. The taught core modules provide students with knowledge and understanding of key concepts, theories and issues that are of relevance to the urban studies, studies, here understood as comprising urban politics and urban governance.The University’s Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy, the QAA framework for national qualifications, the work of the Higher Education Academy and the UDL approach have all informed the development of our assessment strategy.

The assessment provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met the objectives and achieved the learning outcomes to the standard of an MA degree. As part of the programme design, the course team have paid particular attention to achieving an appropriate balance of assessment strategies.  Over the whole programme, there is a varied mix of assessment including group presentations, group reports, case study analysis and individual exercises. Part of the rationale for this mix is to assess different skills that enable candidates to collect, prioritise, assimilate and disseminate information in different contexts, develop self-critical and reflective practice skills and professional skills. This approach also allows the opportunity to explore specialist topics in greater depth, partly in preparation for the dissertation. However, we have made the deliberate decision to set more conventional written-based activities, e.g. essays and reports, as the substantive summative assessment piece.

The students will be issued in advance with a proposed timetable of assessments to ensure that academic work is timed appropriately and that students are provided with an opportunity to plan and manage their time and workloads effectively

Teaching contact hours

The MA is offered as a full-time or part-time course.

For the full-time course, the students should be prepared to devote approximately 38 hours a week to your studies. The programme is delivered in teaching blocks. Each two weeks block correspond to a module –except the Participatory Research in Action module that runs for the whole academic year. Most weeks you will have up to 14 hours of contact teaching, while other weeks are meant for individual study. Besides, each module provides surgery hours for individual consultation with the lecturer.

Please, contact us for details about part-time options.

To prepare for, and assimilate, the work in lectures and seminars you will be expected to make regular use of our online resources, participate in classroom discussions including on our virtual learning environment (VLE) and engage in personal study, revision and reflection for approximately 24 hours per week.

Facilities and features

Hugh Aston Building

You will have access to our purpose-built Hugh Aston Building, equipped with lecture theatres and classrooms, break-out spaces for group work, quiet study zones for individual work and IT labs. Wherever possible, students will be given home access to specialist software.

You’ll also have access to the building’s new £5.5 million extension called The Yard, which provides more than 22,000 square metres of extra space. This is designed to facilitate your learning experience with large and airy breakout spaces, a new Student Advice Centre, and a balcony on the top floor overlooking our beautiful campus. The Yard also features more comfortable classrooms and self-study spaces, allowing you to carry out independent study as well as group work.

Library services

On campus, the main Kimberlin Library offers a space where you can work, study and access a vast range of print materials, with computer stations, laptops, plasma screens and assistive technology also available. 

As well as providing a physical space in which to work, we offer online tools to support your studies, and our extensive online collection of resources accessible from our Library website, e-books, specialised databases and electronic journals and films which can be remotely accessed from anywhere you choose. 

We will support you to confidently use a huge range of learning technologies, including Blackboard, Collaborate Ultra, DMU Replay, MS Teams, Turnitin and more. Alongside this, you can access LinkedIn Learning and learn how to use Microsoft 365, and study support software such as mind mapping and note-taking through our new Digital Student Skills Hub. 

The library staff offer additional support to students, including help with academic writing, research strategies, literature searching, reference management and assistive technology. There is also a ‘Just Ask’ service for help and advice, live LibChat, online workshops, tutorials and drop-ins available from our Learning Services, and weekly library live chat sessions that give you the chance to ask the library teams for help.

Learning zones

Our Learning Zones and The Greenhouse also provide space for group or individual work and study.

There are 1,600 study places across all library locations, more than 700 computer stations, laptops to borrow, free wi-fi and desktop power outlets.

You can also book rooms with plasma screens, laptops and DVD facilities for group work and presentations, secure an individual study room with adjustable lighting or make use of our assistive technology.

Opportunities and careers

Winner: Best University Careers and Employability Service
NUE Awards, 2021
Learn more


This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through DMU Global, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.

While overseas DMU Global opportunities are not currently possible, DMU will continue to review government advice and if travel is permitted, we hope to offer a small number of extra-curricular opportunities in the summer of 2021. 


Graduate careers

The programme is aimed at students who are willing to carry on towards a PhD degree, but also to those who are willing to develop a professional career in the field of urban governance and management.

The students concluding their studies will be equipped with a range of high-level skills that will open up a variety of professional career opportunities in the public and private sector, as well as in NGOs and voluntary and community sector. The degree would be useful for graduates interested in becoming, among other things: civil servants, community development workers, environmental managers, estates managers, landscape architects, sustainability consultants and planning and development surveyors

DMU Open Evenings

The perfect way to find out more about DMU is to attend one of our postgraduate open events.

Here, you can speak with course academics and current students, discuss fees, learn about your career prospects and tour the campus.

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Order a prospectus

Our prospectus will give you a clearer idea of what it's like to live and study at DMU and a snapshot of the courses we offer.

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How to apply

We welcome applications from students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

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More about your DMU

50% off selected PG courses
Open evenings
Online chats
Research at DMU

50% off selected PG courses

Our dedicated Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship provides DMU graduates with a tuition fee discount of up to 30 per cent. The discount is available on selected full-time and part-time postgraduate taught courses running across multiple start dates in the 2021/22 academic session, with the first intake in September 2021.

The scholarship, based on academic achievement and merit, applies automatically to all DMU UK, EU and international students who are graduating in 2021.


Open Evenings

The best way to find out more about DMU is to attend one of our postgraduate events. You can also check out our postgraduate live stream schedule for programme-specific talks to find out how our courses can enhance your knowledge and benefit your career path.

These events are a chance to learn more about our extensive careers and employability support, as well as fees and funding opportunities such as scholarships. They're also an opportunity to speak with current students and academics to really get a feel for studying your course. You can also take a tour of our beautiful campus and facilities from the comfort of home via our Virtual Open Day.


Online chats

Chat with our current students and staff advisers online and have your questions answered. Our team will be available to advise you on anything from information on the current postgraduate courses we offer, scholarships, fees and funding, campus facilities, and life in Leicester. View our upcoming PG Online Chat events.


Research at DMU

De Montfort University (DMU)’s growing reputation for research which benefits society has been confirmed with the publication of the REF 2014 results. Find out more.