MSc Urban Policy & Analysis

Sign up to hear about upcoming events, news and scholarships related to this programme.

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Study mode and duration:  full-time, 12 months, part-time, 24 months
  • Part-time study: available


Study with us

  • designed for those with a background in a broad range of disciplines
  • enables understanding of how local governments, states, and non-governmental organisations interact in the policy arena
  • delivers understanding, interpretation and application of key concepts and methods which are required in the analysis of public policy making
  • equips participants for employment in a wide variety of public and private organizations that share a city-centric focus
Back to course

Why this course?

The MSc in Urban Policy and Analysis equips students with a systematic grounding in the analysis of urban policy. The programme explores the role and impact of major policy actors within urban policy. You'll receive practical training in a number of frameworks, both analytical and methodological, and evaluate their usefulness in explaining urban policy processes and institutional structures related to environment and infrastructure. This course delves deep into the analysis of urban policy.

During the programme, you'll explore relevant intellectual and empirical tools for understanding urban policy and develop a practical knowledge of urban policy, including economic, infrastructure and environmental threats and benefits. The MSc in Urban Policy and Analysis also provides key employability skills in analytical and critical thinking, research management, data analysis, report writing and presentation. There are two specialisations available for degree participants. The first specialisation is sustainability, and the second is infrastructure. Explore the course content below.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you'll study

In the first two semesters, participants will learn core concepts and methodologies for urban analysis and policy-making. These core concepts are then applied in one of two specializations: sustainability, or infrastructure.

Major projects

You'll have the opportunity to complete a client-based project as a part of your dissertation research. On the advice of the School, you can contact host organisations including local, city, and national governmental organisations for project-based MSc dissertations.

Guest lectures

Speakers at our weekly seminars include guest lecturers who come to Strathclyde as part of the Erasmus programme. They're also available for individual consultations with you as an MSc student here. Strathclyde’s organised research centres such as the European Policies Research Centre, routinely host their own 'Speaker’s Series' where talks relevant to the content of the course are common. You'll have time for networking with visiting speakers afterwards.


The School of Government & Public Policy has a number of research centres that relate to the topics covered in the content of the course. For example, the European Policies Research Centre is a leading hub for the study of regional development policy and collection of such data in Europe, a centre that is of increasing importance in the wake of Brexit.

Specialised policy centres focused on urban economics and energy – such as the Centre for Energy Policy – also add to the applied policy environment at Strathclyde. The Institute for Future Cities' City Observatory, located in Strathclyde’s award-winning Technology & Innovation Centre, uses data to understand and address urban problems. The University also has many centres and institutes with projects that incorporate European governance and political issues, such as the Fraser of Allander Institute.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Hong Kong University for Science and Technology for an exchange programme and dual degree.

Further information

Hear from Dr Despina Alexiadou and Dr Scott Cunningham as they tell you more about the programme.

Watch video
Go back

Course content

There are two specialisations available for degree participants. The first specialisation is sustainability, and the second is infrastructure.

Please note that the below is an indicative list of classes. These are subject to change.

Quantitative Methods

This class introduces participants to the use of quantitative methods in social research; in particular, the logic and language of empirical analysis, the principal types of quantitative data (official statistics and surveys), and the use of software packages for statistical analysis.

Comparative Political Economy

The global economic order is at a crossroads. In Europe and beyond, governments are facing unprecedented challenges: economic, political, social, ecological. This class surveys the turbulent politico-economic landscape across crises, from the 2008 financial crash to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More specifically, the class critically examines core issues in the political economy of crisis: the austerity debate, the inequality and tax regimes, the rethinking of growth models, the green and gender revolutions, the power of central banks, the future of the euro (EMU), the populist temptation (e.g. Brexit). By engaging these themes, students will develop a better understanding of the complexity and direction of European and global capitalism. They will also be confronted with key economic debates, assessing competing approaches and drawing policy lessons.

The focus of this class is comparative, looking at developments across advanced nations, but in the context of wider transformations in the periphery. All in all, this class offers a window into the most pressing issues facing policymakers around the world and contemporary societies more widely.

Levelling Up: A Guide to the New Regional and Industrial Policies

Cities and regions are instruments of economic growth. This module examines the processes of economic and regional development which occur in city-regions. The module presents a strategic management perspective on managing the diverse assets of cities, including the human resource component, the industrial organization of the city, and factors of production necessary for growth.

Please note that this class is subject to change.

Networked Institutions, Infrastructure and Technology

Networks are a critical part of modern day life. Networks inform the way we govern and the way we structure our critical techniques such as roads, water and power. Operating strategically within a network is a critical component of practice for many professional occupations whether public, private, or non-profit.

Please note that this class is subject to change.


The MSc dissertation is assessed by means of an academic or practice-based project.

In addition, for the specialisation in Sustainability:

Environmental Impact Assessment

This class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, provides an introduction to the methods used to predict environmental impacts and evaluates how these may be used to integrate environmental factors into decisions. The class draws principally on the UK planning context of environmental impact assessment of individual projects (project EIA), but also takes account of EIA experience in other countries and international organisations. Students are also introduced to key principles of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).

Circular Economy and Transformations Towards Sustainability

The class, run by the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, introduces circular economy as a systems-based concept in which production is designed to be restorative and resilient, while waste is designed out of the system. Circular economy is thus featured as a reaction to the conventional dispensation of the linear ‘make-use-dispose’ economy, and as a framework for the development and management of a sustainable, ‘waste-as-a-resource’ economic system. The implications of the concept for research, policy and industrial practice are also explored as these relate to innovation and knowledge production; social trends and consumer behaviour; conservation and sustainable use of energy and material resources; climate change and environmental sustainability; and design of business models for green enterprise development and for sustainable growth and employment generation.

In addition, for the specialisation in Infrastructure:

City Systems and Infrastructure

This class will examine the key systems and infrastructure on which urban centres depend and promote critical reflection on how the design, management and monitoring of these systems impact on the social, environmental and economic sustainability of cities. The use of case studies will allow students to engage with real-world situations, challenges and opportunities and consider multiple infrastructure and technology options for sustainable city strategies.

For the specialisation in Sustainability, no fewer than two classes from:

Waste Management and Landfill Design

This class covers organisational and regulatory aspects of waste management practice in the UK: legislation, composition of domestic and industrial wastes, storage, collection, reception, and disposal of solid wastes, clinical wastes, sewage sludge disposal, recycling and recovery.

Big Data Technologies

This class will provide you with an understanding of the new challenges posed by the advent for big data, as they refer to its modelling, storage, and access; an understanding of the key algorithms and techniques which are embodied in data analytics solutions; and exposure to a number of different big data technologies and techniques, showing how they can achieve efficiency and scalability, while also addressing design trade-offs and their impacts.

Machine Learning for Data Analytics

The aim of the class is to understand the aims and fundamental principles of machine learning; understand a range of the key algorithms and approaches to machine learning; be able to apply the algorithms covered and interpret the outcomes; understand the applicability of the algorithms to different types of data and problems along with their strengths and limitations.

Environmental Pollution Management

In this class, you'll develop in-depth knowledge and skills regarding the science, engineering and management of environmental pollution control approaches to protect public health. You'll benefit from research-led teaching at the interface between public health and environmental engineering, with a particular focus on risk-centred methods. Lecture sessions are complemented by industrial and government case studies in contemporary air quality management practice.

Water and Environmental Management

To develop an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological parameters within surface water and how these relate to water quality, water quality objectives and pollution control strategy. To provide knowledge on the design and process involved with the control of water and wastewater treatment.

Or one class from above and one class from:

International Environmental Policy

Our world is grappling with urgent environmental challenges. Understanding and shaping international environmental policy is crucial for addressing these challenges. This class offers a comprehensive understanding the web of global environmental agreements, emerging frameworks, diplomatic negotiations and financial instruments used to enable environmental change. These instruments may be part of new and innovative strategies to combat climate change, to protect biodiversity, and to foster sustainable and resilient development.

Environmental Economics

A growing, and increasingly important, part of the work of many applied Economists includes the economic analysis of environmental issues. Additionally, many professionals working in the fields of energy, the natural environment, or business more generally will find that their careers require some working knowledge of economic approaches to environmental problems. The main objective of this class is to provide a thorough grounding in the economics of the environment, with a particular focus on environmental protection in an international policy context, such as climate change and the loss of biological diversity.

For the specialisation in Infrastructure, no fewer than two classes from:

Waste Management and Landfill Design

This class covers organisational and regulatory aspects of waste management practice in the UK: legislation, composition of domestic and industrial wastes, storage, collection, reception, and disposal of solid wastes, clinical wastes, sewage sludge disposal, recycling and recovery.

Geographical Information Systems

This practical-based class provides a thorough introduction to the rapidly growing field of Geographical Information Science. The class covers the key theoretical principles but also provides many computer-based exercises using current state-of-the-art Geographical Information Systems (GIS) – namely IDRISI and ArcGIS. The class evaluates how GIS can be used for spatial query and analysis, while at the same time assessing the quality and the effectiveness of the resultant products in terms of their use.

Project Management

This class will develop your skills in the use of engineering practices in project management. The focus is on the effective and efficient use of resources. Areas covered include:

  • introduction to project management techniques and project control
  • basic aspects of project teams
  • project networks
  • procedural and graphical presentation techniques
  • introduction to contract law
  • project budgetary control

Introduction to Satellite Applications

This module aims to give students a broad overview of satellite applications in industry, military, and research. Students will learn to distinguish between different satellite systems, their capabilities and limitations as well interpret satellite and acquire a basic understanding on what products are derived from different sensors. 

The class will cover aspects of satellite communications, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), remote sensing (active and passive), altimetry and an introduction to remote sensing data processing tools. 

A technical background in physics and calculus is required for this option.

Learning & teaching

Classes are taught in both seminars and labs.  Seminars combine theoretical discussion and a strong empirical or policy focus, as appropriate. They also consist of a variety of teaching techniques including small-group work, structured debates, presentations, and background lectures.  Lab classes – or lab session in addition to seminars – provide students hands-on experience using programs they may use in future jobs; such as R and ArcGIS.


Methods of assessments and learning and teaching approaches vary by class and instructor.  Indicative assessments include:

  • research papers
  • policy reports
  • group papers
  • group presentations
  • individual presentations
  • slideshows
  • critical assessment of readings
  • strategic presentation of information
Meet our experts
Richard Johnson, politics lecturer
As a political science scholar, I believe it's my duty to educate and inspire students in political science. My goal is to ensure that our students are able to leave our MSc programs and follow their passion in politics and public policy so that they may make a real-world difference.
Richard Johnson
Senior Lecturer
Back to course

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

First or upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in social science.

Applications are also welcome from candidates with strong career experience in a relevant field.

English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigration (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visa and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Please note: Previous Maths & English qualifications and your undergraduate degree must meet GTCS minimum entry requirements as well as the pre-Masters course and an interview will be conducted before an offer can be made.

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat to a student ambassador

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships

View all our scholarships
Back to course

Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

Go back


England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Additional costs

Visa & immigration:

  • International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Poster presentation: £10

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

Go back

Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Go back

Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Go back

Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Go back

Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Go back

International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

Back to course


An educational background in urban policy is transferrable to a wide variety of different organizations. The key skills - analysing and diagnosing of sustainability, infrastructure, and urban institutions - are widely applicable. Graduates may go on to work in a range of different organizations including:

  • local government
  • national or transnational government organizations
  • non-governmental organizations
  • consultancy firms
  • engineering bureaus
  • systems integration firms
  • infrastructure management firms
  • research labs
  • small-to-medium size enterprises and start-ups

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

Back to course


We are not accepting any further applications for Urban Policy & Analysis for 2024/25 entry at this time. Please check this page again for further information or contact

Back to course

Contact us

Prospective student enquiries

Contact a member of our team on LiveChat between 10am and 4pm (GMT)

Telephone: +44 (0) 141 444 8600

Have you considered?

We've a range of postgraduate taught and Masters courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.