MSc Urban Policy & Analysis

Key facts

  • Start date: Sep 2020
  • Study mode and duration: full-time, 12 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
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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.

Students walking through Rottenrow Gardens on campus.

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.

Facilities

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.

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Course content

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

Understanding and Modelling Cities

The purpose of this class is to enable the creation of exploratory and evidence-based portraits of the city. A number of urban analytic tools and methods are introduced as a result. Participants will be introduced to geographical information systems (ArcMap); this enables exploration of a city through its geographic layers. Participants will use two workhorse methods of data science – clustering and trend analysis – to evaluate where people live in the city, and which districts are growing or declining the most rapidly. An introduction to the R language is provided.

Comparative Public Policy

This class revolves around the different aims for conducting comparative policy analysis such as explaining the variation of policy output and outcome across different institutional, economic, social and cultural settings, generalising a given theory of policy process in different geographical contexts and by taking time into consideration, as well as capturing the interdependence of countries. Units of analysis include countries, states/regions, local governments, and international organisations.

Global and Future Cities

The world is undergoing an unprecedented phase of growth and urbanization. This course confronts the differing prognoses for cities across the world, including those of the global south. The rise of the global middle class has redistributed wealth and has lessened the burden of poverty. But there are dissidents, discontents as well as migrants and immigrants. This course equips participants with relevant theories and applies these theories to case studies across the world. The course uses theories of technological change, technological diffusion, and futures thinking to envisage better futures and to prepare decision-makers for significant sources of change and uncertainty.

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.

Compulsory classes for Sustainability and the Environment

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.

Elective Classes for Sustainability and the Environment

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.

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.

Environmental Economics / International Environmental Policy

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 the loss of biological diversity.

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.

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.

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.

Compulsory classes for Infrastructure and Transport

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.

Analysis of Economic Data

You’ll learn about the skills in data analysis that make up an essential part of the work of an applied economist.  This will include carefully chosen applications of methods and techniques that permit insightful analysis of data, the specification and testing of hypotheses, and estimation techniques.  

The class is taught via lectures and hands-on lab sessions, ensuring that you gain experience in both undertaking the analysis of economic data and in interpreting results.

Elective Classes for Infrastructure and Transport

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.

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
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.

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.

Assessment

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
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
Course Director
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

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

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 EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

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

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 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

Map of the world.

Dean's International Excellence Awards: Humanities and Social Science

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's Excellence Award offers international students a merit-based scholarship of £4,000 towards the first year of tuition fees of a full-time Masters, EdD Education or 1 year MRes programme in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 

To apply for a Dean’s International Excellence Awards: Humanities & Social Sciences, candidates must:

  • Be available to commence their academic studies in the UK by the start of the academic year in September/October 2020.

Some scholarships have restrictions on other funding you can accept. This means that you have to decide which scholarship to accept. For any University of Strathclyde award you are successful in applying for, you will receive the higher value award only.

Apply for the International Excellence Award
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Fees & funding

2020/21

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

Scotland/EU

£6,800

Rest of UK

£6,800

International

£15,800

Additional costs

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?

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Scottish and non-UK EU postgraduate students

Scottish and non-UK EU 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Strathclyde Alumni

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Alumni Discount

Alumni from undergraduate programmes who graduated between 2014-2019 can receive 10% off the fee for full-time programmes.

Find out more about our alumni discount
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Careers

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 in the very heart of Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. National Geographic named Glasgow as one of its 'Best of the World' destinations, while Rough Guide readers have voted Glasgow the world’s friendliest city! And Time Out named Glasgow in the top ten best cities in the world - we couldn't agree more!

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.

Find out what some of our students think about studying in Glasgow!

Find out all about life in Glasgow
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Apply

Urban Policy and Analysis

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: full-time

Urban Policy and Analysis

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Delivery: full-time

Urban Policy and Analysis

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2020
Mode of Delivery: part-time

Urban Policy and Analysis

Qualification: MSc
Start Date: Sep 2021
Mode of Delivery: part-time

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Contact us

Postgraduate Enquiries

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted by email: hass-pg-enquiries@strath.ac.uk.

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