Studying Urban Design

Studying Urban Design at HCU entails a sound knowledge of research and designing practices. The master program focuses on conceptual modes of working, in-depth analyses, experimental forms of scientific interventions, and process-oriented strategies of planning. The courses convey qualification objectives in the following fields.

  • Training and application of different qualitative research and analytic methods in the field of the production of urban space.
  • Experimental trial of design and transformation techniques
  • Developing conceptual and strategic approaches in urban development
  • Cultivation of team-oriented, interdisciplinary workflows
  • Competencies to communicate acquired knowledge
  • Expertise oriented towards innovative research issues
  • Contemporary urban positions and theoretical discourses
  • Competencies in autonomous scientific research

Application period: 01.06. to 15.07.2024

Find more information in the How to Apply Section.

Project Presentation of UDP3 "Experimental Knowledge Production", Michelle Kubitzki, Sarah Müller, Özgü Özcan, Nicola Simon; Photo: Antonia Lembcke

Career Prospects after Graduation

Graduates of the consecutive Master's program in Urban Design have a high level of research, planning, and design competence and can move confidently in the complex fields of urban development and urban research. With the degree, graduates are qualified for scientific research and design as well as consulting activities in private-sector institutions and offices (e.g., architecture, urban, regional and environmental planning, landscape architecture and planning), in state, municipal, and civil-society institutions (in the areas of planning, consulting, and transfer) as well as in universities and research institutions (in teaching, research and transfer). Graduates can also obtain admission to doctoral studies with their degrees.

Chamber of Architects

Graduates from the Urban Design M.Sc. program can be admitted to the Chamber of Architects in consultation with the respective organization. A Bachelor's in Architecture, relevant courses at the Master's level, and professional experience are mandatory. Please refer to the professional qualification guideline by the Bundes Architekten Kammer and make use of the study advisory service.

Course of studies

The Master of Science program is comprised of four semesters. It is divided into five teaching areas that consist of mandatory and elective individual modules.

The Urban Design Project forms the main focus of the program. The project courses run for four semesters. The Urban Design Project is supplemented by a broad spectrum of methods and skills: Methodology (Urban Territories) and Urban Theory (Transformations) are further essential components of the master program in the first year of study.

Students can choose electives from a broad offer in the teaching area Design, Discourses, Techniques & Skills - Specialisation that includes all the study programs at HCU Hamburg and, in this way, focus on their interests. Interdisciplinary Study Programs promote the crossing of disciplinary boundaries to foster change in perspectives. In the third semester, students can choose to study at one of the partner universities of HCU Hamburg (optional).

The study program is completed with an autonomous academic and project-specific master thesis in the fourth semester. At graduation, students are awarded the title "Master of Science" (M.Sc.).

Teaching formats

Urban Research & Design – Urban Design Project:  Projects are at the center of the study program. Students develop independent analysis, research, and design projects in interdisciplinary working groups.

Urban Theory – Transformations: Courses explore the various models of urban theory - from the precursors of modern urbanism to contemporary debates

Methodology – Urban Territories:  Courses introduce qualitative research methods from the social and cultural sciences and design.

Design, Discourses, Techniques & Skills - Specialisation: Electives focus on acquiring and strengthening theoretical, methodological, and design skills. Students can choose from various courses offered at the HCU Hamburg degree programs.

Interdisciplinary Study Programs: This inter- and transdisciplinary teaching area is open to participants from all study programs at HCU Hamburg and encourages creative thinking and a flexible mind in classes and projects from natural science and engineering, humanities and social sciences, and design.

Semester Kick-Off "Transforming Urban Praxis: Tackling Liminality for Collective Possibility"; Photo: Yuan Chang (Danny) Yang