MSc in Sustainable Urban Development FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development

Below are some common questions and answers about the course, that may be of use to you. Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have further questions that aren't answered below, by emailing

We recently held an online info session, in which participants gained an overview of the programme, met the course director and had their questions answered. If you missed the event, you can now watch the recording here

Quick links:

Course and structure

How can a part-time course be of benefit to me?

The MSc is flexible and designed to allow students to combine postgraduate study with their professional lives. The teaching weeks take place at specific times in the year and students will be expected to attend short intensive study weeks, with further work done independently while away from Oxford.

More information on the teaching dates for the upcoming academic year can be found at

Can I take the course in one year, full-time?

We specialise in continuing professional development, so offer provision that helps those working within the sector (or those aspiring to do so) to balance study with work, and this is usually full-time work.

This MSc is not available on a full-time basis.

We offer eight teaching weeks (delivered mostly from Oxford; two from central London); five of these are normally delivered in Year 1, and three in Year 2.

When does the face-to-face teaching fall in the year?

The programme is designed for people in full-time employment, studying part-time in parallel (often travelling in each time from overseas). The teaching is divided into eight themed teaching weeks, spread across two years. Students often manage this by arranging annual leave at these times or negotiating study leave with their employer. Each teaching theme in Oxford (or London) lasts for five days (Monday to Friday).

To view how these themes are spread across each year, please see below:

Year 1

Introducing Sustainable Urban Development (October, Oxford)

Climate Change and the Built Environment (December, Oxford)

Place-making and Urban Design (February, London)

Financing Sustainability (April, Oxford)

Sustainable Transport (June, Oxford)

Year 2

Urbanism, Community and City-Building (October, London)

Urbanisation in the Global South (January, Oxford)

Leadership, Governance and Future Cities (March, Oxford)

Do I have to live in Oxford?

No, the majority of our students travel to Oxford/London for each teaching week and then return home to undertake the assignment and pre-course activities.

Can you provide a visa letter for this course?

We normally issue a letter to support a Visitor visa for students to attend the residential weeks. Further information about visas can be found at

We are currently unable to support Tier 4 visa applications for this programme.

Can I take another course alongside this course?

We generally discourage students from taking more than one course at a time due to the intensity of the study weeks, but it is ultimately at the admission panel’s discretion. More information about the Department’s policy on concurrent study can be found at

What resources are available to students?

Students will have access to the Bodleian Libraries, particularly the Department for Continuing Education Library. As a member of a college, students will also have access to their library and other resources.

You can find more information about resources available to students at


When is the application deadline?

There are several across the academic year. The core admissions cycle runs from September to March, and all candidates are advised to apply as early as possible (particularly if they wish to apply to a specific Oxford college).

The University of Oxford operates a number of ‘Gathered Fields’, and fields that apply for this course fall in November, January, and March. However, should places still remain beyond March, we may keep the applications window open (indication will be given on our website: The Graduate Admissions website will be updated to show one-week notice of closure (green: open / amber: closing in one week /red: closed).

Please note that candidates who wish to apply for the programme or other Oxford-based scholarships and other funding must apply no later than the January deadline in order to be considered. If any scholarships are available to applicants later than the January deadline then these will be highlighted as such.

For more information on the application process please see

Do I need to select a college?

No, you do not need to apply to a specific college, although college membership will come with entry to our MSc. Oxford is a collegiate university, and all students are matriculated as full members of a college community.

A list of colleges that accept applicants for the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development can be found on the 'Colleges' tab on the Graduate Admissions website:

Candidates may make an ‘open’ application. This means that should the course interview panel decide that they wish to offer you a place, the central system will assign your application to a college for their consideration. You may not at that point select a personal preference.

A college place does not indicate that college accommodation will be available. More information about colleges and the graduate college experience is available at

If I have less than 2 years of work experience, can I still apply?

We welcome students from a diversity of backgrounds, and so consider each application on its individual merits.

We can consider applications from those with less relevant employment experience, although you may find that you are able to get more from your studies if you have spent some time operating in this sector. The MSc is aimed at professionals wishing to undergo continuing professional development.

Our selection decision will be based on your skills, academic ability and achievement, motivation and experience as a whole package. Therefore, in your application please give as much information about your personal background and experience as possible, to allow the academic team to assess your suitability for the course, and what it will be able to offer you.

You can read examples of student profiles to see the backgrounds and experiences of our alumni:

What combination of referees is acceptable?

The required number of references is three. Two of the referees should be able to talk directly about your academic ability. This is required as it helps to gauge whether or not you have the academic ability to study at this level at the University of Oxford and complete your MSc.

We recognize that it can sometimes be challenging to seek the support of an academic referee, so do get in touch if you experience any particular problems. We’ll try to help you by suggesting an alternative that might work for you. It is usually acceptable for candidates to ask senior professional colleagues to comment on relevant research projects and written management reports. The third reference might be from a client.

We are aware that individual situations will differ, so drop us a line if you would like further advice at We do need academic referees to enable the academic team to assess your academic ability to undertake the course.

Your application will be deemed complete by the system once all application requirements are met and 2 out of 3 references have been received. If you are selected for interview, we will require the third reference to be submitted in advance.

English is not my native language. What do I need to do?

English is the language of instruction for all programmes offered at Oxford and all assignments and the dissertation for this MSc need to be written in English.

This MSc requires a higher level of English. See for more information.

Please note that if English is not your native language, you may need a recent certificate proving you have met or exceeded the higher level of proficiency in the English language.

If you have completed a full-time degree, of a minimum of 9 months, taught and assessed in English within the last 2 years, you may request an English language test waiver at the time of application. Those with extensive professional experience in countries in which English is widely spoken may also submit a waiver request via the application form, detailing the level and extent of usage (both verbal and written English).

Should any candidate need more help or information about language requirements or a waiver request, please email

What is the required grade in relation to my undergraduate degree and entry to this course?

The normal minimum qualification to be eligible for admission as a graduate student is the completion of a Bachelor’s degree with First or Upper Second Class Honours (or equivalent). For guidance on how international degrees compare, please see the National Information Centre (UK ENIC)

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

The academic team will also take relevant knowledge and experience into account.

Please check the Graduate Admissions website for more information on the entry requirements for the MSc

Fees and funding

Are there scholarships available, and what is the process to follow?

The Graduate Admissions Fees and Funding Scholarship Search allows applicants to search for scholarships they may be eligible for. Please see here

The MSc in Sustainable Urban Development has offered a programme scholarship since 2012. Further information can be found at A number of our MSc students have also been awarded the Clarendon Scholarship The scheme is open to all talented graduate applicants, regardless of background.

Do note that for most, if not all, Oxford-based schemes, candidates must have applied by the advertised January deadline in the proposed year of entry in order to be considered. This applies for the Clarendon Scholarship and MSc Programme Scholarship also.

For more information on alternative sources of funding, please see or

Are course fees payable up-front?

No. Our practice is to bill per year of study (generally, an invoice ahead of Year 1, and another just ahead of Year 2), so no student will receive an invoice for all course fees that is payable as one lump sum.

Successful applicants will be required to complete a financial declaration as one of their conditions of offer, where they will need to demonstrate that they are able to afford the Year 1 course fees in full. You can find more information about the financial declaration at

Once an applicant has met all conditions of their offer and has received a confirmed offer for the course, we will issue a fees invoice (usually during July or August, for entry in October). At this point, we usually offer students a choice of payment options for that invoice: either pay in full as per the standard terms (normally 30 days), or request one of our payment plans. These plans are popular with students, and are there to help spread the cost of study.

Some of our students receive funding help from loan schemes, or employers/other organizations. We are able to provide tailored support to candidates and students in order to ensure that the terms of these schemes fit as well as possible with any local Oxford requirements.

Current payment plans normally offer either the choice to pay over three or seven instalments. The seven-instalment plan runs from October to April; all fee accounts must be settled by March of each year.

For any queries about fees or payment options currently available, please email

Meet our MSUD students

Meet our MSUD students

Find out more about what our students have to say about the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development

MSUD academic staff

MSUD academic staff

Meet our research-active academic staff teaching on our part-time MSc in Sustainable Urban Development.

MSc in Sustainable Urban Development Provisional Teaching Weeks 2024-25

MSc in Sustainable Urban Development Provisional Teaching Weeks 2024-25

Provisional list of teaching week dates for the MSc in Sustainable Urban Development 2024-25 for first year students