Urban Studies, MA


We are accepting applications for our MA in Urban Studies. For more information on how to apply contact Dr Mercè Cortina-Oriol.



Urban Studies, MA

Revitalising cities is a critical focus of academic research, egalitarian policy making and public debate. According to the UN, over 50 per cent of the world’s population now live in cities, which face a plethora of challenges including overburdened infrastructures and services, inadequate resources, rising air pollution and unplanned low density housing. This MA seeks to develop critical, comparative and interdisciplinary modes of research and analysis to address the global challenges of rapid urbanisation, in the wider context of difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure.

About this degree

Students will have the opportunity to develop an advanced understanding of critical urban theory, and outstanding collaborative research with global impact and reach. The programme consists of four compulsory modules including an Introduction to Urban Political Economy, Governing and Managing Cities, Participatory Research in Action and Urban Challenges. Optional modules include Urban Infrastructure and Sustainable Cities, Difference, Inequality and Conflict in the City, Comparative Territorial Governance, Alternative Urban Futures and Metropolis and Economic and Socio-political Innovation. All students are required to undertake a Dissertation module involving either a critical evaluation of the literature, or a piece of original or applied research. For more information about each module click here.

The programme 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 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.  Please note this option may be restricted to online collaboration with international partners during 2021.

Why study this degree at CURA?

The Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA) is a world-leading academic centre situated within De Montfort University, the United Nations designated Global Hub for Sustainable Development. It is the only centre of its kind (Times Higher 2015) dedicated to exploring urban transformation in global contexts by giving voice to the dispossessed and marginalised who are experiencing poverty, hunger, disease and social isolation. CURA attracts both national and international scholars in the fields of politics, urban studies, urban geography and the political economy, and acts as a global platform for researchers to contribute egalitarian responses to the intersecting inequalities in urban contexts.

This degree draws on the groundbreaking insights of leading academic figures across four faculties within De Montfort University – Arts, Design and Humanities, Business and Law, Health and Life Sciences and Technology – including Ismael Blanco, Mercè Cortina-Oriol, Jonathan Davies, Adam Fishwick, Arianna Giovannini, Rachel Granger, Steven Griggs, Ros Lishman, Valeria Guarneros-Meza, and Ben Whitham. With its breath of expertise in the areas of Urban Austerity Governance and Resistance, Urban Labour, the Revitalization of Cities and Racialised Inequalities, this MA in Urban Studies is unrivalled in both scope and reach within the UK and internationally.


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

Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship
Find out more about our Postgraduate Alumni Scholarship, offering up to 30% off tuition fees for DMU alumni.

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

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To find out more on How to Apply visit De Montfort University Post Graduate Student pages.