University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Master of Urban Design

Urban design emerged as a distinct field in Australia about 20 years ago in response to a need for better design skills at urban scales: streets, street blocks, town centres, city districts, new suburbs, cross-city infrastructure. Since that time, urban design has expanded enormously. Today, design professionals with good urban design knowledge and skills are much sought after by private consulting firms, development organisations and local and state governments, where they are required to prepare and evaluate urban design policies, strategies, frameworks, guidelines, concepts, master plans and programs, as well as be involved in the more detailed design and management of urban spaces.

Urban design knowledge and skills also assist in designing for specific sites by providing a better appreciation of urban structure and context. They are crucial for good development evaluation, and enhance perspectives on urban conservation: and there is a small but growing demand for urban design educators and media commentators. The program is arranged to develop understanding and abilities for all of these roles. At its core are studio projects that address emerging design issues, plus supporting units that cover essential morphological, ecological, cultural and other dimensions of urbanism.

Graduates of the program occupy important urban design positions in all of the above-mentioned employment sectors in cities across Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.

Admission requirements

To apply, you should hold a professional degree in architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning or a closely related design area and submit a portfolio of work with your application. Your portfolio should show several examples of design and design-related work completed as part of your university studies and/or samples of work from professional or equivalent experience (preferably both). Further, your particular role in producing each item of submitted work should be made clear. The portfolio must be on paper only, consist of approximately 10 A4 or A3 sheets, and include drawings and other relevant items of illustration such as photographs of models, with supporting explanation.