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Postgraduate Open DayMeet us at our next Open Day on the 30 November.

Eco-Cities (MSc)

1 year (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

Course Aims

Graduates of the programme in eco-cities will have:

Course Description

There is an ever growing interest in how to reduce the impact of climate change in an urbanising world. For the first time in human history there are now more people living in towns and cities than in rural areas. It is estimated by the UN that by 2030 more than 60% of the world’s population, some 4.9bn people, will be living in urban areas.

Urbanisation today is also associated with a number of other features that make it distinctive from the past. First, the scale of urban areas is increasing. There are now a number of megacities, with populations of over 10m, across the world, including Tokyo, Mumbai, Mexico City, Beijing and Shanghai. Second, the geography of urbanisation has shifted from the developed world of Western Europe and North America to the developing world of Asia, Africa and South America. For example, it is believed that over 90% of urban growth will occur in less developed nations, with 80% of urban growth occurring in Asia and Africa. Third, the pace of urbanisation is spatially variable. In parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa urban growth is increasing at over 3% a year, in more developed parts of the world growth is minimal (and numbers in some urban areas are falling).

Whilst urban areas can be sites of environmental degradation they offer the possibility of living in a more resource efficient way. Amongst the key questions that are emerging are: What is a low carbon and ecological (sustainable) city' How can city and regional planning effectively guide sustainable development' Can cities be planned and built to promote low carbon lifestyles, and ecological development that can mitigate climate change? How can urban areas adapt to climate change? The programme will equip students with a critical understanding of the variety of forms of development that badge themselves as sustainable or low carbon and will create practitioners who have the skills to take forward innovative environmentally friendly urban developments that are sensitive to the needs of sustainable spaces. The programme will provide opportunities for students to participate in real low carbon eco-city planning and developments though live projects.

Cardiff's School of Geography and Planning can bring together the expertise of the Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACE), an intellectual setting that promotes the multi-disciplinary thinking (e.g. planning, human and economic geography, political science) that is essential to deliver a high quality postgraduate taught programme. In addition, the course will draw upon the specialist input of the School of Engineering's work on sustainable energy and from the School of Architecture's work on sustainability, energy and the management and measurement of resource use.

Course Structure

The course is divided into two parts:

Available Modules

The following list relates to the modules for the academic year 2015/16. Please note that these may be subject to change.

Core Modules

Optional Modules

For further details and up-to-date information on the course and modules, please see the course listing on the School's website.

Special Features

During the Live Project element of the programme, students have the opportunity to undertake an overseas field study visit and work in depth on a ‘live’ planning project and/or governance issue in an eco-city. Students will work closely with a partner organisation and will need to deploy skills in problem-definition; draw upon and develop knowledge and planning, political and cultural context of the development; and appreciate the operational context within which a report will be delivered to the partner organisation.

Skills Acquired

Career Prospects

It is estimated that there are about 170 eco-cities (towns) under development in Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa, and the Pacific Area. In China alone, more than 90% of cities have expressed their interest in developing a new eco-city or to apply the principles of eco-city to their existing urban area. The scale of current and future eco-city development and its global reach means that the programme will appeal to those who:

Our Alumni collectively represent the variety of potential careers and jobs that our current (and future) students may embark on.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class Honours degree in an appropriate subject. This MSc is suitable for graduates in planning, geography, architecture, engineering or other relevant disciplines, or mid-career professionals working in planning, development or similar fields. The course is appropriate for both international students and UK students interested in Eco-Cities.

A minimum standard in English language of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent will be required for students whose first language is not English. Pre-course English Language tuition is available.

Study Visits

Students take part in an overseas field study visit, to Indonesia in 2015. The trip is subsidised by the School, and students will contribute around £700 to the costs in 2015.


The Cardiff School of Geography and Planning is able to offer a reduction in tuition fees of £500 to all Cardiff University alumni.

For other funding opportunities available through the School, please visit their Tuition Fees and Funding webpage.

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £6,750 £16,000
Part-time n/a n/a
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: September each year

School Contact

Name: Dr Li Yu  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 79333 

Fax: +44 (0)29 208 74845 


School Website:

More information


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