Oxford Brookes University

Faculty of Technology, Environment and Design
MA in Urban Design
Master of Research in Urban Design
PGDip in Urban Design
PGCert in Urban Design
Issues project – high density generic modelling – Group work
Perspective of Oxpens site – Christina Dixon
Section through Oxpens development – Christina Dixon
Oxpens masterplan – Sarah Hull
Street perspective – Sarah Hull

The Joint Centre for Urban Design (JCUD) is one of the best known  institutions in the world in this field, and its courses have always had  a high status.

Established in the early 1970s, it offered the first named  urban design course in Europe, and was contemporary with the  first courses in the United States. Today, along with the Masters programme, we have the largest MPhil and PhD programme in the  UK. All of our programmes can be taken on either a full-time or a  part-time basis.

On average, the JCUD has up to 100 students enrolled at any one time on its various modules, coming from a wide variety of  backgrounds and countries.


All of our programmes are offered at postgraduate level, and are designed for both prospective and practising urban designers,  so that they can broaden their perceptions, critically review their  role, learn new design and thinking skills relevant to the field, and  generally become more reflective practitioners.

The teaching focus is a very practical one. The course aims to  enable students to intervene in the production of the public realm – from the masterplanning scale, to building detailing – through a series of studio based projects, supported by workshops and  lectures on the theory of urban, landscape and architectural design. Specifically, the course provides an in-depth introduction to  knowledge and skills in the following:

  • The history and role of urban design
  • The application of urban design principles in different cultural  and economic contexts
  • The creation of environmentally sustainable places
  • Place-making and place identity
  • The communication of urban design ideas
  • Research methods relevant to the needs of both academic work  and consultancy.

In general, all of our graduates are highly employable, and the vast majority continue to find work in design or planning practice, consultancy or higher education. The forty year history of the  programme means that there is a very large network of graduates across the globe, constantly adding value to the JCUD brand.


All teaching staff in the JCUD are actively engaged in research. Recent clients have included the Heritage Lottery Fund – evaluating the regeneration benefits of investment in conservation areas; and EPSRC funded research into retrofitting cities and sustainable urban design.

General Contact

The Joint Centre for Urban Design (JCUD)
Oxford Brookes University
United Kingdom

Key Contact

Dana Vilestre
01865 483688
Course Duration
MA/MRes - FT 12 months, PT 24 months. PGDip - FT 9 months, PT 20 months. PGCert - PT 8 months