MA in Urban Design


As Joint Programme Leaders of the MA in Urban Design (MAUD) course, we are really looking forward to starting the new term. Each year the MAUD programme involves an exciting mix of students from all across the world, each bringing a different experience providing a great learning opportunity for everyone. This idea of learning together from each other is crucial to our way of doing things in MAUD.  

The MA in Urban Design (MAUD) is innovative, participatory, critical, diverse and situated. You can expect to contribute to new methods and tools of looking at and engaging with urban design in ways that may seem quite different to what you had thought urban design was. We see urban design as an interplay of various disciplinary knowledges – understanding the city from a bottom-up perspective through a situated lens from within the community for whom we work, understanding the ecological and socio-political context within which we must operate, and most importantly re-thinking the city not just as different parts (buildings, infrastructure, landscape) but rather as made of relations between all these parts that is constantly shifting (so, in other words the city as a verb rather than a noun). When we learn to see the city differently, we can design the city differently as well.

Don’t worry if all these descriptions are too abstract now, we have some preliminary reading material listed below to help you provide a conceptual orientation as you start the programme. The readings are not to make you understand everything, they are just there to raise some questions in your mind, which we hope will make you ask more questions. Asking a lot of questions and voicing your opinion will be another key aspect for your journey here at Sheffield. We hope you enjoy the journey as much as we do! 

Preliminary Reading Material

The reading materials provided below are available online which can be accessed through StarPlus under MyServices once you login to your university accounts. These are a selection of readings, 2 book chapters and an article, that would invite you into the conceptual framework of the programme.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week is a very important part of your introduction to the School, your studies and the University.It starts on Monday 18 September, 2023.  The first full week of the Autumn Semester starts on Monday 25 September, 2023. During Welcome Week you will be introduced to members of staff who will support you during your time studying here.

ARC - Virtual Reception

By now you should be able to log into your MUSE account where you will be able to access your email account, your Google Drive and have access to our virtual learning environment, “Blackboard”.

From Friday, 8 September, 2023, in Blackboard you will find the ‘ARC - Virtual Reception’ which will appear in your ‘Organisations’ tab. Within this tab you will find information about your induction week including what sessions are taking place and their locations, course handbooks and other useful information. The pages will be updated regularly with new information added in the days leading up to the start of your course, so please check back regularly. 

Optional Modules

Optional Module choices will be made using a google form which you will be able to access through the Optional Modules page on the Virtual Reception. The link will go live at 12pm (GMT+1) on Friday 22 September, 2023.   In the Optional Module Information folder you will find information about the optional modules available to you as an MAUD student.   Please read through the available information and instructions on this section of the Virtual Reception.  Further information will be sent to you via your University email address closer to the time.

Note: you do not need to pick your optional modules at registration. Please wait until you have a chance to access the module information, at which point you will be able to use the google form. 

Buying Computer Equipment 

We have attached some general IT information for architecture students. The software commonly used on the MA in Urban Design course includes:

  • CAD software such as AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and Sketchup
  • MIRO board: sign up for a student account once you have set up your email here
  • Image editors like Adobe Photoshop
  • Vector drawing editor such as Adobe Illustrator and layout/poster editor such as Adobe InDesign
  • Video editors like Adobe Premiere
  • Geographic Information System software such as QGIS
  • Mapping softwares like Google earth pro, Promap, Digimap and Arcview

Most of this software runs under both Windows and Apple computers. You may need to use rendering softwares to represent your design development. All of the software we use is available free on University computers and some is available free for you to install on your own computer.

MAUD Team 2023-2024 Miro Board 

Once you have a Miro account please take your time to introduce yourselves to the MAUD team using the miro board link here.

Facebook Group

The SSoA Masters Students Facebook group can be found at this link. Please introduce yourself to your Masters colleagues -

This is an important journey for you, and we hope to help you in your learning, well-being and future aspirations. However, postgraduate school is quite different from undergraduate programmes. We see yourselves not just as students but as independent learners who bring their opinion and critical thinking in group settings and contribute to the teaching process actively. Postgraduate school also opens up a wider horizon of knowledges and situations, a lot of new theories and case studies, and often the instructions are purposefully vague so that you are in a position to make your own judgement about how to interpret them and make a plan for your learning, deciding which parts to focus on, what to learn, and how to bring it all together in your final output. It is a continuous process of critically thinking and forming your own voice, and we are there to help with it, but you need to take charge of your own learning process.
We are extremely excited for the start of term and can’t wait to meet you and get started.  

Dr Tanzil Shafique and Emre Akbil 
Programme Leaders for MA in Urban Design