MSc Sustainable Urban Planning and Design

The master’s programme in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design focuses on the interrelationship between the built environment and social, economic and institutional forces. The programme provides professionals with a profound and broad understanding of the multiple factors in sustainable urban development. Students are trained to alter planning and design practices to respond to the environmental conditions and societal needs of the future.

Image from a degree project within Sustainable Planning and Design by Olga Kotta, 2019

Application dates for studies starting in Autumn 2020

16 October 2019: Application opens
15 January 2020: Application deadline
3 February 2020: Deadline for supporting academic documents (all applicants) and documentation of fee exempt status (if required) or receipt of application fee (if required)
3 April 2020: Notification of selection results
August 2020: Arrival and start of studies

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Sustainable Urban Planning and Design at KTH

The programme brings together students of architecture, planning, civil engineering and natural and social sciences. Students will be equipped with theoretical knowledge and professional tools that position them to act as critical links, joining multiple perspectives together in sustainable planning and design processes relevant in Sweden and worldwide. Coursework includes substantial time spent in studios and on projects that train students in practical skills as well as giving them deep understanding of planning and design practice.

The programme offers three specialisations pursued through recommended course combinations, which represent different professional competences involved in sustainable urban planning and design. Students can also broaden their knowledge by making their own combinations of courses. During the programme, students interact across the specialisations in courses and projects that foster a mutual exchange of knowledge and ideas.


Urban Planning and Design
Urban and Regional Planning
Environment and Planning

All students take part in the introduction course that presents the subject and deepens understanding of how practices of planning and design can enhance sustainable urban development. Following this course, students choose one of the specialisations with a number of elective courses addressing different methodological, theoretical and practical aspects of urban design and planning. The spring term includes a mandatory course which aims to develop students’ research skills within the scope of the programme.

The third term deepens the students’ specialisation by integrating accumulated knowledge into applied project work. Projects are supported by a number of core courses highlighting conceptual and analytical approaches. The programme concludes with a degree project, which is carried out in the fourth term. The degree project provides students with an opportunity to investigate a problem in-depth, under the supervision of experienced practitioners and researchers.

Throughout the programme, invited lecturers from local/regional authorities, consultancies and other private actors will cater students with insights in contemporary practice of planning and design in Sweden and abroad. In studios and on project assignments, students will be working with ongoing city development projects in the Stockholm region, which allow them to apply their knowledge in a sustainable planning and design in a practical setting.

This is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits) given in English. Graduates are awarded the degree of Master of Science. The programme is given mainly at KTH Campus in Stockholm by the School of Architecture and Built Environment (at KTH).

Topics covered

Urban planning, social sustainability, regional development, public space, urban form, green cities, community participation, sustainable transport, urbanism, resilience.

Courses in the programme


The programme prepares students as professionals in a growing and meaningful field, building a thorough understanding of planning and design process as well as aesthetic, social, environmental, economic and institutional factors that contribute to sustainable urban development. Graduates from this programme work with urban and regional planning, environmental planning and urban design in public organisations, private companies, research institutes and NGOs. Examples of public organisations are municipalities who are responsible for urban planning and development, regional development authorities, environmental protection authorities and national transport administrations which together employ close to half of the graduates. The private sector, which includes both architectural, planning and policy consultancy firms as well as project developers, also employ close to half of the graduates. The remaining 5–10 percent go on to doctoral studies at KTH and abroad or work in NGOs.

After graduation

City architect, urban planner, project leader, sustainability consultant, architect, traffic planner, urban designer, environmental planner.



Find out what students from the programme think about their time at KTH.

"Stockholm at large is a great place to live if you want access to an urban lifestyle and plenty of greenery. While no Swede is the same, I know plenty to say that they are lovable. And they say that people make places, so I have to say Stockholm is lovable too."

Nicholas Smart, USA

Meet the students

Sustainable development

Graduates from KTH have the knowledge and tools for moving society in a more sustainable direction, as sustainable development is an integral part of all programmes. The three key sustainable development goals addressed by the master's programme in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design are:

10 Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
15. Life on Land

Equity and equality are core qualities of sustainable societies, involving for example equal access to housing, public services and transport systems. The causes and consequences of inequality are analysed in courses such as Introduction to Urban Economics and Planning Theory and Urban Governance, and students will learn to address equality issues in urban planning and design in project courses.

Cities and communities are the object of study in the programme, with sustainability as the goal. Throughout the programme students will be introduced to different tools, methods and concepts that will enable them to address sustainability issues in local contexts and to develop strategies and solutions that contribute to sustainable cities and communities.

In order to minimise the environmental impact of urban development, innovative solutions are required. Through exercises and lectures, students will be encouraged to incorporate new technologies, sustainable materials and green solutions, as well strategies that reduce the need for urban expansion in their proposals to enhance ecosystem services and a sustainable management of natural resources.

Webinar on sustainable development

Watch a recording of the webinar offered by the School of Architecture and the Built Environment in November 2019. The webinar focused on the schools' master’s programmes and how they relate to sustainable development.

Faculty and research

The programme spans disciplines within an increasingly important field within the KTH School of Architecture and the Built Environment. The School provides a multi-disciplinary research and teaching environment which in the latest QS world university rankings by subject is ranked 23 within Architecture/Built Environment. The programme benefits from interdepartmental expertise in engineering, architecture, natural and social science at the Department for Environment and Planning, the School of Architecture, and the Department for Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Technology.

Faculty and research

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