The UN estimates that by 2050, 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas; an extra 2.5 billion people on today’s number. This rapid urbanisation is occurring at a time of global targets for reduced emissions. Cities are also estimated to be responsible for 80% of CO2 emissions. The challenge for today’s governments, urban planners, technical specialists and architects then, is how to support the sustainable development of our cities that reduce emissions and maximise efficiency whilst providing the basis for a culturally rich and exciting space to live.

Our MSc Technology in Sustainable Cities offers a multidisciplinary approach to planning sustainable urban solutions, developing computing expertise with urban planning technologies to prepare students for exciting careers applying technologies to more sustainable urban living.

Key facts

  • You will work in QGIS or a similar cross-platform to view, edit and analyse spatial data and will be introduced to C++ or Python to create plugins
  • You will develop a career plan and reflective log considering how your learning from the programme can accelerate the achievement of this plan
  • Design an IoT solution for a sustainable smart city as part of your assessment
  • This programme has been designed to meet the accreditation criteria of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of meeting the academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional
  • Upon completion of your programme, you will be eligible for the QA Professional Pathways programmes which will enable you to further develop your skills with one of the UK’s largest providers of IT and project management training
  • The Advanced Practice includes an Internship or Group Consultancy Project, enhancing your employability with all-important work experience

What will I study?

This MSc will explore the potential of technological solutions to some of the most pressing challenges faced by cities today. You will learn how big data technologies enable new opportunities for resource efficiencies, how IoT applications are empowering communities and the urban planning technologies (GIS, spatial data, building information modelling) available in designing sustainable cities.

You will be exposed to theories and principles relating to the design, development and testing of applications used in smart cities. This includes the use of different methods and tools to collect, represent, manipulate and manage spatial data using Geographical Information Systems.

The programme introduces IoT infrastructure principles, and as part of your assessment, you will design an IoT solution for sustainable smart cities. You will also explore the value of blockchain to sustainable cities, using the Ethereum platform, you will develop practical skills through the programming of smart contracts in Solidity.

This programme is part of our computing framework which develops the essential skills required to develop you as a digital leader, building your knowledge of information governance, cyber security and research methods, as well as skills in communications, problem solving and commercial reasoning.

How will I be taught and assessed?

  • Teaching is delivered through lectures, workshops and tutorials totalling between 10-13 hours per week
  • You’re expected to engage in independent study, around 30-32 hours per week
  • Assessment includes coursework, critical report writing, practical exercises, individual, group and research project work
  • Taught by experienced lecturers and academics who use their industry experience to demonstrate how theories translate into real-life situations.
  • Technology-enhanced learning is embedded throughout the course to guide your preparation for seminars and independent research
  • Benefit from weekly academic support sessions designed to build your ability and confidence as an academic learner
  • You will be assigned a guidance tutor at induction who you will meet with regularly during your studies

Careers and further study

This Masters programme prepares you for a range of careers in the field of urban planning for smart cities, including management and leadership in computing. Possible career routes available include:

  • Urban planning in local and national government
  • Government roles responsible for sustainability
  • Technology and software development companies involved in smart city applications
  • Consultancy firms

Typical job roles include:

  • Sustainable City Designer
  • Smart City Planner and Data Scientist
  • IoT Infrastructure Designer
  • Machine Learning Scientist
  • Data Scientist
  • Geospatial and Mapping Scientist
  • Urban Informatics Analyst
  • Blockchain Architect/Developer

Furthermore, this programme will prepare you to meet the educational requirements of the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT for the purposes of meeting the further learning academic requirement for registration as a Chartered IT Professional.

Advanced Practice stage

The Advanced Practice version of this course offers you a valuable opportunity to secure a work placement, complete a group consultancy based project on a real organisational issue or work with a research team on a research project. Successful completion of this Advance Practice stage will provide you with experience of the workplace environment or live computing issues and an excellent way to put your learning into practice.

This stage of the programme will take place between your second and final semester and is a semester-long (15 weeks) in duration. Internships as part of the Advanced Practice stage may be paid or unpaid. The alternative research module allows you to work with an academic or applied research team within the university on a range of research topics.  Whether you choose the Internship, Group Consultancy Project or the Research Project, you will successfully develop your business or research skills and further enhance your employability.

Upon successfully completing your course, you may undertake further professional development and training through Professional Pathways programmes. These are offered to our graduates for free, from our partner, QA. Find out more information on Professional Pathways and your eligibility.

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  • 1 year MSc
  • Advanced Practice

Academic requirements

  • Minimum 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent in any subject

English language requirements

  • IELTS 6.5, with no single element below 5.5, or equivalent.

If you don’t meet the academic requirements

Applicants who are not graduates and do not hold professional qualifications of equivalent standing can also be considered for entry if they show evidence of strong motivation and capability for academic study and personal development (e.g. evidence of attendance at short courses) and/or suitable experience of working in areas which involve a significant amount of Information Technology.

Please note that if your qualifications are not in English, we might need certified translations in order to proceed with your application.

Masters Foundation programme

Alternatively, you may also be eligible for one of our Pre-Masters courses. These are pathway programmes designed specifically for students who require additional support to meet the entry requirements of their chosen Masters degree.

Pre-Sessional English and Study Skills

If you have IELTS 5.5 – 6.0, you may be eligible to join our Pre-Sessional English before starting this programme. This programme will help you develop language skills in a content-based approach to learning involving critical thinking, questioning, discussion, reflection and analysis.

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All modules on this course are core and 20 credits unless otherwise stated.

In this module, you will learn about the information governance and cyber security principles that underpin the management of an organisation’s information assets. You will critically analyse the key concepts, theories, standards and frameworks of information governance and security, including risk management.

It will enable you to evaluate an organisation’s current approach to information governance and cyber security. You will have the expertise to advise on the design and implementation of an appropriate strategy for managing an organisation’s information (ensuring all assets meet legal, regulatory, organisational and/or societal needs for information governance and cybersecurity).

In this module, you will develop new knowledge and skills in leadership in a digital context.

These capabilities are essential for your career development. They enable you to become competent at the visioning, development and deployment of technological strategies and responses to challenges and opportunities in complex operating environments.

This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject-specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject area.

The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes.

You will gain practical skills in analysing source material and using it in seminars and academic writing, whilst advancing your language and communications skills to a higher level.

This module aims to provide you with a critical review of the theory and practice of Geographical Information Systems (GIS), including the use of different methods and tools to collect, represent, manipulate and manage spatial data.

You will work in QGIS or a similar cross-platform to view, edit and analyse spatial data and will be introduced to C++ or Python to create plugins.

The module will further provide opportunities to appreciate the role of ethics, sustainability, privacy and security within the context of the use of GIS and spatial data exploration.

This module is designed to ensure you have the skills and knowledge to complete a postgraduate research project, relevant to Technology for Sustainable Cities and your career or future aspirations. As such, you will work closely with our careers and professional development specialists to consider the future opportunities post completion of your degree.  You will develop a career plan and reflective log considering how your learning from the programme can accelerate the achievement of this plan.

To further prepare you for this final research project, this module will familiarise you with the nature of research and project management and the processes involved. Research approaches and methods will be covered, including literature evaluation and review.

In this module, you will additionally explore and use several tools and techniques that are in use in the field of project management to ensure that projects are completed successfully.

The module aims to provide you with a critical review of the Internet of Things (IoT) for sustainable development as a key requirement of smart city projects. For example, where IoT plays an important role in infrastructure as well as to encourage efficient collaboration between city authorities, residents and urban communities.

This module offers exciting learning opportunities where you will learn IoT challenges facing businesses and how to overcome such challenges with the use of appropriate techniques using research, design, development, plan, policies, cyber security and interpreting associated risks/threats to IoT infrastructures.

As part of your assessment you will analyse, design, develop, and implement a prototype of an IoT smart city solution.

You will learn the application of blockchain technology and how to deal with the challenges faced by smart cities, using a range of methods and tools.

The module introduces you to the importance of blockchain and how it can add value to any sustainable development, underpinning blockchain technical skills, infrastructure and architecture.

You will work on the Ethereum platform and will programme smart contracts in Solidity, gaining practical hands-on experience.

This module aims to enable you to undertake a substantial academic research project at the Masters level and present the results from this work in both written and oral forms. Your project itself will be a piece of independent and original research centred at the forefront of your programme discipline within the wider sphere of the computer science and digital technologies field.

You will experience the full life cycle of a research project- from initial conception and development of a research proposal, through a critical review of the literature, planning, design, implementation and analysis of your main research project, to final evaluation, reflection and dissemination.

You will be expected to consider and address the professional, ethical, legal and social issues related to this academic research project. You will also be expected to apply your expertise, project management and practical skills within your particular domain of computer science and digital technologies and demonstrate critical and innovative thinking and problem-solving within a research environment.

Your research proposal will normally have been produced as part of an earlier module on research and project planning but should be reviewed again at the start of the project phase to ensure it is still valid and appropriate.

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The course information displayed on this page is correct for the academic year 2023/24. We aim to run the course as advertised however, changes may be necessary due to updates to the curriculum (due to academic or industry developments), student demand or UK compliance reasons.

Tuition fees 2024/25

  • UK/Home: £9,960
  • International students: £19,750

Please note that your tuition fees do not include the cost of course books that you may choose to purchase, stationery, printing and photocopying, accommodation, living expenses, travel or any other extracurricular activities. As a Northumbria University London Campus student, you will have full access to our online digital library with over 400,000 e-books and 50,000 electronic journals.

Information for international students

Northumbria University is committed to providing the best possible experience to all our students. To ensure you secure your place with us, we require our international students to pay a deposit towards their fees. More information can be found here.

Your tuition fees cover far more than your time in class with our expert academics, it covers the cost of providing you with excellent services and student experience.

  • Contact time in class – typically in lectures, seminars and tutorials
  • Access to facilities, including computers, on-campus Wi-Fi, printers, vending machines, quiet study spaces
  • The support of our Careers & Employment Service helps you to become more employable, secure placements and run workshops
  • Academic support – our ACE Team run multiple sessions on academic writing, presenting, exam techniques throughout the semester, as well as 1-2-1 appointments and drop-in sessions
  • Student support services such as our Ask4Help Service. Find out more about the services available to you on our Student Support page
  • Access to online resources, including 24/ 7 Library with over 400,000 e-books and 50,000 electronic journals.

Scholarships and bursaries for international students

If you are an international student and choose to study the full-time programme, you will be eligible for either our programme bursary or a country bursary, whichever is greater. High performing students may be eligible for an academic scholarship in addition.

Depending on the country you are from, you may be eligible for one of our country bursaries and/scholarships to help finance your studies.

All of our scholarships and bursaries are automatically applied when we process your application and our team will be able to confirm your eligibility.

London Cost of Living Bursary

Eligible international students will receive an automatic bursary for £1,334, covering one month’s living costs in London*, applied at the Conditional Offer as a fee discount. This bursary is effective for intakes in May 2024, September 2024, January 2025 and May 2025. This offer excludes Pre-sessional English, standalone Graduate Certificate programmes and sponsored applicants.

If you receive this bursary, you may still be eligible for additional bursaries and scholarships, these will be confirmed at the Unconditional Offer stage. Full maintenance costs still need to be evidenced when applying for your visa.

This bursary is only available for international students from specific countries. Please visit our Scholarships page for more information.

*As defined by UKVI

Scholarships and bursaries

Payment plans for self-funded students

If you need to spread the cost of your tuition, you may be eligible for our payment plan.

Payment plans

Government Loan for Masters study

If you are a UK/Home student, you may be eligible for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000+ from the UK Government. Click here to find out more about the loan and whether you are eligible to receive it.

Postgraduate Loan

How to find out more

Enquire now to find out more information about the course, studying with us, the application process, and to ask any other questions you may have.

Enquire now

How to apply

Once you’re ready to apply, you can apply online to study the 1 year MSc Technology for Sustainable Cities. This method allows you to upload your supporting documents at the time of application and automatically receive your student application number.

Apply for September 2024
Apply for September


Please note: For 2025 applications you will be redirected to the Northumbria website to select which intake you would like to apply for.

Apply for 2025
Apply for 1 year MSc


We strongly recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to allow you to complete all of the preparations needed to study your programme. After receiving an offer it can take time to arrange your finances and apply for your visa (if required) and it is important that you arrive in good time to enrol onto your course. Please refer to the Dates and Fees page.

You can check more information on how to apply here, including guidelines for the application forms.

Information For Disabled Applicants

At Northumbria University London we welcome applications from disabled students and are committed to ensuring an equal and accessible application journey. Your application will be considered on an equal basis to all other applications. Please contact us if you require any assistance. This website is continually optimised to adhere to accessibility best practice guidelines; tools to assist users with specific accessibility requirements have also been provided. More information is available in our accessibility statement.


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  • 1 year MSc
  • Advanced Practice

1 year MSc

Level of study:


2024/25 Tuition fee:

UK/Home Fee: £9,960
International Fee: £19,750

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent in any subject

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5, with no single element below 5.5, or equivalent

Mode of study:

Full-time classroom


1 year

Assessment methods:


Scholarship or bursaries:


Student finance:


Payment plan:



January, September

Advanced Practice

Level of study:


2024/25 Tuition fee:

UK/Home Fee: £13,460
International Fee: £22,750

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:2 honours degree, or equivalent in any subject

English language requirements:

IELTS 6.5, with no single element below 5.5, or equivalent

Mode of study:

Advanced practice


16-24 months

Assessment methods:


Scholarship or bursaries:

Not available

Student finance:


Payment plan:




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