Master in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design


Program Description

The master’s program in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design focuses on the interrelationship between the built environment and social, economic and institutional forces. The program 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.

Sustainable Urban Planning and Design at KTH

The program 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 a deep understanding of planning and design practice.

The program offers three specializations 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 program, students interact across the specializations 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 specializations 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 that aims to develop students’ research skills within the scope of the program.

The third term deepens the students’ specialization by integrating accumulated knowledge into applied project work. Projects are supported by a number of core courses highlighting conceptual and analytical approaches. The program 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 program, invited lecturers from local/regional authorities, consultancies and other private actors will cater to students with insights in the 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 allows them to apply their knowledge in sustainable planning and design in a practical setting.

This is a two-year program (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).


The program prepares students as professionals in a growing and meaningful field, building a thorough understanding of the planning and design process as well as aesthetic, social, environmental, economic and institutional factors that contribute to sustainable urban development. Graduates from this program work with urban and regional planning, environmental planning and urban design in public organizations, private companies, research institutes, and NGOs. Examples of public organizations 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.


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

Nicholas Smart, USA: "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."

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 programs. The three key sustainable development goals addressed by the master's program in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design are:

  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 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 analyzed 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 objects of study in the program, with sustainability as the goal. Throughout the program, 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 minimize 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 as strategies that reduce the need for urban expansion in their proposals to enhance ecosystem services and sustainable management of natural resources.


The two-year master's program in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design consists of three terms of courses and one final term dedicated to the master's degree project. Each term consists of approximately 30 ECTS credits. Offered courses can be combined to pursue one of the three study profiles or an individual study plan. The courses presented on this page apply to studies starting in autumn 2020.

Year 1

Mandatory courses

  • Theory of Science and Research Methodology for Planning and Design (AG2126) 7.5 credits
  • Sustainable Planning and Design (AG2805) 15.0 credits

Conditionally elective courses

  • Sustainable Urban Planning and Design Studio 1.2- Situations (AD2862) 15.0 credits
  • Introduction to Urban Economics (AD2865) 7.5 credits
  • Sustainable Urban Planning and Design Studio 1.1- Textures (AD2867) 15.0 credits
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (AE2507) 7.5 credits
  • City Networks in Regional Contexts (AG2116) 7.5 credits
  • Planning Theory and Urban Governance (AG2127) 7.5 credits
  • Urban Development and Planning (AG2128) 7.5 credits
  • Futures Studies and Forecasts (AG2171) 7.5 credits
  • Transport, Communication and Sustainable Development (AG2804) 7.5 credits
  • Environmental Aspects of the Built Environment (AG2806) 7.5 credits

Year 2

Conditionally elective courses

  • Sustainable Urban Planning and Design Studio 2.1- Urban Ecologies (AD2863) 22.5 credits
  • Degree Project in Urban Planning and Design, Second Cycle (AD2EXU) 30.0 credits
  • Project Sustainable Urban Planning - Strategies for Urban and Regional Development (AG2129) 15.0 credits
  • Degree Project in Urban and Regional Planning, Second Cycle (AG212X) 30.0 credits
  • Applied Urban and Regional Analysis (AG2130) 7.5 credits
  • Contemporary Urban Theory, Advanced Course (AG2134) 7.5 credits
  • Ecosystem Support and Environmental Justice (AG2803) 7.5 credits
  • Project Sustainable Urban Planning - Assessments, Plans and Processes (AG2809) 15.0 credits
  • Degree Project in Strategies for Sustainable Development, Second Cycle (AL250X) 30.0 credits
  • Resilience Thinking in Sustainable Planning (AL2511) 7.5 credits

Admission requirements

To be eligible for the program, you must have been awarded a bachelor's degree, be proficient in English and meet the program-specific requirements.

Bachelor's degree

A bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish bachelor's degree, or equivalent academic qualifications from an internationally recognized university, is required. Students who are following longer technical programs, and have completed courses equivalent to a bachelor's degree, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

English proficiency

English language proficiency equivalent to (the Swedish upper secondary school) English course B/6 is required. The requirement can be satisfied through a result equal to, or higher than, those stated in the following internationally recognized English tests:

  • TOEFL Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1-6) in written test, a total score of 575.
    TOEFL ITP is not accepted.
  • TOEFL iBT internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0-30) in written test, a total score of 90
  • IELTS Academic: A minimum overall mark of 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5
  • Cambridge ESOL: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Certificate in Advanced English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (Certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): Minimum score of 90
  • The University of Michigan, ECPE (Examination for the Certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • Pearson PTE Academic: Score of 62 (writing 61)

Specific requirements for the master's program in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design

A bachelor’s degree, corresponding to at least 180 ECTS credits, in architecture or landscape architecture, physical planning, civil engineering in the built environment, energy and environment or equivalent, urban and regional planning, social or natural sciences relevant to the scope of the program. Previous studies should include at least 30 ECTS credits in the field of urban design, urban transport or regional planning, national/ regional economy or environmental sciences.

Application documents

  1. Certificates and diplomas from previous university studies
  2. Transcript of completed courses and grades included in your degree
  3. Proof of English proficiency
  4. A copy of your passport including personal data and photograph, or other identification documents

Specific documents for the master's program in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Motivation letter
  • Portfolio (for students with a degree in architecture, landscape architecture and physical planning). The portfolio should contain three to five projects showing design processes from research/ fieldwork/ analysis to the conclusion; an interest in sustainability questions; an engagement with architecture + urbanism; personality, curiosity, motivation; design- and representation skills. The student should certify that the portfolio only contains own work or contributions to group work.
Last updated Apr 2020

About the School

KTH Royal Institute of Technology has served as one of Europe’s key centres of innovation and intellectual talent for almost two hundred years. Recognized as Sweden’s most prestigious technical univer ... Read More

KTH Royal Institute of Technology has served as one of Europe’s key centres of innovation and intellectual talent for almost two hundred years. Recognized as Sweden’s most prestigious technical university, KTH is also the country’s oldest and largest. With over 12,000 students and an international reputation for excellence, the university continues to nurture the world’s brightest minds, helping to shape the future. Read less