Architecture and urban design, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

The field of Architecture and urban design is closely linked to some of today’s most pressing societal, environmental and cultural challenges. It encompasses a wide range of capabilities, from design and technology to critical thinking.Sign up for information

Architecture and urban de​sign master's​ programme at Chalmers

The master’s programme in Architecture and urban design provides the skills and knowledge needed to practice architecture, engineering and urban design professionally. The programme emphasises a research-oriented approach in order to anticipate future challenges for architects and urban designers. Its profile is design-led and practical, as well as academic and theoretical.

A majority of the coursework is project-based and it takes place in design studios led by experienced architects and researchers. These studios function as lab environments that target current specializations within the field. Studios are supplemented with course modules that focus on history and theory, design and technology, as well as leadership and professional practice.

The Department of Architecture at Chalmers University of Technology houses an excellent infrastructure in the form of studio spaces, an architecture library, model workshops and digital fabrication, a robot lab and several research groups and centres. A national and international network is provided through collaborations and partnerships with external practitioners, researchers, stakeholders and industry.

urban design planning masters


Professional qualification

There are some qualifications that lead to a specific profession, for example, architecture and engineering. In many cases, you must have completed a specific programme (five years at Chalmers) in order to be licensed to work in your profession. These qualifications are called professional qualifications. The professional degree Master of Architecture/Arkitektexamen, 300 credits, is awarded to students completing the five-year programme at Chalmers. In exceptional cases, a student with a Bachelor degree from another university may be eligible for a professional degree after a thorough assessment of his/her academic merits. Recognition of a Bachelor degree and different courses from another educational provider which corresponds to our bachelor programme can be used as part of a Chalmers degree.

Research facilities

Studio spaces - all students have personal desks and storage areas in studio spaces with 24/7 access. Studio spaces are equipped with workstations, printers and large scale plotters, as well as Wi-Fi.

Architecture Library - has an extensive collection of printed volumes, journals and magazines within the fields of architecture and urban design.

CAD-lab - houses workstations with software for CAD-drawing, 3D-modelling, desktop publishing, video editing, and GIS.

A-workshop - is a fully equipped architecture workshop with wood, plastics and metalworking equipment. It also contains a number of computer-controlled (CNC) machines for model building and rapid prototyping, including Laser cutter, 3D-printers (2), CNC Mill and CNC Foam cutter.

Robot lab - is a research facility that investigates robotic technology in architectural design. Equipment includes three robotic arms.

Centre for healthcare architecture - conducts research and graduate studies and encourage education and training within the field of physical environments for care.

Centre for housing - is a national platform for the transfer of knowledge, debate, development and research in the field of residential housing.

Mistra Urban Futures - is a centre for sustainable urban development with the ambition to become a world leader in the field in the near future.

The Spatial Morphology Group - is engaged in urban research within the fields of urban morphology, space syntax and design theory.

Topics covered

The subjects of applied architecture development, urban architectures and design project are fundamental areas in the Architecture and urban design master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as sustainable development, healthcare architecture, urban space design, and construction.​

Master's programme structure

The Architecture and urban design master's programme runs for a duration of two years, leading to a Master of Science (MSc) degree​. During each year, students can earn 60 credits (ECTS) and complete the programme by accumulating a total of 120 credits. Credits are earned by completing courses where each course is usually between 15 and 22.5 credits. Some courses can also be worth 7.5 credits. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses and elective courses. 

Curriculum Architecture and urban design, MSc

The curriculum consists of design studios, courses and a master's thesis project. Current design studios focus on topics such as advanced design of specific typologies, including healthcare architecture and housing buildings; the relationship between design, materials, manufacture, environment and context, including emerging technologies; as well as urban design and morphology, including the relationship between architecture and the city. 

Courses provide expertise in sustainable building and planning; in digital design and prototyping; in the history and theory of architecture; as well as in leadership and professional practice. Both studios and courses have an international profile and benefit from guest lectures, workshops and reviews with practicing architects.

The curriculum culminates in a semester long master's thesis project where students individually formulate a design project in relation to design and research expertise within the department. Almost all courses are electives, giving students the opportunity to construct their own programme of study and profile within the area.

Compulsory courses year 1

During the first year the programme starts with one compulsory course that form a common foundation in Architecture and urban design. 

  • Sustainable development and the design profession

Compulsory courses year 2

In the second year you must complete a master's thesis in order to graduate. The thesis may be worth 30 credits or 60 credits depending on your choice.

  • ​Master’s thesis 

Compulsory elective courses

Through compulsory elective courses, you can then specialize in various subjects. ​​During year 1 and 2,  you need to select at least some of the following compulsory elective courses in order to graduate.

  • Future visions for healthcare, housing, and work: Residential healthcare
  • Future visions for healthcare, housing, and work: Housing inventions
  • Matter, space, structure 1
  • Matter, space, structure 2
  • Architecture and urban space design
  • Spatial morphology
  • Material and detail​​
  • Future visions for healthcare, housing, and work: Healthcare architecture
  • Matter, space, structure 3
  • Architecture and urban space design
  • Material and detail​

Elective courses

You will also be able to select courses outside of your programme plan. These are called elective courses. You can choose from a wide range of elective courses.

Programme plan, syllabus, course description and learning outcomes


A master’s degree in architecture and urban design offers a wide range of career opportunities, from practice to research. Graduates work in architecture and urban design offices, city planning offices, and governmental bodies. The field of work is highly international and graduates often find employment in leading offices in Sweden as well as abroad. 

Research within Architecture and urban design

A master’s degree in Architecture and urban design is an excellent foundation for Ph.D. studies at Chalmers and worldwide. An increasing number of students pursue this option.

Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering


Student interview

"The cooperation with the industry is amazing"

Mohsen, Iran, Architecture and urban design 

Why did you choose this programme?
– My bachelor is in Architectural engineering, so I am more of a cross-disciplinarity person, and I wanted to focus more on a specific topic in my master’s degree. After researching for a while, I realized that I prefer to focus more on architecture in the urban context. Also, I wanted to have the freedom to choose from a wide range of topics in my master studies, so I can shape my own programme. Architecture and urban design at Chalmers University, have both these features. We can choose from 4-6 different studios each semester and each of these studios focus on a specific field. The programme is also highly ranked in the world and the cooperation between the department and construction industry is amazing.

What have you been working on?
– During the first three weeks, there was an introduction course about sustainability in design professions and we were introduced to current challenges and visions related to sustainability. There were numerous interesting lectures from experts in this field which helped us to get an idea about the current trends and solutions in topics related to this course.  After that, we started to choose our preferred studios. I chose Material and Detail and we started to work with some specific software like Rhino and Grasshopper in order to develop our skills to an intermediate level. Then we were divided into different groups and started to work on different scales of models by using 3D- Printers, Mass Timber structures, and robot arms. Currently, we are working in a team of five people on a small project for an internal competition that is about designing a modular house and a pavilion.

What do you like the most about your programme?
– The facilities that we have access to at Chalmers, and the relaxed environment of the programme is the most fascinating thing to me. Previously, I was always suffering from stressful conditions caused by unrealistic deadlines and excessive amounts of workload.. But at Chalmers, you usually end up having just three courses each semester and you have enough time to go deeply through the topics. At the same time, the projects usually have a real customer, so you do not feel that your designs will be about an imaginary project. Also, I should mention that the program is very diverse, we have people from different nationalities, and they all bring different perspectives to the table. For me, being in a team with someone else from Mexico, Switzerland, and China is an unprecedented experience. 

What do you want to do in the future?
– I would like to start working in a big company after my studies to implement my knowledge in a practical situation, and I am sure that Chalmers with its reputation in my field, facilities that process for me. After a few years of working in the profession, I will probably continue my education with a PhD and learn how to research in design-related fields. 

​St​udent Blogs​

Page manager Published: Tue 18 Jan 2022.