Architecture and urban design, MSc

120 credits (2 years)

The fields of architecture and urban design are central to some of the most pressing societal, environmental and cultural challenges currently facing humanity. Graduates in this field need to master a wide range of skills, from design and technology to critical thinking. This master’s programme emphasises a research-oriented approach, anticipating future challenges for architects and urban designers. The profile is both practical and design-led, academic as well as theoretical.
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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 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, applied tools and methods, 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


Topics covered

The subjects of applied architecture development, urban architectures, and design projects are fundamental areas in the Architecture and Urban design master’s programme. The courses included in the programme plan handle topics such as Building Design and Transformation, Advanced Building Programmes, Architectural Experimentation, construction, and Urban Design. All of them are from the perspective of sustainability.

Learning and 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.

Chalmers 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 encourages 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.

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

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. The programme consists of compulsory courses, compulsory elective courses, and elective courses. 

The curriculum consists of design studios, courses, and a master's thesis project. Design studios focus on a diversity of topics in the field of Building Design and Transformation, working on the relationship between design and building technology; Advanced Building Programmes, focusing on specific typologies, including healthcare architecture and housing buildings; Architectural Experimentation, exploring 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; digital design and prototyping; 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 practising 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 semester, the programme starts with compulsory content that forms a common foundation in Architecture and urban design. 

  • Sustainable theory and applied design

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

​​During years 1 and 2,  you need to select among compulsory elective courses in order to graduate. Through these courses, you can specialize in various subjects.  

  • Building design and transformation
  • Advanced building programmes
  • Architectural experimentation 
  • Urban design

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


Students completing the master’s programme are awarded the degree of Master of Science, 120 ECTS credits, with architecture as the main field of study. The master’s programme corresponds to the final two years of the five-year study programme at Chalmers which leads to a professional degree in architecture. The professional degree, Master of Architecture/Arkitektexamen, 300 ECTS credits, can only be awarded to students completing a full five-year study programme in architecture at Chalmers.​​


A master’s degree in architecture and urban design offers a wide range of career opportunities, from practice to research. Most of our courses have a strong connection and collaboration with industry and real projects. 

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 like White arkitekter, Wingårdhs, Semren Månsson, Kaminsky arkitektur, as well as abroad, for instance, MVRDV, BIG, Zaha Hadid, Foster & Partners, Herzog & de Meuron.

Research within Architecture and urban design

Our courses within Architecture and urban design include the participation of faculty linked to Architecture’s research in a diversity of fields like Architecture and computation, Architecture and Engineering, Healthcare Architecture, Housing Architecture, Sustainable Building, and Urban Spatial Morphology. For that reason, 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​
Centre for Healthcare architecture​
Centre for Housing architecture
Centre for Management of the built environment​
Architecture and computation at Chalmers
Architecture and engineering at Chalmers
The spatial morphology group ​


Sustainable development

This master's programme starts with the mandatory course Sustainable development and the design professions, which gives the background and the content of the political and global vision of sustainable development and the different challenges and perspectives involved. The aim is to further present different perspectives on what the vision of sustainable development implies for the planning, design, and management of the built environment and for the students' future professional work. In that sense, the programme is highly interlinked with the achievement of the UN Sustainable development goals (SDGs)​. The table below provides an overview of some examples of the sustainable development goals and the associated targets within the programme.
SDGs for Architecture and urban design at Chalmers

Goal 3: Good health and well-being
Our program focuses on the field of health and well-being in close collaboration with the Centre for Healthcare Architecture (CVA), an academic center that provides training for students at the master’s level with a focus on healthcare architecture and residential healthcare through specific courses and master's thesis.
The students work on the design of healthcare facilities that supports sustainable development from environmental, social, and economic aspects.

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
Architecture and urban design are contributing to the construction and re-construction of societal norms and values. This programme offers courses that help to understand how norms are expressed and reproduced within the field of architecture and urban design, by the analyses of norms, power relations, and power structures, with a focus on how norms contribute to different kinds of discrimination. The course Urban Planning and Design Theory – Dealing with Inequalities explores specific theoretical trajectories dealing with issues such as Equality, Gender, and Democracy in the City

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
The study and development of urban environments is a central topic in our Architecture and urban design programme. In our courses, we use the city of Gothenburg as a field of analysis to understand the urbanization processes that suppose a challenge for our society. At the same time, our city represents an excellent testbed for experimentation in our transition towards Sustainable Urban Environments. Consequently, we work on urban development in a transversal and multidisciplinary way, addressing aspects related to ecology, society, and the right to a fair, inclusive, and healthy environment with implications with the diversity of scales connected to our physical environment.

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 Oct 2022.