Jordan studied his master’s in Urban Design and International Planning after graduating from his undergraduate degree in Geography.
On choosing my course
The University of Manchester is a prestigious institution and the master’s programmes within urban design and planning are well regarded. The course is accredited by the RTPI and provides all the software skills required for employment in an urban design role. The unit choices are varied across a range of topics which allowed me to sculpt a qualification with the skills and techniques I wanted to take into the job market.
I am now employed as an Urban Designer in London for design consultancy, LDA Design, working on a number of high-profile projects and using the skills I learnt from the programme on a daily basis.
On my highlights
The master planning unit was particularly enjoyable for me, it allowed me to apply the skills I had learn in the first semester on some large strategic urban sites whilst also getting hands-on with the practical skills of drawing and modelling.
The key highlight of my programme however was the international urban design unit, which culminated in a study tour of Vienna. The trip covered a range of different themes and it was great to see examples of how solutions to urban problems are approached in a different context.
On my challenges
As I entered the course from a non-design background the software skills were naturally a challenging aspect of the course for me personally. This was a demanding aspect in regards to study time, but many of those enrolled on the programme were in the same position and staff were always on hand to help advise with any technical queries.
On my fieldwork experience
There were several opportunities for fieldwork on the course, both locally for site studies, as well as an international study tour.
The local fieldwork studies and walking tours were a nice way to get out of the lecture room and apply thinking to areas around Manchester, which has seen rapid development in recent years.
On my work placements
Whilst studying I was able to find two short-term placements with local employers which really aided both my knowledge of the field and employability post-graduation. The placements were with local planning and design consultancies Troy Planning and Optimised Environments.
The placements were great for receiving experience of applying knowledge in practice, however, this did have to be carefully balanced to meet the study demands of the course.
On my student experience
The academic demands of the programme are challenging, but the overall programme experience was really rewarding. Manchester is a great city with one of the highest student populations in Europe, the nightlife is vibrant and there is always something exciting happening.
There were several extracurricular activities on-going whilst I was studying, from industry events around the city to external group events like The Urban Design Group or Young urbanists – this was a nice way to socialise and connect away from lectures.
My advice for prospective students
Perseverance, patience & enthusiasm. Even if your academic background prior to enrolling on the course is non-design related, it’s still possible to master the software skills and achieve the highest grades.