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Architecture and Urban Design (MA)

Stadtraumfoto Paris
© Stadtraumfoto, René Wildgrube, m.a.arch.

In the Master's project, the topic of urban architecture is developed over two semesters on the basis of a major European city or region at all levels of scale, from the masterplan to the town house. Complex issues of urban expansion, urban redevelopment and urban densification play an important role here, as do the preservation and further development of listed buildings.

Master of Arts
Full time
Course language:
Standard study period:
2 semesters
Start of study:
Winter semester
Application deadline:
15/05 – 15/06 (restricted admission)
Admission requirements:
First professional university degree
60 ECTS credits
Module Manuals & Regulations

Architecture and Urban Design

The foundations of the Master's degree programme in Architecture and Urban Design lie in the special teaching content and teaching experience of the programme on the subject of urban architecture, based on a critical reflection of the culture of the European city, both in historical-theoretical terms and (and predominantly) in design in all dimensions, from the master plan to the building, including the subject of building in the monumental area. 

Großstadtarchitektur Paris
© Stadtraumfoto, René Wildgrube, m.a.arch.

The two-semester Master's programme in Architecture and Urban Design is aimed at students with a special interest in urban design in connection with complex issues of urban expansion, urban redevelopment and urban densification, as well as the preservation and inclusion of listed buildings in the context of urban redevelopment, with the aim of strategic problem solving involving all scales of urban architecture from the master plan to the town house.

The programme is carried out as a continuous Master's project, each with a topic and a real location, and concludes with the Master's thesis. This Master's project, with up to 25 students, is organised and carried out each academic year by a fixed group of lecturers. Depending on the respective topics, cooperation with other departments and degree programmes at the university is sought. 

Cooperation with partner universities in Germany and abroad has been practised for years, as has project-related cooperation with external institutions, city administrations and project developers.

Master's topic: Porto – City by the river / The longing for the future 2024/2025


Work show/annual exhibitions

Annual exhibition of the CITY |  BUILDING | CULTURE department at the end of each summer semester as an independent format.


At the start of each new semester, exemplary design projects from the previous semester are presented in short lectures by the students.

Master High Gloss

University prize for the best master's thesis of the previous year at the beginning of the winter semester. Judging and awarding of the prize by an external jury.

Is this degree programme right for me?

The master of architecture and urban design is about strategies for planning and design in conflict situations, which can be of urban planning, architectural, social, economic dimension. You will be enabled to recognise conflict potential in urban situations on a small or large, national or international scale, in the context of urban redevelopment, urban densification and urban expansion, to analyse them, to bring them into a historical and theoretical context and to develop design solution strategies from them. In the sense of our architectural training, solution strategies mean the development of urban structure and master plans and the design of urban house types (in volume, ground plan and façade), under the overarching aspect of urban space formation as well as the inclusion of architectural monuments.

The course gives you room for individual interpretation of the design task and for finding system solutions. In the group, you will develop your own forms of communication and take responsibility for your own projects.

You bring these qualities with you

  • Enthusiasm for european metropolitan architecture
  • Design creativity
  • spatial imagination
  • basic technical understanding
  • Interest in urban development processes
  • Ability to work in a team

Podcast of the Campus Specialists

As campus specialists, Mara and Nicole share insider knowledge about the architecture and urban planning degree programme. In the podcast, they explain the special features of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and everything about the application and aptitude test.

To the podcast

Online info day for prospective students on the 10th of May, 2024

Would you like to get to know the course content better? Come to the info day of the master's degree programme in architecture and urban design.

Info day 2024


The colleagues at the student counselling service provide information to prospective students, first-year students, parents, teachers and students on all general questions about the degree programme. If you have specific questions or concerns about the master's degree programme in architecture and urban design, please contact the subject counselling service.

Subject Counselling Service

Career Prospects

Career prospects

The job description of architects and urban planners is varied. The work is usually project-based and carried out in a team. Depending on the professional orientation of the employer, the planning and construction of buildings and structures is fully supervised or only individual tasks are taken on. This can be on a design level as well as on a functional, technical or economic level. Precisely because of the various fields of activity within architecture and urban planning, graduates have many opportunities for professional development and reorientation within architecture. The master's degree is internationally recognised and qualifies for admission as a self-employed architect worldwide.

Possible areas of application

The classic field of work of architects lies in the planning of buildings and structures - from the design to the realisation of the building project. Here, architects take on the creative development of building objects as well as the supervision of the implementation of building plans. The management of properties can also be part of this. Typical employers - whether freelance or permanent - for architects in the field of planning and design are:

  • Architectural firms
  • Planning offices
  • Urban planning
  • (Interior) architecture firms
  • Real estate industry
  • Municipality

Teaching, science and research

The master's programme in architecture and urban design provides a good foundation for a career in academia in teaching, science or research.

Study Content

Course of studies

The standard period of study for the full-time degree programme in architecture and urban design is two semesters and concludes with a master of arts degree. The study plan gives you a detailed overview.

Semester 1

Design, urban planning, construction, technology, natural science, law, history, theory, general cultural foundations, elective module Semester 2 Design, urban planning, construction, history, theory, general cultural foundations, elective module, Master's thesis

In the initially joint master's studio, led by all design professors, the student's different initial competences are raised to a comparable level within the framework of the one-semester analysis phase.

During a one-week autumn excursion at the beginning of the master's programme, students acquire the competence to expand the knowledge of the city or region previously acquired in a workshop through research and investigation on site. For this purpose, all participants analyse the respective European city or region under aspects of its history, morphology and architectural-urban specifics, record these in drawings and texts and document their results in an excursion reader/city guide.

Based on this research, a comprehensive overview of relevant topics, specifics and localities is created in the joint studio at the end of the 1st master's semester, which is compiled into a typological city atlas. This forms the professional basis for formulating the students' individual theses at the end of the semester as a working hypothesis.

The tradition of the European city in its different cultural and regional manifestations forms the basis for independent analysis and research and thus for the individual design.

Intermediate critique (mid-term) with all participating professors

Final critique with several professors / with guests

Grade conference among all participating professors

With the research and hypothesis completed, the design work begins in the second master's semester in individual master's studios, which is gradually concretised and methodically refined. Here, too, the combination of a common location and a self-selected design topic applies, creating discourse and synergies within the master's group, but at the same time each master's thesis is independent in itself. The joint final presentation across all groups, usually with guests from the cities covered, forms the conclusion of the Master's thesis.

The lecture series "History of the European City" (all professors in the master's programme) provides a broad overview of selected examples of european urban developments, master planning and transformations.
The project is organised in studios so that the two semesters build on each other. The Master's project is carried out in cooperation with international universities.

Intermediate critique (mid-term) with all professors involved

Final critique with several professors / with guests

Grade conference among all professors involved


Professor: Kleihues

For external students admitted to the next master's project, a special pre-master's draft is offered by a professor in the 7th semester B. A.

Intermediate critique (mid-term) with several professors / with guests.

Final critique with several professors / with guests

Study Content

In the currently valid module handbooks, study and examination regulations and statutes of the degree programme architecture and urban design you will find the module overview, a detailed description of the modules and study contents, the study plan as well as the statutes for the implementation of the selection procedure for the master's degree programme architecture and urban design.

Teaching formats

In the master of architecture and urban design, the main focus is on professional exchange. Most events are organised as seminars in small groups of up to 15 students. Joint excursions and the lecture series "Master Lectures" round off the knowledge-based programme. In addition, students are given the opportunity to present their own work to an expert audience – be it at exhibitions or even symposia.

  • Work in small groups of up to 15 students
  • Excursions
  • Lecture series "Master Lectures"
  • Master Colloquium
  • Presentation of their own work to a professional audience (exhibitions, symposia)


  • Design, urban planning, construction
  • Technology, Natural Sciences, Law
  • History and theory
  • General cultural basics
  • (Interdisciplinary) elective modules

Master's colloquium

The master's colloquium is held as a kick-off event for the master's programme to introduce the task. A second master's colloquium is held at the end of the first semester and serves to discuss different or alternative design concepts and system solutions.

Social change and sustainability

In order to respond to the demands of the times (climate change, new lifestyles and forms of work, etc.), the following topics are integrated into the design teaching:

  • Social transformation processes

  • Changes in working worlds

  • Traffic change and mobility, urban redevelopment, shifting hierarchies

  • City of short distances (the 15-minute city)

  • Sustainability in urban development and architecture, the art of solid building, urban density as part of sustainability, sustainability not as aesthetics or architectural appearance or ideology, but as invisible and self-evident implementation.

  • Urban green (the park, the boulevard, the allée, courtyard and garden, etc.)

  • Water in the city, urban cooling

  • Berlin Brandenburg metropolitan region as a reference to place (the city, the medium-sized centre, the small town, the village, etc.)

  • Strong focus on a sensible reduced selection of building materials (e.g. no ETICS) and stronger craftsmanship in building production

  • Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region as a local reference for the study programme


An essential aspect of the design work on the house and in the urban space is the integration of interdisciplinarity, i.e. the teaching areas of design, garden and landscape architecture and technology (structural framework, building physics and building materials) in the design teaching and in the project work in the sense of a dialogue process between these disciplines. As a complementary element, theory supplements the design examination of architectural themes and theories from history and the present.

PSA Lectures: Large/City/Europe, "ImPulse

In the Wednesday lectures, at 6 pm, guest lectures "ImPulse" are organised each semester in winter and summer, offering all students + teachers the opportunity to discuss with the speakers.
The lectures relate to the overall theme of Large/City/Europe.

Karte von Triest 1756

Master theme 2023/2024

Trieste: Port of Cultures

In 2023/2024, the master's course in architecture and urban design is dedicated to the overarching theme of the "European City". The goal of the one-year master's course is traditionally the development of sustainable strategies for the preservation and further development of major European cities. The master's thesis starts in the winter semester with an intensive analytical phase (type, historical and morphological knowledge of the city, documentation of the relationship between city and architecture). Building on this, the individual design project follows in the summer semester at a location chosen by the students on a topic of their own choice. The field of tension between architecture and the city as well as between the municipality and the metropolis represent fundamental challenges for the design.

Further information on the 2023/2024 master theme


If one sees the bachelor's programme at the course as a kind of "school of urban architecture" in the rather traditional context of the European city, the master's programme represents a significantly different dimension, both in terms of the complexity of the projects and their architectural-theoretical dimension. This already results from the fact that the really pressing potentials for conflict or crisis in the coming years lie not only in the area of inner urban redevelopment, but complementarily also in the peripheral areas of cities that were planned according to the principles of post-war modernism.

The didactic concept provides for the following steps:

  1. Identify and present urban conflict situations in a spatially as well as socially complex environment, in a regional, national or international context (examples: Post-war settlements in the periphery of Naples or large housing estates in Berlin; neglected and dilapidated urban and building fabric in European cities or the conflictual coexistence of changing building systems in the cities of Brandenburg).
  2. Spatial analysis, history of development, social objectives, architectural-theoretical presentation of essential development factors that become visible in the narrower and wider surroundings of the conflict area
  3. Accompanying seminar on architectural theory and building history (archive and - literature work on the state of research / documentation, damage analysis and concepts for measures in the area of monuments) in the 1st semester MA for in-depth study and as a discussion forum on different urban models from history and the present day
  4. Development and definition of design goals and strategies for the respective planning area
  5. Development and discussion of alternative design concepts and strategies.
  6. Design elaboration and presentation.

In summary, it is about recognising and analysing in both a concrete and theoretical sense and about developing strategic thinking in the context of urban development on the basis of complex problems. Furthermore, especially in the 2nd semester, the aim is to enable students to elaborate their concepts sustainably and effectively in all dimensions of presentation and depiction.

Depending on the respective topics, cooperation with other departments and degree programmes at the university is sought. Cooperation with partner universities in Germany and abroad has been practised for years, as has project-related cooperation with external institutions, city administrations or project developers. These external cooperations also serve to acquire third-party funding.

The aim is to continue the project series of the Stadt. Bau. Strategie. project series in the context of internal and external cooperations as well, since it can be assumed that these projects will not only qualify the master's students involved in them, but that the conflict situations worked on are representative of the urban construction problems of our time in numerous places at home and abroad. The project "Stadt.Bau.Strategie" is not only a study model, but a model for action in the context of increasing complexity and growing conflict potentials of the city in Europe. The graduates of the Master's programme actively contribute to the publication and thus present themselves on the labour market, which certainly improves their competences and chances significantly. The booklet series will be continued annually with changing topics, but a uniform format and layout, the general aim being that of a compact and concise presentation in the sense of a sequence of topics and theses that presents the Potsdam School of Architecture to the outside world.

Ein Architektur-Modell auf der Werkschau 2018

In study

On the pages of the CITY | BUILDING | CULTURE department you will find further useful information and documents on the degree programme, for example on the organisation of studies, the course catalogue and timetables. In addition, our lecturers and staff are introduced there.

Further information on the study programme

Application & Contact

Dates & requirements for your application

The most important deadlines, dates and admission requirements for the master's programme in architecture and urban design are compiled here. You can find out which steps you need to take for a successful application in the next section.


  • 10th of May, 2024: Info day for prospective students
  • by 15th of June: Submit online application
  • 21st of June, 2024: Selection interviews

Access requirements

  • First professional university degree (240 ECTS credits, at least 180 ECTS credits) in the subjects architecture or architecture and urban planning

This is how you apply!

In the following, we explain which aspects you should pay attention to from the online application to enrolment (registration).

The application for the winter semester takes place from 15 May to 15 June online in the MyCampus university portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

Documents to be submitted

When applying online, the following documents must be submitted as PDF files in the application portal:

  • University degree certificate or current transcript of records with the ECTS credit points earned to date and the grade earned to date, if the degree programme has not yet been completed.
  • Curriculum vitae in table form
  • Letter of motivation (max. three pages)
  • If applicable, hardship application or application for compensation for disadvantages

Notes on the letter of motivation

The letter of motivation should provide information about your motivation and your identification with the special profile of the degree programme, the chosen degree programme and the intended profession. Your motivation for studying should be differentiated in relation to the urban planning focus of the degree programme and, in particular, to the current year's topic and its place in the context of the "European City", and it should be placed in the context of your career to date and your professional prospects. The year's topic will be published in good time and in an appropriate manner.

The evaluation will be based on the following criteria:

  • comprehensible justification of the motivation to study in the context of previous studies, professional activity as well as professional perspectives
  • Reflection on expectations of the degree programme against the background of the modules and competence goals of the degree programme
  • Formal aspects such as internal structuring of the text, clarity of language, grammar.


After completing your online application in the MyCampus university portal, you will receive a personal checklist with the following information:

  • List of all supporting documents that you have uploaded as PDF files according to your specifications in the online application.
  • Notes on the further course of the procedure

The selection interview consists of the presentation of work samples with at least two projects from the field of design and construction, which should be related to the urban planning focus of the degree programme in the context of the "European City", and a subsequent expert discussion.

Assessment criteria

The submission of work samples will be evaluated in an interview in equal parts according to:

  • urban planning concept
  • architectural quality
  • operational qualities
  • qualities of the constructive structure of the project
  • legibility and information content of the presentation
  • Presentation of the work, handling of queries etc.
  • Preparation of content for the master's topic is desired.
  • Examination result

The decision of the committee on the results of the admission procedure will be communicated to the applicants by the department of student affairs in the MyCampus University Portal (if necessary, the deadline will be extended). Please refrain from enquiring about the evaluation.

Selection procedure

Applicants who fulfil the admission requirements take part in the procedure for awarding places.

In the allocation procedure, the following are deducted in advance from the number of study places to be allocated:

  • all applicants who were unable to accept an earlier admission due to service and all applicants who belong to the national squad of a national sports federation of the German Olympic Sports Confederation
  • 11% for applicants with a foreign university entrance qualification
  • 3% for applicants who are to be considered on the basis of hardship.

The remaining study places are allocated 90 % according to the result of a university selection procedure and 10 % according to waiting time.

The result of the university selection procedure is determined on the basis of the following criteria (weighting in brackets):

  • Grade of the vocationally qualifying university degree (40 %).
  • Letter of motivation (25 %)
  • Selection interview (35 %)

Participants in the university selection procedure will be informed about the procedure by the selection committee by e-mail.


Following the university selection procedure, the award procedure is carried out. Applicants with a correspondingly high ranking will receive a time-limited offer of admission in the MyCampus university portal, which you must actively accept. Once you have accepted the offer of admission, you will find your notification of admission in the MyCampus university portal. If you do not accept the offer of admission by the deadline, the ranking list will continue to be processed and the place will be reallocated.

You have accepted the offer of admission and received your letter of admission? Then you have the option of submitting an enrolment application for the winter semester in the MyCampus university portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

Once you have submitted your online application for enrolment, please submit the printed and signed application together with all required documents (according to the enrolment application) in paper form by the deadline. The day of the enrolment deadline is decisive for the submission of the documents, whereby the date of receipt by post at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam is decisive.

After admission and matriculation, the examination board of the CITY | BUILDING | CULTURE departement decides on the type and extent of additional study and examination achievements to be taken in the case of a degree with less than 240 ECTS credit points.

Do you have questions about the enrolment procedure at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam? We have compiled frequently asked questions and answers about enrolment and admission.

Further information

The following links provide you, and especially international applicants, with further information on the topics of application and enrolment at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

Girlande mit internationalen Flaggen

International applicants

You would like to apply for studies from the first or a higher semester and have acquired your school-leaving qualification and/or university degree abroad? Then you can have degrees and achievements acquired abroad recognised and study with us.

Application information for internationals

Drei Studierende schauen sich Infomaterialien der FH Potsdam an

Application & Enrolment Procedure

The application and study service provides information and advice on general questions regarding the application process, admission and enrolment at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam, application for a higher semester, but also on topics such as compensation for disadvantages, part-time studies, waiting semesters and hardship applications.

Application & Enrolment University of Applied Sciences Potsdam

Contact & Services

The student counselling service provides information and advice on general questions about studying as well as on topics such as choosing a course of study, application, enrolment and study organisation.

For subject-specific questions on module contents, credit transfer, examinations or specialisations in the degree programme Architecture and Urban Planning, the subject counselling service is the right place to go.

Subject Counselling Service

Student Financing

Room 3.02a

Family Affairs Commissioner

Room 026

Office hours

Tue and Thu 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

Commissioner for University Employees with Impairment

Room 201

Office hours

by arrangement

Contact persons department of student affairs