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MA Architecture and Urban Design

Holzmodell einer Stadt aus dem Studiengang Architektur und Städtebau

The two-semester master's program is designed for students with a special interest in urban design. The goal is to find strategic solutions to problems involving all scales of urban architecture from the master plan to the townhouse. Complex issues of urban expansion, urban redevelopment and urban densification play an important role here, as does the preservation and inclusion of architectural monuments in the context of urban redevelopment.

Master of Arts
Full time
Course language:
Standard study period:
2 semesters
Start of study:
Winter semester
Application deadline:
25.05. – 15.06. (NC degree course)
Admission requirements:
First university degree
60 ECTS credits
Module Manuals & Regulations
The Study

City. Construction. Strategy.

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

The two-semester master's program in architecture and urban design is designed for 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 incorporation of architectural monuments in the context of urban redevelopment, with the goal of strategic problem solving involving all scales of urban architecture from master plan to townhouse. The program is conducted as a continuous master's project, each with a theme and a real site, and concludes with the master's thesis. The master project, with up to 25 students, is responsibly organized and carried out by a fixed group of teachers each academic year. Depending on the respective topics, cooperation with other departments and study programs of the university is sought. Cooperation with partner universities in Germany and abroad has been practiced for years, as well as project-related cooperation with external institutions, city administrations or even project developers. 

Master theme 2022/2023: Port cities in Puglia

Is this course of study a good fit for you?

The Master of Architecture and Urban Design is about strategies for planning and design in conflict situations, which can be of urban, architectural, social, economic dimension. You will be enabled to recognize conflict potentials in urban situations on a small or large, national and international scale, in the context of urban redevelopment, urban densification and urban expansion, to analyze them, to put them into a historical and theoretical context and to develop design solution strategies from them. Solution strategies in the sense of our architectural training means the development of urban structure and master plans and the design of urban house types (in volume, ground plan and facade), under the overarching aspect of urban space formation as well as including 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.

Students Podcast

Mara and Nicole share insider knowledge about the course of study architecture and urban planning, explain the special features of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and everything about the application and aptitude test.

Podcast of the Campus Specialists


The colleagues of the student counselling service provide information to prospective students, first-year students, parents, teachers and students on all general questions concerning the study program. For specific questions and concerns about the Architecture and Urban Design program, please contact the student counselling service of the degree course: 

Career Prospects

Career Prospects

The job description of architects and urban planners is varied. The work is mostly project-based and in a team. Depending on the professional orientation of the employer, the planning and construction of buildings and structures is fully supervised or only the assumption of individual areas of responsibility. 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 recognized and qualifies worldwide for admission as a self-employed architect.

Possible areas of application

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

  • Architecture firms
  • Planning offices
  • Town planning
  • (Interior) architecture firms
  • Property management
  • City administration

Teaching, science and research

The Master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design provides a good foundation for a career in academia in teaching, in the scientific or in the research field.

Study contents

Course of studies

The standard duration of study for the full-time program in Architecture and Urban Design is two semesters and concludes with a Master of Arts degree. The Study Plan gives you a detailed overview.

1st  Semester

 Design, urban planning, construction, Engineering, science, law, History, theory, General cultural foundations, Elective module
2. Semester Design, Urban Design, Construction, History, Theory, General Cultural Foundations, Elective Module, Master's Thesis

Study contents

Teaching formats

In the Master of Architecture and Urban Design, the main focus is on professional exchange. Most events are organized as seminars in small groups of up to 15 students. Joint excursions and the lecture series "Master Lectures" round out the knowledge-based offerings. In addition, students are given the opportunity to present their own work to an expert audience - whether at exhibitions or even symposia. 

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

Master Colloquium

The master colloquium takes place as a kick-off event of the master program to introduce the task. A second master colloquium is held at the end of the 1st semester and is used to discuss different, or alternative, design concepts and system solutions.


  • Design, urban planning, construction
  • Engineering, science, law
  • History and theory
  • general cultural foundations
  • (Interdisciplinary) electives


  • Independent preparation of a master's thesis

Master theme 2022/2023

Port cities in Puglia

In 2022/2023, the Master's course in Architecture and Urban Design is dedicated to the overarching theme of "European City". The goal of the one-year Master course is traditionally the development of sustainable strategies for the preservation and further development of major European cities. The Master 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). In the summer semester, this is followed by the individual design project at a location chosen by the students on a topic of their own choice. The tension between architecture and the city as well as between the municipality and the metropolis represent fundamental challenges to the design.

Further information on the 2022/2023 master theme


If one sees the bachelor's program at the course as a kind of "school of urban architecture" in the rather traditional context of the European city, the master's program represents a significantly different dimension, both in terms of the complexity of the projects and their architectural-theoretical dimension. This follows from the very 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 also, complementarily, in the peripheral areas of cities planned according to the principles of post-war modernism.

The didactic concept provides for the following steps:

  1. Recognize and represent 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 juxtaposition of changing development systems of the cities of Brandenburg)
  2. Spatial analysis, development history, social objective, architectural-theoretical presentation of significant development factors that are visible in the narrower and wider environment of the conflict area
  3. Accompanying seminar architectural theory and architectural history (archive and - literature work on the state of research / documentation, damage analysis and measure concepts in the monument area) in the 1st semester MA to deepen and as a discussion forum on different urban models from history and present
  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. Drafting and presentation

In summary, it is about recognizing and analyzing both in the concrete and theoretical sense and developing strategic thinking in the context of urban development based on complex problems. Furthermore, especially in the 2nd semester, the aim is to enable students to elaborate their concepts in all dimensions of presentation and representation in a sustainable and effective way.

Depending on the respective topics, cooperation with other departments and study programs of the university is sought. Cooperation with partner universities in Germany and abroad has been practiced for years, as has project-related cooperation with external institutions, city administrations or project developers. These external cooperations also serve the acquisition of third-party funds.

The goal is to continue the project series of the Stadt. Bau. Strategie. also to be published in the context of internal and external collaborations in a booklet series, 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 program actively contribute to the publication and thus present themselves on the job market, which certainly improves their skills and opportunities significantly. The booklet series will be continued annually with changing topics, but uniform format and layout, the general goal 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.

During studies

On the pages of the CITY | BUILDING | CULTURE Department you will find further useful information and documents about the study program bundled together, for example on the study organization, the course catalog and class schedules. In addition, our teaching and staff are presented there.

More information about the study

Application & Enrollment

Application & Enrollment

For the degree course Architecture and Urban Design (M. A.) the application is always possible from 25.05. to 15.06. to the next winter semester. Applications to a higher semester are possible until 15.07.

Admission requirements for the master's degree program in architecture and urban design are a first university degree qualifying for a profession with a total of 240 ECTS credits or at least 180 ECTS credits in the subjects of architecture or architecture and urban planning. If you meet the admission requirements, you can apply via the MyCampus university portal. For this purpose, please note the following, program-specific information:


Application is done online in the MyCampus university portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. Please note the application deadline.
In addition to the online application, the following documents must be submitted in paper form:

  • University degree certificate or current performance overview with the ECTS credit points earned to date and the grade earned to date, if the degree has not yet been completed
  • Curriculum vitae in tabular form
  • Letter of motivation of max. three pages (The letter of motivation should provide information about your motivation and about the identification with the chosen studies and the intended profession. In particular, the motivation to study should be presented in a differentiated manner with regard to the study focus "European City" and especially to the respective year's topic, and it should be classified in the previous career and in the professional perspectives. The year theme will be published in due time and in an appropriate manner).
  • if necessary, hardship application or application for disadvantage compensation

For submission, please use the supplementary sheet "application documents to be submitted" on the last or penultimate page of your personal checklist, which is available at the end of the online application in the MyCampus university portal. This lists all the supporting documents that you must submit in paper form based on the information you provided in the online application. In addition, the checklist contains information on the rest of the procedure. The day of the application deadline (receipt of mail at University of Applied Sciences Potsdam) applies for the submission of the documents.

Letter of motivation

The letter of motivation should provide information about your motivation and about your identification with the particular profile of the course of study, the chosen course of study and the intended profession provide. In doing so, your motivation for studying should be explained in relation to the urban planning focus of the course of study and in particular to the respective current year topic and its place in the context of the "European city", and to place it in the course of studies to date as well as in the professional perspectives. The letter of motivation comprises a maximum of three pages.

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 career prospects
  • Reflection of the expectations of the study program against the background of the modules and competence goals of the study program
  • Formal aspects such as internal structuring of the text, clarity of language, grammar

Selection interview

The selection interview consists of the presentation of work samples with at least two projects from the field of design and construction, where a reference to the urban focus of the study program in the context of "European City" should be given, and a subsequent expert discussion.

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

  • Town planning concept
  • Architectural quality
  • Operational qualities
  • Qualities of the constructive structure of the project
  • Readability and information content of the presentation
  • Presentation of the work, handling of queries, etc.
  • Preparation of the content of the master's topic is desired
  • Exam result

The decision of the commission on the results of the admission procedure will be communicated to the applicants in writing by the study deartment no later than 01.09. of the year (if necessary, extension of the deadline). We ask to refrain from queries about the evaluation.

Selection procedure

Applicants who meet the admission requirements take part in the procedure for the allocation of study places. 

In the allocation procedure, the number of study places to be allocated is subtracted in advance:

  • All applicants who could not accept an earlier admission due to service and all applicants* with a membership in 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 have been admitted to hardship considerations to be taken into account

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 professionally qualifying university degree (40 %)
  • Letter of motivation (25 %)
  • Selection interview (35 %)

The participants in the university selection process will be informed by the selection committee via e-mail about the procedure.


Following the university selection process, the awarding process 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. After accepting the offer of admission, you will find your admission letter 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 study place will be reallocated.


The enrollment application is submitted online at MyCampus-University Portal of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and must then be submitted in paper form together with the supporting documents listed in the application. The date of the enrollment deadline (receipt of mail at the university) applies to the submission of the documents.
After admission and matriculation, the examination board of the CITY | BUILDING | CULTURE Department decides on the type and scope of additional study and examination achievements to be taken in the case of a degree with less than 240 ECTS credit points.

General information on application and enrollment procedures

There are various application procedures at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam. General information on application and enrollment procedures as well as information on part-time studies, guest auditorships, and second degree studies can be found on the general application pages.

More information about the application

International applicants

You would like to apply for studies from the first or a apply for a higher semester and earned your high school diploma and/or college degree abroad? Then you can have degrees and achievements obtained abroad recognized and study with us.

International applicants