National University of Science & Technology

"Think In Other Terms"


Urban Design is a new phenomenon which deals with the urban microform at the macro-scale. The focus is on the shaping of various pieces of urban land at macro-scale and with spaces between them at micro-scale levels. It also deals with designing and construction of urban elements. In this regard, this programme aims at educating students with a background in town planning; architecture and other related disciplines in The Built Environment field. The main objective is to develop theoretical frameworks that will be used in practice and develop urban landscapes. Urban Design is responsible for the creation of great urban centres, world heritage cites, landmarks, skylines, street furniture, transport and energy systems, defensible open spaces and environmental ambience. Therefore this programme seeks to capacitate urban developers and managers with the necessary skills and technology to introduce, design and manage urban services. For instance the focus will be on the sound provision and management of housing units, energy supplies, water and sewer reticulation systems, transport networks, storm water drains, communication and recreational facilities, public lighting, corridor, attraction centres and service buildings. The programme will further equip urban developers and managers with the Research, Training and Development (RT&D) techniques to keep themselves abreast with urban environmental changes. It also deals with a number of cross cutting issues like urban agriculture, climate change, urban sociology and urban disaster management, land economics and Urban Design Information Systems (UDIS) as well as sustainable SMART cities.


This is a full-time programme that shall extend over a total period of eighteen (18) months. The first twelve (12) months shall be devoted to the taught component of the programme and shall be divided into two (2) semesters. The last six (6) months will be devoted to the writing of a supervised dissertation and studio project.

To be admitted to the Masters in Urban Design Degree Programme, a candidate must meet the following requirements:

  • At least successfully completed an undergraduate degree in the following disciplines: Urban Design, Architecture, Rural and Urban Planning, Building Economics, Civil Engineering and Property Management. Other programmes offered in the Built Environment shall be considered on individual basis. 
  • A minimum overall pass of lower second class (2.2). 
  • Additional qualifications and work experience may be required from all candidates.
  • A candidate with a Pass (P) degree may be required to submit a portfolio of work and/or special interviews will be conducted where necessary.

Formal examinations will be conducted at the end of each semester except for continuous assessment courses which will be d one through course work. Candidates will be required to pass all courses. Each candidate will be required to write one three-hour paper in each of the courses for which he/she registered in addition to the Dissertation and present the Design Studio Project.

(a) Each course, as well as the Dissertation shall be marked out of 100%.
(b) Depending on the nature of the course, each candidate will be required to satisfy the examiners in the following areas:

  • Course Work 30%
  • Written Examination 70%

(c) In addition, an oral and or practical examination may be required at the discretion of the examiners.
(d) Supplementary examinations will be allowed in accordance with the provisions of the “General Regulations” of the University.
(e) For Dissertation, a resubmission period of three months will be allowed.
(f) The University marking scheme for post-graduate programmes will apply in all taught courses.
(g) The pass mark will be 50 %. In the event of a candidate failing, the following conditions will apply:

  • a candidate who fails 50% or more of the registered courses will be asked to discontinue from the programme.
  • all supplementary examinations will be undertaken and passed before proceeding to the final year.
  • a candidate who fails one or two courses may repeat the failed courses in the following year and may proceed to work on their dissertation at the discretion of the Departmental Board of Examiners.

(h) On completion of the Dissertation, Thesis Design Project and Thesis Design Report, a candidate will be required to submit two (2) type-written and spiral bound copies of the Dissertation and the Thesis Design Report for assessment.
(i) A candidate must pass all taught courses, the Dissertation and Design Thesis to qualify for the award of the degree.The Dissertation format and documents will be in accordance with the General Academic Regulations for Higher Degrees of NUST.

Degree Classification
Distinction: 70% and above
Merit: 60%-69%
Pass: 50%-59%
Fail: 49% and below



BUD 6101 Principles And Practice Of Urban Design I -(3 credits)
The course covers basic theory and practice of urban design. Topics include history of urban form; buildings and spaces; urban design analysis; urban design approaches; efficiency of urban design and evaluation criteria; case studies.

BUD 6103 Urban Design Studio I -(10 credits)
Introduction to urban design graphics and computer aided design: an introduction to basic drafting, graphics and computer-related tools and techniques in professional practice.

Urban Design Project I
A series of sessions encompassing practical drawing and sketches of urban design proposals for selected sites in Zimbabwe.
Urban Design Project II
A group project which will normally be a real-life large-scale urban design and development project involving land reclamation and infrastructure provision leading to 3-D built form.
Designed to professional standards involving relevant urban design theory and implementation criteria, and conducted with participation of professionals in both public and private sectors.

BUD 6104 Economics For Urban Design - (3 credits)
This course introduces principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics relevant to the design and development professions. Topics include: constraints and economic choice; demand, supply, returns and cost; land and rent; capital and interest; resources and productivity; economics of firms; banking and financial markets; factor prices; national income and business fluctuations; aspects of design and development decisions.

BUD 6105 Research Methods in Urban Design-(3 credits)
The course focuses on various methods and techniques fundamental in data collection, analysis and presentation. The overall objective of the course is to impart skills to students that can assist them in preparing technical reports and dissertations.

BAR 6106 Environmental Conservation-(credits)
This course aims at introducing students to issues of environmental awareness with regards to impacts of human activities and strategies for coping with the changing environment. The course is conducted through lectures, case studies and seminars. The following broad topics are relevant: the ecology of the environment; the ecosystems-types and components; impacts of man’s activities on the ecosystem and types of impacts; concepts and issues in environmental impact assessments.

BAR 6105 Computer Aided Design and Management - (3 credits)
Through a series of seminars and computer based exercises, the course provides an update of a rapidly developing and expanding information technology; exploration of new and more complex applications in technical drafting, architectural presentation and animation, other computer based architectural presentation techniques. Storage, administration and management of building projects using computer-based programmes are also examined.

Electives - (3 credits)
Choose at least one elective from the four listed on the course outline

Semester 2

BUD 6102 Urban Policy And Infrastructure -(3 credits)
Against relevant aspects of land use theory and implications for site planning, the course introduces the principles and practice of site planning and infrastructure design for large urban developments. Topics include reclamation, land use and density thresholds, settlement capacity, infrastructure master planning, utilities planning, site layout and future design trends.

BUD 6201 Principles and Practice Of Urban Design II -(3 credits)
This advanced course in urban design attempts to build a coherent theory of urban form from the historical and material conditions of production. Hence the lectures/seminars progress in three main stages. Firstly, the economic and political determinants in the production of urban space are considered (urban politics, the state, ideology, social class, professionalism etc.). Secondly, considerations in the technology of form (forms of space, analogical models, and problems of aesthetics). Thirdly, a case study of Zimbabwe which moves from the realm of theory into concrete social practices - urban planning, high-density development, public housing, and the other formal properties of a major world city.

BUD 6202 Urban Design Studio II- (10 credits)
Urban Design Project III : a series of sessions encompassing the practical management and implementation of urban design proposals involving larger sites, taking into account issues such as land acquisition, planning approvals, concept development, financing, the consultancy team, construction, marketing among others.

BUD 6203 Urban Design Seminars- (5 credits)
The seminars introduce students to the design of urban places. The focus is on issues arising in urban design practice. The subject matter includes current contexts for urban design; the role of urban design in the development process; different urban design roles and level of influence; public sector urban design, framework plans, design guidelines and implementation strategies. The module addresses urban economic analysis in the planning and development of urban areas from the point of view of practitioners in the field. During the course of the semester, each student will prepare a thesis proposal.

Electives - (3 credits)
Choose at least one elective from the four electives listed.


Semester 1

BUD 7101 Dissertation- (10 credits)
This is an in-depth investigation of urban design or development issues which relate directly to the physical planning problems and potentials of urban areas.

The topic chosen should be both academic and practical in nature and a report not exceeding 20,000 words or equivalent is required.

BUD 7102 Urban Design Thesis - (20 credits)
This is an in-depth urban design project based on a specific urban case study.The expected work at this level is of advanced standing and allows an in-depth exploration of complex design problems.In addition, it must be conducted in collaboration with city agencies addressing identified needs.

Electives - (3 credits)
Only two (2) electives will be selected from the following list: (Candidates will not be permitted to choose elective courses that they have already studied).


BQS 5102 Advanced Construction, Planning and Management-(3 credits)
This course will cover a wide range of issues relating to project planning and control, project internal and external environment, project planning and development, project organization and administration, the project manager’s role, project quality management principles, project appraisals, project management techniques, project practice and management.

BQS 5210 Project Risk Management-(3 credits)
The focus of the course is on identification of risks, analysis techniques, response decisions, policies and strategies, risks versus opportunities and insurance against risks.

BUD 6204 Transport Planning and Management - (3 credits)
Students to gain understanding of traditional transport systems, transport modelling steps, transports planning process, transport demand and supply management and freight planning. Also focuses on efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation infrastructure development planning and management and transportation disaster management systems.

BUD 6205 Geographic Information Systems-(3 credits)
This course builds on spatial land-use analysis techniques. Focus is on the advanced theory and practice of Geographic Information Systems (GIS); GIS applications; design and implementation of GIS applications.