• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

About the programme


The international Master’s degree programme in Advanced Urban Design is a joint programme of the Graduate School of Urbanism of the HSE University Russia and Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design.

The programme is aimed at the next generation of urban designers. The educational process is built on the ‘research-based design’ methodology that involves tutors from the best world universities and practitioners of leading international firms.

The programme offers:

    Strong emphasis on critical, conceptual, and design thinking

    Working environment of an interdisciplinary 'lab' for young architects, designers, sociologists, economists, data analysts, journalists, learning to effectively work in teams

    Pioneering 'Research-Based Design' methodology created and tested at the Strelka Institute

    Unique courses tailored for the new demands of contemporary urban theory and the next practices

    Project modules with innovative briefs developed in collaboration with cultural organisations, developers and city administrations

    Team of tutors from the best world universities and practitioners of leading international firms from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Russia

    Access to the vast network of experts and clients of both the Strelka Institute and the HSE University Russia

    Unique competences: the programme is developed with participation of European experts, however, it does not only focus on understanding of western urban practices, but also on working in unstable, unpredictable contexts of development economies, in particular those of Russia, countries in Asia and South Africa 

    Internships in leading Russian and European organizations and institutions, working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, information technology and design

    Prospects of working in international architectural offices, state and private consulting and design offices, big development and investment companies as well as city administrations. 


Traditionally, architects and planners were working primarily on spatial objects. The scope of their work today is much broader and includes such aspects as dealing with media and social networks, engaging with local communities, participating in educational and cultural programs, as well as integrating new technologies. Demand for such urban professionals with a complex range of skills – 'designers-entrepreneurs' – is actively growing worldwide, and building such a skill set is exactly what the AUD programme is aiming at.

It is the only interdisciplinary international Master's programme in Urban Design in the vast Post-Soviet space: a perfect framework for projective exploration of non-Western urban and rural conditions.

The programme will introduce students to the contemporary European and American design theory and practices, while at the same time offering operational toolkits for application of this knowledge in the new markets. It will help to understand the specificity of research and design work in highly volatile conditions of the cities in Russia, South Africa and the CIS, providing competencies beyond traditional urbanism.

The programme offers unique expertise in doing projects and research in developing countries and economies in transition – places where most urbanization and suburbanization is happening nowadays. By studying Russian cities, students will have an opportunity to explore key patterns of urbanization traceable in cities of similar unstable contexts. This will allow them to get experience of integrative planning in situations when all systems of urban governance and regulation are going through continuous and not always logical transformation.

The focus of 2018-2020 programme is on settlements with extreme living conditions.

Students will be working on projects for cities with either ultra high or exceptionally low population density, develop design solutions for extremely poor and outstandingly prosperous countries, as well as dig into urban problems for territories with harsh climate conditions from steppe regions of Uzbekistan till coastal areas of South Africa.

The programme content is aimed at developing the core competences of the city specialist of a new type and is built on 5 multidisciplinary directions of courses and design modules:

  • Urban Design. The modern theory of city planning
  • Data & Information. Data analysis skills development
  • Economics, Sociology, Politics. The traditional approaches of city studying
  • Communication & Media. Strategic communication skills at the city projects promotion
  • Arts & Culture. The urban projects conceptualization and design