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Theories of Urban Practice, M.A.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months


The Theories of Urban Practice offered by the Parsons School of Design - The New School focuses on design-driven spatial and ecological innovation in relation to social justice, inclusion, and co-production of urban space.

This research-driven program is part of Parsons'School of Design Strategies (SDS), and shares a 12-credit core curriculum with the 60-credit, studio-based MS Design and Urban Ecologies program.

Transforming cities

The MA Theories of Urban Practice program is for students who wish to pursue advanced studies in urbanism or careers as urban researchers, designers, teachers, design critics, policy advisors, and leaders of nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and private design and development firms. Students explore design as a vehicle and a catalyst for bringing together government agencies, community-based groups, civic associations, and the nonprofit and private sectors in co-creating and transforming urban and ecological networks. They devise progressive collaboration techniques to empower communities developing socially and ecologically sustainable urban systems including food production and distribution, housing, green spaces, and educational infrastructure.

New approaches to urbanism

Recent master’s theses range from a graphic memoir of a Kuwait oil town, created to include populations left out of official histories to a curriculum that engages secondary students in city revitalization through neighborhood-based experiential learning to an interactive exhibition employing interview-based research to promote broader notions of urban diversity.

Resources for integrative research

The program is housed in Parsons’ School of Design Strategies, an educational environment that fosters innovative thinking about and experimentation with the design of cities, services, and ecosystems. Accordingly, they can take a project-based studio in Parsons’ MS in Design and Urban Ecologies program, and have opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary projects offered throughout the university. Parsons is part of The New School, a pioneering university located in the heart of New York City that offers some of the nation’s best-respected programs in design, social sciences, liberal arts, performing arts, and management and policy.

Future opportunities

Graduates pursue careers in urban design, city planning, government administration, nonprofit management, collaborative urbanism, teaching, research, and social enterprise. The program also prepares students to pursue doctoral studies at top universities around the world.

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Urban Colloquium 
  • Urban History Lab
  • Urban Theory Lab
  • Theories of Urban Practice Thesis Prep
  • Advanced Research in Theories of Urban Practice
  • Elective

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 24 months
  • Credits
    36 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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Academic Requirements

  • Application Form: Complete the online application. All applicants are required to apply online.
  • Application Fee: A nonrefundable $50 application fee paid as part of the online application. A $15 SlideRoom fee is also required.
    • Transcripts
    • Résumé
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Recommendation Letters
    • Portfolio

    Tuition Fee

    • International

      1744 USD/credit
      Tuition Fee
      Based on the original amount of 1744 USD per credit and a duration of 24 months.
    • National

      1744 USD/credit
      Tuition Fee
      Based on the original amount of 1744 USD per credit and a duration of 24 months.
    We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

    Living costs for New York City

    • 1819 - 3970 USD/month
      Living Costs

    The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


    Applicants for graduate school who are seeking financial aid should notify their prospective academic department early in the application process. Graduate students are automatically considered for university merit-based scholarships and fellowships as part of the admission process. Note however: For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, limited scholarship funds are usually combined with government supported grants and loans in a financial aid package, so applicants must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

    Graduate students are notified of their scholarship awards soon after their admission in a letter from either their academic program or Student Financial Services.

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