Smart and Sustainable Cities (M.Sc. / P.Grad.Dip.)

NFQ Level 9
1 year full-time
32 Places


Course Overview

The Smart and Sustainable Cities degree led by the Trinity College Dublin School of Natural Sciences and delivered by staff from all faculties across the university, in collaboration with leading scientific researchers, and national and international organisations with specialist skills. The growth and development of cities in the 21st Century presents significant challenges, including sustainable development, the planning and design of urban space and social wellbeing. With thousands of smart-city initiatives around the world, smart urbanism is now one of the dominant models of urban development.

Projects for smart cities involve the regeneration of existing urban areas as well as the creation of large new settlements. This has significant implications for the many environmental, social and economic systems that underpin the planet. Smart-city initiatives have a multi-dimensional nature. As projects that are aimed at improving urban spaces, they are deeply connected to issues of urbanisation and urban planning. Because of their focus on technological innovation, the development of smart cities goes beyond the science of the city and is also the product of studies in computer science and engineering. Moreover, once implemented, smart interventions take place not upon a blank canvas, but rather within complex ecological and social systems whose dynamics must be taken into account in order to avoid environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.

This new M.Sc. in Smart and Sustainable Cities approaches the study of smart and sustainable urbanism by drawing from the research-based expertise of leading scholars from Trinity’s Energy, Environment and Emerging Technologies Institute (E3). The programme, which is the first dedicated programme of its kind, will provide students with an in-depth understanding of smart and sustainable cities, using (a) the tools of urban geography and planning to examine the spatial formation of smart cities; (b methods in engineering and computer science to analyse the functions and applications of smart technologies, and (c) insights from ecology to explore the environmental impact of both ‘smart-city projects’ and wider transformations of contemporary cities. The programme is thus of interest to a wide range of students from different backgrounds.

Is This Course For Me?

This course is designed for a broad spectrum of student in mind. Graduates have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including computer science, zoology, geography, marketing, and architecture. The course is designed in such a manner as to allow students to develop new skills while also honing skills in a particular field.  The core courses, which are detailed further below, offer a range of introductar skills, for example Urban Governance, Urban Sustainability.  A fieldtrip and a short placement. Students can also choose from a range of optional modules, which will allos students to enhance their skills futher.

Career Opportunities

This course is designed to meet the learning needs of students who want to enter an expansive but demanding employment market, preparing them for professional work in institutions and public or private companies in the field of Smart and Sustainable Cities. Graduates have pursued careers in smart city organisations as well as  sustainability initiatives.

Course Content

Students take 7 compulsory core modules, which include: Urban Governance; Smart Eco-Cities of the Future; Geographical Information Systems (GIS); Urban Sustainability; Introduction to Machine Learning; Research Method; Fieldtrip; Placement; and a written Dissertation.

Students also choose 3 elective modules among the following: Transportation Policy; Transportation Modelling & Planning; Energy Policy & Building Energy Demand; Urban Computing*; Artificial Intelligence*; Machine Learning*; Environmental Policies; Human Interaction with Biodiversity; and Climate Justice, Climate Change & Development.

*For these modules, students would be expected to have previous experience in cognate areas.  The students are advised to contact the course director for further information on requirements for these optional modules.

As part of the core modules, the course will have a mandatory field trip. This allows students to gain insights into ways in which different approaches emerge with specific social, political and economic contexts in which they are embedded.  For coming year, the Fieldtrip will focus on Amsterdam, teh The Netherlands. Amsterdam is chosen due to its long history of urban innovation and governance, as well as offering insights into contemporary, sustainable living. The field trip offers students the opportunity to bring together core learnings from other modules within the Masters while also developing their skills in data collection in a field setting.

The course will also incorporate a mandatory industrial in- company placement module. The placement is designed to allow students to link their in-class learning to hands-on approaches within a particular sub-area of smart cities and urban sustainability. The students will be provided with assistance in organising the placement, which will take place between the second half of the second semester and into the summer months.

Click here for further information on modules/subjects.

Study Smart and Sustainable Cities (M.Sc. / P.Grad.Dip.) at Trinity

Hear from Course Director Dr. Philip Lawton about Trinity College Dublin's postgraduate programme in Smart and Sustainable Cities (M.Sc. / P.Grad.Dip.).

Course Details


NFQ Level 9

Number of Places

32 Places

Next Intake

September 2024

Course Director

Dr Philip Lawton

Closing Date

31st July 2024

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Admission Requirements

Applicants will be expected to have an upper second-class (2.1), or above, Honours Bachelor's degree in a social science or science-based course such as Engineering, Sociology, Computer Science, Economics, and Geography.

Applicants may be interviewed or asked to submit a written sample for assessment. Non-standard applicants may be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies in exceptional circumstanced based on workplace experience or other relevant criteria.

Course Fees

Click here for a full list of postgraduate fees


To apply, click on the relevant Apply Link below

Get in Touch

Telephone Number

+353 (0)1 8962263

Philip Lawton (course director):

Elaine Elders (course administrator):


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