Masters of Urban Design - UBC or McGill?


Hi guys,

I'm currently going through the process of choosing between McGill's Urban Design and Housing Masters program or the UBC's Urban Design Masters program. I'm extremely interested in Urban Design and I would love to know anyone's opinion on both.

From what I understand, McGill's program is very research and theory heavy, while UBC has a very practical approach, combining our studios with real life practices and the opportunity to work with government officials + public policy makers.

Can anyone please give me any hindsight of the overall environment, experience and degree for both? I'd love to hear it as I am trying to make a decision within the next few days.

I really appreciate it. Thank you!

Mar 8, 18 2:25 pm
Non Sequitur

McGill is the better school plus you can live downtown montreal for a fraction of the cost of vancouver.

Mar 8, 18 2:41 pm

Can I ask why you think McGill is the better school? I am definitely leaning towards Montreal due to the expenses but I just want to know both sides. I've heard very different opinions and would love to know more about it.

Thanks for the reply!

Non Sequitur

Montreal has a better urban history than Vancouver and the steps they've taken with the Montreal 2025 (or whatever they call it now) is fascinating. Also helps that McGill is by far a better architecture school than UBC.


I would go to UBC. It's cold and miserable in Montreal during winter. And it's cold almost half of the year. McGill has a better name when it comes to architecture but not in urban design as far as I know. Vancouver is more expensive but has better weather and I find the people are friendlier.

Vancouver is famous for its successful urban transformation. It even has a name 'Vancouverism'. If you try to get a job in Montreal after school, many companies want you to speak French as a basic requirement. 

Mar 8, 18 3:07 pm

Erm..."Vancouverism" was certainly an urban transformation...but definitely not a successful one when regarded by urban design critics. From my understanding, "Vancouverism" refers to the placement of desolate residential towers atop rectangular podiums every 6 blocks with little-to-no diversity of building scale or vibrant street-life...


Apart from the weather and people, how do you think UBC is compared to McGill? As much as I'll dislike the cold, I'm going to focus on my studies so either way, I'll have to suck it up and accept the weather regardless. But am I stuck to working only in Montreal when I graduate or do I have the opportunity to work anywhere in Canada?


Maybe I'm biased from my personal experience. I don't know much about urban design but I've lived in both Montreal and Vancouver. I enjoyed the latter much more. I think it just has more interesting urban elements as well. Lots of huge green space in the city, it has to deal with waterfront and water transportation, street cars and skytrain. It also is always listed on the most livable cities in the world. I find Montreal very dull. For McGill, it's a good school and I'm sure you will be able to find job anywhere in Canada and probably even in the states. But same goes for UBC. I live in new york now, and I've seen both McGill and UBC alums working here in great architecture positions.

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