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Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies

Qualifying certificate

School of the Built Environment

The Certificate is an access route to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)-accredited MSc in Spatial Planning course.

This certificate provides an access route to the Department of Planning's RTPI and RICS-accredited MSc in Spatial Planning for students who do not have the usual educational qualifications necessary for entry onto the course.

It is a one-year part-time (one day per week) undergraduate-level course.

The overall aims and objectives of the course are to provide you with a general, yet critical, understanding of the planning process and some of the key issues and themes in contemporary spatial planning.

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

Available start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Part time: 12 months

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

  • Oxford Brookes' Department of Planning performs a leading role in research and consultancy, with clients and projects covering subjects from local concerns to multinational organisations, government and industry.
  • Our research feeds directly into the teaching of the Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies and the department's students have the opportunity to learn directly from the most current areas of practice.
  • The Certificate in Spatial Planning studies is a part time course and Oxford, with its excellent transport links to all regions of the UK, is a particularly convenient place to study for part-time students on day release from work.

Professional accreditation

The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies provides an entry qualification for the MSc in Spatial Planning which is accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). This means that following graduation from the MSc in Spatial Planning and the RTPI and RICS Assessment of Profession Competence requirements, graduates can become full members of both professional bodies.

The course comprises four modules.

In Semester 1 you would complete Introduction to Spatial Planning and Transport and Society.

In Semester 2 you would complete Environmental Sustainability and an Independent Study in Planning.

These modules have been carefully chosen to provide a balance of basic and advanced modules, and to offer you the opportunity to study basic themes in spatial planning as well as some specific areas such as transport and community planning.

Please note: as courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the module lists you choose from may vary from the ones shown here

Introduction to Spatial Planning provides an overall introduction to the discipline of planning. In the course you learn the main purposes of land use planning in general and the characteristics of the UK planning system in particular. The module provides the overall context and overall framework in which planning takes place.

Transport and Society is an opportunity to study this key issue in contemporary planning and provides students with a critical understanding of the economic, social and political contribution of transport in the UK and Europe. The module explores the development of transport policy from a historical perspective and explores the concept of accessibility and the importance of travel behaviour.

Environmental Sustainability explores the key planning function of facilitating sustainable development. The module introduces students to the concept of sustainable development, and examines how issues of sustainability affect the UK's built and natural environment through arrangements for infrastructure and resource use.

Independent Study in Planning allows you to research and report on an area of planning that is of most interest to you. Through directed research and study you will produce an extended essay or report that will deal in depth with the chosen topic. The detailed content and focus of this work will be agreed in advance with a personal supervisor. The Independent Study in Planning allows you to develop skills in independent learning in preparation for similar work that you will be doing on the MSc in Spatial Planning course.

In order to progress to the MSc Spatial Planning course you are required to complete these four undergraduate modules at a standard of 50 per cent pass mark (the normal undergraduate pass grade is 40 per cent).

Students will also need to cover the costs of printing for submissions and presentations associated with assessment.

Teaching and learning

Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. 

Oxford Brookes' courses are broken down into equal-sized units of study called modules, self-contained in teaching, learning and assessment. 

The course is made up of four single-credit modules. Each requires about 150 hours of study over the 15 weeks - including around 36 hours of staff contact time. Formal teaching takes place over the first 12 weeks, with the last weeks available for examinations if these are part of the module assessment.

Approach to assessment

Each course module is assessed individually, generally on the quality of written or design work, and to some extent on verbal presentations. Assessment methods may include essays, seminar papers, formal written examinations, in-class tests, project work, design and verbal presentations, workshops, simulations and practical exercises.

Field trips

Some modules may have Field Trips (day or half day) associated with them. Where these form a compulsory element of the module the transport costs are included in the Fee.

Past performance

The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies has been running since September 2005 and the vast majority of graduates have gone on to successfully complete the MSc in Spatial Planning. Their performance on the MSc has been at least as good as that of students who have come through a more traditional route to a masters-level course. Indeed many graduates of the Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies have gone on to be awarded a Distinction in the MSc in Spatial Planning.

Attendance pattern

You will two two modules per semester, each of which is taught on the same day so you need to be at Oxford Brookes one day per week. Currently teaching takes place on Thursdays.

Programme changes

On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.

Tuition fees

Home/EU - part time fee: 2019/20: £3,080 2020/21: £4,250

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by up to 4% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Funding and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see funding for Postgraduate students from the UK and EU

Entry requirements

Standard entry to the course is open to those who have:

  • GCSE, O-level (or equivalent) in Maths and English
  • at least three years' suitable experience within the field of planning - in an advanced technical or administration post *

* Applicants who have two years' work experience in planning at the commencement of their studies, and hold at least one A-level at grade C will also be considered.

UK/EU applicants for MSc Spatial Planning who were unsuccessful because their undegraduate degree attainment was unsuitable, will be reconsidered for progression by completing this course to the required standard.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English you will require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall with 6.0 in all components.


An equivalent English language qualification acceptable to the University.

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

This course is not available to students classed as International for fees purposes.

Preparation courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

There is no formal application deadline (recruitment closes when teaching capacity is reached). However, we advise applying in good advance to secure places, and allow sufficient time for applications to be reviewed.

Applicants should also factor any time needed to meet offer conditions, arrange accommodation, and obtain a UK Tier 4 visa (if applicable).

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies, as a stand alone qualification, can help to improve internal progression and promotion prospects within organisations.


The Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies provides an entry qualification for the MSc in Spatial Planning which is accredited by both the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. This dual accreditation makes MSc in Spatial Planning graduates attractive to both the public and private sectors of planning and related built environment employers.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Research highlights

With more than 600 students engaging a wide range of research topics in our undergraduate, postgraduate and research degree programmes, including Masters by research, the department is widely recognised as a leading educator in environment, design and development subjects. With a complement of over 60 teaching, administrative, technical and research staff, the department performs a leading role in research and consultancy, with clients and projects covering subjects from local concerns to multi-national organisations, government and industry.

Research areas and clusters

Key areas of expertise and scholarship in the department form the research groups and units listed below.

These research groups and units also comprise a substantial part of the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD):

Impact Assessment Group (IAG) is a designated EC Europa Centre of Excellence in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which brings together one of the largest teams of expertise in this field worldwide. Our clients include, amongst others, the European Commission, UK Government/Agencies, local government and the commercial sector.

Spatial Planning Group (SPG) brings together a wide range of intellectual and policy concerns within spatial planning and cognate fields, both nationally and internationally. Much of its work falls under the heading of sustainable development, with a particular focus on three major areas of study: Planning Thought and Governance; Economic Development, Innovation and Regeneration; and Accessibility, Transportation and Migration. The group reflects a commitment to recognise and build on cross-cutting and multidisciplinary interests within the broad remit of spatial planning, as well as advancing more established research strengths in specific fields. SPG members have a strong track record in research funding, including: ESRC, EPSRC, DCLG (ODPM), NESTA, JRF, British Academy, EIB, RTPI, and SEEDA.

Urban Design Group (UDG) is one of the largest UK providers of research expertise in urban design and conservation matters. Our clients include, amongst others, UK Government/Agencies, local government, the commercial sector and a number of international agencies, governments and research councils.

The School has links with universities worldwide, including Canada, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan, Romanian, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland and most EU member states. There are exciting opportunities for collaborative research, exchanges and study overseas. The department has an impressive list of funders and clients covering UK and EU government, research funding councils, industry and local government.

Course downloads

  • Planning and Urban Design brochure