Infrastructure Planning and Sustainable Development

MSc or PGDip or PGCert

Find out more about this course by joining a live webinar

Start dates: September 2024 / January 2025 / September 2025

Full time: 12 months (Sept start), 17 months (Jan start)

Part time: 24 months (Sept start), 29 months (Jan start) (distance learning only)

Location: Headington, Distance learning

Department(s): School of the Built Environment

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Ready for a career in urban planning? Our industry accredited MSc Infrastructure Planning and Sustainable Development will challenge your thinking and boost your expertise in tackling some of the most pressing issues facing cities in the Global South.

Understanding the latest thinking in infrastructure planning is key to your success. That’s why we’ve developed this course in collaboration with practitioners working in the industry. You’ll learn what it takes to bring together various stakeholders to achieve sustainable and equitable outcomes in an urban context.

We’ll arm you with the knowledge and problem-solving approaches you need to be a confident decision-maker. Transport, power and water are all important hard infrastructure to consider. You’ll also look at social infrastructure such as housing, schools and hospitals that are vital for the wellbeing of communities.

This course is the perfect if you want to develop your career working in:

  • government
  • planning consultancies
  • development NGOs
  • international development agencies
  • major development companies.

Attend an open day or webinar Ask a question Order a prospectus

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Unique perspective

    Ours is the only course in the UK to focus on infrastructure planning in the Global South and how we can work for socially just and environmentally sustainable development.

  • Learn from practitioners

    The course has a global focus and is delivered by a teaching team of academics and experienced practitioners working in the field.

  • More than theory

    There’s a practical focus. We look at how ideas apply in real life and you’ll get first hand experience on our international field trip and our practice based module.

  • Industry accredited

    Your postgraduate qualification will be accredited by Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

  • Hybrid delivery

    This course is online and face-to-face. We encourage our full-time students to connect with our distance-learning students who are typically working in the field.

  • Accreditation(s)

    Fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

    • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
    • The Royal Town Planning Institute

Course details

Course structure

You’ll develop a critical understanding of planning approaches and methodologies fit for the 21st century. At the same time, you’ll see how the sector can tackle urgent global issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequalities in cities.

You’ll explore the social, environmental, and economic impacts of infrastructure development. And discover different approaches to enable informed and inclusive decision-making in rapidly growing cities.

You can take part in an international field trip. In recent years we have been visiting Rio de Janeiro. This gives you hands-on experience of processes of urban change and policy challenges in the urban context.

With a module focused on finance, you’ll look at financing strategies, financial appraisals, funding models, and cost recovery options. Our students enjoy the practice-based module. It gives you the chance to collaborate with practitioners and local stakeholders to propose infrastructure projects abroad or locally.

Complete your MSc award by writing a dissertation on a topic of your choice with regular tutorial support.

Student working on a computer

Learning and teaching

Full time students

Teaching includes:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • field trips
  • skills workshops
  • practical and project work.

Your study time is:

  • two x 2-hour sessions per week and a one hour online group tutorial for each of the two core modules
  • a weekly 1½ hour session for research methods
  • independent learning and work on assignments.

Distance learning

Online learning is through our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Teaching methods (available to both full-time and part-time students) in a semester include:

  • two x 2-hour weekly teaching sessions and 1-hour group tutorial for each of the core modules online
  • recorded lectures
  • discussion forums
  • online group working for assessments.

You'll have the opportunity for face-to-face contact for the Intensive Study Periods. Some practical elements of the teaching, in particular, in the module ‘Development in Practice’ requires part-time students to be present in teaching sessions, although this can take place online.


You will be assessed solely by coursework. There are no examinations on the programme due to the problem-solving nature of our teaching methods.

You will develop and practise different skills based on the range of assessment methods which include:

report writing

  • verbal presentations
  • essays
  • journal entries
  • problem solving exercises
  • critical evaluations
  • collaborative group assignments.

Field Trips

International Field Trip*

The course includes an overseas field trip that is part of the Governance and Political Economy module. The field trip is designed to expose you to practical examples of complex governance and planning issues in another country. Field trip attendance is not compulsory but all students are encouraged to attend wherever possible.

The field trip activities usually take place over 5/6 days. In the past students have visited Rio de Janeiro. Oxford Brookes pays for travel costs up to £700, you'll need to cover additional costs including visa, accommodation, travel and food. There is no option for a refund if you choose not to attend the trip once you have chosen to. Please see the Additional costs section of this page for international field trip costs.

Intensive Study Periods*

Twice a year open-learners are invited to join full-time students on campus for a three-day intensive study period.

*These activities carry an extra cost. Please see the Additional costs section of this page for more details.

Start this course in January

You have the option to start this course in January. You will study a range of modules between January and May. During the summer months of June, July and August you will study further modules and begin work on your dissertation. Between September and December you will complete your final modules and focus on your dissertation.

Study modules

The modules listed below are compulsory for both the MSc and PGDip. The PGCert is obtained by taking one compulsory module. The MSc also requires completion of one additional module within the final project section below. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Sustainable Development (30 credits)

    This module introduces you to the nature of infrastructure planning challenges in the Global South and provides a grounding in the objectives of spatial planning practice. It situates infrastructure planning in the context of current global trends including urbanisation, climate change, biodiversity loss, and growing urban social inequalities.  This will provide you with the building blocks for assessing alternative approaches to infrastructure planning and delivery that allow for more inclusive and sustainable development. You will consider the benefits of integrated urban planning, decentralised approaches, circular models and forms of co-production that acknowledge the diverse ways in which urban dwellers already access basic services in contexts of scarcity.

  • Infrastructure Finance (30 credits)

    Learn about the theory and practice of financing the development, renewal, repair and maintenance of infrastructure.  You’ll look at how infrastructure is financed as well as alternative funding models, cost recovery options, and sources of finance. The module also examines the roles of key actors and reviews the approaches and tools used for decision making in a variety of different contexts and under conditions of uncertainty. A key element of your learning will be understanding how to critically appraise infrastructure development proposals and to evaluate the financial and economic implications of different development options and strategies. The module is introductory in nature and no prior economics or financial training is needed.

  • Governance and Political Economy (30 credits)

    Develop a firm understanding of governance and decision-making processes involved in the planning and delivery of different types of infrastructure. Your learning will be informed by political economy and institutional frameworks and explore different methods for addressing the broader societal impacts that arise from infrastructure delivery. Teaching involves the critical evaluation of real case studies from around the globe which are delivered by our practitioners.  You also have the option to participate in an international field trip to widen your understanding.

  • Development in Practice (30 credits)

    This module will equip you with a working knowledge of the key frameworks and approaches used to design and implement small scale development projects and programmes. You will learn on the job, experimenting and bringing together your broad knowledge base and skills to design an actual project. Students begin by learning how to research and critically assess a development context using participatory and other approaches. You then use your critical analysis to design an infrastructure project considering development goals and addressing the challenges of infrastructure delivery on the project site.

  • Research Methods in Design (10 credits)

    A critical overview of research methods and skills relevant to investigative research in the field of planning.

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation (50 credits)

    An individual research project conducted under the supervision of a member of the teaching staff, on a topic related to sustainable infrastructure delivery to be agreed between you and your supervisor.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The School of the Built Environment has an impressive list of funders and clients covering UK and EU government, research funding councils and industry.

  • the European Commission
  • UK Government/Agencies
  • local government
  • the commercial sector.

Research areas and clusters

Infrastructure and energy continue to be a key focus as they are the essential components of a rapidly urbanising world.

Research groups:


A range of employers are looking for graduates in this area including local and international planning consultancies, local authorities, bilateral and multilateral development agencies and large NGOs.

Whether you’re looking to move into a new career or you’re using the course for career development, you’ll develop plenty of practical, career-enhancing skills at Oxford Brookes. We’ve designed the course collaboration with professional bodies and industry practitioners to ensure it responds to the needs and expectations of industry. You’ll find recent graduates from this course at employers like:

  • Turner & Townsend
  • Stantec
  • Avison Young
  • DWD
  • SWECO and BMWK working in international development
  • UK local authorities working in planning.

To hear about opportunities and make new connections, we encourage you to become part of our virtual alumni network which is hosted on LinkedIn.

Our Staff

Dr Fawaz Khaled

Read more about Fawaz

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

There is no formal application deadline. We advise applying in good advance to secure places.

Applicants should factor in any time needed to meet offer conditions, arrange accommodation, and obtain a UK Student visa (if applicable). Distance learning study can sometimes close sooner than on-campus study, as it requires additional Faculty preparation.

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time
£10,300 (Masters); £9,300 (Diploma); £5,150 (Certificate)

Home (UK) distance learning part time

International full time

International distance learning part time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time
£10,300 (Masters); £9,300 (Diploma); £5,150 (Certificate)

Home (UK) distance learning part time

International full time

International distance learning part time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

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.