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Spatial Planning Studies

Qualifying Certificate

Key facts

Start dates

September 2021 / September 2022



Course length

Part time: 12 months

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


Our Certificate in Spatial Planning Studies provides an access route to our RTPI and RICS-accredited MSc in Spatial Planning. It is ideal for students who do not have the usual educational qualifications necessary for entry onto the course.

The course provides you with a general, yet critical, understanding of the planning process and some of the key issues and themes in contemporary spatial planning.

The School of the Built Envionment performs a leading role in research and consultancy. Clients and projects cover subjects from:

  • local concerns
  • multinational organisations
  • government
  • industry.

Our research feeds directly into our teaching so you will learn directly from the most current areas of practice.

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

Female student looking at maps on a computer

How to apply

Entry requirements

Specific 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 undergraduate degree attainment was unsuitable, will be reconsidered for progression by completing this course to the required standard.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

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.

Pathways courses for EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

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.

Application process

We advise applying in advance to secure places, and allow sufficient time for applications to be reviewed.

There is no formal application deadline (recruitment closes when teaching capacity is reached). 

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

Apply now

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
2021 / 22
Home (UK) part time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2021 / 22
Home (UK) part time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

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.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

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, if any, are detailed below.

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.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements. In the event of changes made to the government advice and social distancing rules by national or local government, the University may need to make further alterations to the published course content. Detailed information on the changes will be sent to every student on confirmation in August to ensure you have all the information before you come to Oxford Brookes.

Learning and assessment

The course comprises four modules. 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.

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

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

Group of students working on a project together

Study modules

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

Introduction to Spatial Planning

This 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

This module is an opportunity to study this key issue in contemporary planning. It provides you 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

This module 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

Compulsory modules

Independent Study in Planning

This module 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.

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

Learning and teaching

Our teaching methods include:

  • lectures
  • directed reading
  • workshops
  • seminars
  • practical and project work.

Each of the four single-credit modules requires 150 hours of study over 15 weeks. This includes 36 hours of staff contact time.

Formal teaching takes place over the first 12 weeks. The final weeks are available for examinations, if included as part of the module assessment.

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.


Assessment methods used on this course

We use a range of assessment methods, including:

  • essays
  • seminar papers
  • written examinations
  • in-class tests
  • project work
  • design and verbal presentations
  • workshops
  • simulations
  • practical exercises.


The School of the Built Environment is widely recognised as a leading educator in environment, design and development subjects. We perform a leading role in research and consultancy, with clients and projects covering subjects from local concerns to multi-national organisations, government and industry. 

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):

We have 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.

After you graduate

Career prospects

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.

Our Staff

Dr Bridget Durning

Dr Bridget Durning is an academic, sustainability and impact assessment specialist.

Read more about Bridget

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.