The course is offered at two levels: a master's degree (MSc) and a postgraduate diploma (PGDip).
The MSc course is based on the completion of the following compulsory elements, plus elective specialisations and a 15,000-word master's dissertation.
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
- Spatial Planning in Context explores the contexts within which the UK planning system needs to be understood: historical, spatial, social, economic, political and international. You will consider the issues that the planning system confronts and manages, and reflect on the range of approaches, historically and between countries, which may be taken to deal with planning issues.
- Spatial Planning in Action presents an analysis and assessment of the structure, objectives and responsibilities underlying the practice of spatial planning from a UK perspective. The legal basis and administrative aspects of planning decision making are introduced, including development plan making, development control and the appeals process.
- Place-Making introduces the theories, processes and practice of place making, and evaluates these against their impact on urban form and different sectors of society. The module teaches the development of design alternatives, taking account of political, socio-economic, development, aesthetic and other key factors important in achieving high quality, sustainable public realms.
- Delivering Sustainable Futures extends understanding of the principles of sustainability, the interpretation and practice of sustainable development, and the changing socio-political and environmental context within which plans are generated and implemented.
- Contemporary Issues in Planning Practice and Research provides an opportunity to study developing issues in planning practice, particularly the legal aspects of decision making, using examples from areas of current controversy. A hands on exercise is included, such as participating in a mock public inquiry for a real planning case.
- Research Methods (Public Policy) provides a critical knowledge of methods and skills of research and their application to investigative work that informs public policy.
- MSc Dissertation is an individual research study of up to 15,000 words. It reveals abilities to define and research an issue or problem of relevance to the discipline of planning and to make a contribution to knowledge in the chosen area of specialisation (see below).
MSc students are offered a high degree of choice and flexibility in terms of their area of specialisations and choose 40 Credits of modules and (subject to availability and student numbers) these currently include: (Please note not all specialisations run on the days part-time students are in).
Environmental Decision Making
- Principles of Environmental Assessment and Management sets EIA and SEA in the context of sustainability, environmental policy making and the derivation of environmental values. It addresses the availability and use of environmental resources, reviews methods for conserving these resources, and discusses the aims and interactions of various interest groups, and methods of public participation in environmental decision making.
- Design for Conservation provides an introduction to the differing philosophies underlying approaches to building in historic places. It examines the role of design guides, design codes and site briefs in securing appropriate development in sensitive historic locations.
- Conservation Economics is a half unit which provides an introduction to financial and economic aspects specific to the conservation of buildings. The module combines with Historic Conservation in Context, which provides an introduction and critical examination of the legal measures that exist to preserve and enhance the historic environment.
- Conservation and Regeneration: Theory, Law and Practice focuses on various theoretical and practical concepts in the field of conservation and heritage and the different values and interest which they reflect.
- Building Construction and Repair examines the properties of traditional materials and their selection and their section and use in conservation.
Planning in Developing and Transitional Regions
- Development and Urbanisation examines the theories, processes and consequences of rapid urbanisation in the developing world within the context of economic development and social change.
- Urban Design Studio I introduces you to advanced methods, techniques and concepts in urban design through the medium of a specific site development project.
- Urban Design Theory I and II further develops an awareness of client groups, user needs, and professional and legal requirements of the urban environment, placing these in the context of a specific design project on a nominated site.
- Urban Design Development Seminars provide an opportunity for students to bring the knowledge and skills developed in the other urban design modules together in student led workshops.
Urban and Regional Regeneration
- Regeneration and Neighbourhood Planning critically examines key issues in current theory, policy and practice, focusing on neighbourhood renewal, people-based approaches to regeneration and neighbourhood planning. The module makes extensive use of case studies to explore the links between physical and social regeneration.
The PGDip level of the course is based on the completion of the compulsory elements listed above, except the dissertation.
40 Credits of Alternative Compulsory Modules are added to give 140 Credits. All students must complete 140 Credits. If you seek an exemption or transferred credit for any element of this award you must select an alternative module in its place.
Specialist planning programmes:
- MSc in Environmental Assessment and Management (EAM) examines the background to EAM, particularly in the context of planning, natural resource management and principles. It develops skills in environmental impact assessment and environmental management.
- MSc in Historic Conservation examines the principles, procedures and practices of historic conservation within the context of the wider built environment and the planning process. It develops skills and capabilities in practical conservation techniques and evaluation.
- MA in Urban Design brings together theory and practice from several fields to demonstrate urban design as an integrated discipline. The focus is practical and seeks to engender positive intervention in the production of the public realm.
- MSc Infrastructure and Sustainable Development examines a new approach to studying infrastucture planning and delivery in rapidly growing cities of middle and low income countries and is designed to make the step change needed to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st century.
Teaching and learning
Learning methods include lectures, directed reading, workshops, seminars, and practical and project work. Some modules include site visits and fieldwork.
Teaching is organised on a module-credit basis, involving approximately 200 hours of personal study and approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally delivered through three-hour teaching blocks over a 12-week period.
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.
The MSc in Spatial Planning includes a compulsory overseas field trip that is part of the two semester 1 core modules. The field trip is designed to provide students with practical examples and experience of planning in another European country.
The trip usually takes place in mid-November and normally includes three to four nights away from the UK. In the past, this field trip has been to Barcelona, Amsterdam and Lyon. The current destination is Dublin. The teaching staff are constantly reviewing new destinations that can best contribute to students' overall planning education.
The cost of meals etc will be met by students.
Other half or full-day field trips often form part of the individual programmes of specialist modules.
Students will also need to cover the costs of printing for submissions and presentations associated with assessment.
is organised on a module-credit basis. Each module involves approximately 200 hours of
personal study and approximately 36 hours of staff contact, normally delivered
through three-hour teaching blocks over a 12-week period.
In recent years, teaching has been largely concentrated on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two modules taught on each day. Generally the first year of the part time course takes place on Thursdays, and the second year on Tuesdays, whilst the full time course has teaching on both these days.
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