Teaching and learning in 2020/21

In order to prioritise the safety of students and staff, we are planning to teach through a flexible combination of online and onsite learning. For more details on changes to this course, see our undergraduate course changes page or postgraduate course changes page.

Course Overview

UK/EU Fees £850 *
International Fees £1,500 *
Field Trip Cost £550
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 2 years

* Price per 20-credit module

Course summary

The Urban and Regional Planning MA gives students the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary to practise professionally as a spatial planner in a variety of private, public and third sector/community contexts. Building on the University of Westminster's experience of delivering postgraduate courses in town planning for more than 80 years, it examines planning across diverse contexts and scales, but focuses in particular on planning in, and for, towns, cities, and urban regions in the UK. Students are taught by qualified and dedicated staff who possess vast industry, research and teaching experience and moreover benefit from studying in a genuinely interdisciplinary academic environment with excellent industry links in the heart of one of the most vibrant cities in the world. 

The course is professionally accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and covers both the ‘spatial’ and ‘specialist’ elements of the RTPI’s requirements for initial planning education. It is designed to accommodate busy schedules and offered for full-time or part-time study at the University's modern Marylebone campus in central London. The course's main objective is to create critical-minded, well-rounded and highly employable graduates who can excel in a variety of career environments and possess the skills and competencies necessary for addressing the manifold challenges and opportunities associated with contemporary spatial development and planning.

In addition to the MA qualification, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate options are also available, enabling students to access the course at a point that is relevant to their circumstances, achieve credits and leave at a point that specifically meets their needs.

Course structure

For the award of the MA, students need to pass modules totalling 180 credits. MA students take all core modules and choose one specialist option module.

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

The module will provide you with the opportunity to explore in depth a spatial planning or related topic through primary or desk-based research. You will investigate and evaluate the process of planning policy making and delivery. This will involve setting research objectives, carrying out a literature review, developing and implementing a research design, incorporating appropriate methodologies, analysing your findings, drawing conclusions, and making recommendations. Your research may take the form of dissertation or a policy implementation project.

40 credits

In this module you will focus on the financial and policy context of urban planning, and the application of urban design principles to urban development. It will provide you with an overview and analysis of the procedures and practices of project briefing and development control, and will introduce urban design issues and techniques. You will develop your understanding of the key actors in the development process, and the basic principles of property development, site appraisal and methods of financial appraisal. The projects will involve area, market and site appraisal, design briefing and site layout through the development of a proposal for a site in the context of local planning guidelines. Group work is an important element of this module.

40 credits

This module involves a study tour over four to six days, usually to a single European city, with a range of urban forms from a variety of periods and which is currently growing. The trip will provide you with an opportunity to analyse urban form and its evolution and the impact of planning policies, and to evaluate the qualities of the environment produced.

Non-credit bearing module

This module will equip you with a critical understanding of the environmental, social and economic forces which influence spatial development and the qualities of place. It will introduce you to key historical and contemporary debates in planning, and the concept of sustainable development.

20 credits

In this module you will examine the governance of planning and theoretical ideas about planning, and further explore the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. You will explore debates about social exclusion, diversity and community engagement in planning. You will also examine how planning operates at different geographic scales, and investigate planning for economic development and for the provision of housing and infrastructure.

20 credits

This module introduces you to research methods and methodologies specific to urban and spatial research, design and planning. You will explore the theory and practice of developing a research framework, with a particular emphasis upon methods, methodologies, and frameworks used within the built environment professions. The module will allow you to begin developing your own research proposal for the Dissertation.

10 credits

This module will provide you with the skills needed to collect, manage, analyse and present data for evidence-based planning practice. It will develop your understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of needs, capacity and impact assessments. The module will also provide an opportunity for you to reflect on the inter-personal skills needed for planning practice and project management including negotiation and community engagement.

10 credits

This module explores 'next generation' cities, investigating critical issues relating to climate change and other large-scale environmental threats and challenges through a cross-disciplinary perspective, at a range of scales from the global to the local. A critical understanding of the concept of sustainability, encompassing notions of resource conservation, environmental, social and economic impact, quality of life and urban resilience, is essential.

20 credits

Option modules

This module will provide you with an understanding of the relationship between housing, planning and economic development. The module reviews debates about the supply of housing and considers the role of public policy in promoting housing development. You will consider the problems and challenges of concentrations of deprivation, and examine the social, economic, political and environmental factors which shape urban regeneration.

20 credits

In this module you will focus on the interaction between transport and land-use, including the effect of land-use on travel patterns and the contribution of transport to development. Topics you will explore include changing planning system impact on transport systems and their sustainability, LUTI modelling and the role of forecasting in relation to transport planning, sustainable accessibility planning, transit oriented development, perspectives on planning major transport infrastructure, and scenario planning.

20 credits

In this module you will examine the role that effective environmental strategies and policies in planning and related fields can pursue to reach sustainable development. The module sets out the theoretical framework, and the international context for sustainable development, energy efficiency and climate change. In the module, you will explore the implications for the built environment in a range of development contexts. The module includes analysis of key policy concerns and planning and design responses comparatively across different institutional and cultural contexts and reviews techniques for assessing the impacts of development.

20 credits

In this module you will focus on the public realm from the perspective of urban design and planning. In the module you will have the opportunity to study and write about key theories and debates about public space. These include issues such as inclusion and exclusion, the 'publicness' of public space, identity, experience, movement, green spaces, crime, security and antisocial behaviour and different approaches to management. These are considered in an international context. You will examine practical examples and will undertake a practical project to explore these issues 'on the ground' thereby enhancing your skills in critical evaluation and design appreciation.

20 credits

Professional accreditation

Completion of the MA course is the first step to become a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). On successful completion of the MA course, students can become Licentiates of the RTPI. After two years' experience in practice, they may make a submission for their Assessment of Professional Competence and, if successful, they are elected as Chartered Town Planners.

Programme Specification

For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the programme specification.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2). Applicants without the standard entry requirements will be considered if they have membership of an appropriate professional body. Applicants may be required to attend an interview. This course is designed for those students who wish to practice town and country planning in the UK. 

If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element.

Applicants are required to submit one academic reference. 

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process.

A minimum of a lower second class honours degree (2:2). Applicants without the standard entry requirements will be considered if they have membership of an appropriate professional body. Applicants may be required to attend an interview. This course is designed for those students who wish to practice town and country planning in the UK. 

If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS 6.0 with at least 5.5 in each element.

Applicants are required to submit one academic reference. 

More information

Careers

Whatever your career plans, or if you have no plans at present, a degree in planning provides you with particularly good job prospects. Planning is widely considered highly employable degree due to mixture of skills and competencies students acquire, offering great career prospects both domestically as well as internationally. Students completing the Urban and Regional Planning MA have an excellent record of gaining employment or progressing their careers in planning and related fields, working for local governments, quasi-public and non-profit organizations, as well as private planning consultants.

Students benefit from an inspirational environment with excellent industry links. The School of Architecture and Cities maintains a strong network of connections with relevant public, private, and third sector organisations, including the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), providing students with the chance to participate in live briefs and benefit from a vibrant programme of guest lectures, professional workshops and networking events. 

Our Careers and Employability Service is here to support you to achieve your full potential.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we provide you with a variety of opportunities to work and develop new skills. As a University of Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements, graduate jobs or voluntary experience related to your course
  • discover international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • write effective CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our career consultants
  • gain insights into your chosen industry through mentoring
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events 

Find out more about the Careers and Employability Service.

Find out more about other employability initiatives at the University of Westminster.

What our students say

Adam Hunt

Adam Hunt

Urban and Regional Planning MA

I chose Westminster due to its reputation for research and the lecturers’ reputations for being able to communicate how spatial planning theories can be applied in real world situations. The University’s location is also ideal, as it is so well connected within central London.

Kiran Curtis

Kiran Curtis

Urban and Regional Planning MA

Studying as a mature student part-time was a challenging experience. I certainly gained lots of practical knowledge in my chosen discipline but it also helped me further develop a number of other skills such as being able to research, appraise and assimilate information rapidly. However it was also very refreshing to take the time to explore subjects academically, for their own sake.

Yvonne Sampoh

Yvonne Sampoh

Urban and Regional Planning MA

The course is delivered through 100% coursework (encompassing workshops and project based studies), which was suitable for my work life balance, as I worked full-time. The course was also well known for its strong emphasis on urban design, which was particularly important for me.  I have gained a deeper knowledge of the concepts of sustainable development, regeneration and urban design within the built environment. I had no previous academic training in this area as my undergraduate degree was in law. The skills I gained from the course have been essential for my employment.

What our students say

Elli Thomas

Elli Thomas

Postgraduate Certificate in Spatial Planning

I first came to Westminster as a full-time Urban Design MA student, and then returned several years later to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Spatial Planning, while working full-time in design and planning. Studying and critically exploring planning theory as part of the course has proved invaluable for informing my work in practice, helping to contextualise the work that I do as part of the planning process for numerous major development schemes across the UK.

Rebecca Buckley's default avatar image

Rebecca Buckley

Urban and Regional Planning MA (2019-2020 full-time student)

I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking to gain advanced knowledge of urban and regional planning, the theories behind the built environment and how to practically apply that leaning to a professional role. Throughout the course I feel I have developed a huge amount of knowledge, having been guided through the complexities by excellent tutors and lecturers. I felt very challenged at times, but always supported. The most impressive aspect of the course, for me on reflection, was the breadth of life that urban planning affects and how the lecturers communicate that; through debate, role-play, group discussion, field trips and guest lecturers.

Find out more

Studying Planning, Housing and Urban Design at Westminster

Watch our video to find out more about studying Planning, Housing and Urban Design courses with us.

Other Urban and Regional Planning courses

We also offer an Urban and Regional Planning Postgraduate Diploma and an Urban and Regional Planning Postgraduate Certificate. These qualifications on their own do not provide a route to RTPI membership. They are intended for professionals in related fields to deepen their understanding of spatial planning.

If you take the Postgraduate Diploma you take modules totalling at least 120 credits from the list of MA modules above, of which 100 credits must be from the core modules. The Postgraduate Diploma usually takes one year to complete full-time. The Postgraduate Diploma usually takes two years to complete part-time. To apply for the Postgraduate Diploma you should apply now via UCAS Postgraduate (UCAS code P052063).

If you take the Postgraduate Certificate you take modules totalling at least 60 credits from the list of MA modules above, of which 40 credits must be from the core modules. The Postgraduate Certificate usually takes one to two years to complete part-time. To apply for the Postgraduate Certificate you should apply now via UCAS Postgraduate (UCAS code P052064).

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £850 (Price per 20-credit module)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible postgraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

International tuition fee: £1,500 (Price per 20-credit module)

When you have enrolled with us, your annual tuition fees will remain the same throughout your studies with us. We do not increase your tuition fees each year.

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible postgraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Course Location

Our Marylebone Campus has benefitted from a multi-million pound refurbishment resulting in new workshops, digital studios and development of the Marylebone Library. The campus is home to the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment and Westminster Business School. For more details, visit our Marylebone Campus page.

Contact us

We have an FAQs page if you are applying this year.

Or you can contact the Course Enquiries Team:

[email protected]

Start live chat

Opening hours (GMT): 9am–4pm Monday to Friday

More information

Your Westminster

Book an open day. Order a prospectus. Sign up for newsletters.