Course Overview

UK 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

Key historical and contemporary debates in planning. Role of planning in land and property markets. Principles of UK planning system. Place Shaping & Policy integration. Making a Planning Decision. Study skills (referencing, essay planning, critical analysis).

20 credits

Governance; Community engagement; Social exclusion and diversity; Planning theory; Planning at different geographic scales; Planning for economic growth and for housing.

20 credits

A project-based module organised around a field week located in a European city with strong historic and cultural context.

20 credits

Introduction to urban design issues and techniques; principles of property development including financial appraisal; projects involving area, market and site appraisal and development of design proposal in the context of local planning guideline.

40 credits

An introduction to the concepts and ideas of sustainability in urban development. Key debates in planning for sustainable cities and neighbourhoods. Contemporary issues in delivering sustainable development. Interdisciplinary and discipline-based discussions on the practice of sustainability. Development of study skills (critical analysis, site analysis and planning, sustainability appraisal, team working, presentation).

20 credits

This module introduces students to methods and methodologies specific to urban, spatial, design and planning research, and professional practice. Planning skills and principles of conducting research are introduced and explained, and the module will allow students to begin developing their own research proposal for their dissertation/major project. The module will also allow students to critically examine the ways in which knowledge of the built environment, and of the impacts of planning practice and policy, is generated, in the wider context of sustainable development.

20 credits

The module requires students to identify a topic which explores aspects of both their specialist option and their earlier core modules for detailed investigation and evaluation. Offers the possibility to research in-depth a spatial planning or related topic through primary or desk-based research. The Dissertation should be 12,000 words in length. Students may alternatively undertake a policy implementation project on a similar topic producing a written report of a similar length together with a statement reflecting on the research process.

40 credits

This module is intended for students seeking RTPI membership (Royal Town Planning Institute) who do not hold a recognised degree in planning but do hold a degree recognised as a ‘specialist degree’ by the RTPI. The module enables students to reflect upon their own educational and practice experience, relate these to the RTPI entrance requirements; identify any deficiencies in their competencies together with a strategy to meet any such deficiency and vehicle to demonstrate these to the RTPI.

10 credits

Option modules

The module explores changes in land use in relation to changes in city form and function. It focuses on how the changing planning system (including specific funding systems and processes, and the broader planning framework) shapes transport systems and their sustainability. Different views on transport and land use planning are considered, including local authority and developer perspectives. The module incorporates discussion of transport modelling and forecasting, and an introduction to relevant software as it is used within planning and policy-making. The module considers social and environmental trends and constraints as they affect planning for future transport systems.

20 credits

This module focuses on traffic and streets, where traffic refers to a range of urban transport modes. It covers movement and place functions in urban contexts, including tensions within and between each. Students analyse approaches to evaluating urban street environments, particularly focused on walking and cycling. This incorporates comparisons of methodological approaches used within different streetscape contexts and within different countries.

20 credits

This module provides background on environmental policy and climate change. It sets out the theoretical framework to start with, and then the international context for sustainable development, energy efficiency and climate change. It explores implications for the built environment in a range of development contexts, includes analysis of key policy concerns and planning and design responses comparatively across different institutional and cultural contexts. It also reviews techniques for assessing the impacts of development and examines the role that effective environmental strategies and policies in planning and related fields can pursue to reach sustainable development.

20 credits

Housing and economic development; debates about housing supply; the role of public policy including planning in promoting housing development; the development of affordable housing; concentrations of social deprivation and negative neighbourhood effects; strategies for neighbourhood regeneration; governance and capacity building; tackling worklessness; policy evaluation.

20 credits

Following the growing awareness and recognisance of people's voices in shaping their places, the module addresses key issues around public engagement and themes of sustainability applied to the local scale, by looking at challenges addressed by communities and grassroots, from an interdisciplinary perspective. The participants will gain practical skills through the observation and participation to real-life projects, by being taught and working within an interdisciplinary team, composed of various speakers from different fields and professional horizons, the local authorities and the community groups. They will develop a reflective approach on ways to serve the community and enhance social capital and will additionally benefit from an international exposure through an exchange workshop with a European university. Students will gain theoretical knowledge on key ideas related to sustainability, community, participation, social capital and governance, inequalities issues and cultural diversity attached to place-making processes; and develop analytical skills on key historical and contemporary debates about community engagement, community diversity through London's key challenges for sustainability and by learning on international cases.

20 credits

Cities and their populations everywhere are facing a future of growing uncertainty and vulnerability. Planning frameworks and strategies will need to be adaptable to this growing risk. This module looks at spatial planning and urban design for risk management. It addresses reducing vulnerability and building urban resilience as it relates to longer-term climate change and other environmental threats, associated economic and political risks, public health and development needs. The module integrates sustainable development and climate change mitigation and adaptation concerns with disaster planning and urban risk management.

20 credits

This module will provide a compelling insight into the state of the art of modifying behaviour in transport, from well-established interventions (such as speed limits) to relatively new ones (such as personal travel planning). Topics will include: The policy and politics of modifying transport behaviour, how behaviour change fits into the governance of transport, the theoretical basis of transport behaviour change, typology of audiences and interventions, “the four Es”: education, engineering, enforcement and economy, and evaluation – theory and practicalities.

20 credits

An introduction to the historic urban landscapes that form an important part of most towns and cities throughout the world. Theory and conservation practice evaluated in a legislative and case law context. Students will learn the techniques of character appraisal and how they can form a platform for further creative intervention and develop an understanding of the specific legislative constraints relating to heritage assets.

20 credits

This is a theory and case study-based module that critically examines the role of and definition of nature in urban environments. It looks at the role of nature, ecology and landscape as powerful paradigms in cities in the late 20th / early 21st century. Socioenvironmental sustainability, urban ecology, adaptive reuse and the re-emergence of natural landscape features as part of a city’s active green infrastructure are addressed and discussed through relevant literature. International case studies are explored in the context of a growing awareness of the importance of city ecologies for health and wellbeing, sustainability and the future design of cities.

20 credits

This is a project-based module that examines the form, use and experience of public space and the notions of perception, identity, diversity, place, place making and place shaping. Projects are used to critically assess the character of urban spaces and propose responsive design interventions. The understanding of the use and experience of these spaces is supported by lectures and selected readings of key thinkers in the field.

20 credits

This is a project-based module where students investigate industry-standard software and datasets easily available for analysis and representation of spatial phenomena. Supported by a series of lectures the module has a focus on student led projects developing a critical understanding of how software can enhance practice rather than developing advanced software skills.

20 credits

Professional accreditation

The Urban and Regional Planning MA is fully accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a combined degree programme. 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, are then entitled to full RTPI membership, leading to better career – and salary – prospects. The Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate on its own do not meet RTPI requirements for Initial Planning Education but can be used as an element for accreditation eligibility. More information on routes to membership can be obtained from the RTPI website.

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 6.5 with at least 6.0 in writing.

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 6.5 with at least 6.0 in writing.

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 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

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