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MSc/PgDip/PgCert Urban Planning

Previously known as MSc Urban and Regional Planning

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Study on a course that offers an internationally recognised professional qualification which opens up a wide range of career opportunities in planning and related fields such as economic development, regeneration and environment. Suitable for people with a range of academic backgrounds and those with work experience in planning, the course encourages an innovative approach to planning or related areas. You focus on applying theory to contemporary practice by using real life case studies.

Key points
• Suitable for graduates from a wide range of backgrounds, people working in planning and those looking for a career change.
• Study on a course fully accredited by the RTPI allowing progression to become a Chartered Town Planner.
• Consider planning responses to both the big global issues of sustainability and climate change.
• Study with students from a range of backgrounds from the UK and overseas.


Full-time – one year minimum, two days per week
Part-time – two years minimum, one day per week

Plus occasional block study days and an optional one week European field trip

Starts September

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Royal Town Planning Institute

Fees – home and EU students

Course fees may be subject to annual inflationary increase. For further information see our fees and funding pages.

2014/15 academic year

Full-time – typically £6,000
Part-time – typically £2,000 a stage for PgCert, PgDip and MSc stages
Plus an optional field trip fee of approximately £450

Fees – international students

Course fees may be subject to annual inflationary increase. For further fee information see our international fees or scholarships and bursaries pages.

2014/15 academic year

Typically £11,250 for the course

2015/16 academic year

Typically £11,500 for the course, plus an optional field trip fee of £450

Course description

Develop an innovative approach to planning grounded in theory and lively academic debate, and focused on the skills and competencies required for employment in the area.

You base your studies on real life issues and case studies and the course allows you to develop your own interests and specialist areas of study. The course provides you with key knowledge and skills for a planning or planning-related career.

It covers topics and issues such as
• planning theory, principles and practice
• planning policy and policy evaluation
• the English and wider approaches to planning
• planning law
• economic development
• the development process and viability appraisal
• climate change and environmental issues and protection
• design issues including urban design and sustainable design
• social equity and cohesion
• professional management skills including presentation and project management

The course has been running for over 25 years attracting students from a range of backgrounds including
• graduates from a range of subjects such as geography, arts, social sciences and design looking for a professional qualification
• practitioners in planning and the wider built environment field who are looking to develop their career
• people looking for a change of career direction
• international students from Europe, America and beyond


Coursework and practice focused assignments.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Royal Town Planning Institute

Entry requirements

Normally you must meet our general entry requirements and have a first degree. For the part-time course, we may consider you without a first degree if you have extensive relevant experience, and subject to the approval of the course leader and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

International qualifications that are equivalent to UK qualifications are acceptable.

If English is not your first language you typically need an IELTS 6.0 score with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.

Course content

Core modules

Planning theory and context
Provides an introduction and overview of planning including key theory, aims and debates for example, social equity and sustainable development.

Applied research methods
Provides you with the knowledge and skills to take academic research at postgraduate level. It also prepares you for your dissertation.

Policy for space and place
Covers the development and evaluation of planning policy including a critical review of the different levels of planning policy hierarchy.

Sustainable city ecologies
Considers how we can use planning to respond to environmental sustainability and social equity issues within urban environments. Module shared with the architecture students.

Environment and infrastructure
Examines the tensions in planning’s role both in protecting the environment and facilitating the delivery of major infrastructure for example, transport and power.

Planning and development process
A double module on the role of planning in design quality and development viability. Contains key professional skills material including project management and negotiation skills.

Economic planning and development
Examining the role of planning in delivering local economic development within the contemporary global context.

You take a major piece of primary research as the final piece of work for your masters in a specialism of your own choice from • regeneration • environment • urban design and development • transport.

Optional modules

Choose one option module from

Comparative European planning
Looks at approaches and uses of comparative methods in planning, opportunity to compare a European approach on environment, regeneration or design and development. The module contains a five day field course to a European country and currently goes to the Netherlands.

You can compare two European countries or another home country and a European country.

Consultancy project
You identify a client, agree a brief and take a real life piece of consultancy work. Provides an excellent opportunity to gain professional skills and contacts.


You can find opportunities in private consultancy and public sector planning.

Planners also work in a range of roles within
• regeneration and economic development
• urban design
• heritage and the historic environment
• the natural environment
• transport and accessibility planning
• community development and health
• campaign bodies and pressure groups

Postgraduate study fair

Come and visit us on 29 October.

Book your place

Course enquiries

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How to apply

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Further information