Skyscape of balloons over Bristol


Urban Planning (with Foundation Year)

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Geography and Environmental Management
Five years full-time, six years sandwich
Full-time, sandwich
Programme leader:
Dr Richard Mourne
Key fact:
This degree is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial degree and benefits from high levels of student satisfaction and employability.

Page last updated 29 September 2017


Why BSc(Hons) Urban Planning?

Urbanisation and regeneration present wide-ranging challenges for planners. Balancing these with our need to live in sustainable healthy environments requires specialist knowledge and skills. Armed with this understanding, planners can make an impact and deliver positive change across towns, cities and neighbourhoods worldwide.

Why study our course? 

On this course, you will examine the historical issues shaping our environment and the circumstances, challenges and opportunities in the world today. You will learn how to design healthy sustainable communities and apply this to your plans and ideas for future living environments. You will learn about the development process and the organisations, communities and settings involved to ensure that plans and projects are effectively delivered

Real world experience

This degree is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial degree. Throughout the course, you will gain experience working on live briefs for real clients. You will research and assess locations on day trips and residential field trips. If you decide to take a placement between years two and three you will be able to apply your skills in a choice of professional environments. We also arrange regular presentations from visiting professionals and past students so you can learn about the industry and best practice.

Where it can take you

On graduation, planning careers are available in the public, private and voluntary sectors. You could also go on to a career linked to the environment such as housing, tourism, economic development, regeneration, and environmental protection.



You will be offered a solid grounding in planning, with an effective blend of both theory and practice. The course covers a wide range of subject areas and draws from both UK and international case studies. Assessment through the course is mixed; many of the projects have an applied and real-life feel to them. The modules are taught collaboratively by staff from within the Departments of Geography and Environmental Management and Architecture and the Built Environment.

Year 0 (Foundation Year)

  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Foundation Project
  • Society, Economy and Governance
  • Development and Place
  • Data Analysis and Design

You will study the Foundation Year alongside students from our other Geography, Environmental Mangement and Planning courses, and so you may be able to transfer to a course in one of these areas at the end of the Foundation Year.

The normal expectation is that you must pass all Year 0 modules before progressing to Year 1.

Year 1 - Understanding the Context
You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Healthy Sustainable Communities
  • Making of Place
  • The Context of Property and Development
  • Geographical Skills
  • People and Planning

Year 2 - Delivering Change
You will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Future Places
  • Development Appraisal and Planning
  • Property Development Practice and Law
  • Researching Human Geography

Plus one of the following optional modules:

  • Regenerating Cities
  • Rural Change and Development

Optional placement year

Students have the option to take a placement year after completing their first two levels of study. As a connection between university study and work, the placement allows the application of academic knowledge to a professional environment.

Year 3 - The International Year
Non-placement students will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Planning Studio 3: Global Cities
  • Individual Research Project
  • Design and Implementation Project
  • Planning Theory
  • Achieving Design Quality

Plus one of the following optional modules:

  • Managing National Parks
  • Renewable Energy

Placement students will study the following compulsory modules:

  • Planning Studio 3: Global Cities
  • Final Year Project
  • Placement
  • Design and Implementation Project
  • Planning Theory
  • Achieving Design Quality

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

As demonstrated by consistently high scores on the National Student Survey, the departments lecturing staff provide a friendly, enabling environment for learning.

Our teaching and learning strategy emphasises active rather than passive learning. This means you will encounter a wide range of innovative classroom and in-field based learning contexts involving lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars and IT-based learning. A studio spine extends through the course, with the contributing modules providing some exciting and contemporary project briefs that will encourage you to think and be creative. Some of these will involve you working with real-life problems, communities or leading practitioners, often in multidisciplinary contexts.

Through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme, students receive mentoring and support from students in more advanced years of the degree course to enhance the learning experience across our courses.

You will discover new ways of analysing an area which will help you to appreciate the nature and character of places, together with the challenges and opportunities that are present. This will be invaluable in bringing forward creative and exciting solutions for change. Other key skills we will focus on include creative thinking, project management, negotiation and advocacy, and verbal and written communication. You will be asked to work with GIS and digital mapping and will be provided with on-going support to help you develop professional looking reports, presentations or portfolios. We will help to develop your confidence, your ability to lead teams and create a general enthusiasm towards lifelong learning.

"Throughout the course there are invaluable opportunities to apply current and emerging planning theories and concepts to 'live' sites. Whether its strategic planning or site specific development proposals, students can contrast and compare their output to that of professional practice". Third Year Planning Student.

Find out more about our department's approach to learning and teaching.

For more details see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Percentage of time spend in different learning activities, per year.

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study% check

Study time

The course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial planning degree. This is an important qualification in your journey to become a professional chartered planner. To complete the journey, you will need to do one of two things:

  • You can opt to take further specialist study. Many will opt to pursue this immediately after their degree while others opt to seek some additional work experience. Options for this specialist study at UWE Bristol include our MSc Planning Major Projects and MSc Transport Planning. The former is characterised by a flexible approach to learning while there is also an opportunity to start this course at one of our European partners in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. After completing this specialist study, you will need to follow a structured programme of work experience to secure membership to the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
  • Or there is an opportunity to achieve chartered membership by progressing into a structured programme of work experience to achieve associate membership, and then full membership of the institute.


Assessment is achieved through a balance of coursework and examinations. Examinations are held in either January or May and include written exams, in-class tests or assessed presentations. Coursework is varied and will involve you writing essays or reports, undertaking surveys or design work, or producing some kind of team based project.

You are actively encouraged to do 'formative work' to prepare for these assessments; this does not count towards your final marks but the feedback received should help you enhance your final mark. Support is available for students who need it.

For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.

Percentage of time spend in different assessment methods, per year.

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment% check


Professional accreditation

When considering a planning course it is important to look for professional accreditation. This course satisfies part of the RTPI's learning outcomes and is accredited as a spatial planning degree. The department and the wider faculty has excellent links with the RTPI, as well as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Architects Registrations Board and the Royal Geographical Society.


Students who get work experience are more likely to graduate with a better degree and get higher quality work on graduation. So as well as helping hone your professional skills, industry knowledge and network, experience will make you highly employable on graduation. There is an opportunity to take a year-long placement at the end of year two and doing so greatly enhances your employment prospects.


We arrange a series of day trips so you can visit the locations you are studying and meet the people who can inform your work.

These are supplemented by a series of field trips.

  • In Years one and two, we visit UK cities to explore live planning and development projects. Past cities have included Manchester, Liverpool, London and Sheffield.
  • In Year three you can visit a European city to explore new urban developments, meet community members, and hear from local lecturers. Past destinations include Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lyon and Berlin.

Study facilities

You will be taught in modern, well-equipped facilities, which include our award-winning Design Studios:

  • Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated Project Room.
  • Conduct spatial enquiry and analyse data using industry-standard GIS and statistical software in our physical geography laboratories.
  • Develop desktop publishing and design skills, and access support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE Bristol has to offer.

Learn from industry

We arrange regular presentations from visiting professionals and past students so you can learn about industry challenges and best practice.

Socialise and campaign

You can meet and socialise with fellow planners in our new student-led Planning@UWE Bristol Group on Facebook.

Showcase your work

Our final year students regularly showcase their work at UWE's annual Environment and Technology Degree Show.

Have a look at our Pinterest Boards for examples of student's work.


Careers / Further study

There is a projected shortage of planners so there is a wide range of career opportunities in the public, private and voluntary sectors. This degree provides an excellent foundation for careers linked to the environment such as housing, tourism, economic development, regeneration, and environmental protection. You could also consider a career in research and teaching.

Past students have gone on to work for organisations ranging from local authorities and planning research centres, to private sector companies including Turley Associates, Terence O'Rourke, Crest Nicholson, Persimmon and Savills.

Award-winning Careers Service

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurial activity, and access to employer events.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and initiatives nurturing talent and innovation, you will have opportunities to gain valuable real world experience, allowing you to graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.

Visit our Employability pages to find out about careers, employers, real world experience and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

Be inspired

Read about what being a town planner involves.


Full time course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1156

Full time course with placement year

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Home/EU-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Home/EU-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094
International-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee12750
International-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year12750
International-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1594
International-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1594
International-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year11156
Offshore-Sandwich-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Sandwich-Full Annual Fee Following Placement Year9250
Offshore-Sandwich-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
Offshore-Sandwich-Placement Year Fee1156
Offshore-Sandwich-Reduced Annual Fee Following Placement Year8094

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year150

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those that students could reasonably expect to incur during their studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

For information about funding for undergraduate courses see our funding pages.


Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 72
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language and Grade D/4 or above in Mathematics, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

The 'Typical offers' information above is only for full-time students entering the foundation year.

We are happy to consider applicants with a mixture of A levels and BTEC qualifications.

We welcome applications from highly motivated students who do not meet the usual entrance requirements given above, but who have gained equivalent knowledge and skills from substantial relevant work or other experience.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BSc(Hons) Urban Planning course.

UWE Bristol's International College

International students who do not meet the academic or English language requirements to study this course can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.

Please read the general information about entry requirements.

How to apply

Please see the general information about applications.

For further information


UWE Main Campus

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