About this course
Accreditations and partnerships:
- Entry year: 2012/13
- Course code: LK74
- Level: Undergraduate
- Tariff points: 300
- Department: Planning and Architecture
- Campus: Frenchay
- Duration: For the BA(Hons), three years full-time; Master of Planning (Geography) award, four years full-time.
- Delivery: Full-time, sandwich
- Study Abroad: Yes
- Programme leader: Nick Smith BSc MPhil MRTPI
This course is ideal if you have an interest in human geography but want to give your studies a more focused and distinctive edge. The programme offers a stimulating and high quality academic experience that effectively blends the disciplines of geography and town and country planning together. In addition to exploring the wide-ranging influences that have affected our settlements and landscapes over time, you will also begin to appreciate the role that planners can play in positively managing such change.
A professionally accredited programme
The BA(Hons) in Geography and Planning is a three year degree, although the majority of students tend to study for a further year to achieve the Master of Planning (Geography) award. Completing this final year enables you to satisfy the educational requirements of the Royal Town Planning Institute. This means that after a period of work experience you can apply to become a professional planner should you wish to pursue your interest in this area.
An exciting and varied syllabus
The world we live in is threatened by the way in which we use it. This has become a vital issue for society and for geographers and planners in particular. We need to create more sustainable, healthier and better quality places for all - to ensure that we maintain our resources and look after all our needs. Having the ability to respond to these challenges is something that is central to each module of the programme.
The award enables a variety of skills and interests to be developed through a syllabus that is both diverse and exciting. It will encourage a lifetime of learning and will provide wide-ranging skills that can be applied to a variety of career paths. The programme examines key environmental, cultural, political, social and economic trends at a range of spatial scales, with case studies being selected from the global to the local.
Teaching encourages a critical yet constructive understanding of how geographers and planners can shape environments in positive and progressive ways. Contemporary goals, which modules focus on, include the need to:
- Adapt and mitigate environments to the effects of climate change
- Promote social justice
- Conserve and manage our historic environments
- Ensure that we live healthier lifestyles
- Provide homes, jobs and infrastructure
- Facilitate more active and sustainable forms of transport
- Protect and provide a living countryside
- Create streets and spaces that are accessible, attractive and well-managed
'This course really appealed to me. While on the one hand it built upon my interest in geography, and my desire to learn about different types of people and place, it also added a new dimension. Rather than just hearing about the challenge or the problem, I have begun to think about possible solutions which, one day, will hopefully make a difference'.
Second year student (2010/11), Master of Planning (Geography).
The first three years of the course are intended to give you a solid grounding in geographical thinking and the role that town and country planners can have in today's society.
You will learn about the issues that have shaped our world in the past, and the factors that are likely to affect people and place in the future.
Planners are expected to balance often-competing demands, such as the need to deliver housing and to protect our built and natural environments from adverse and unnecessary change. It is therefore important for you to know how creative and deliverable solutions can be developed, and that you feel confident in being able to present your ideas (through plans, strategies and verbal presentations). Although the boundaries between planning and geography are rather blurred, teaching is broadly split between the departments of Geography and Environment Management and Planning and Architecture.
The fourth year of study, which leads to the Master of Planning (Geography) award, is delivered purely by the Department of Planning and Architecture.
A field trip is included in each year while a six-week work placement is arranged in the final year to help enhance your attractiveness to employers.
'Studying planning at UWE has been a great experience for me. The course content is really interesting and I have made a wide range of friends due to field trips and shared modules. Staff are knowledgeable and passionate about their subject and seem actively engaged in some really interesting areas of research.'
Third year student (2010/11), Master of Planning
Teaching and learning
Both departments are committed to a teaching and learning strategy that emphasises active rather than passive learning. You will therefore benefit from a wide range of innovative classroom contexts involving lectures, tutorials, seminars, fieldwork and IT-based learning. The course has a good balance between theory and practice, while some modules involve 'live' projects which are often developed in collaboration with schools, employers or organisations in the public, private or voluntary sectors.
'Throughout the MPlan 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'
Fourth year student (2010/11), Master of Planning
Research and practice links
The Department of Planning and Architecture supports a number of research centres, including the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, the Centre for Transport and Society and the WHO Healthy Cities Collaborating Centre. The Department of Geography and Environmental Management has research interests in environment, sustainability and resource management; space, culture and regeneration; and tourism and migration geographies.
Members of staff regularly attend conferences and produce articles for publication. They are engaged with a variety of professional and subject-based networks through which research and policy agendas can be shaped.
The award is well-known to employers, and excellent links are maintained with local employers who participate in many activities at the university.
Approach to assessment
You will be assessed by a variety of methods, including essays, reports, surveys, design projects, presentations, progress tests or written examinations. You will also be required to write a dissertation (a 10,000 word project) on a subject of your choice- an exciting, rewarding and challenging project that will draw together many of the skills you will have learnt over the previous two years. You will also get to join in and study interdisciplinary issues with students from other degrees in the department and across the faculty. This encourages mutual respect and understanding of the professions which you are likely to be working with during your career, and helps you to develop and practice the skills of presentation, negotiation, communication, and delegation.
You are actively encouraged to do 'formative work' to prepare for these assessments. This does not count towards a courses final marks but the feedback received should help enhance your final performance.
You will benefit from a newly developed 'virtual learning environment'. This allows you to access notes and readings and to submit coursework and receive feedback online.
The Department of Planning and Architecture has strong links with the RTPI, and provides an input into the shaping and making of policy and initiatives across the institute. The Department of Geography and Environmental Management has close ties with the Royal Geographical Association.
When considering a planning course it is important to look for professional accreditation. That means studying on a course which meets the academic requirements of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
The Master of Planning (Geography) programme allows you to satisfy the educational requirements of the RTPI for becoming a professional and chartered member. Full membership can be achieved by undertaking further practical planning experience, and satisfying the requirements of the institute's Assessment of Professional Competence (APC).
Field trips are an integral part of the learning experience. During the 2010/11 academic year, students on the Master of Planning programme visited the cities of Rotterdam (year one), Liverpool (year two), London (year three), and Paris (year four). A number of other trips and excursions are also arranged, taking advantage of the diverse environments found in the city or further afield.
Our field trips to Rotterdam, Manchester, London and finally Paris were not only fun and informative, but taught me completely new ways to see and read a city-landscape. My lecturers at UWE haven't just taught me about the policy and processes involved in spatial planning, they have taught me completely new skill sets which will be invaluable in the workplace."
Fourth year student (2010/11), Master of Planning
Opportunity to study abroad
The department's well-established Erasmus programme allows a selected number of students each year to study their fourth year at one of four universities; Hanover in Germany; Nijmegen in Netherlands; Tours in France and Bologna in Italy. A number of third-year students can also participate in an Erasmus Intensive Programme collectively organised by the same Erasmus partners, together with the University of Oradea in Romania. The programme allows for six students from each of the participating universities to work together on a planning-based exercise over the course of 11 days.
An excellent student experience
A key goal for us is to enhance the student experience. We are keen for you to meet your academic potential and provide regular contact time with staff to advise on study skills and employability. The programme has a growing student identity with a number of social and academic events being organised by students each year. Personal tutors provide one to one pastoral support. The course leader has recently been commended as the university's personal tutor of the year.
'When first starting at UWE I was worried about making friends. However the course induction really helped. My overall student experience has been so good that part of me now wants to be a student for the rest of my life!''
Third year student (2010/11), Master of Planning (Geography)
Both departments benefit from modern and well-equipped facilities. A suite of computer rooms support software for word processing, data analysis, spatial enquiry, desk-top publishing and design. Many of the university's facilities are now open 24-hours a day or with extended opening times.
A project room provides space for you to work on individual and group assignments and provides a range of material and equipment.
Rewarding Career Opportunities
The unique combination of geography and planning opens up a wide range of career opportunities in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Key areas of interest tend to fall within planning, tourism, economic development, regeneration, and environmental protection. The programme also provides a solid ground for careers in research and teaching. The programme provides the knowledge and specialist skills that employers are looking for, such as the ability to acquire, analyse and present key information. The award is well known to employers and we are proud of the excellent links we have with practice.
Opportunities are available across the UK, although you might also be interested in applying your skills elsewhere in the world.
You will also develop transferable skills in computing, statistical analysis, report writing, oral presentation, team working, and research. We will also help you to develop personally, for instance in building your confidence or helping you to manage your time more effectively.
Many graduates decide to pursue a career in planning. Planners work in a variety of places for a wide range of employers. Many follow careers in the private sector for consultancies; others choose the public sector, advising government or work for agencies providing specialist advice on the environment. Despite the economic slowdown, employment prospects remain very good.
'UWE is really concerned about the 'employability' of its students. The department spends a lot of time and resources on developing the students and getting them ready for life outside of studying, and the university as a whole offers many opportunities to grow as a person. I have been able to sharpen my CV with the help of staff and I now feel more comfortable in looking for my ideal job and succeeding.'
Third year student (2010/11), Master of Planning
- Tariff points: 300
- GCSE: Maths and English Language at grade C or above required.
- Specific subjects: None specified
- Relevant subjects: Geography, Environmental Studies
- Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; achievement of level 2 credits in Maths and English Language.
Advice on typical offers
In addition to the 'typical offer' given here, please read the general information about entry requirements.
For more information on our fees, please visit our fees and funding pages.
For further information