BSc(Hons) Urban Planning
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Page last updated 4 July 2022
This course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) as a spatial degree and has high levels of student satisfaction and employability.
Why Urban Planning?
Simply put, planning is all about making places 'better'. It's about improving their attractiveness, making them healthier and fairer, and making them more resilient to change. It's about helping to deliver a zero-carbon world and solving problems and dealing with change. Its about the here and now, as well as what goes where and when in the future.
Planners are the agents of change. Not only are they expected to protect the places that we treasure, they also need to plan for the new homes, jobs and infrastructure that we need. As a planner, you'll need to work collaboratively and creatively, creating the places that can showcase the latest thinking in such things as energy, transport and sustainable design.
You'll need to work under pressure to ensure that your plans and ideas can happen but ultimately you can help to plan for a better world.
Why UWE Bristol?
This BSc(Hons) Urban Planning degree will encourage you to consider the contemporary challenges affecting place and society today.
You will learn how to design and deliver development and change, and find out about the individuals and groups you will need to work with to carry out successful projects. You'll examine current issues such as the impact of driverless cars, and develop the knowledge and skillset you will need to be a future-facing, visionary practitioner.
Accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute, the course will enhance your employability through opportunities to work on live project briefs across the city and meet active practitioners. You'll also undertake inspiring field work showcasing the differences that planners have brought about.
You'll be able to work with real-life clients through a professional experience module included in year two, while you can also opt to apply your learning through a year-long placement. Where possible, you can also experience global planning practice through our study exchanges, and develop wide-ranging skills that extend from design to the financial appraisal of a project.
Where can it take me?
Planning is a global career with opportunities across the public, private and voluntary sectors.
You could also go on to a career in an area linked to the environment such as housing, tourism, economic development, regeneration, and environmental protection.
The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.
You will study:
- Healthy Sustainable Communities
- Law and Economics
- People and Planning
- People, Places and Change
- Professional Development and Practice.
You will study:
- Development Appraisal and Planning
- Development, Practice and Law
- Future Places
- Professional Experience
- Researching the City
Plus one optional module from:
- City Regeneration
- Transport and Mobility.
Placement year (if applicable)
If you study on the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after Year two.
Depending on which you choose, you'll either complete a placement learning or learning and development module.
See the Placements and Fees sections for more information.
You will study:
- Achieving Design Quality
- Final Year Project*
- Independent Project (DGEM)**
- Infrastructure Design and Implementation Project
- Planning Global Cities
- Planning Theory.
Plus, one optional module from:
- Sustainable Transport: Technologies and Behaviour**
- Water and Energy Futures.**
*Only for students who have completed the Placement year.
**Only for students who have not completed the Placement year.
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
Our teaching and learning strategy emphasises active rather than passive learning. You'll learn through a mix of innovative classroom and practical learning contexts including lectures, tutorials, workshops, seminars, and IT-based learning.
Learning is centred around a series of project briefs that encourage you to think and be creative. Assignments mimic the work you will undertake in the professional workplace, providing invaluable skills to leave university with. Our offer is shaped by an employers' advisory board that helps to ensure the relevance of your learning.
Find out more about our department's approach to learning and teaching.
Work with real-life problems, communities or leading practitioners, often in multidisciplinary contexts.
Discover how to appreciate the nature and character of places, together with the challenges and opportunities they present. Focus on your creative thinking, project management, negotiation and advocacy, and verbal and written skills.
Create professional looking reports, presentations and portfolios that demonstrate your skill. Build your confidence, your ability to lead teams and enthusiasm for learning.
Attend regular presentations from visiting practitioners and guest lecturers so you can learn about industry challenges and best practice. Receive mentoring and support from more advanced students through our Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme.
We regularly host events for our academic and practice partners. We were selected to host the prestigious conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning in 2020.
Percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities, each year.
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Socialise and campaign
Showcase your work
Show your work to friends, family and potential employers at the annual degree show.
You'll be assessed predominantly by coursework.
Coursework is varied and will involve you writing essays or reports, undertaking surveys or design work, or producing some kind of team based project.
We encourage you to do formative work, eg draft reports, to prepare for these assessments. This doesn't count towards your final marks but the feedback should help you enhance your final mark.
Support is available if you have difficulties with numeracy, IT, literacy and study skills.
For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.
Percentage of time you'll spend in different assessment methods, each year.
|Year||Written exam assessment||Coursework assessment||Practical exam assessment||% check|
This course satisfies the necessary learning outcomes of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and is accredited as a spatial planning degree.
Students who gain work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought after graduate. The Professional Experience module in year two therefore provides an opportunity for you to work with a real-life client and assist with live project briefs.
If you choose the four year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after Year two.
Study year abroad
Where possible, you'll also have opportunities to study overseas on courses that are taught in English and are relevant to your degree. The study year abroad is not a paid placement.
You'll get help to find a placement and support throughout from department staff and our award-winning careers service.
Where possible, we arrange day trips so you can visit study locations and meet people who can inform your work. Local study locations include Bristol, Bath Portishead and Weston-Super-Mare.
There are also residential trips, subsidised by the department. In year one you have the opportunity to explore live planning and development projects in another UK city.
In year two, there is an opportunity to visit a European city to explore how UK planning compares to practice elsewhere.
Learn in modern, well-equipped facilities, including our award-winning design studios.
Study and collaborate on group assignments in our dedicated Project Room.
Develop computer-aided design (CAD), model-making, design and drawing skills in collaborative workshops.
Conduct spatial enquiries and analyse data using industry-standard geographic information systems (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.
Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.
Careers / Further study
There is a projected shortage of planners so there will be a range of opportunities in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
You could choose a career in an area linked to the environment such as housing, tourism, economic development, regeneration, and environmental protection. You could also go into research and teaching.
Many of our students progress to become professional members of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The quickest route for this requires further study. Options for this at the UWE Bristol Planning School include MSc Urban Planning or MSc Planning and Urban Leadership. Both of these programmes can be studied in full and part-time modes to fit around your individual circumstances.
Planning and Urban Leadership can be studied online giving you complete flexibility. After completing this study, you then need to take a programme of work experience under the RTPI's Assessment of Professional Competence. You can then become a Chartered Planner and use the letters 'MRTPI' after your name.
You can also achieve chartered membership by undertaking a longer period of work experience that will require you to work to becoming an Associate and then a Chartered member of the institute.
Past students have gone on to work for local authorities, planning research centres and private sector companies including Turley Associates, Terence O'Rourke, Crest Nicholson, Persimmon and Savills.
Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.
We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.
Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.
Full time course
Supplementary fee information
Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.
You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the four year course and then transfer to the three year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.
Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.
Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.
- Tariff points: 104
- GCSE: Grade C/4 in English Literature or Language and Mathematics, or equivalent. We do not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificate in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as alternatives to GCSEs.
- English Language Requirement: International and EU applicants are required to have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or approved equivalent*). *The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades you will need in our English Language section. Visit http://uwe.ac.uk/englishlanguagerequirements
- A-level subjects: No specific subjects required.
- EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
Please list the units you are taking in your application. For further advice on acceptable units please email us.
For information on required Guided Learning Hours please see our minimum entry requirements page.
- Access: No specific subjects required.
- Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.
- Irish Highers: No specific subjects required.
- T Levels: No specific subjects required.
For country specific entry requirements please find your country on the country information pages. If you are an international student and do not meet the academic requirements to study this course, you can qualify by completing preparatory study at our International College.
If you are applying to study at UWE Bristol and require additional support to meet our English language requirements, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Read more about our pre-sessional English Programme.