aerial artists view of a city

MSc/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate

Urban Planning

This course is open for applications.

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Geography and Environmental Management
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Part-time: one day per week, full-time: two consecutive days per week. September intake.
Programme leader:
Dr Katie McClymont
Key fact:
A highly flexible, professionally accredited course from a well-established department with excellent industry and placement links. Taught by active researchers and academic experts, with input from leading industry figures, the course is highly reflective of current practice.

Page last updated 4 July 2019


MSc Urban Planning is suited to a range of entrants - graduates from related disciplines, such as geography, professionals from planning practice and those from non-related backgrounds who are passionate about the subject. It is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute and prepares you for work as a planner in a wide range of roles, including in local or central government, private practice and the third sector. We also prepare you for potential work outside the UK, with an international context to the knowledge and skills you develop.

Linking learning with current practice

The course comprises advanced postgraduate study in urban planning and is firmly underpinned by a wide range of research, some of which is carried out by the course's excellent teaching staff and by faculty scholarships, consultancy and links with practice. Indeed, learning is strongly linked to practice, helping you become an effective, professionally qualified planner.

It also offers a range of study patterns to allow easier access to the course. Available over one or two years, it includes 'time out' options to help you manage your personal and professional commitments around your studies.

You can also specialise. We provide core planning knowledge and skills, with a range of specialised areas of planning available as you progress. 

Accreditations and partnerships:



The full Master's course comprises 180 credits divided into three 60 credits stages: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, and Master's. Students work incrementally through the three stages and must pass all modules at each stage in order to progress to the next.

The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

You will study (the number depending on your credit requirements):

  • Plan Making (30 credits) - An introduction to the core skills in conceiving, developing and writing plans for a range of spatial scales in a range of sectors.
  • Implementation and Design Quality (30 credits) - This gives you a practical and theoretical understanding of approaches to managing development through the mechanisms and system of planning. You will also develop an understanding of the analytical skills needed to make your decisions 'outcome-focused'. 
  • History and Theory of Urban Planning (30 credits) - A look at some of the main ideas and theories that have shaped urban and rural spatial planning, focusing on the post-world war two era. Against this background, we critically examine the fundamental justification and purposes of town planning.
  • Dissertation (60 credits) - A research project supported by training and tutor supervision.

Plus optional modules from (the number depending on credit requirements):

  • Planning for Conservation
  • Healthy Cities
  • Grassroots Planning
  • Urban Design
  • Transport Policy and Finance
  • Changing Travel Behaviour
  • International Planning Study Trip.

Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied. However, the structure will differ.

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

We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, workshops, discussions, teamwork, presentations and external visits.

We also have guest lectures from professional practitioners, which give you valuable insights into the latest developments in practice.

See our glossary of teaching and learning terms.

Study time

If you study full-time, you will attend classes for two consecutive days a week, with tutoring, reading and cross-department lectures on top. This means you should expect and plan to be occupied with your studies for a full week.

If you study part-time, you will attend classes for one day a week over two years, effectively combining work with study. The course is flexible and you can switch your study mode if your circumstances or commitments change.

Full and part-time students attend a two-day induction session at the start of the course and spend the summer term working on their dissertations.


All assessment is by coursework for each module, on a credit basis. This means patterns of study can be flexible. The modules are assessed through a mixture of group and individual presentations, essays, reports, portfolio work and presentation boards.  

See our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

This course is accredited by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and supported by a vibrant research community.

The course is taught by staff actively engaged with the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments and the Centre for Transport and Society.


There is a short field trip to a northern UK city and an international field trip to a major European city in the second semester. In recent years this has included Amsterdam, Dublin, Bordeaux, Lyon and Copenhagen.

Study facilities

The department has invested in online and offline computer-based resources to support all the course's modules, which is especially useful if you're studying via distance learning. You also have access to a vast number of journals and databases online, through the UWE library.

The library and several of the campus computer labs are available 24 hours a day, and the faculty's suite of computer rooms supports software for word processing, data analysis, spatial analysis, computer-aided design and other specialist software.

One of our main aims is to foster an active postgraduate community. Graduate students have dedicated teaching rooms and informal areas on the main campus, and each course has a student adviser who provides pastoral support and general advice.

You may also use our well-equipped laboratories for concrete and environmental services, environmental physics, earth sciences, spatial analysis (including mapping and Geographical Information Systems) and surveying technology. Each has specialist technicians supporting teaching and research.

There is also an audio-visual group that provides support for photography, digital imaging, filming and sound recording.

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

Bristol Planning Law and Policy Conference

The Bristol Planning Law and Policy Conference is an important event for planners and lawyers practicing in planning law. A limited number of free places are offered to current students by the organising committee (consisting of the UWE Short Course Unit and the firms Clarke Willmott, Terence O'Rourke, Bryan Smith Associates and King Sturge).

Be inspired

Read our students' experiences whilst studying Geography, Planning and Environmental Management courses.


Careers / Further study

This RTPI-accredited qualification offers postgraduates the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills for a range of fascinating careers, in a field where there is currently a shortage of qualified professionals. Bristol hosts a range of employers, particularly in the consultancy sector.

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.


Full time course (September Start)

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee7500
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)625
International-Full Time-Award Fee13000
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1083
Offshore-Full Time-Award Fee13000
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1083

Further information

The MSc is eligible for the post graduate loan

SLC course code: 720639

Part time course (September Start)

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)625
Offshore-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1083

Further information

The MSc is eligible for the post graduate loan

SLC course code: 720641

RTPI Bursaries

FeesAmount (£)
RTPI Bursary2000

Further information

The RTPI is offering 3 x £2000 Future Planners Bursaries

 Eligibility Criteria:

 -You are a UK/EU citizen and have proof of eligibility to work in the UK or Ireland after graduation

-Have a First or Upper Second class degree at undergraduate level in any discipline

-Demonstrate an interest in town planning as a career

-Have an offer for 19/20 on a fully accredited planning Master's degree at an accredited university Planning School in Scotland or England.

Please note that those undertaking the Chartered Town Planner Degree Apprenticeship are not eligible for a Future Planners bursary.

Further information can be found here. To apply please email: Nick Smith

Supplementary fee information

For information on fees, managing your money and determining your fee status, please go to our fees and funding pages.

For information about funding options, visit our postgraduate funding and scholarships pages.


We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2019. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.

Entry requirements

We normally require an honours degree of 2.2 or above. This course is suitable for graduates of degrees from any academic background, particularly social sciences, geography and planning.

We can consider applicants who do not meet the normal entry requirements, but who do have relevant professional experience or qualifications. In your application, you should describe your professional experience and qualifications in detail.

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.

For further information

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