MSc Transport Planning

Entry year
Course code
Geography and Environmental Management
One year full-time, two years part-time.
Full-time, part-time, individual modules for CPD.
Programme leader
Ben Clark

Please note that new student recruitment to this course has been suspended for the September 2020 intake. Applications for 2021 should be made from October 2020. If you would like information about our alternative course, please visit the MSc Transport Engineering and Planning page.

Page last updated 22 September 2020


As career opportunities in transport planning continue to grow, this course's excellent reputation gives you a competitive edge. Learn from industry experts at the forefront of research, enjoy our strong industry links and gain valuable experience through outstanding work-placements.

Accreditations and partnerships:

Transport touches everyone's lives. Transport planning is all about finding out how to reconcile today's needs for movement and development with protection and improvement of natural and urban environments.

This course provides the necessary academic background to begin or enhance your career in transport planning.

MSc Transport Planning draws on our strong links with employers, and offers the potential for a summer work placement linked to your dissertation.

All of our teaching staff are engaged in research and consultancy, and often advise national and local government.

Cutting edge research on the doorstep

Bristol is the home of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and an exciting place to study transport.

The city has some interesting and complex transport problems, and plans to tackle them include a bus rapid transit network, continuing developments to cycling networks as the country's first Cycling City, and experimental closures of the city centre to motor traffic.

We have close links with local authorities in the area, and have been commissioned to evaluate Bristol's Local Sustainable Transport Fund project.

Why do most Park and Ride schemes cause an increase in overall traffic? Why do people living in high-density housing make fewer journeys than people in suburbs, yet cause more traffic congestion? Does an increase in traffic inevitably equal increased collision and injury rates?

These are just some of the questions posed by researchers from the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE Bristol in a series of short films, 'Surprising Things You Never Knew About Transport', which challenge beliefs among policymakers and the general public.

The course is international in outlook, although it will also teach students about the context and framework of transport in the UK. It has attracted students from a wide range of countries, and from employers around the region.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience



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

Throughout the course, you will acquire the knowledge and skills transport planning employers look for in potential employees. You will also focus on how spatial planning interacts with transport needs and transport systems, and we encourage you to be open to new ideas and to critically examine established practices.

You will study:

  • Transport economics and appraisal
  • Travel demand analysis
  • Transport policy and finance
  • Changing travel behavior.

You will also study:

  • Plan making - This module introduces students to the core skills necessary to conceive of, develop and write appropriate plans for a range of spatial scales in a range of sectors. It requires students to evaluate the potential for imaginative responses to planning challenges at a range of spatial scales including neighbourhood, local, strategic and international. Plan-making incorporates a European field trip.
  • Implementation and design quality - This module offers a practical and theoretical understanding of the mechanisms and system of planning. It provides students with the analytical skills needed to make outcome based planning decisions, underpinned by the 'development management' approach, which focusses on the quality of the outcome and the effectiveness of the process. The module is project-based and you will work with spatial planning students.

Or both of the following:

  • Sustainable transport management and operations (option)
  • Introduction to Applied Geographical Information Systems (option) - This module introduces students to fundamental concepts related to GIS and its application, and develops the fundamental practical skills that are developed and extended in the rest of the programme. Using a variety of data students will undertake a GIS project in their chosen field.

Plus optional modules from:

  • Dissertation - including research training and the potential for a work placement
  • Master's Project (for students with a work placement)

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, debates and discussion, teamwork, presentations and external visits.

Teaching staff are mainly active researchers in the Centre for Transport and Society, but where appropriate we include contribution from UWE Bristol experts working and teaching in other related fields.

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

Transport planners must be numerate. If you lack confidence in this area, we can provide guidance and assistance for the mathematical content of the course.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.


Assessment is through coursework presentations and examinations.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.



Professional accreditation

This degree is accredited as meeting the requirements for Further Learning for a Chartered Engineer (CEng) for candidates who have already acquired an Accredited CEng (Partial) or BEng(Hons). See JBM for further information.

This course is also accredited by the CILT(UK), Transport Planning Professional and the Engineering Council.


A feature of this course is the potential for a work placement. This gives you the chance to gain valuable experience in practice and a competitive edge over graduates from other courses.

We will help you to find a suitable placement with an employer based in the area, for a few weeks in the summer after the end of teaching and assessment.

The placement (which may or may not be unpaid) will involve a project designed to address an employer's genuine need. Your experience and findings will contribute to your project-based dissertation.

Study facilities

UWE Bristol is superbly equipped with libraries and computer labs, and an excellent campus environment.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

Opportunities in transport planning are growing. UWE Bristol's transport graduates have an excellent reputation in the marketplace, and several have since secured senior positions around the region and further afield.

Every year, employers ask the programme leader to circulate details of vacancies with them.

Several of our students have been hired as a direct result by employers such as:

  • Arup
  • Halcrow
  • ITP
  • WSP
  • Matrix
  • Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Bristol City Council.


Supplementary fee information

See our funding pages for more information.


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, and particularly social sciences, geography and planning.

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

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.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

How to apply

Read more about postgraduate applications

For further information